Another amazing week in our Universe beyond –from a new type of habitable planet to China’s plan for a spacecraft 30 times the size of the ISS to the new reality of UFOs and the detection of gravitational waves that could be from dark matter particles.
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Astronomers Identify a New Type of Planet That Could Harbor Life –They’re big, wet, and full of hot gas. These neglected exoplanets could be promising candidates in the ongoing search for alien life, reports Gizmodo.
The mysterious origins of Universe’s biggest black holes, reports BBC Future –“They are the biggest black holes in the known Universe, billions of times more massive than our Sun, but little is known about how these monsters form and grow so big. New telescopes and techniques are giving us a new way of looking at these giants.”
Extraterrestrial Life –“Is Earth the ‘Standard Model’ for the Universe?” reports The Daily Galaxy –“Following the laws of physics, Charles Cockell suggests that life on Earth might be a template for life in the universe, adhering to a standard model of constants or equations of life. Cockell, an astrobiologist at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the UK Center for Astrobiology and author of The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution, views the topic of life’s construction through the lens of an observer who is trying to understand how life on Earth can serve as a test case for possible life elsewhere in the universe.”
China Wants To Build A Miles-Long Spacecraft To Explore The Cosmos –A group in China just announced initial plans to develop a spacecraft that’s multiple miles long — making it at least 30x longer than the ISS, reports Screen Rant. ” The National Natural Science Foundation of China is embarking on a five-year project to dig into the possibilities of “ultra-large spacecraft spanning kilometers.” According to the organization, “[Such a spacecraft] is a major strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, exploration of the mysteries of the universe and staying in long-term orbit.”
Wandering Supermassive Black Holes May Be More Abundant than Previously Thought –New research led by astronomers from the Harvard & Smithsonian’s Center for Astrophysics shows that the current census of supermassive black holes is incomplete and that a substantial population of off-center wanderers likely exists, reports SciNews.
This May Be a ‘Heisenberg Cube’ From the Nazis’ Failed Nuke Program, Scientists Say –The Nazis tried to develop nuclear weapons during WWII. This uranium cube at a Washington laboratory may have been part of this secret program, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard/Vice.
Alien Habitats –“They Could Be Just About Anywhere”, reports The Daily Galaxy –“Judging by the history of life on Earth and the possible futures we think we can see coming, it is indeed quite possible that most, or effectively all, civilizations in the universe are comprised of machine intelligences,” wrote astrobiologist David Grinspoon in an email to The Daily Galaxy.
This Fast Radio Burst Repeats in a Strict Pattern, And We Still Can’t Figure Out Why–After taking new radio observations, astronomers have ruled out a leading explanation for the cyclic nature of a particularly curious repeating space signal, reports Science Alert.
Comet ATLAS May Have Been a Blast from the Past –Doomed Celestial Visitor May Have Been a Piece of a Prehistoric Comet, reports Hubblesite — It’s suspected that about 5,000 years ago a comet swept within 23 million miles of the Sun, closer than the innermost planet Mercury. The comet might have been a spectacular sight to civilizations across Eurasia and North Africa at the end of the Stone Age.
TESS: A behind-the-scenes look at NASA’s latest planet hunter –TESS is revolutionizing our understanding of planets in the solar neighborhood. But finding new worlds is only the beginning, reports Astronomy.
Flashes of Creation –George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate. In his new book, “Flashes of Creation,” Paul Halpern chronicles the rise of Gamow and Hoyle into leaders of mostly opposing views of cosmology, as they disputed whether everything began with a Big Bang billions of years ago, reports The New York Times.
Chinese astronomers eye Tibetan Plateau site for observatory project, reports Space.com –Chinese astronomers hope to establish a major observatory program on the roof of the world, the Tibetan Plateau, with new research arguing for pristine observing conditions nestled in the uplands.
‘Our fascination is rooted in hope’: why we’re so obsessed with UFOs –In a JJ Abrams-produced docuseries, the possible existence of alien life is given a serious and exhaustive examination, reports The Guardian.
Scientists Detected Gravitational Waves That Could Stem From ‘Dark Matter Particles’ –They could be primordial black holes. Or even dark matter, reports Interesting Engineering.
Physics is in flux—the search for a new theory of everything –Our podcast on the science and technology making the news. Also this week: how to engage with science deniers, and the technology behind the next generation of prosthetic limbs reports The Economist.
This Physicist Discovered an Escape From Hawking’s Black Hole Paradox –The five-decade-old paradox — long thought key to linking quantum theory with Einstein’s theory of gravity — is falling to a new generation of thinkers. Netta Engelhardt is leading the way, reports Natalie Wolchover for Quanta
The new reality of UFOs: An interview with journalist Leslie Kean–Leslie Kean is a veteran investigative reporter who has spent over 20 years delving into the once-taboo topic of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). UFOs are now established as real, she says. Furthermore, despite observations using highly advanced technologies, we have no idea what they are or where they come from,” reports Leonard David for Space.com
How Big Can the Quantum World Be? Physicists Probe the Limits –By showing that even large objects can exhibit bizarre quantum behaviors, physicists hope to illuminate the mystery of quantum collapse, identify the quantum nature of gravity, and perhaps even make Schrödinger’s cat a reality, reports Quanta.
The definition of planet is still a sore point – especially among Pluto fans –-Some astronomers disagree with the distant orb’s 2006 reclassification, reports Science News. “When Pluto was excluded from the planetary display in 2000 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, children sent hate mail to Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s planetarium.”
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