Our Universe was busy this week with news ranging from the discovery a new impact on Jupiter to NASA chief, Bill Nelson, reporting that UFOs might be extraterrestrial life forms or beings from an alternate universe to NASA’s inventing ‘curious AI’ for deep space detection of life.
Astronomers May Have Discovered the First Planet Outside of Our Galaxy –-a team led by astronomer Rosanne Di Stefano of the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has determined that a huge dip in X-ray light from the Whirlpool Galaxy is best explained by an extragalactic planet in a galaxy 31 million light-years away. “We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies,” said Di Stefano. A composite image of M51 with X-rays from Chandra and optical light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope contains a box that marks the location of the possible planet candidate. X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/R. DiStefano, et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/Grendler
NASA Leadership Visits JPL, Discusses Climate Change and Mars, reports the JPL. “In truth, this discussion is about saving our planet,” Bill Nelson said. “NASA is the point of the spear on climate change.” JPL leaders also discussed future plans for the Mars Sample Return campaign to bring rock and sediment samples Perseverance collects back to Earth for study. The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter team updated the group on their next flight plans.
NASA’s New Telescope Will Show Us the Infancy of the Universe--Twenty-five years and ten billion dollars in the making, the James Webb Space Telescope will enable scientists to see deeper into the past than ever before, reports The New Yorker.
Jeff Bezos’ Rocket Company Wants to Build a Space Station –Blue Origin says it will team up with Sierra Space, Boeing and other companies to build an outpost that could help replace the International Space Station, reports The New York Times.
Some supermassive black holes may contain fingerprints from the Big Bang, reports Paul Sutter for Space.com And NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope may be able to detect those faint signatures.
Scientists Have Discovered Traces of Stars From the Dawn of Time –The first stars formed using products from the Big Bang, and learning more about them can teach us about how the universe as we know it came to be, reports Motherboard Science.
Will We Discover Life-Bearing Alien Moons in the Coming Decade? asks The Daily Galaxy –“There are currently 175 .known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system. While most of these moons orbit Saturn and Jupiter, which are outside the Sun’s habitable zone, that may not be the case in other solar systems,” said Stephen Kane, an associate professor of planetary astrophysics at the University of California Riverside’s Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center. “Including rocky exomoons in our search for life in space will greatly expand the places we can look.”
A group of Japanese astronomers just discovered a potential new impact on Jupiter. “The gas giant just took another interplanetary hit. If it’s confirmed it would be the 11th observed comet or asteroid strike at the gas giant since the pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter in 1994. A little more than a month after five amateurs independently recorded a similar flash, a team of astronomers, led by Ko Arimatsu of Kyoto University, captured this most recent flare in Jupiter’s cloud tops (IR/visible image below) at 13:24 UT on Friday, October 15th,” reports Sky & Telescope.
‘We hope it’s not an adversary here on Earth’: NASA leader suggests UFOs could be aliens, reports Yahoo News –“The leader of NASA hinted at the possibility that some UFOs might be extraterrestrial life forms or beings from an alternate universe this week. Bill Nelson, who has served as President Joe Biden’s NASA administrator since May, said Tuesday he didn’t know for sure what some of the unidentified aerial phenomena seen by Navy pilots are.”
Why NASA is inventing curious AI for deep space –-Space probes will be the first to explore the furthest reaches of our solar system and beyond. To make discoveries like finding alien life, they will need to think more like humans, says NASA’s Steve Chien, reports New Scientist.
Agents of Doom: Who is creating the apocalypse and why. asks BBC Future –There are a handful of actors who are the most likely to cause a global catastrophe, but their power goes unchecked, says Luke Kemp.
Giant “Quantum Twisters” May Form in Liquid Light – Remarkable Similarities With Black Holes, reports the University of Cambridge. These rotating structures are predicted to be widely useful for studying everything from quantum systems to black holes.
An Ultra-Precise Clock Shows How to Link the Quantum World With Gravity –Time was found to flow differently between the top and bottom of a single cloud of atoms. Physicists hope that such a system will one day help them combine quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of gravity, reports Quanta.
Scientists Detect 1,652 Radio Signals From Mysterious Source in Space –Fast radio bursts are a huge cosmic mystery, and now scientists have detected an unprecedented number of signals from one source in just 47 days, reports Motherboard Science.
Is Information the Fifth State of Matter in the Universe? asks The Daily Galaxy. “Information,” wrote Arizona State University astrophysicist Paul Davies in an email to The Daily Galaxy, “is a concept that is both abstract and mathematical. It lies at the foundation of both biology and physics. ”
This Simple Experiment Could Challenge Standard Quantum Theory –-Measuring the time it takes particles to travel between two points may offer the best-yet test for Bohmian mechanics, reports Scientific American. “If people knew that a theory that they love so much—standard quantum mechanics—cannot make [precise] predictions in such a simple case, that should at least make them wonder,” says theorist Serj Aristarhov.
Astrophysicists reveal largest-ever suite of universe simulations –Collectively clocking in at nearly 60 trillion particles, a newly released set of cosmological simulations is by far the biggest ever produced. The simulation suite, dubbed AbacusSummit, will be instrumental in extracting secrets of the universe from upcoming surveys of the cosmos, its creators predict.
The search for alien tech –Radio signals is old hat: now it’s all about hunting for extraterrestrial technosignatures. But do we want to be found? asks Aeon.
Mysterious ‘alien beacon’ was false alarm –Radio signal seemed to originate from the star Proxima Centauri, and provided a helpful drill for future searches, reports Nature. ““It is human-made radio interference from some technology, probably on the surface of the Earth,” says Sofia Sheikh, an astronomer at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and a co-author of both papers.”
Mystery of Mars’ ancient trenches might have finally been solved –Apparently, Mars’ crater lakes couldn’t hold it in any longer.
Primordial Gravitational Waves Continue to Elude Astronomers –The standard model of cosmology is a remarkably powerful and accurate description of the universe, tracing its evolution from the big bang to its current state, but it is not without mysteries. One of the biggest unsolved questions of the standard model is known as early cosmic inflation, reports Universe Today.