The Cosmos provided a bonanza of amazing news headlines and unanswered questions for our Thanksgiving Holiday enjoyment, from will a twisted Universe save cosmology to Homo sapiens “shadow species” to the expanding Universe will break the speed of light and NASA’s new “evidence of alien Life” scale. “The Galaxy Report” brings you news of space and science that has the capacity to provide clues to the mystery of our existence and adds a much needed cosmic perspective in our current Anthropocene Epoch.
Lost in Space-Time newsletter: Will a twisted universe save cosmology? –A forgotten idea of Albert Einstein’s might just be the savior of cosmology, plus the great man’s (vain) quest to undermine quantum weirdness and the question of why the universe looks “just right” for our existence, reports New Scientist.
Scientists Say There May Be “Humans” All Over the Universe –Could humans be the dominant species in the Universe, and we just don’t know it yet? “In the universe of Dune, humans are one of the only species we see. Could it be that we’ve evolved on other planets, too?
Homo sapien’s ‘Shadow’ Species –“Hints We May Have Had Story of Evolution All Wrong”, reports The Daily Galaxy. “Carl Sagan observed that the frontal lobe of the human brain, comprising more than two-thirds of our brain mass, is where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” Maybe, suggest scientists, we’ve had the story of human evolution wrong: that language evolved before our brains started getting larger (we have brains 3x the size of apes), and language led to brain size increase instead of being a result of it?”
Does the expansion of the Universe break the speed of light? –Just 13.8 billion years after the hot Big Bang, we can see 46.1 billion light-years away in all directions. Doesn’t that violate…something? reports Big Think.
Astronomers discover more than 300 possible new exoplanets, reports UCLA. “UCLA astronomers have identified 366 new exoplanets, thanks in large part to an algorithm developed by a UCLA postdoctoral scholar. Among their most noteworthy findings is a planetary system that comprises a star and at least two gas giant planets, each roughly the size of Saturn and located unusually close to one another.”
A New 10-Year Plan for the Cosmos –On astronomers’ wish list for the next decade: two giant telescopes and a space telescope to search for life and habitable worlds beyond Earth, reports The New York Times.
“The Big Bang theory says nothing about what banged, why it banged, or what happened before it banged,” observed MIT theoretical physicist and cosmologist Alan Guth, who pioneered the the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second after the Big Bang, reports The Daily Galaxy.
Survival of the friendliest? Why Homo sapiens outlived other humans –We once shared the planet with at least seven other types of human. Ironically, our success may have been due to our deepest vulnerability: being dependent on others, reports New Scientist.
Black lava from this bizarre volcano could reveal Earth’s deep secrets –Tanzania’s Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to spew out carbonatite lava, which could offer fresh clues about Earth’s mysterious mantle – but getting hold of a sample is no simple matter, reports New Scientist.
Astronomers detect a black hole in NGC 1850, reports Tomasz Nowakowski for Phys.org. “An international team of astronomers reports the detection of a black hole in a globular cluster known as NGC 1850. The newly found black hole is about 11 times more massive than the sun and turns out to be a part of a binary system. The finding was detailed in a paper published November 12 on arXiv.org.”
Alien Worlds Hold Minerals Like Nothing in Our Solar System, Scientists Say, reports Science Alert.”Polluted white dwarfs reveal greater planetary variety in our solar neighborhood than currently appreciated, with consequently unique planetary accretion and differentiation paths that have no direct counterparts in our Solar System,” the researchers write in their paper.”
When Did Life Start in the Universe? –-Interstellar xenia, or the welcoming of cosmic strangers, could solve this mystery, reports Scientific American.
Astrophysicists reveal largest-ever suite of universe simulations, reports The Simons Foundation. “The simulation suite, dubbed AbacusSummit, will be instrumental in extracting secrets of the universe from upcoming surveys of the cosmos, its creators predict. They present AbacusSummit in several papers published October 25 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.”
NASA scientists propose new ‘alien life evidence’ scale –-More nuance is needed in reporting possible evidence of E.T., a new paper argues, reports Space.com
The Algorithm That Lets Particle Physicists Count Higher Than Two –Through his encyclopedic study of the electron, an obscure figure named Stefano Laporta found a handle on the subatomic world’s fearsome complexity. His algorithm has swept the field, reports Quanta.
Mind-blowing physics experiment can turn matter invisible, reports BGR. “We finally have a demonstration of a quantum effect that was predicted years ago, which is capable of making invisible matter.”
Astronomers have found the Milky Way’s first known ‘feather’ –The gaseous structure bridges two of the galaxy’s spiral arms, reports ScienceNews.”A long, thin filament of cold, dense gas extends jauntily from the galactic center, connecting two of the galaxy’s spiral arms, astronomers report November 11 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. This is the first time that such a structure, which looks like the barb of a feather fanning off the central quill, has been spotted in the Milky Way.”
Homo naledi infant skull discovery suggests they buried their dead –The partial skull of a Homo naledi child from around 250,000 years ago has been found in a deep, inaccessible cave – suggesting it was placed there by other H. naledi, reports New Scientist.