The Universe has showered us with amazing, thought-provoking headlines this week, from why alien hunters have spent 60 years finding new solutions for the Drake Equation to the biggest “Oh No” moment in the Solar System to humanity’s unlikely gateway to space.
Why alien hunters have spent 60 years finding new solutions for the Drake Equation –Astronomer Frank Drake came up with the famous formula as he prepared for a last-minute meeting in 1961. It still guides the search for intelligent life beyond Earth, reports National Geographic.
Looking for Alien Life? Seek Out Alien Tech –Shifting the search for extraterrestrial life from biological to technological signs could break us out of anthropocentrism and help guide humanity’s future, reports Wired.
Odd Martian meteorites traced back to the largest volcanic structure in the solar system –The rocks were most likely ejected from Tooting crater more than a million years ago and are now helping scientists piece together the red planet’s turbulent past, reports National Geographic.
Humanity’s unlikely gateway to space –“Hidden from the world for decades, Baikonur Cosmodrome helped the Soviets reach outer space. Today, it’s the world’s primary spaceport – although its sense of secrecy remains.” reports the BBC.
Merging black holes may create bubbles that could swallow the universe –The area between a pair of large black holes on the verge of colliding could provide the conditions to create dangerous bubbles of “true vacuum”, reports New Scientist. “Large colliding black holes could be a breeding ground for tiny black holes. If we spot signs of these cosmic lightweights, it could provide proof of the fundamental nature of our universe.”
Mysterious Boson Clouds could offer new clues on dark matter, reports Australian National University –Boson clouds, made up of ultralight subatomic particles that are almost impossible to detect, have been suggested as a possible source of dark matter—which accounts for about 85 percent of all matter in the Universe.
In dramatic shift, national intelligence director does not rule out ‘extraterrestrial’ origins for UFOs, reports The Hill –“Asked about a recent report in which the government admitted that it could not explain 143 out of 144 military encounters with mysterious flying objects – including several which appeared to demonstrate extraordinary technology – director of national intelligence Avril Haines said, “There’s always the question of ‘is there something else that we simply do not understand, that might come extraterrestrially?’”
Astrophysicists Reveal Largest-Ever Suite of Universe Simulations – How Gravity Shaped the Distribution of Dark Matter, reports SciTechDaily. “To understand how the universe formed, astronomers have created AbacusSummit, more than 160 simulations of how gravity may have shaped the distribution of dark matter.”
Are water plumes spraying from Jupiter’s Europa? NASA’s Europa Clipper is on the case, reports the JPL –“The giant column of vapor, ice particles, and organic molecules spraying from the moon’s south polar region suggested that there’s a liquid water ocean below Enceladus’ ice shell and confirmed the moon is geologically active. The plume also thrust Enceladus and other worlds in the outer solar system, with no atmospheres and far from the heat of the Sun, toward the top of NASA’s list of places to search for signs of life.
The Biggest ‘Oh No’ Moment in the Solar System–Everything has to go right for the James Webb Space Telescope, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic.
13 of the most profound questions about the cosmos and ourselves, reports New Scientist –“To celebrate New Scientist’s 65th anniversary, they’ll attempt to fill in that gap, plunging into the twilight zone where science meets metaphysics and philosophy as we peel back layers of understanding to find deeper truths about some of the most mysterious questions surrounding life, the universe and everything. Or, more likely, more onion.
Earth is the Solar System’s densest planet. It shouldn’t be. –Based on the atoms that they’re made out of, the innermost planet should always be the densest. Here’s why Earth beats Mercury, hands down, reports Big Think.
Did astronomers see the light from two black holes colliding for the first time? reports Sace.com –“With this detection, a team of astronomers used Caltech’s Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) to peer out into the cosmos and search for light signals from the collision. If confirmed, this would be the first time visible light would be used as evidence of two black holes colliding and creating a gravitational wave.
The Hubble Telescope Checks In With the Most Distant Planets –The spacecraft’s farseeing eye once again sets its gaze on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, reports the New York Times “Out There”.
Trust in Science and Scientists Increased Globally, Poll Finds–An international survey found that the pandemic had enhanced public faith in researchers and science, up from 2018.
Why does evolution happen? The rules on Earth may well be universal –Dig down, and evolution by natural selection is just about spontaneous, sustained accumulation of complexity – if life elsewhere exists, it’s likely to develop in the same way, reports New Scientist.
NASA’s real-time 3D visualization tool Eyes on the Earth got a recent upgrade to include more datasets, putting the world at your fingertips. Using the tool, you can track the planet’s vital signs – everything from carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to sea level and soil moisture levels – as well as follow the fleet of Earth satellites providing those measurements.
Why is there a cosmic speed limit? It could even be why we’re here –Nothing in the cosmos can travel faster than light speed. By distinguishing cause and effect and stopping everything happening in a jumbled mess, our existence depends on it, reports New Scientist.