“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. Today’s stories range from the Black Hole in Our Backyard to New Force Fields in the Universe to Einstein’s Relativity Might Have More to Do With the Way Our Brains Evolved, and much more.
A Plot Twist in the Milky Way: The Black Hole in Our Backyard –Astronomers have cracked a mystery 1,000 light-years from Earth, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic. “In the spring of 2020, a group of astronomers told the world a dramatic story: They had discovered a black hole just 1,000 light-years away from Earth, closer to us than any they’d found before. They’d detected it in a constellation called Telescopium, nestled alongside two stars that, on a clear night in the Southern Hemisphere, are visible to the naked eye. “On the scale of the Milky Way, it’s in our backyard,” Thomas Rivinius, the astronomer who led the new research, told me at the time.”
‘I thought I had forgotten this horror’: Ukrainian scientists stand in defiance. Researchers tell Nature about their experiences of the Russian invasion, reports Nature.com
Meet the South Pole’s Dark Matter Detective –Reina Maruyama wasn’t expecting her particle detector to work buried deep in ice. She was wrong, reports Nautilus.com. “There is something in their data that they don’t understand.”
The Physicist Who Denies that Dark Matter Exists –Maybe Newtonian physics doesn’t need dark matter to work, but Mordehai Milgrom instead, reports Nautilus.com
Will Gravitational Wave Detectors in Space Discover New Force Fields in the Universe? asks Avi Shporer for The Daily Galaxy–“New research has shown that future gravitational wave detections from space will be capable of finding new fundamental fields and potentially shed new light on unexplained aspects of the Universe. There are four known fundamental interactions or forces in the Universe: gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak interaction, and the strong interaction.”
A Deepening Crisis Forces Physicists to Rethink Structure of Nature’s Laws –For three decades, researchers hunted in vain for new elementary particles that would have explained why nature looks the way it does. As physicists confront that failure, they’re reexamining a longstanding assumption: that big stuff consists of smaller stuff. Do we find ourselves here only because our universe’s peculiar properties foster the formation of atoms, stars and planets and therefore life, reports Natalie Wolchover for Quanta.
Tidally Locked Exoplanets –Loaded with Questions about the Possibility of Life–Tidally locked planets always present the same face to their host stars. What does this mean for their potential to support life? asks Eos.o
What is the largest planet out of all the ones we know? –There’s a limit to how large planets can be, and it’s only about double the radius of Jupiter. At least, so far, reports Big Think.
Early impacts delivered iron to Earth but almost wiped out life, reports Paul Sutter for Space.com. Early life on Earth probably didn’t depend on iron from meteorites after all.
The First Rocket Launch from Mars Will Start in Midair –NASA’s Mars Ascent Vehicle will attempt a wildly unconventional liftoff to bring Red Planet samples back to Earth, reports Jonathan O’Callaghan for Scientific American.
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Einstein and Why the Block Universe Is a Mistake, reports Dean Buonomano, author of the book Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time for iAi News (video below). “According to how physicists and philosophers interpret Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the present isn’t at all special. The past and the future are just as real as the present – they all coexist and you could, theoretically, travel to them. But, argues Dean Buonomano, this interpretation of Einstein’s theory might have more to do with the way our brains evolved to think of time in a similar way to space, than with the nature of time.”
Search for Life As We Don’t Know It –-“We want to have new tools for identifying and even predicting features of life as we don’t know it,” says co-author Sara Imari Walker of Arizona State University. “To do so, we are aiming to identify the universal laws that should apply to any biochemical system. This includes developing quantitative theory for the origins of life, and using theory and statistics to guide our search for life on other planets.”
Did the early universe inflate? “One of the most amazing discoveries of the past century has been that the universe expands, reports Backreaction in the video above, This is one of the insights physicists derived from Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Yes, that guy again! But after this discovery, physicists made the theory more complicated. They added the hypothesis that not only does the universe expand, but that early on, right after the big bang, it expanded exponentially, blowing up space by 30 orders of magnitude in a fraction of a second.
AI Could Reveal Extraterrestrial Intelligence Beyond Our Level of Consciousness, reports The Daily Galaxy –“If AI identifies something our mind cannot understand or accept, could it in the future go beyond our level of consciousness and open doors to reality for which we are not prepared? said Spanish clinical neuropsychologist Gabriel G. De la Torre about the application of artificial intelligence to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Dreaming of Suitcases in Space –A California start-up company believes it can one day speed delivery of important items by storing them in orbit, reports The New York Times. “
“Unlocking the Universe’s Secrets” –Astronomers and Nobel-Prize Laureates Share Their Hopes and Expectations About the James Webb Space Telescope. “As the James Webb Space Telescope begins its month-long voyage to LaGrange Point 2, several of the planet’s leading astronomers and scientists have shared their expectations and hopes for this epoch event in human history with The Daily Galaxy.”
Will the James Webb Space Telescope Reveal Unknown, Hidden Objects at the Milky Way’s Center? asks The Daily Galaxy –“NASA’s recently launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), designed to view the universe in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, but is very important for looking at astronomical objects hidden from our view, obscured by vast swaths of interstellar dust at the galactic center in unprecedented detail.”
The US military plans to extend its space awareness capabilities beyond geostationary orbit, all the way to the farside of the Moon. “This week, the US Air Force Research Laboratory released a video on YouTube that didn’t get much attention. But it made an announcement that is fairly significant—the US military plans to extend its space awareness capabilities beyond geostationary orbit, all the way to the Moon,” reports Ars Technica
The true meaning of Einstein’s most famous equation: E=mc² –More than any other of Einstein’s equations, E = mc² is the most recognizable to people. But what does it all mean? reports Ethan Siegel for Big Think–“As it turns out, there are actually three big meanings attached to it: for turning energy into mass and mass back into energy and more. The big takeaway is this, however: mass is not conserved on its own, and that the act of extracting energy from mass is vital to the Universe as a whole.”
The Best Alien Habitat? Former astronaut Chris Hadfield, with nearly 5000 known exoplanets to choose from, names Kepler-442b, 1200 light years from Earth, as an “excellent” one for the James Webb Space Telescope to have a look at, reports Mind Matters.
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