“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 When did the first humans arise on planet Earth to Planets that rain diamonds the size of people to will the ‘Human Niche’ be filled if we go extinct to What if all life on an alien planet was one giant superorganism?
When did the first humans arise on planet Earth? –Planet Earth has been around for over 4.5 billion years, but humans? For 99.998% of our history, humans were nowhere to be found, reports Big Think.
What if all life on an alien planet was one giant superorganism? A team of scientists claims the arrangement might actually be the norm. They’ve dubbed the concept “Gaia as Solaris” — and it could mean that working together as one, alien life survives in more places than expected,” reports Inverse.com.
What Happens if China Makes First Contact? As America has turned away from searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, China has built the world’s largest radio dish for precisely that purpose, reports Ross Andersen for The Atlantic.
Disequilibrium –The Unmistakable Signal of Alien Life. ““The phrase Earth-like does not refer to a planet that necessarily resembles modern-day Earth at all. It’s actually a very broad term that encompasses a broad variety of worlds. It includes hazy worlds like the Archean; it includes icy worlds like the ‘snowball Earth’ intervals; it includes anoxic worlds with exclusively microbial ecosystems; it includes worlds with complex and intelligent life; and it includes worlds that we haven’t even seen yet.”
The Forgotten Planets –-Why should Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn get all the attention? asks Nautilus.com. “They are planets that rain diamonds the size of people inside of them. One of them was smacked so hard by another planet that it now orbits its sun out of kilter with its famous neighbors. The planets represent both the chaotic formation of their solar system and the shepherds of its stability. “
Why scientists think we could find extraterrestrial intelligence by searching for pollutants –The powerful James Webb Telescope could be appropriated to search for pollution on alien planets, a new study shows, reports Salon.com
Unsealed! Rare Apollo lunar sample will have its opening day –Set aside since the 70s, the pristine sample container holds clues to the Moon’s past and future, reports Astronomy.com
Awkward!--NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, currently stationed on board the International Space Station, is scheduled to return to Earth in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft — an awkward predicament, given the extraordinarily tense situation between Russia and the United States developing back on the ground.
“The Radio Species” –Scientists Doubt ‘Human Niche’ Would Be Filled If We Go Extinct, reports The Daily Galaxy. “We are the only species of the billions of species that have existed on Earth that has shown an aptitude for radios and even we failed to build one during the first 99% of our 7 million year history, according to Australia National University’s Charles Lineweaver.”
An Electrifying View of the Heart of the Milky Way –A new radio-wave image of the center of our galaxy (image above) reveals all the forms of frenzy that a hundred million or so stars can get up to, reports The New York Times. “The image, taken by the MeerKAT radio telescope, an array of 64 antennas spread across five miles of desert in northern South Africa, reveals a storm of activity in the central region of the Milky Way, with threads of radio emission laced and kinked through space among bubbles of energy. At the very center Sagittarius A*, a well-studied supermassive black hole, emits its own exuberant buzz.”
Future Technologies –Zoom or Doom? “Astrophysicist Adam Frank asks us to consider where we are on the Kardashev Scale for evaluating civilizations in the galaxy — or, at least, evaluating our own progress: Astrophysicist Adam Frank sees a new role for us as galaxy gods as exhilarating but others aren’t so sure,” reports Mind Matters.
Scientists Map the Dark Matter Web Surrounding the Milky Way –A new simulation aims to determine whether the standard view of dark matter can explain how unique our galaxy’s neighborhood is, reports Wired.
The Wonder of Avi Loeb –The Harvard astrophysicist thinks we might have glimpsed evidence of an alien civilization. Despite controversy, he’s determined to find more, reports The Smithsonian.
Mars May Have Been Habitable Longer Than Thought –-A NASA-funded simulation of past Mars has revealed that the red planet was wetter for 500 million years longer than previously thought, giving life more time to develop, reports SETI Institute.
Four Years On, New Experiment Sees No Sign of ‘Cosmic Dawn’ –When astronomers tried to confirm a signal from the birth of the first stars after the Big Bang, they saw nothing, reports reports Ben Brubaker for Quanta. Astronomers are looking for a telltale dip in the brightness of radio waves that would mark the universe’s transition from the cosmic dark ages to cosmic dawn. But, the dip in the radio spectrum observed by EDGES looked strikingly different than cosmologists had predicted. The data suggested that the early universe was surprisingly cold, triggering much theoretical activity and attempts to confirm the signal by other astronomers around the world.”
The Guardian: ‘Something’s coming’: is America finally ready to take UFOs seriously? “Last year was a breakthrough time for UFOs, as a landmark government report prompted the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors to finally be taken seriously by everyone from senators, to a former president, to the Pentagon. But 2022 could be even more profound, experts say, as new scientific projects bring us closer than ever to – potentially – discovering non-Earth life,”
Loop quantum gravity: Does space-time come in tiny chunks? asks Paul Sutter for Space.com. Are there fundamental units of space-time at some unfathomably tiny scale?
Astronomers see an Enormous Shockwave, 60 Times Bigger Than the Milky Way –Astronomers detect an event so big it created a burst of particles over 1 billion years ago that is still visible today and is 60 times bigger than the entire Milky Way, reports Universe Today.
In Search of Cracks in Albert Einstein’s Theory of Gravity –Celia Escamilla-Rivera is combining large data sets with supercomputers to test general relativity against its little-known competitors, reports Quanta.com. Is it possible that dark matter and dark energy are illusions that appear because gravity works differently from how Einstein thought about it. “We’re invoking these mysterious things,” said the cosmologist Celia Escamilla-Rivera.“I am strongly convinced that alternative theories of gravity are needed.
What We Learned from the Perseverance Rover’s First Year on Mars –Despite some unexpected challenges, team members are setting lofty goals for the rover in 2022, reports Scientific American. “The rover’s ultimate target is near Jezero’s western edge: a large, fan-shaped pile of sediments that washed into the basin through a notch in the crater rim about 3.5 billion years ago. In other words, the target is a river delta—the exact type of environment that could preserve signs of ancient Martian life-forms.”
How Mars lost its magnetic field — and then its oceans. Chemical changes inside Mars’ core caused it to lose its magnetic field. This, in turn, caused it to lose its oceans. But how? reports Big Think.
“Pop Goes the Cosmos” –Mysteries of the Primordial Universe Before the Big Bang, reports The Daily Galaxy. “