Could Humanity Handle the “Otherness” of Extraterrestrials? (The Galaxy Report-Weekend Edition)

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This weekend’s stories range from Astronomers are unscrambling the warped galaxies seen by JWST to Building blocks of life found floating in the Milky Way in a discovery that suggests we are not alone, and much more.

Could humanity handle the “otherness” of extraterrestrials?-reports Big Think. “Humans do not respond well to “otherness.” We are frightened and divide ourselves into “us” versus “them.” We need to overcome this tendency if we are to have a successful encounter with alien beings. One possible solution, should we make contact with an intelligent alien species, would be to use “neutral” robots to facilitate interaction.”

Astronomers Shocked by Pentagon UFO study led by researcher who believes in the supernatural, reports Science.com. “The revelation shocked UFO skeptics in the science community. They note that Taylor has made extraordinary claims during TV appearances, including to have “seen more UFOs than I can count.” “I find it very difficult to believe” federal authorities gave Taylor a prominent role in preparing the UFO report, says astronomer Seth Shostak.

Astronomers are already unscrambling the warped galaxies seen by JWST –The first deep-field image from the James Webb Space Telescope is full of distant galaxies with their light warped by gravity, and astronomers are already using them to hunt dark matter, reports New Scientist. .

Building blocks of life found floating in the Milky Way in a discovery that suggests we are not alone –The find increases the chances that life could have evolved on other planets across the galaxy, reports The Telegraph.

Chinese astronomy satellite discovers strongest magnetic field found in the universe so far–Researchers say it was detected on the surface of a neutron star more than 22,000 light years from Earth, reports South China Morning Post. It was found by the most powerful high-energy X-ray telescope in orbit, Insight-HXMT. “They said the field – with a strength of 1.6 billion tesla – was detected on the surface of a neutron star more than 22,000 light years from Earth, called Swift J0243.6+6124.”

A New Era in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life: We Can Finally Analyze Exoplanet Atmospheres–“Thanks in large part to next-generation telescopes like James Webb, researchers will soon be able to measure the chemical makeup of atmospheres of planets around other stars. The hope is that one or more of these planets will have a chemical signature of life,” reports Singularity Hub.

Meet Plato, an AI That Gains Intuition Like a Human Baby. reports Monisha Ravisetti at CNET–“In collaboration with AI research laboratory DeepMind in the UK, this team developed an artificial intelligence system that learned ‘intuitive physics,’ that is, commonsense understanding of how our universe’s mechanics work, just like a human baby. ‘Current artificial intelligence systems pale in their understanding of intuitive physics, in comparison to even very young children,’ the study authors wrote in their paper. ‘Here we address this gap between humans and machines by drawing on the field of developmental psychology.’”

 

Emboldening and Humbling’: Gasping at the Wonders of the Universe, reports The New York Times. “Human beings are a remarkable toolmaking species, with an insatiable curiosity, imagination and a yearning to explore and understand. In that very human spirit, ingenious astrophysicists, mathematicians and engineers have roaringly entered stage left, giving the world the James Webb Space Telescope.”

New Book Argues That We Live In A Cosmological Multiverse reports Bruce Dorminey for Forbes.

Tetraquarks and pentaquarks: “Unnatural” forms of exotic matter have been found –Scientists have found three new examples of a very exotic form of matter made of quarks. They can yield insights into the early Universe, reports Big Think.

Astronomers search for light that holds answers to how the earliest galaxies formed, reports Axios. “One billion years after the Big Bang, galaxies and supermassive black holes existed across the universe. The universe was also reionized by then, transforming it from a place filled with dark, dense primordial gas into a place where light could shine. Astronomers want to know what role the first stars and galaxies played in that critical process — and how these early astronomical objects came to be.

The Gaia Mission Keeps Unlocking Secrets of the Galaxy –New data from the ESA’s probe, now eight years into its mission, adds significant detail to its portrait of nearly 2 billion objects in the Milky Way, reports Wired.

Curated by The Daily Galaxy Editorial Staff

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