The Fine Line Between Life and Not Life to Conversations with Taxi Drivers About Life in the Universe (The Galaxy Report Weekend)

ESO Observatories Chile


This weekend’s stories include Should We Really Be Messing with Asteroid Orbits? to  Our Search for Habitable Planets Just Got a Lot Narrower to Did the Brightest-Ever Space Explosion Reveal Hints of Dark Matter? and much more.

Should We Really Be Messing with Asteroid Orbits? asks Caleb Scharf for Nautilus. With one small error or manipulation, cosmic interference would spell disaster. “The technology to prevent asteroids from hitting Earth could also be used to cause asteroids to hit Earth.”

Our Search for Habitable Planets Just Got a Lot Narrower, study suggests, reports Extreme Tech. ” After analyzing a nearby exoplanet, the team has concluded it is unlikely that the most common type of star in the Milky Way is capable of supporting life as we know it.”

Alien life: Leaking radio waves and hidden megastructures could hint at extraterrestrials–Could we describe and search for proof of technology originating from outside of Earth? asks The Conversation.

Want to know if aliens are real? An astrobiologist says, ask a taxi driver–Taxi drivers are connected to the hive mind of humanity. Hence, they have amazing insight into important questions regarding life in the universe, reports Fast Company. Charles Cockell is a professor of Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh. He shares five key insights from his new book, Taxi from Another Planet: Conversations with Drivers about Life in the Universe.

China’s space station is almost complete — how will scientists use it?--China’s space station Tiangong is almost complete. The third and final module is scheduled to launch into low Earth orbit on Monday. The station, only the second laboratory in orbit, is expected to host more than 1,000 scientific experiments over its lifetime of at least 10 years. These include studying the effects of microgravity on living tissues and the behavior of fires, reports Nature. 

Requiem for a Telescope--Until its collapse last year, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico spent six decades tuned to the radio stations of the heavens. There is no plan to rebuild it, and astronomers are in mourning. “Dan Werthimer, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, who had used the telescope throughout his career to search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, lamented the decision to not rebuild. ‘Arecibo was my favorite telescope in the universe,’ he said.”

Brightest-Ever Space Explosion Reveals Possible Hints of Dark Matter–A recent gamma-ray burst known as the BOAT—“brightest of all time”—appears to have produced a high-energy particle that shouldn’t exist. For some, dark matter provides the explanation, reports Jonathan O’Callaghan for Nautilus. “There were so many photons per second that they couldn’t keep up,” said Andrew Levan, an astrophysicist at Radboud University in the Netherlands.

NASA’s InSight Lander Detects Stunning Meteoroid Impact on Mars. reports the JPL. “The agency’s lander felt the ground shake during the impact while cameras aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the yawning new crater from space.”


Astronomers developed a set of equations that can precisely describe the reflections of the Universe that appear in the warped light around a black hole, reports Science Alert.

The Fine Line Between Life and Not Life--If the brain can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality, what can? reports Patrick House for Nautilus. “In the 1974 film Dark Star, an artificial intelligence is taught a few basics of René Descartes’s cogito, ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”) arguments and, after realizing that its purpose is simply to explode, the AI proceeds to ignore all further human commands and blows up itself, the ship, and the crew.”

This spiral galaxy in the constellation Draco is helping astronomers measure the universe–Two objects in this galaxy serve to build a “Cosmic Distance Ladder,” scientists say, reports

Humans communicating with aliens would be ‘like ants trying to talk to people’–Experts from a new BBC film are convinced our species would be mentally inferior, reports The Telegraph.

There May Be 4 Quintillion Alien Artifacts Buzzing in Our Solar System, reports Avi Loeb for Daily Beast. “How many other ‘Oumuamuas could there be in and around the solar system? In a new study that appeared online on Sept. 22 and hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, Loeb and his coauthor Carson Ezell. What they calculated isn’t the population of alien craft. It’s the population of possible alien craft or other possible artificial objects. Leftover ET rocket parts. Unexplainable fragments of alien technology beyond our understanding. 

Curated by The Daily Galaxy Editorial Staff


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