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The Galaxy Report

THe Galaxy Report

Your free twice-weekly fix of  stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.

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“The Radio Species” –Scientists Doubt ‘Human Niche’ Would Be Filled If We Go Extinct

 

ESO

 

For what purpose did the human brain evolve is a question that has puzzled scientists for decades.In 2010 Colin Blakemore, an Oxford neurobiologist argued that a mutation in the brain of a single human being 200,000 years ago turned intellectually able primates into a super-intelligent species that would conquer the world. Homo sapiens appears to be a genetic accident.

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Stephen Hawking’s Great Question –“Why Isn’t the Milky Way Crawling With Mechanical or Biological Life?”

GalaxyEvolution_Final_Papovich

 

“If the argument about the time scale for the appearance of life on Earth is correct”, Stephen Hawking observed, echoing Enrico Fermi’s infamous question–Where is Everybody– “there ought to be many other stars, whose planets have life on them. Some of these stellar systems could have formed 5 billion years before the Earth. So why is the galaxy not crawling with self-designing mechanical or biological life forms?”

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“The Invisible Galaxy” –100 Million Black Holes Lurking in the Milky Way

 

LIGO Black Holes

 

Astrophysicists have discovered a dozen black holes —“invisible one-way doors out of our universe” —gathered around Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, which in May, 2019 suddenly brightened, appearing like a massive, dormant volcano. 

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“Mountain of Mystery” — Mars’ Mount Sharp at Gale Crater

Mars Mt Sharp

 

 

“To me, Mars is the uncanny valley of Earth,” said planetary geophysicist Kevin Lewis of Johns Hopkins University. “It’s similar but was shaped by different processes. It feels so unnatural to our terrestrial experience.”

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“Liftoff!” –NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter to Forever Change the Way We Explore Other Planets

 

 Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

 

NASA’s announced the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet when the solar-powered “Ingenuity Mars Helicopter first became airborne at 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) – 12:33 – a time the Ingenuity team determined would have optimal energy and flight conditions. Altimeter data indicate Ingenuity climbed to its prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. Additional details on the test are expected in upcoming downlinks.”

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