In 2019 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for pioneering a new field in astronomy with the discovery of the first planet beyond our solar system, 51 Pegasi b. Since the discovery in 1991, over 4,000 exoplanets have been found in our home galaxy. “We answered a very old question,” Mayor said, which was debated by philosophers since the ancient Greeks: “are there other worlds in the Universe?”
So far, we have had only close calls from gamma ray explosions so large, scientists have suggested, that if they occurred within our solar neighborhood (less than 1,000 light years) they could potentially trigger mass extinctions on Earth.
Today’s stories include the Great Filter means we could die out before we discover alien life to White dwarf study suggests planets are as old as their stars to Early meteorites brought enough water to Mars to create a global ocean, and much more.
“The volume of space-time within range of our telescopes—what astronomers have traditionally called ‘the universe’—is only a tiny fraction of the aftermath of the big bang,” says astrophysicist Martin Rees. “We’d expect far more galaxies located beyond the horizon, unobservable, each of which –along with any intelligences it hosts– will evolve rather like our own.”
Today’s stories include Why a Puzzling New Image Of Jupiter Could Help Us Find Life Beyond Earth to Scientists Test Einstein’s Relativity On A Cosmological Scale and Discover Something Strange, and much more.
When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by the strange world of Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, three decades ago, it imaged a world as stunning as it was puzzling, revealing massive, dark plumes of icy material spraying out from its surface, a captured Kuiper Belt object that evolved, a potential ocean world with active plumes, an energetic ionosphere and a young, unique surface. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to have flown past Neptune, leaving a trail of intriguing, unanswered questions that NASA hopes to answer.