Extraterrestrials could already be learning about life on Earth. Problem is, the most recent TV signals may be from 2002…
Tag Archives | Space
Jasmine Wright and Margaret Myers Via PBS.org:
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Hubble’s contributions to space exploration are countless. Its images, explains Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, have shown the first definitive detection of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. They also have provided measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, and detection (along with ground-based telescopes) of acceleration in that expansion, caused by mysterious “dark energy” that appears to be pushing the universe apart.
“Hubble will go down in history as having changed the textbooks by totally revolutionizing humanity’s view of the universe, and our place in it,” Wiseman says.
Iconic images of astronomical pillars of gas and dust, views of galaxies soon after they were formed, an accelerating universe driven by Dark Energy… “give us more!” say the public and the taxpayers. The Hubble Space Telescope is undoubtedly one of the most popular science projects today. It was not always thus.
Laying the groundwork
With its origins dating back to a time when almost all astronomers used photographic plates to record images at ground-based telescopes, the idea of an ambitious and expensive observatory in space was not a popular one.
The most influential astronomers of the 1960s thought it better to spend the money on 15 copies of the 200-inch giant on Palomar Mountain, rather than gamble all on a single telescope in space that was not as large.
Rachel Feltman at The Washington Post:
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Do stars make noise? More importantly, if a star makes a sound too high for mammals to hear and is also in the vacuum of space where no sound can travel . . . does it even count?
Thank God nothing is resting on humanity answering that, because what even.
In a new study published in Physical Review Letters, researchers present evidence that stars might make a sound (sort of).
They were studying plasma, which is the state of matter that makes up most things in the universe (though only visible in a few things, like lightning strikes and the gas inside neon signs, on Earth). Plasma is basically a gas that’s been charged with enough energy to loose electrons from the atoms holding them.
Ninkasi Brewing Company in Oregon is releasing a new beer, Ground Control, brewed with yeast that travelled to space last year.
Mary Beth Griggs writes at Popular Science:
On April 13, at a few select places around the country, you’ll be able to take a swig of space. Ninkasi Brewing Company in Oregon is releasing Ground Control, an imperial stout brewed with yeast that travelled (very briefly) to space last year.
The first batch of yeast the company sent into space last July ended up lost in the desert after it returned to Earth, but in October, six vials successfully travelled into space and back.
Astronomers at Queen’s University Belfast have discovered an unbound star, US708, that is traveling at 1,200 kilometres per second. This is the fastest speed ever recorded in our galaxy.
The star is not bound by gravity and will eventually leave our galaxy. It is assumed that US708 was originally part of a “double-star” system, which included a massive white dwarf star. Presumably, the white dwarf exploded into a “thermonuclear supernovae,” or “type Ia supernova,” which kicked US708 out of orbit. A Type Ia Supernova occurs when two stars orbit each other “in which one of the stars is a white dwarf while the other can vary from a giant star to an even smaller white dwarf.”
Despite breaking a galactic record, the discovery of “US708 sheds light on the mysterious double-star systems that give rise to thermonuclear explosions. Thermonuclear, or ‘type Ia’, supernovae have long been used to calculate the distances to faraway galaxies – a measurement which helps to determine how the universe is changing and expanding.”
European Southern Observatory fellow, Stephan Geier, who led the study, said: “Several types of stars have been suspected of causing the explosion of a white dwarf as supernova of type Ia.… Read the rest
Arthur Dominic Villasanta via China Topix:
The world’s first commercial satellites powered by xenon-ion electric engines were successfully orbited March 1.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched two “electric satellites” equipped with revolutionary xenon-ion engines that turn gas into a propellant from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
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Cloud-like formations were originally spotted within the atmosphere of Mars by astronomers in 2012, leading some to believe the planet may be habitable or is being transformed in some way to make it so.
In fact images show the vapor formation to be over 621 miles across, which is larger than any other formation previously spotted within the red planet’s atmosphere to date.
A planetary scientist with the European Space Agency says this “raises more questions than answers”.
Damien Peach, an astronomer said, “I noticed this projection sticking out of the side of the planet. To begin with, I thought there was a problem with the telescope or camera. But as I checked more of the images, I realized it was a real feature – and it was quite a surprise.”
According to reports the haze lasted about 10-days before reemerging about 30-days later as it appears these new clouds are beginning to form in a more consistent manner than ever before, bringing only one thing to mind — the 1990 science fiction film Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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Making contact with aliens: the subject of many a sci-fi story, and a variety of imagined outcomes. Though no one knows what will happen if we encounter intelligent extra-terrestrial life, scientists are dividd on how we should proceed.
SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, has been searching for signals from said ETs for many years with no positive results. Of course, there have been interesting signals, but nothing specifically indicative of intelligence.
Scientists from SETI are turning up the volume on a debate that has been raging for several years over whether we should start actively transmitting messages into outer space rather than continuing to passively scan the skies while only leaking weak radiation from our surface activities on the planet. In a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose this week, Douglas Vakoch presented the question, and stated that beginning to transmit in an active, directed fashion would be part of humanity “growing up”.
Jonathan Symcox via The Mirror:
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Scientists in the UK say this microscopic metal globe could be proof that aliens are watching us.
Balloons sent 27km into the stratosphere to collect debris came back with the object, no bigger than the width of a human hair.
Professor Milton Wainwright, leader of the joint study by the University of Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology and University of Sheffield, said the structure is made from titanium and vanadium metals and has a biological “gooey” substance oozing from it.
Scientists believe it could contain genetic material used to propagate alien life on Earth.
“It is a ball about the width of a human hair, which has filamentous life on the outside and a gooey biological material oozing from its centre,” he told the Daily Express website.
“We were stunned when X-ray analysis showed that the sphere is made up mainly of titanium, with a trace of vanadium.