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Microbes born on Earth are already pre-adapted for journeying through space, living in space, and not just surviving but flourishing in radioactive environments where they are continually exposed to radiation by ions similar to what might be encountered in a nebular cloud.
In 1958, physicists discovered clouds of bacteria, ranging from two million bacteria per cm3 and over 1 billion per quart, thriving in pools of radioactive waste directly exposed to ionizing radiation and radiation levels millions of times greater than could have ever before been experienced on this plane.
The world’s first artificial nuclear reactor was not even built until 1942. Prior to the 1945, poisonous pools of radioactive waste did not even exist on Earth. And yet, over a dozen different species of microbe have inherited the genes which enable them to survive conditions which for the previous 4.5 billion years could have only been experienced in space.
Tag Archives | Universe
A simple atomic nucleus could reveal properties associated with the mysterious phenomenon known as time reversal and lead to an explanation for one of the greatest mysteries of physics: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe. The physics world was rocked recently by the news that a class of subatomic particles known as neutrinos may have broken the speed of light. Adding to the rash of new ideas, University of Arizona theoretical physicist Bira van Kolck recently proposed that experiments with another small particle called a deuteron could lead to an explanation for one of the most daunting puzzles physicists face: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe. A deuteron is a simple atomic nucleus, or the core of an atom. Its simplicity makes it one of the best objects for experiments in nuclear physics ...
“It would be a pretty amazing thing to show that we have actually made physical contact in another universe. It’s a long shot, but it would by very profound for physics” (Prof. Efstathiou). Via BBC:
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The idea that other universes – as well as our own – lie within “bubbles” of space and time has received a boost.
Studies of the low-temperature glow left from the Big Bang suggest that several of these “bubble universes” may have left marks on our own.
This “multiverse” idea is popular in modern physics, but experimental tests have been hard to come by.
The preliminary work, to be published in Physical Review D, will be firmed up using data from the Planck telescope.
For now, the team has worked with seven years’ worth of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measures in minute detail the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the faint glow left from our Universe’s formation.
A giant quasar billions of light-years away is surrounded by water vapor that could fill Earth’s oceans over 140 trillion times. Via National Geographic:
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In a galaxy 12 billion light-years away resides the most distant and most massive cloud of water yet seen in the universe, astronomers say.
Weighing in at 40 billion times the mass of Earth, the giant cloud of mist swaddles a type of actively feeding supermassive black hole known as a quasar.
Among the brightest and most energetic objects in the universe, quasars are black holes at the centers of galaxies that are gravitationally consuming surrounding disks of material while burping back out powerful energy jets.
“As this disk of material is consumed by the central black hole, it releases energy in the form of x-ray and infrared radiation, which in turn can heat the surrounding material, resulting in the observed water vapor,” said study co-author Eric Murphy, an astronomer with the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California.
Michael Reilly reports in the New Scientist:
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An asteroid 300 metres in diameter is stalking the Earth. Hiding in the pre-dawn twilight, it has marched in lockstep with our planet for years, all but invisible to our telescopes.
The rock is Earth’s first confirmed Trojan, which can orbit the sun in either of two gravitational wells along the same orbital path as our planet. From the sun’s point of view, these wells lie 60 degrees ahead of and behind the Earth, at Lagrange points where gravitational forces between the sun and the Earth balance out.
Trojans are common — Jupiter alone boasts about 5000, and Neptune and Mars each have their own smaller collections. But finding Earth’s has proven difficult, because the Lagrange points lie towards the sun in the sky. Astronomers must look for the objects just before the sun rises or after it sets, and until now the glare of this sunlight has obscured the feeble light reflected from any rocks that might be hiding there.
Mankind has been broadcasting radio waves into deep space for about a hundred years now — since the days of Marconi. That, of course, means there is an ever-expanding bubble announcing Humanity’s presence to anyone listening in the Milky Way. This bubble is astronomically large (literally), and currently spans approximately 200 light years across. But how big is this, really, compared to the size of the Galaxy in which we live (which is, itself, just one of countless billions of galaxies in the observable universe)?