Today’s stories range from scientists and philosophers on a mission to uncover the origins of organisms here and throughout the cosmos, to what China’s first moon rocks will reveal, to mysterious signals coming from our Milky Way, and much more. The Galaxy Report brings you news from space and science that may provide clues to the mystery of our existence, adding a much-needed cosmic perspective in our current Anthropocene epoch.
NASA goes on a sci-fi search for extraterrestrial life, reports the London Times. “Inflatable drones modeled after manta rays could hover over Venus, and microrobots could swim across distant ocean worlds in search of life beyond Earth. They are among 17 concepts studied by NASA, which has awarded researchers $5.1 million to assess their potential for use in space missions.”
Why the “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb” Hated Carl Sagan reports Ross Pomeroy for RealClearScience – “It was a disdain that burned late into the life of the legendary physicist, even after Sagan tragically died in 1996 at the tender age of 62 from complications related to bone marrow cancer.”
How did life originate on earth? Cambridge academics set out to answer the biggest question of all, reports Kaya Burgess for the Times of London. A ten-year, £10million project will bring together scientists and philosophers in a mission to uncover the origins of organisms here and across the cosmos.
One Second After the Big Bang – Did a Violent Phase Transition in the Dark Universe Create Supermassive Black Holes? Reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. Such a phase transition would be a dramatic event even for something as spectacular as the universe.
Deep curiosity inspires the Joy of Why Podcast reports Quanta.com Renowned mathematician and author Steven Strogatz explains how Conversations with Experts in his new Quanta Magazine podcast addresses his lifelong fascination with timeless mysteries. “The Joy of x, which included interviews with leading scientists and mathematicians. This time, however, we are focusing on their ideas and discoveries rather than their personal journeys.”
NASA’s giant moon rocket reaches the launch pad for the first timereports Kenneth Chang for the New York Times. NASA rolled the giant Space Launch System rocket out of an assembly building to begin testing ahead of its trip to the moon later this year.
Time to take a long, hard look at humanity’s future in the cosmos, reports New Scientist. “Look at the past half-century of cosmology, as British astronomer Royal Martin Rees does in our interview, and it’s clear just how far we’ve come. Many researchers like Rees are drawn to questions about the future of humanity. The discovery of thousands of exoplanets orbiting other stars, and the realization that even icy moons in the outer Solar System could harbor warm and humid environments, reinforces the belief that if life exists on a tiny blue dot, it might exist elsewhere as well .
Doubly shaded lunar craters could be the coldest place in the solar system -The moon has deep craters that are angled so that even reflected sunlight does not touch some areas, making them ideal places for water ice to accumulate.”
China’s first moon rock ignites research bonanza -The samples collected by Chang’e-5 provide exciting insights into the moon’s evolution, reports Scientific American.
Mysterious signal from our galaxy could be one of the rarest known objects reports ScienceAlert – “According to an article by astrophysicist Jonathan Katz of Washington University in St. Louis, uploaded to preprint server arXiv and awaiting peer review, the signal named GLEAM-X J162759.5− 523504.3 a white dwarf its radio pulsar.”
Scientists create RNA that evolves by itself. This is how life on earth could have started, reports ScienceAlert. We’ve just received more evidence that life on Earth may have started with RNA, with scientists in Japan creating RNA that can self-replicate, diversify and develop complexity.
A giant beam of antimatter was caught by this runaway pulsar – A runaway dead star hurtling through space at breakneck speed has left a huge trail of matter and antimatter particles in its wake, reports Science Alert. “The star is a pulsar called PSR J2030+4415, or J2030 for short; It’s about 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter and hurtling through space at a breakneck speed of about 450 kilometers per second (about a million miles per hour).”
A small asteroid hits Earth just hours after astronomers spotted it – A space rock that exploded in the atmosphere near Iceland became only the fifth asteroid observed before impacting Earth, New Scientist reports. “The very rapid dissemination of information from the discoverers allowed other astronomers to make more observations from different vantage points with enough lead time to calculate an accurate orbit and its intersection with Earth,” says Mark Boslough, asteroid impact specialist at the University of New Mexico .
Exoplanets Are Hot Right Now – Will Dark Matter Make Them Hotter? asks Astrobites. “The authors show that we can use exoplanets – planets beyond the solar system – to study the mysterious ‘halo’ that holds our galaxy together and is made up of invisible particles called dark matter.”
Does quantum mechanics rule out free will? asks John Horgan for Scientific American. Superdeterminism, a radical quantum hypothesis, says that our “choices” are illusory
The US Space Force prepares for the militarization of space, reports the Washington Post. “Control of the high ground has always been critical to military strategy. Mankind’s ability to launch hundreds of objects into Earth orbit and even into lunar orbit extends this geographic fact. Just as anyone who controls the air can control the ground, anyone who controls space can control the air – and therefore the globe.”
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