Astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to make the most precise measurements of the expansion rate of the universe since it was first calculated nearly a century ago. Intriguingly, the results are forcing astronomers to consider that they may be seeing evidence of something unexpected at work in the universe.
It’s been a time of milestones for Mars rovers lately! Last month (on January 26th, 2018), NASA announced that the Curiosity rover had spent a total of 2,000 days on Mars, which works out to 5 years, 5 months and 21 days. This was especially impressive considering that the rover was only intended to function on the Martian surface for 687 days (a little under two years).
When we finally find life somewhere out there beyond Earth, it’ll be at the end of a long search. Life probably won’t announce its presence to us, we’ll have to follow a long chain of clues to find it. Like scientists keep telling us, at the start of that chain of clues is water.
Finding past or present microbial life on Mars would without doubt be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. And in just two years’ time, there’s a big opportunity to do so, with two rovers launching there to look for signs of life – Mars2020 by NASA and ExoMars by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos.
It has been theorized that a world could be habitable even if doesn't orbit a star. After the expulsion of moons from solar systems, moons and planets could be close enough to create tidal heating, potentially making a rogue moon habitable.
Researchers mimicked the conditions of space to test if the building blocks of life could be formed. The results showed that organic molecules could originate from space radiation interacting with icy surfaces.
The planet Proxima b, which is in our closest neighboring star system, has given the space exploration project "Breakthrough Starshot" a reachable target. We don't know if Starshot will reveal a habitable planet for humans, but it will definitely require us to master our own solar system.
People rarely enjoy meeting a jellyfish. On the beach they appear limp, amorphous, and blistered in the sun. In the water it’s often a brush of a tentacle on exposed skin followed by a sting. They hardly evoke the serene elegance of a turtle or the majesty of a breaching humpback whale. But despite making a poor first impression, jellyfish are among the most unusual animals on Earth and deserve a second chance to introduce themselves.
The search for extra-solar planets has turned up some very interesting discoveries. Aside planets that are more-massive versions of their Solar counterparts (aka. Super-Jupiters and Super-Earths), there have been plenty of planets that straddle the line between classifications. And then there were times when follow-up observations have led to the discovery of multiple planetary systems.
We have accomplished a lot in our (relatively) short time on Earth. We’ve sent humans to the Moon and to live in space, developed massive and sophisticated telescopes to see the farthest reaches of the cosmos, and even rocketed rovers to Mars and probes to the edge of our solar system. However, a number of organizations have taken humanity’s voyage into the final frontier a step farther. NASA, the European Space Agency, and the research collective behind the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have been working tirelessly to find out if we are alone, once and for all.
In the hunt for extra-terrestrial life, scientists tend to take what is known as the “low-hanging fruit approach”. This consists of looking for conditions similar to what we experience here on Earth, which include at oxygen, organic molecules, and plenty of liquid water. Interestingly enough, some of the places where these ingredients are present in abundance include the interiors of icy moons like Europa, Ganymede, Enceladus and Titan.
Through a remarkable experiment, an international team of scientists has found that it is possible to reverse the arrow of time without violating the second law of thermodynamics. Their research confirms that we still have much to learn about the world around us.
SENS Research Foundation co-founder Aubrey de Grey believes in a world in which we no longer age. At a London event, he explained that he believes the first person who will live to be 1,000 has already been born, and we'll solve this "aging problem" within 20 years.
In the past decade, the rate at which extra-solar planets have been discovered and characterized has increased prodigiously. Because of this, the question of when we might explore these distant planets directly has repeatedly come up. In addition, the age-old question of what we might find once we get there – i.e. is humanity alone in the Universe or not? – has also come up with renewed vigor.
A team of scientists from South Korea has created a chemical that can prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. Known as PTD-DMB, the substance has been shown to work on mice, and it is now being tested for toxicity before human trials are considered.
William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, shared his thoughts on digital currencies at multiple speaking engagements the week of November 27. The biggest takeaway is that the Fed is considering creating their own digital currency at some point in the future.
Parents and teachers are painfully aware that it’s nearly impossible to get a teenager to focus on what you think is important. Even offering them a bribe or issuing a stern warning will typically fail. There may be many reasons for that, including the teenager’s developing sense of independence and social pressure from friends.
As part of the deepest spectroscopic survey ever conducted, researchers have discovered 72 never-before-seen galaxies. These galaxies could be home to trillions of planets, any of which could potentially host alien life.
Sight loss affects around two million people in the UK, a number that is likely to increase to four million by 2050. Losing sight can of course change many areas of a person’s life – even seemingly insignificant things like being able to watch a good film or a new programme on television. A recent survey of over 100 visually impaired people found that 34% hadn’t attended the cinema in the last 12 months. For sighted people this figure was found to be much lower at only six per cent.
It came from outer space … and went back there two weeks later, having astonished and excited astronomers and planetary scientists. A cigar-shaped object, less than half a kilometre long and barely bright enough to be detected by the world’s most powerful telescopes, payed us a flying visit in October this year – reminding us that the heavens still hold plenty of surprises.
Some have suggested solar geoengineering — the injection of aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from the planet — as a way to counter global warming. However, new research suggests the radical process could do as much harm as good.
We recently bade farewell to the Cassini spacecraft, which after 13 years of faithfully orbiting Saturn and its moons was directed to plunge into the giant planet’s atmosphere. The reason for the “grand finale” was to guard against the possibility that Cassini might crash into one of Saturn’s moons – in particular Enceladus.
In this new space age, we are reaching far beyond the Moon and space travel and considering colonizing other planets. Stephen Hawking has expressed just how dire this need to move away from Earth may be.
Observations of both gravitational waves and light originating from merging neutron stars suggest that the speed of gravity is practically the speed of light. This confirms the theory of general relativity and gives us greater insight into the cosmos.
Newly discovered exoplanets lie within the habitable zone - a physical distance from a host star that supports the existence of liquid water and, potentially, life. Further data confirms these 20 exoplanets might be the most promising yet.