Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagEvan Gough

Amazing Exoplanets

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life 19

One current focus for exoplanet research is on the way life is known to alters its environment in order to remain in existence — the Gaian Habitable Zone

In our universe: “Billions of celestial objects revealed in gargantuan survey of the Milky Way”: “The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial objects—arguably the largest such catalog so far”: “Most of the stars and dust in the Milky Way are located in its disk—the bright band stretching across this image—in which the spiral arms lie. While this profusion of stars and dust makes for beautiful images, it also makes the Galactic plane challenging to observe. The dark tendrils of dust seen threading through this image absorb starlight and blot out fainter stars entirely, and the light from diffuse nebulae interferes with any attempts to measure the brightness of individual objects. Another challenge arises from the sheer number of Read More ›

Exoplanets or Extrasolar planets with stars on background nebula, 3D illustration

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life 18

We are starting to find more different kinds of exoplanets and an unexpected source of water on Mars

In our universe: Time travel? “How a Rotating Universe Makes Time Travel Possible” At Universe Today, Stony Brook astrophysicist Paul Sutter notes that mathematical philosopher Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) wrote a model for Albert Einstein (1879–1955) of a universe that allows time travel into the past: “Gödel constructed a relatively simple and artificial model universe to prove his point. This universe is rotating and contains only one ingredient. That ingredient is a negative cosmological constant that resists the centrifugal force of the rotation to keep the universe static. / Gödel found that if you follow a particular path in this rotating universe you can end up in your own past. ” (January 11, 2023) Our universe, as it happens, is not Read More ›

Deep Space

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life 16

The Webb wraps up a year of solid achievements, including the first direct image of an exoplanet

In our universe: Most distant galaxies observed in 2022: “Webb was made to observe the most distant galaxies in the universe, and in mid-December, scientists confirmed that they had done just that. The telescope has officially observed the four most distant galaxies known, which also means they are the oldest. Webb observed the galaxies as they appeared about 13.4 billion years ago, when the universe was only 350 million years old, about 2% of its current age.” – Rebecca Sohn, Space.com, December 29, 2022 Meanwhile, a much bigger telescope array, the multinational SKAO project, is under construction: Composed of respectively hundreds of dishes and thousands of antennas, the SKAO’s telescopes will be the two most advanced radio telescopes on Earth. Read More ›

Planets and exoplanets of unexplored galaxies. Sci-Fi. New worlds to discover. Colonization and exploration of nebulae and galaxies

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life 15

Recent news features Earth-like planets and water worlds — and how comet impacts may be providing Europa’s oceans with material

In our universe: Here are the James Webb Space Telescope’s best images from a spectacular year first year (it launched December 25, 2021). Could there be such a thing as “dark light?” Science writer Tibi Puiu tells us at ZME Science that some physicists think that the mysterious dark matter of the universe is made out of dark photons: “A new study found that hypothetical particles called dark photons can explain discrepencies in the ‘cosmic web’.” (December 14, 2022) “First introduced in 1986 by physicist Bob Holdom, dark photons, also known as ‘heavy photons’ or ‘hidden photons’, are supposed to be gauge bosons for dark matter. Dark photons and regular photons are expected to mix, such that the dark photons Read More ›

exoplanet viewed from the rocky surface of its moon, elements of this image furnished by NASA.

News From the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 10

In our universe, it seems, we don’t get down to the Really Simple Stuff. We just get down to smaller but still very complex stuff

Around our universe: Here are the Pillars of Creation, a star workshop 6500 light years away in the Eagle Nebula, as seen recently by the James Webb Space Telescope: The millions of stars seen by Hubble in globular cluster Terzan 4 are also worth a look: While we are here: The humble proton, one of the building blocks of our universe, is “the most complicated thing” imaginable, according to Quanta: The proton is a quantum mechanical object that exists as a haze of probabilities until an experiment forces it to take a concrete form. And its forms differ drastically depending on how researchers set up their experiment. Connecting the particle’s many faces has been the work of generations. “We’re kind Read More ›

Planets and exoplanets of unexplored galaxies. Sci-Fi. New worlds to discover. Colonization and exploration of nebulae and galaxies

News From the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 9

NASA is readying a set of eight instruments for the Ocean Worlds Life Surveyor to search for life on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus

In our universe The universe (as much of we know of it) has now been mapped: With 56,000 galaxies, there wold be, in principle, many places to look for life: “Galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are the building blocks of the universe, each comprised of up to several hundred billion stars.” – Phys.org A big barrier to exploration is, of course, the speed of light; most galaxies are many light years away and nothing moves faster than light. Incidentally, a group of astronomers recently claimed to have detected matter exceeding the speed of light. We asked theoretical physicist Rob Sheldon about that and he replied, “No, it isn’t going faster than the speed of light. Most superluminal objects are Read More ›