But, Seriously, Where Are the Aliens?

BETTMANN / GETTY Humanity may be as few as 10 years away from discovering evidence of extraterrestrial life. Once we do, it will only deepen the mystery of where alien intelligence might be hiding. by DEREK THOMPSON Enrico Fermi was an architect of the atomic bomb, a father of radioactivity research, and a Nobel Prize–winning scientist who contributed to breakthroughs in quantum mechanics and theoretical physics. But in the popular imagination, his name is most commonly associated with one simple, three-word question, originally meant as a throwaway joke to amuse a group of scientists discussing UFOs at the Los Alamos … Continue reading But, Seriously, Where Are the Aliens?

What if ET is an AI?

The Little Sombrero galaxy NGC 7814.Photo courtesy ESA/Hubble & NASA After centuries searching for extraterrestrial life, we might find that first contact is not with organic creatures at all by Caleb Scharf is director of astrobiology at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology (2009), which won the Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award. His latest book is The Zoomable Universe: An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing (2017). by Edited by Pam Weintraub We have a problem. In a 10-billion-year-old galaxy there should have been ample opportunity for at least one species to escape its … Continue reading What if ET is an AI?

How Do Aliens Solve Climate Change?

NASA / Ames / JPL-Caltech by ADAM FRANK Scientists recently modeled a range of interactions between energy-intensive civilizations and their planets. The results were sobering. The universe does many things. It makes galaxies, comets, black holes, neutron stars, and a whole mess more. We’ve lately discovered that it makes a great deal of planets, but it’s not clear whether it regularly makes energy-hungry civilizations, nor is it clear whether such civilizations inevitably drive their planets into climate change. There’s lots of hope riding on our talk about building a sustainable civilization on Earth. But how do we know that’s even … Continue reading How Do Aliens Solve Climate Change?

Asteroid To Pass Between Earth and Moon On Friday

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) By Jake Parks | February 7, 2018  On February 4, astronomers using the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) detected two asteroids with orbits that take them between Earth and the moon this week. Fortunately, neither object’s trajectory presents a threat to Earth. In fact, the week’s first visiting asteroid — dubbed asteroid 2018 CC — has already completed its closest approach to Earth. The small rocky body zoomed by our planet on Tuesday, February 6, at 3:10 p.m. EST, just 35 minutes before SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket. Asteroid 2018 CC, which is estimated to be between 50 and 100 … Continue reading Asteroid To Pass Between Earth and Moon On Friday

Surprise — Our Solar System’s Not Like The Others

Credit: NASA Our solar system: the Sun; inner planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars; outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Bill Retherford , CONTRIBUTOR Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Check out the architecture of our solar system. Little planets close to the star, big planets far away. Scientists once supposed the other star systems in the Milky Way would look about the same. “That’s what we used to think,” says Andrea Ghez, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. But researchers discovered otherwise after finding the first few hundred or so exoplanets. “None of them conformed,” says Ghez. “It was … Continue reading Surprise — Our Solar System’s Not Like The Others

New Study Links Human Consciousness to a Law That Governs the Universe

image edied by Fernando Kaskais by Chelsea Gohd   NICHD Human Entropy Our species has long agonized over the concept of human consciousness. What exactly causes it, and why did we evolve to experience consciousness? Now, a new study has uncovered a clue in the hunt for answers, and it reveals that the human brain might have more in common with the universe than we could have imagined. According to a team of researchers from France and Canada, our brains might produce consciousness as something of a side effect of increasing entropy, a process that has been taking place throughout the universe … Continue reading New Study Links Human Consciousness to a Law That Governs the Universe

What was it like witnessing the beginning of the universe?

What would it have been like to witness the beginning of the universe? NASA New research has investigated the amount of light available in the newborn universe, which may offer some clues. By Thomas Kitching Something wonderful happened about 13.8 billion years ago. Everything in the universe was created in an instant as an infinitesimally small point of energy: the Big Bang. We know that this event happened, as the universe is constantly expanding and galaxies are moving away from us. The more we peer into the past, the smaller it gets – that’s how we know it must have once been … Continue reading What was it like witnessing the beginning of the universe?