image edited by F. Kaskais The cosmological constant and the creation of the universe. BY THANU PADMANABHAN There are two tantalizing mysteries about our universe, one dealing with its final fate and the other with its beginning, that have intrigued cosmologists for decades. The community has always believed these to be independent problems—but what if they are not? The first problem has to do with the existence of something called “dark energy,” which is today accelerating the expansion of the universe and will determine its final fate. Theorists tell us that the effects of dark energy can be explained by … Continue reading The Universe Began With a Big Melt, Not a Big Bang
Image Credit: NASA MSFC IN BRIEF New research on samples from the Apollo missions shows that our Moon had an atmosphere 3 to 4 billion years ago. The research suggests that there may already be a source of ice on the Moon that astronauts and colonists can use. TO THE MOON New research shows that our Moon once had an atmosphere 3 to 4 billion years ago. It formed when volcanic eruptions rocked the ancient satellite, propelling gases above its surface too rapidly for them to seep into space. The surface of the Moon is peppered with impact basins filled with … Continue reading It Turns Out That Our Moon Once Had an Atmosphere
image edited by F. Kaskais Maybe we don’t have to speculate about what life is like inside a bubble. It might be the only cosmic reality we know J Richard Gott is professor emeritus of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University and co-author of Welcome to the Universe (2016), with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michael Strauss. My history with bubble universes began in 1968 when I met Robert Kirshner while we were both undergraduates at Harvard in Massachusetts. He was a lively, funny, interesting fellow. We met up again a few years later, when he was a graduate student at Caltech in California and … Continue reading Universe in a bubble
ILLUSTRATION BY JACKIE FERRENTINO These are the few limits on our ability to know. BY LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS As a cosmologist, some of the questions I hear most frequently after a lecture include: What lies beyond our universe? What is our universe expanding into? Will our universe expand forever? These are natural questions to ask. But there is an even deeper question at play here. Fundamentally what we really want to know is: Is there a boundary to our knowledge? Are there fundamental limits to science? The answer, of course, is that we don’t know in advance. We won’t know … Continue reading How Much More Can We Learn About the Universe?
ILLUSTRATIONS BY TSJISSE TALSMA The search for the elusive material is reaching the end of its tether. BY JOSEPH SILK Dark matter is as tangible as stars and planets to most astronomers. We routinely map it out. We conceive of galaxies as lumps of dark matter with dabs of luminous material. We understand the formation of cosmic structure, as well as the evolution of the universe as a whole, in terms of dark matter. Yet a decade of sophisticated searches has failed to detect the material directly. We see the shadow it casts, but are completely unaware of what the dark … Continue reading Will We Ever Know What Dark Matter Is?
by Christina Sarich, Staff Writer Waking Times NASA says they’ve done the math, and they’ve recently introduced a new zodiac sign. They’ve thrown ages-old astrology charts totally out of whack with the announcement of Ophiuchus. What used to be utilized by die-hard astrology enthusiasts to plot and plan their lives could now be thought of as heresy. If ever the New Age advice to “check the stars” before taking action, were counterbalanced with scientific reason, which supposes heavenly bodies have no impact on our lives whatsoever, we’d see we are at odds – these seemingly disparate entities have now entered a new territory of antipathy, or have … Continue reading NASA ‘DOES THE MATH’ AND INTRODUCES 13TH ZODIAC SIGN
CONSTRAINED: The height of redwood trees, like these Giant sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park, California, is set by the balance between gravity on the one hand, and transpiration, water adhesion, and surface tension in the plant xylem on the other.lucky-photographer/iStock Why life is constrained to be about the sizes we see on Earth. BY GREGORY LAUGHLIN The size of things in our universe runs all the way from the tiny 10-19 meter scale that characterizes quark interactions, to the cosmic horizon 1026 meters away. In these 45 possible orders of magnitude, life, as far as we know it, is confined to a … Continue reading Can a Living Creature Be as Big as a Galaxy?