Was Einstein wrong? Why some astrophysicists are questioning the theory of space-time

By Colin Stuart To better understand the universe, we may need to kill off one of the most important theories of all time. Do we have to kill off the theory of space and time to make sense of the universe? (Image credit: Tobias Roetsch) As in history, revolutions are the lifeblood of science. Bubbling undercurrents of disquiet boil over until a new regime emerges to seize power. Then everyone’s attention turns to toppling their new ruler. The king is dead, long live the king. This has happened many times in the history of physics and astronomy. First, we thought Earth was … Continue reading Was Einstein wrong? Why some astrophysicists are questioning the theory of space-time

Should We Terraform Mars? Let’s Recap

Elon Musk wants to engineer Mars’ atmosphere. Can he? BY BRIAN GALLAGHER It seemed inevitable that Elon Musk would eventually get into a Twitter war over whether Mars can be terraformed. When you’re on Twitter, he told Businessweek in July, 2018, you’re “in meme war land.” “And so essentially if you attack me,” he said, “it is therefore okay for me to attack back.” Musk, the CEO and lead designer of SpaceX, wants to “make life multiplanetary,” starting with Mars. “Public support for life on Mars is critical to making it happen,” he tweeted last week. The red planet is relatively close to … Continue reading Should We Terraform Mars? Let’s Recap

A Zoologist Imagines What Alien Life Might Look Like

In “The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Arik Kershenbaum speculates about the universal lessons of evolution on Earth. BY EMILY CATANEO ANIMALS AS VARIED as sharks, salamanders, and duck-billed platypuses can detect electric fields around them, while some fish, including the South American knifefish and various species of African elephantfish, can actually generate unique, complex electric fields, which they use to communicate information about their social status, sex, and dominance position within their social group. These are the kinds of musings that can help us postulate about alien life, according to “The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About … Continue reading A Zoologist Imagines What Alien Life Might Look Like

Mars missions could leave astronauts with severe psychological damage — new study

by THE CONVERSATION  Human space missions to Mars are the next great leap in space exploration, with NASA targeting the 2030s as a reasonable time frame for taking the first humans there. But boarding on a journey to Mars is not like catching a flight to New York. Space is an extremely hostile environment for human life – from the lack of gravity and harmful radiation to isolation and the absence of night and day. Deep space missions to Mars will be much more physically and mentally demanding than the journeys we’ve made so far during 60 years of human space exploration. A flight … Continue reading Mars missions could leave astronauts with severe psychological damage — new study

Scientists Have Unlocked the Secrets of the Ancient ‘Antikythera Mechanism’

A digital model has revealed a complex planetarium on the ancient device’s face. “Unless it’s from outer space, we have to find a way in which the Greeks could have made it,” researchers say. By Becky Ferreira In the early 1900s, divers hunting for sponges off the coast of Antikythera, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, discovered a Roman-era shipwreck that contained an artifact destined to dramatically alter our understanding of the ancient world. Known as the Antikythera Mechanism, the object is a highly sophisticated astronomical calculator that dates back more than 2,000 years. Since its recovery from the shipwreck … Continue reading Scientists Have Unlocked the Secrets of the Ancient ‘Antikythera Mechanism’

New research indicates the whole universe could be a giant neural network

All the universe is a neural network, and all the humans merely nodes by Tristan Greene The core idea is deceptively simple: every observable phenomenon in the entire universe can be modeled by a neural network. And that means, by extension, the universe itself may be a neural network. Vitaly Vanchurin, a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, published an incredible paper last August entitled “The World as a Neural Network” on the arXiv pre-print server. It managed to slide past our notice until today when Futurism’s Victor Tangermann published an interview with Vanchurin discussing the paper. The big idea According … Continue reading New research indicates the whole universe could be a giant neural network

If Aliens Exist, Here’s How We’ll Find Them

Two esteemed astrophysicists peer into the future of space exploration. BY MARTIN REES & MARIO LIVIO Suppose aliens existed, and imagine that some of them had been watching our planet for its entire four and a half billion years. What would they have seen? Over most of that vast timespan, Earth’s appearance altered slowly and gradually. Continents drifted; ice cover waxed and waned; successive species emerged, evolved, with many of them becoming extinct. But in just a tiny sliver of Earth’s history—the last hundred centuries—the patterns of vegetation altered much faster than before. This signaled the start of agriculture—and later … Continue reading If Aliens Exist, Here’s How We’ll Find Them

‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’

The theoretical physicist Andrei Linde may have the world’s most expansive conception of what infinity looks like. by ALAN LIGHTMAN In Jorge Luis Borges’s story “The Book of Sand,” a mysterious Bible peddler knocks on the narrator’s door and offers to sell him a sacred book he came by in a small village in India. The book shows the wear of many hands. The stranger says that the illiterate peasant who gave it to him called it The Book of Sand, “because neither sand nor this book has a beginning or an end.” Opening the volume, the narrator finds that its … Continue reading ‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’

NASA will pay $500,000 for your innovative ideas about food production in space

Introducing the Deep Space Food Challenge. by KEVIN DICKINSON European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano handling food packages aboard the International Space Station.Credit: NASAA major hurdle for any human mission to Mars is how to feed astronauts during the extended spaceflight.NASA is currently crowdsourcing solutions through its Deep Space Food Challenge.The challenge is open to all U.S. citizens and ends July 30, 2021. NASA has big plans for the coming decades. The agency’s Artemis program has set its sights on returning to the Moon after an absence of nearly 50 years. Once there, the first woman and next man to walk the … Continue reading NASA will pay $500,000 for your innovative ideas about food production in space

Harvard’s Avi Loeb more sure than ever we were visited by alien spacecraft

The renowned scientist made waves claiming the interstellar object Oumuamua might be extraterrestrial. Now he’s doubling down. by Eric Mack Professor Avi Loeb has had a pioneering career in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. He’s authored hundreds of academic papers on topics like black holes and the early days of the universe, collaborated on projects with the legendary Stephen Hawking and helmed Harvard’s astronomy department for almost a decade, longer than anyone in the department’s history.  But despite an impressive resume that runs deep inside some of the world’s most revered institutions, Loeb has found himself at odds with the mainstream of science … Continue reading Harvard’s Avi Loeb more sure than ever we were visited by alien spacecraft