Scientists first observed the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) in the 1960s, thanks to the efforts of the Mariner spacecraft . This massive deposit of soft, sedimentary rock extends for roughly 1,000 km (621 mi) along the equator and consists of undulating hills, abrupt mesas, and curious ridges (aka. yardangs) that appear to be the result of wind erosion
The Fermi Paradox remains a stumbling block when it comes to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). Named in honor of the famed physicist Enrico Fermi who first proposed it, this paradox addresses the apparent disparity between the expected probability that intelligent life is plentiful in the Universe, and the apparent lack of evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI). In the decades since Enrico Fermi first posed the question that encapsulates this paradox (“Where is everybody?”), scientists have attempted to explain this disparity one way or another.
During the 1930s, astronomers came to realize that the Universe was in a state of expansion. By the 1990s, it became learned that the rate of expansion was accelerating, giving rise to the theory of “Dark Energy”. Because of this, in the next 100 billion years, all stars within the Local Group – the part of the Universe that includes a total of 54 galaxies, including the Milky Way – will expand beyond the cosmic horizon
Hosts: Fraser Cain ( universetoday.com / @fcain ) Dr. Paul M
Billions of years ago, Earth’s atmosphere was much different than it is today. Whereas our current atmosphere is a delicate balance of nitrogen gas, oxygen and trace gases, the primordial atmosphere was the result of volcanic outgassing – composed primarily of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, and other harsh chemicals
In March of 2015, NASA’s Dawn mission became the first spacecraft to visit the protoplanet Ceres, the largest body in the Main Asteroid Belt. It was also the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet, having arrived a few months before the New Horizons mission made its historic flyby of Pluto.
In 2006, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) established orbit around the Red Planet. Using an advanced suite of scientific instruments – which include cameras, spectrometers, and radar – this spacecraft has been analyzing landforms, geology, minerals and ice on Mars for years and assisting with other missions. While the mission was only meant to last two years, the orbiter has remained in operation for the past twelve.
Shortly after Einstein published his Theory of General Relativity in 1915, physicists began to speculate about the existence of black holes. These regions of space-time from which nothing (not even light) can escape are what naturally occur at the end of most massive stars’ life cycle. While black holes are generally thought to be voracious eaters, some physicists have wondered if they could also support planetary systems of their own.
Humanity has long dreamed about sending humans to other planets, even before crewed spaceflight became a reality.
When it comes to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) in the Universe, there is the complicated matter of what to be on the lookout for. Beyond the age-old question of whether or not intelligent life exists elsewhere in the Universe (statistically speaking, it is very likely that it does), there’s also the question of whether or not we would be able to recognize it if and when we saw it.
The Hubble Space Telescope has been in space for 28 years, producing some of the most beautiful and scientifically important images of the cosmos that humanity has ever taken. But let’s face it, Hubble is getting old, and it probably won’t be with us for too much longer
Hosts: Fraser Cain ( universetoday.com / @fcain ) Dr. Paul M
NASA’s Opportunity mission can rightly be called the rover that just wouldn’t quit. Originally, this robotic rover was only meant to operate on Mars for 90 Martian days (or sols), which works out to a little over 90 Earth days
It Might Not be Planet 9 Causing Disruptions in the Kuiper Belt, Just the Collective Gravity of Everything Out There
In January of 2016 , astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin published the first evidence that there might be another planet in our Solar System.
Time for another update, this time we’re going to look at what’s new with supernovae. And once again, we’ve got good news, lots of new stuff to report.
In the 1950s, famed physicist Enrico Fermi posed the question that encapsulated one of the toughest questions in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI): “Where the heck is everybody?” What he meant was, given the age of the Universe (13.8 billion years), the sheer number of galaxies (between 1 and 2 trillion), and the overall number of planets, why has humanity still not found evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence? This question, which has come to be known as the “Fermi Paradox”, is something scientists continue to ponder. In a new study , a team from the University of Rochester considered that perhaps Climate Change is the reason
This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Allen Versfeld at his Urban Astronomer blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #565
During the 1970s, astronomer became aware of a massive radio source at the center of our galaxy that they later realized was a Supermassive Black Hole (SMBH) – which has since been named Sagittarius A* . And in a recent survey conducted by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory , astronomers discovered evidence for hundreds or even thousands of black holes located in the same vicinity of the Milky Way
Ever since Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012, the rover has made numerous groundbreaking discoveries about the Red Planet. These include confirming how Mars once had flowing water and lakes on its surface , evidence of how it lost its ancient atmosphere , and the discovery of methane and organic molecules . All of these discoveries have bolstered the theory that Mars may have once supported life.
Chandra Observatory Checks to Make Sure Alpha Centauri is Safe, You Know, in Case We Decide to Visit
At distance of just 4.367 light years, the triple star system of Alpha Centauri (Alpha Centauri A+B and Proxima Centauri) is the closest star system to our own. In 2016 , researchers from the European Southern Observatory announced the discovery of Proxima b, a rocky planet located within the star’s habitable zone and the closest exoplanet to our Solar System