They are having WAY more fun there than we are having in our solar system.
Source: Laughing Squid
Atoms As Big As Mountains – Neutron Stars Explained
Neutron Stars are some of the most strange things in the Universe. Not quite massive enough to become black holes they are basically atoms as big as mountains with properties so extreme that it is mind-blowing. And if you get too close to a neutron star you are in big trouble…
Neutron stars are dense. Really dense. So dense that a cubic centimeter of neutron star has the same mass as a skyscraper-sized cube of iron. Learn about these miniature massives in this great new video from Kurzgesagt
Radio and television broadcasting may be only a brief passing phase in our technological development. When we imagine alien civilizations broadcasting signals with radio telescopes, are we any different from earlier generations who imagined riding cannon shells to the moon? Civilizations even slightly more advanced than ours may have already moved on to some other mode of communication, one that we have yet to discover or even imagine. Their messages could be swirling all around us at this very moment, but we lack the means to perceive them just as all of our ancestors, up to a little more than a century ago, would have been oblivious to the most urgent radio signal from another world.
But there’s another more troubling possibility: Civilizations, like other living things, may only live so long before perishing due to natural causes, or violence, or self-inflicted wounds. Whether or not we ever make contact with intelligent alien life may depend on a critical question: What is the life expectancy of a civilization?
- Episode 11: The Immortals, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Everything you need to know about this book can be found in this wonderfully thorough review by Astrobiology Magazine from 2003.
I plan on doing a full writeup/review about this book; however, I can tell you it’s one of the best Carl’s ever written and is still heavily referenced by scientists across multiple fields regarding the search for extraterrestrial life, be it intelligent or otherwise. A review on the book and the study of astrobiology itself can be via a PDF by Charley Lineweaver of the Planetary Science Institute at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Research School of Earth Sciences.
The most fascinating aspect of this book is that it was originally written by I.S. Shklovskii in Russian, re-translated into English, whereby Carl adds his scientific “two-cents”, expanding on subjects and explaining further in a way only Carl, himself, can. For instance, the last paragraph in Chapter 31: Interstellar contact by automatic probe vehicles:“At this point in the Russian edition of the present work, Shklovskii expresses his belief that civilizations are not inevitably doomed to self-destruction, despite his description of contemporary Western literature as filled with details of atomic holocaust. He expresses his belief that as long as capitalism exists on Earth, a violent end to intelligent life on the planet is probable. There is reason to assume, he asserts, that future peaceful societies will be constructed on the basis of Communism. I am able to imagine alternative scenarios for the future. No one today lives in a society which closely resembles Adam Smith capitalism or Karl Marx communism. The political dichotomies of the twentieth century may seem to our remote descendants no more exhaustive of the range of possibilities for the entire future of mankind than do, for us, the alternatives of the European religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As Shklovskii says, the forces of peace in the world are great. Mankind is not likely to destroy itself. There is too much left to do.”
SETI Scientist Jill Tarter provided a beautiful TED Talk about this subject, and in this interview with NOVA, she speaks on being the inspiration for Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s book/film ‘Contact’ whereby Jodie Foster portrays Dr. Tarter.
Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer for SETI, presented an enriching TED Talk about why he’s convinced we’re closer than ever in detecting, contacting, or receiving signals from ETI; and recently, had a Q&A conversation with Science 2.0 appropriately titled “Why I Believe We’ll Find Aliens.”
What ancient stories do fossil meteorites hold? Find out in this new video from The Brain Scoop, featuring some exceedingly rare extraterrestrial rocks and a very expensive science machine.
Until today I never knew that meteorites could fossilize. I knew that they could be mistaken for loaves of bread by Russian farmers and eaten, diamonds and all, but fossilized? That’s news to me. Thanks Emily!
Sun of a Million Earths
The sun is big. Really big. Big enough to hold about a million Earths, by volume.
But our brains aren’t good with visualizing big numbers. So what does a million Earths look like?
Thanks to Chris Jones and his visualization at Space Facts, you can find out. Check it out. Prepare to scroll!
Can you survive in space without a spacesuit?
You know the answer to the question “what happens in space if you aren’t wearing a spacesuit” is going to be “very bad things”, but just what those bad things are is the interesting part.
Also, hi Eric!
(that’s my friend Eric in the video)
A Typographical History of NASA
Data artists and visualization researchers at the Office for Creative Research dug through 11,000 pages of NASA history reports, containing nearly 5 million words, to assemble this typographical timeline of the U.S. space program.
The vertical waves represent the total NASA and percent of national budgets (which is why it begins to shrink toward the right side of the page). The most important words and phrases from each year are listed in lieu of traditional milestones, giving us a unique perspective on the key events that led us up up and away.
Tour the full-size, interactive visualization of NASA’s history here, it’s really something (and it’s also way too big for me to show you on my blog)
(via Popular Science)
NEW VIDEO! As massive magnetic fusion reactors go, the sun is pretty awesome. This week’s video features all the violence and beauty that erupt from that big bright thing at the center of our solar system.
We’ve got sunspots, coronal loops, solar flares, coronal mass ejections! Even an aurora or two!
And thanks to the fine people of NASA and their fancy satellites, this one is dripping with #spaceporn. Watch below:
Forty-five years ago today, two human beings first set foot on the moon. On July 20, 1969, the lunar module of Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, and forever changed how we view our place in the universe. When I think about the fact that four and a half decades ago, at the very moment I am writing this, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the freakin’ moon, I am humbled and inspired.
I’ve combined some of my favorite photos from Apollo 11 with some of the actual words spoken by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
If you’d like to relive the historic mission moment by moment, word by word, and photo by photo, head over to SpaceLog
I'm Joe Hanson, a Ph.D. biologist and science writer based in Austin, TX. I'm the creator/host/writer of PBS Digital Studios' It's Okay To Be Smart. Subscribe on YouTube by clicking below:
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