Even as late as 1991, we had no hard evidence of planets existing outside our solar system, known as “exoplanets”. Today, over 4000 exoplanets are known to exist. NASA has published an amazing video-map showing them in the Milky Way galaxy on the Astronomy Picture of the Day website.Continue reading NASA has published the map of 4,000 exoplanets
In 1964, Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev (born April 25, 1932) defined three levels of civilizations, based on the order of magnitude of power available to them (known as the Kardashev scale):Continue reading There is most probably no Kardashev Type III civilization in the Universe. Here’s why
What would convince you that aliens existed? The question came up recently at a conference on astrobiology, held at Stanford University in California. Several ideas were tossed around – unusual gases in a planet’s atmosphere, strange heat gradients on its surface. But none felt persuasive. Finally, one scientist offered the solution: a photograph. There was some laughter and a murmur of approval from the audience of researchers: yes, a photo of an alien would be convincing evidence, the holy grail of proof that we’re not alone.Continue reading Proof of life: how would we recognise an alien if we saw one?
In April 2018, the European Space Agency’s Gaia observatory released its second data catalog, which includes the distances to over 1.3 billion stars. In the video published by the American Museum of Natural History, museum’s astrophysicist Jackie Faherty breaks down why this information is so revolutionary and explains how this information is helping scientists and non-scientists alike understand the universe like never before.Continue reading Watch: The Milky Way as You’ve Never Seen It Before
From blob-like jellyfish to rock-like lichens, our planet teems with such diversity of life that it is difficult to recognise some organisms as even being alive. That complexity hints at the challenge of searching for life as we don’t know it – the alien biology that might have taken hold on other planets, where conditions could be unlike anything we’ve seen before. ‘The Universe is a really big place. Chances are, if we can imagine it, it’s probably out there on a planet somewhere,’ said Morgan Cable, an astrochemist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ‘The question is, will we be able to find it?’Continue reading To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it
Back in December 1990, during its flyby of Earth, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies, pointed its instruments towards Earth, at the urging of Carl Sagan. And, it has found evidence of life on our planet. This can be a key to detect vegetation on exoplanets – which is a key to a possible i
In a paper published on Nature, researchers wrote “The Galileo spacecraft found evidence of abundant gaseous oxygen, a widely distributed surface pigment with a sharp absorption edge in the red part of the visible spectrum, and atmospheric methane in extreme thermodynamic disequilibrium. Together, these are strongly suggestive of life on Earth.”Continue reading Earth can be a model for detecting vegetation on exoplanets
There are a lot of misconceptions about space. Science-fiction movies bad in science and tabloid papers greatly contribute to these myths and misconceptions. Here are the top 21 of them, we need to stop believing.Continue reading Top 21 Common Misconceptions about Space
What would it be like to stand on the surface of another planet? “We The Curious” channel has teamed up with a group of astrophysicists to create a scientifically accurate virtual reality tour of six planets discovered outside our solar system. The fruit of this collaboration is the video below, in 4K Ultra-HD and 360-degree. Narrated and produced by Ross Exton.
Related: Exoplanet Travel Bureau by NASA
A new study published on April 26, 2018, suggests that TRAPPIST-1e, an exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, has a large iron core. This could mean that the planet TRAPPIST-1e may have a protective magnetosphere Notes 1 as we have here on Earth.Continue reading TRAPPIST-1e has an Iron Core
You can help NASA on some projects: for instance, citizen scientists helped NASA identify an aurora-related celestial phenomenon, now called STEVE. Want to become a citizen scientist? You can find projects on the