Where are the Aliens? Answering the Fermi Paradox

Calculations show the Universe should be teeming with life, yet we have not yet made contact with alien beings. These facts have led to the Fermi Paradox, which simply asks why we have not yet contacted life on other worlds. Some of the top researchers in the world gathered in Paris on March 18 to discuss possible answers to this paradox. One group, called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or METI, believes we may need to send information out to other worlds via radio telescopes, as a means of inviting communication.

Read More Where are the Aliens? Answering the Fermi Paradox
Advertisements

New Images of Mars from the ExoMars Orbiter Features Photo of InSight Lander Seen from Space

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has taken a wealth of new photographs of the Martian surface, including one showing the InSight lander, which recently touched down on the Red Planet. The images show the great geological diversity of Mars, as well as dunes and evidence of dust devils on the planet. Researchers hope to utilize these photographs during planning for future robotic missions.

Read More New Images of Mars from the ExoMars Orbiter Features Photo of InSight Lander Seen from Space

Astronomers Spot 83 Super-massive Black Holes from Earliest Days of the Universe

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan reports finding 83 previously-unknown super-massive black holes from the early Universe. These objects, seen in the form of powerful quasars, are observed as they appeared 13 billion years ago, just as the first stars, galaxies, and black holes were forming. Nearly every galaxy we see today is thought to have a super-massive black hole at its center, including our own Milky Way.

Read More Astronomers Spot 83 Super-massive Black Holes from Earliest Days of the Universe

Solar System Much Like Ours Found Forming Around Alien Star

Astronomers found a young solar system, looking much like our own did, billions of years in the past. Located 470 light years from Earth, the star DM Tau is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas, which show two rings where planets are forming, located at roughly the same distances as the asteroid belt and Neptune in our own solar system. The star, believed to be between three and five million years old, is seen in the constellation of Taurus the Bull.

Read More Solar System Much Like Ours Found Forming Around Alien Star

What a Dusty Solar System We Have! Here’s What Astronomers Found Hiding in the Mess

For several years, astronomers have known that rings of dust follow the planets Earth and Venus in their journeys around the Sun. Researchers have now found a similar ring of dust also accompanies Mercury in its orbit, much to the surprise of astronomers, who believed any system like this would be driven away by the Sun. Our own ring is produced by collisions between bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but computer simulations have shown the ring bonded with Venus is likely the result of a previously-unknown asteroid belt around the orbit of that planet.

Read More What a Dusty Solar System We Have! Here’s What Astronomers Found Hiding in the Mess

Massive Binary Stars Found Cuddling Together in Stellar Nursery

Astronomers at The University of Leeds have found a pair of massive binary stars orbiting closer to each other than any system ever seen before. The star PDS 27, once thought to be a single star, was found to be just one member of a binary pair. The two stars orbit each other at a distance roughly equal to that between the Sun and Neptune. Roughly one-third of all stars in our galaxy are in systems containing two or more stars.

Read More Massive Binary Stars Found Cuddling Together in Stellar Nursery

Water Seen Hopping Around the Surface of the Moon

The Moon was once thought to be a barren place, devoid of all water. But, in the last few years, several spacecraft have found water ice hidden within craters on our planetary companion. Now, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found evidence that molecules of water are bouncing around the lunar surface. As ice is heated in one area, it moves to another nearby place, where it falls into shadow, and freezes once more on the surface of the Moon. Water will be a vital resource as humans populate the Solar System, and the Moon may be the first stopping-off point on the way to the planets.

Read More Water Seen Hopping Around the Surface of the Moon

Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Measure the Mass of the Milky Way

The mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is a question that has long puzzled astronomers and astrophysicists. Estimates ranged from between 500 billion to three trillion times the mass of our Sun. A new study looked at globular clusters, groupings of a million or so stars surrounding the Milky Way. By measuring the velocity at which they circled our galaxy, as measured by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia Telescope, astronomers determined the Milky Way has a mass around one-and-a-half trillion times as great as our Sun.

Read More Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Measure the Mass of the Milky Way

Binary Stars May be Likely to Harbor Life, After All

Binary stars may be more likely to harbor life than once believed. Astronomers thought, until now, that life was unlikely to form in systems containing two or more stars. However, a new computer model developed by an undergraduate student of astronomy shows that as binary stars form in stellar nurseries, they are often passed by a third sun. Gravity from this passer-by can draw the two binary stars closer together, increasing the amount of area warm enough for liquid water to pool on planets. Water is necessary for life on Earth to exist, and planets with water are thought to be more likely to harbor life.

Read More Binary Stars May be Likely to Harbor Life, After All

Can Quantum Computing Unlock the Secrets of Black Holes?

Using a revolutionary new technology known as a quantum computer, researchers have developed an answer to one of the great questions in cosmology. Astrophysicists have long questioned whether information about a particle, such as its spin, is lost or retained after it crosses into the area near a black hole from which light can not escape – the event horizon. This new research shows that information like this gets lost, as it is mixed in with all the energy and matter within the event horizon of a black hole. Individual bits in ordinary digital computers can only be set as ones and zeros, while qubits utilize quantum states to store data. Once fully developed, quantum computers will be able to take problems that would take millions of years for today’s computers to solve, and answer them in days.

Read More Can Quantum Computing Unlock the Secrets of Black Holes?