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Karst

Exactly what it says on the tin- this thread is a place to post interesting news and facts about outer space!

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Spaghetti Cat

Space... You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.

 

But in all seriousness, there is probably a lot of amazing things out there that we just haven't discovered. Just think of all the amazing things on Earth and then times that by a few trillion or a bit more.

 

Also there's this short story that's quite good: https://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/thinkingMeat.html (spoilered below)

Spoiler

"They're made out of meat."

  "Meat?"

"Meat. They're made out of meat."

  "Meat?"

"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

  "That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

  "So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

  "That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

  "Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

  "Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

  "No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

  "So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

  "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

  "Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

  "So what does the meat have in mind."

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

  "We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

  "They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

  "I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

  "Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"

  "Both."

"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

  "I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

  "I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

  "So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

  "Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

  "A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can marked this sector unoccupied."

  "Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again."

  "They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

Do you think there is life out there?

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Georgi
9 minutes ago, Spookghetti Cat said:

Space... You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.

 

But in all seriousness, there is probably a lot of amazing things out there that we just haven't discovered. Just think of all the amazing things on Earth and then times that by a few trillion or a bit more.

 

Also there's this short story that's quite good: https://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/thinkingMeat.html (spoilered below)

  Hide contents

"They're made out of meat."

  "Meat?"

"Meat. They're made out of meat."

  "Meat?"

"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

  "That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

  "So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

  "That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

  "Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

  "Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

  "No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

  "So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

  "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

  "Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

  "So what does the meat have in mind."

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

  "We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

  "They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

  "I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

  "Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"

  "Both."

"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

  "I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

  "I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

  "So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

  "Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

  "A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can marked this sector unoccupied."

  "Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again."

  "They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

 

The story is hilarious and sad in the same time 😂😢

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fragglesinthedark

This isn't a space fact per se but it seems appropriate

 

 

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Purple Red Panda

Thinking about space does actually weird me out a bit on an existential level, the sheer mindcrushing vastness of it is impossible to comprehend. I get the same kind of sensations when I read popular science books about cosmology as I do when I read H P Lovecraft.

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lilsciencenerd

they just recently found a super reactive, rare carbon-based molecule on one of Jupiter's moons, so that's cool. 

 

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-just-found-a-really-bizarre-molecule-in-titan-s-atmosphere

 

also NASA posted some spooky space noises on twitter for halloween :)

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GingerRose

My dad has a Carl Sagan Christmas ornament...

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Georgi
4 minutes ago, lilsciencenerd said:

they just recently found a super reactive, rare carbon-based molecule on one of Jupiter's moons, so that's cool. 

 

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-just-found-a-really-bizarre-molecule-in-titan-s-atmosphere

This is soo cool! But sometimes I am afraid that if we manage to settle colonies in the space, our bio-chemistry would interact with the chemistry of those planets and impact them severely. On the one hand I am really curious to find more about it, but on the other hand I hope we will leave the cosmos to do its magic. And in the same time I think what if we are one of those cosmos' variables that impacts the way things develop?

Ok, I think I should stop as I have to read some papers for tomorrow, but I really want to share with someone the ideas of the planet nine and I think this is the right place (and the only place I can share for now 😅)

 

https://www.space.com/does-planet-nine-exist.html

 

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daveb
18 hours ago, Spookghetti Cat said:

Space... You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.

Also: The final frontier. :) 

 

18 hours ago, Spookghetti Cat said:

Do you think there is life out there?

I think it would be mind-boggling if there weren't. We might never find it though, given the vastness. Unless it is really common, which, given the wide variety of environments on earth it inhabits, might be the case. To borrow a quote from another film, "life finds a way". We might even find some extra-terrestrial life in our own solar system some day.

 

The vastness of space doesn't bother me at all. I think it's exciting. I'm not really concerned about our impact if we set up colonies on other worlds either as long as we try to make sure there isn't any life already there first.

 

Like the cat said, the vastness means there is so much potential for fascinating discoveries. I want to know what dark matter and dark energy actually are, for example. Not sure if we will know in my lifetime, but that's okay, too.

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Una Salus Victus

This'd be one of my favourite pics and quotes:

Carl Sagan Pale Blue Dot Quote. Space Print/Poster. image 0

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WhereTheSkiesEnd

Space X is launching a crew to the ISS on November 14th

 

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Quasar.w
14 hours ago, Spookghetti Cat said:

Do you think there is life out there?

Yes, it would be odd if there wasn't considering how many planets and galaxies exist. The only question is what form it has and if we'd ever be able to get in contact with it (which I doubt we will tbh). But some kind of microorganisms could indeed exist in our solar system.

 

I'll try to think about interesting things to share later

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Abigail Rose

If I could, I would volunteer to go into space. I wouldn't need much. Music, books, water and food. I would just go and go, into the unknown. There is a sort of peace that I feel, just thinking about that. 

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Quasar.w

Sooo...

One interesting fact or rather prediction I've learned about in spring is that there should be a "Neutrino background", similar to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) aka the imprint of the universe (or rather the density fluctuations observable via photons decoupling from baryons/atoms) when it was about 380'000 years old. This Neutrino background would however have been created earlier than the CMB so give information about the universe when it was even younger which is really cool as we can't observe that time-era via photons. The only other method I'm aware of are gravitational waves, which are not yet easily detectable especially from that long ago... This information could then be used to test current cosmological models (as is the CMB). If it could help figure something out about dark energy or the cosmological constant that would be awesome!

 

In regards to dark matter, I'm hoping that (large-scale hydrodynamic aka covering a large volume with high resolution and including baryonic/visible matter) simulations can further constrain its properties. Personally I think it could even be some kind of mix of cold dark matter (so with low velocities) and warm dark matter (with higher velocities, which make interactions between the particles possible aside from just gravitational interactions)... OR it could of course be one of the more exotic proposals that I have no real grasp on to be honest😅

 

And I actually have the speech by Carl Sagan as a poster, love it. It is so humbling and for me, highlights how we as humans need to take better care of Earth and not keep destroying it as there is nothing like it nearby. I'm actually against humans colonising other planets, but that has to do with... not trusting human-kind to not mess things up and preferring it if we wouldn't interfere with everything? Or at least not more than with rovers or satellites.

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Georgi
17 minutes ago, Abigail Rose said:

If I could, I would volunteer to go into space. I wouldn't need much. Music, books, water and food. I would just go and go, into the unknown. There is a sort of peace that I feel, just thinking about that. 

actually, there was a call for volunteers in 2013 for the Mars colonization... it is specified that there will be probably more but for now there are not enough funds or I don't remember exactly... but the second call should have been 1-2 years ago and it did not happen in the end.

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Abigail Rose

@Georgi I'm looking for something a little less planet based. Like, pick a galaxy and slingshot me!  👩‍🚀

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Quasar.w

@Abigail Rose there you are, on M87

4kbo5w.jpg

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Abigail Rose
4 minutes ago, Quasar.w said:

@Abigail Rose there you are, on M87

4kbo5w.jpg

You can't imagine the joy this brings me. OMG I almost dropped my coffee! 🤣

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Quasar.w
1 minute ago, Abigail Rose said:

You can't imagine the joy this brings me. OMG I almost dropped my coffee! 🤣

😅 well welcome to your new neighbourhood with mainly old, red-ish stars and an accreting supermassive black hole (please tell me how the close-up view is)

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Knight of Cydonia
23 hours ago, Lichley said:

They found Phosphine on Venus, which is weird because Venus is acidic enough to destroy phosphine, which means it’s being produced by something.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/09/possible-sign-of-life-found-on-venus-phosphine-gas/

Unfortunately the article actually goes on to discuss how there is serious doubt on the validity of the signal. A continuously growing body of evidence over the last month has shown that there's likely either no signal at all, or it's caused by a totally different molecule (SO2).

 

But as disappointing as that is, it's also an incredible example of the scientific method in progress! People independently looking at this discovery critically, doing their own analysis to try to reproduce the results, and being able to question the original result... all such important steps that make science works as well as it does.

 

On a side note, I work with some of the co-authors of the initial Venus phosphine discovery paper. Unfortunately, even before any papers questioning the results came out, some of the lead authors received a lot of harsh and even hateful mail. For them to go through that, and now have it turn out that it's likely there's no phosphine to begin with... I feel for them.

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Georgi
32 minutes ago, Knight of Cydonia said:

On a side note, I work with some of the co-authors of the initial Venus phosphine discovery paper. Unfortunately, even before any papers questioning the results came out, some of the lead authors received a lot of harsh and even hateful mail. For them to go through that, and now have it turn out that it's likely there's no phosphine to begin with... I feel for them.

Oh my... sometimes academia is really toxic 😢 I mean I totally support critical feedback, as this is what makes things develop in science, but still sometimes it's really going further than criticizing just the work unfortunately... And it is also bad the fact that negative results or failure of the experiments or other similar things are not accepted...

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daveb
1 hour ago, Knight of Cydonia said:

received a lot of harsh and even hateful mail

From other scientists or other people in academia or from non-scientists?

In any event, I think that's wrong. I agree that constructive criticism and skepticism is fine, and should be expected and encouraged, but no need to be harsh or hateful.

 

I was actually hoping it was true. I think it is really cool when they find things they don't expect. It makes people think more and opens new horizons, so to speak.

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Lichley
2 hours ago, Knight of Cydonia said:

Unfortunately the article actually goes on to discuss how there is serious doubt on the validity of the signal. A continuously growing body of evidence over the last month has shown that there's likely either no signal at all, or it's caused by a totally different molecule (SO2).

 

But as disappointing as that is, it's also an incredible example of the scientific method in progress! People independently looking at this discovery critically, doing their own analysis to try to reproduce the results, and being able to question the original result... all such important steps that make science works as well as it does.

 

On a side note, I work with some of the co-authors of the initial Venus phosphine discovery paper. Unfortunately, even before any papers questioning the results came out, some of the lead authors received a lot of harsh and even hateful mail. For them to go through that, and now have it turn out that it's likely there's no phosphine to begin with... I feel for them.

Yeah but it’s still an interesting article, and it caused a lot of people to gain an interest in space-based science. Even though it turns out not to be true I’m sure the intrigue of it all has forged an interest in the young curious minds of the new generations who may go on to discover great things as a result of this curiosity. Hope the poor authors catch a break though, I know they must’ve been so excited to see the results initially, I can’t imagine how much it must sting to be discredited like that, and so publicly too.

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Knight of Cydonia
3 hours ago, daveb said:

From other scientists or other people in academia or from non-scientists?

In any event, I think that's wrong. I agree that constructive criticism and skepticism is fine, and should be expected and encouraged, but no need to be harsh or hateful.

Mostly other scientists, especially from the chemistry community (the word "chem-splaining" was used to describe a lot of their reactions to the paper...). Despite the fact that the authors actually put a 100 page paper together painstakingly addressing all the criticisms regarding the processes that could produce phosphine that they could think of! (e.g. yes, phosphine has been detected on Jupiter and Saturn, but the same thing cannot happen on Venus because it's so heavily oxidized, etc etc)

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daveb

Interesting and fun site: A Universe of Sound

Various "sonifications" of things in space. :) 

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WhereTheSkiesEnd

T- 10 minutes!!!🚀

 

https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

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