1. spoookyscary:

    The crystal skulls, for example, which were “discovered” in the jungles of Belize in the 1920s and said to be 3,600 year old Mayan artifacts, but were actually carved in the 1840s, or the Voynich Manuscript, an undecipherable coded and illustrated manuscript from between the 1300s and 1400s, which is likely a series of gibberish meant to either discredit Jesuit Priest Athanasius Kircher, or possibly to gain fame and fortune for the unknown author. Or the Cerne Abbas Giant, an enormous giant in the English countryside holding a club and sporting a huge phallus, said to be neolithic, but much more likely the invention of some rowdy 1600s pranksters.

    The thing that makes old hoaxes so frustrating is that they are hard to tease out from their actual history. Something fabricated in the 1600s made to look like it is from the 1400s can be very hard to pick out. The astronaut on the Cathedral of Salamanca is not in fact a hoax, but an approved and modern addition to the Cathedral, however it has all the earmarks of something which may provide for great confusion some 500 years from now.

    Built between 1513 and 1733, the Gothic cathedral underwent restoration work in 1992. It is a generally a tradition of cathedral builders and restorers to add details or new carvings to the facade as a sort of signature. In this case after conferring with the cathedral, quarry man Jeronimo Garcia was given the go-ahead to add some more modern images to the facade including an astronaut floating among some vines. Among the other recently added images are a dragon eating ice cream, a lynx, a bull, and a crayfish.

    Despite there being clear documentation of the astronaut being a recent addition, the astronaut has already fueled ideas of ancient space travel, and alien interventions in easily influenced minds.

     

  2. (Source: kurtcobangs, via phokinggood)

     


  3. NASA has set its sights on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, to explore the icy orb for potential life within our galaxy. Now the space agency is seeking proposals for scientific experiments to take place during the mission.

    “Europa is an icy world slightly smaller than Earth’s moon. It is unique in the solar system, being thought to have a global ocean of water in contact with a rocky seafloor,” NASA said in a profile of Jupiter’s moon. “If the ocean is proven to exist, Europa could be a promising place to look for life beyond Earth.”

    The space agency is planning to launch a mission to the icy moon in the 2020s, landing there within three years of take-off. Now NASA is seeking proposals for scientific instruments that could be carried aboard the probe. The organization will select around 20 proposals in April 2015 to receive about $25 million to advance instrument formulation and development, according to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

    After a detailed review of the projects, agency officials will choose eight instruments to be built for flight and science operations.

    "The possibility of life on Europa is a motivating force for scientists and engineers around the world," John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, said in the JPL statement. "This solicitation will select instruments which may provide a big leap in our search to answer the question: are we alone in the universe?"

    In a June interview with the Guardian, NASA’s chief scientist Dr. Ellen Stofan detailed why a mission to Europa is “clearly our next step” in searching for alien life within the Milky Way.

     


  4. A series of new telescopes – a magnitude more powerful than the ones already in use – will allow humanity to detect alien life within decades, according to top NASA scientists.

    “I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” announced NASA astronomer Kevin Hand, during a public talk in Washington that showcased the US space agency’s top extra-terrestrial life specialists.

    While the prediction may have seemed bold, it chimed with the utter certainty of all experts present, fueled by the already impressive work of the Kepler telescope – which is about to be superseded. In just five years, the space observatory has identified up to 5,000 planets, more than in the entire history of astronomy.

    "What we didn’t know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 percent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone. It’s within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever,” said Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

    The James Webb Space Telescope (artist’s concept above) will be one of the primary instruments scientists use to continue the search for planets outside our Solar System. (Image from nasa.gov)The James Webb Space Telescope (artist’s concept above) will be one of the primary instruments scientists use to continue the search for planets outside our Solar System. (Image from nasa.gov)

    Since our galaxy, the Milky Way, alone contains up to 400 billion stars, the first results obtained by Kepler are just a tiny sample of information about the universe.

    In 2017 and 2018 respectively, NASA will launch a double team of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope, specifically aimed at finding “another Earth”. TESS will have its four telescopes trained on more than half a million suns, monitoring temporary dips in brightness that could indicate that a planet is orbiting a star, and temporarily obstructing the view. The suitable candidates, in the goldilocks zone – meaning they are not too far away and the right temperature – will then be studied in detail by the Webb Telescope, which will study gases emanating from it, to see whether the planet has an atmosphere, and contains water and oxygen.


    “Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say, ‘that star has a planet like Earth’,” said Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    While the Webb telescope is 6.5 meters long, more than twice the length of the Hubble launched back in 1990, the scientists agreed that a qualitative breakthrough could be achieved once a 20-meter telescope reaches the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Such a project is currently limited by the payload restrictions of rockets currently in use. The Space Launch System, currently being perfected by NASA scientists, should be able to deliver a payload of 130 tons, more than ten times that of Russia’s popular Proton rocket.

    And even if that is not enough, the alien-hunters still believe that finding a second Earth is just a matter of when, not if.

    "Just imagine the moment, when we find potential signatures of life. Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe," said Mountain.

     

  5. NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos - Universe or Multiverse?

    (Source: youtube.com)

     

  6. Putting The Multiverse To The Test

    (Source: youtube.com)

     


  7. The question of the size and limits of our universe can fry our mind without reading into it. Still more amazing, some among us always believed that we live in multiple, parallel universes. Now scientists think they can prove the fantastic hypothesis.

    There is testable science, and then there is fantasy and beautiful fairytales. Mathew Johnson of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, has a mission to take on one of the most impossible beliefs of the latter and place it firmly in the former category.

    Johnson’s tactic is quite simply to establish a way of testing for different scenarios of how universes might collide, if they exist. He develops a computer model that simulates collision of physical bubble-like objects on a small, workable scale.

    The metaphor for the multiverse used in the study is then quite similar to ordinary, observable processes here on Earth.

    Imagine watching a pot of boiling water slowly simmer and form bubbles. Some of these bubbles grow into bigger ones, others split up, bump into each other, interact etc. This is what proponents of the multiverse theory believe about the vacuum, which they say came before the Big Bang: an empty field full of energy that had nowhere to go, and thus began creating bubbles – universes, that began to collide with each other and interact in different ways. They represented the totality of every dimension we have come to know – space, time, all the constants and physical laws.

    In short, we are in a cappuccino foam of universes. Scientists believe this is so due to what we call cosmic inflation – a process by which the cosmos has been expanding after the purported Big Bang. Not everyone believes the theory, but it’s the most popular, and explains a large quantity of otherwise inexplicable space phenomena. It holds as its central thesis that after the pop, the universe expanded billions of light years across in a microscopic fraction of a second.


    But even if dominant, the force behind the inflation still has to be proven. We take for a given that that force, known as vacuum energy, exists.

    There are many different variations on the multiverse theme, but they all are limited by our inability to observe them empirically.

    "That’s what this research program is all about," Johnson writes. "We’re trying to find out what the testable predictions of this picture would be, and then going out and looking for them."

    As a starting point he uses a model that requires the collision of only two universes in some way or another. What makes this model simple is that we assume that the collision will have all the physical properties of two bubbles colliding in real life. Johnson uses a computer to see how they would interact.

    “We collide the bubbles on a computer to figure out what happens, and then we stick a virtual observer in various places and ask what that observer would see from there,” he says.

    “All I need is gravity and the stuff that makes the bubbles up. We’re now at the point where if you have a favorite model of the multiverse, I can stick it on a computer and tell you what you should see,” Johnson explains.

    The leap here is in that the computer simulation can in this way rule out certain existing multiverse models. Johnson has already made headway in estimating how an instance of two universes colliding would behave at the microwave dimension – “a disk in the sky” for instance.

    No predictions have yet come to fruition. However, this is the first time anyone has attempted to quantify these reactions. And ruling out certain results leaves other scenarios more likely to happen. Moreover, these computer models expose the likelihood of testing the behavior of bubble collisions at all, and that makes them a huge leap for physics and astronomy.

     

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  9. Microbiologists based in California have discovered bacteria that survive by eating pure electrons rather than food, bringing an entirely new method of existence to awareness and raising questions about possibilities for alien life.

    The ‘electric bacteria’ – as they have been dubbed by the team that discovered them – take energy from rocks and metal by feasting directly on their electrons. The hair-like filaments the bacteria produce carry electrons between the cells and their environment.

    The biologists from the University of Southern California (USC) found that the new discovery joins more than ten other different specific type of bacteria that also feed on electricity – although none in quite the same way.

    “This is huge. What it means is that there’s a whole part of the microbial world that we don’t know about,” Kenneth Nealson of USC told New Scientist.

    Nealson explained the process by which the bacteria function. “You eat sugars that have excess electrons, and you breathe in oxygen that willingly takes them,” he said. Human cells break down the sugars in order to obtain the electrons – making the bacteria that only absorb the electrons that much more efficient.

    “That’s the way we make all our energy and it’s the same for every organism on this planet,” Nealson said. “Electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained.”

    Some of the bacteria even have the ability to make ‘bio-cables’ – a kind of microbial collection of wires that can conduct electricity as well as copper – renowned for its high electrical conductivity.

    Such ‘nanowires’ were first discovered in a separate study conducted by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark. Their presence raises the possibility that one day bacteria could be used in making subsurface networks for people to use.

    “Tens of thousands of bacteria can join to form a cable that can carry electrons over several centimeters,” the New Scientist video on the subject points out.


    Nealson and his team discovered the bacteria by taking ocean sediment, and placing electrodes in it in the laboratory. As higher voltages were pumped into the water, the bacteria started to consume electrons from it.

    When a lower voltage was pumped into the water the bacteria emitted electrons, making an electric current. The scientists carefully cut off all other possible nutrition sources for the bacteria. Nealson compared their method of survival to a human attempting to power up by sticking their finger in a DC electrical socket instead of eating.

    Two of the most well-known bacteria which have ‘electrical’ properties already’ include the marine bacteria Shewanella and Geobacter – some species of which can metabolize certain collections of chemicals, producing electrons in the process, leading some scientists to theorize that a sort of natural battery could be created using it.

    Last month, at the Goldschmidt geoscience conference in Sacramento, California, results were presented.

    Nealson’s PhD student Annette Rowe has identified some eight different kinds of the bacteria.

    NASA has also expressed interest in the “dark energy biosphere” – microorganisms lurking beneath the seabed – because they survive on such little energy that their means of living could theoretically be used by other beings living in other areas of the solar system.

    “If nothing is going to eat it or destroy it then, theoretically, we should be able to maintain that organism indefinitely,” Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, speculated.

     

  10. eduardo-:

    mucholderthen:

    Destination Moon: The 350-Year History of Lunar Exploration
    Infographic by Karl Tate
    July 16, 2014  ||  Space.com

    Why is Robert Goddard not mentioned here whatsoever? Without him (and his inventions, ie. the liquid-fuelled rocket and the multiple-stage rocket, both of which Wernher von Braun co-opted for the V2 decades later), we would have continued to struggle to even leave the ground.

    (via climate-changing)