The Drake equation is basically a probabilistic argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. In November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of sun-like stars and red dwarf stars within the Milky Way Galaxy. 11 billion of these estimated planets may be orbiting sun-like stars. Since there are about 100 billion stars in the galaxy, this implies fp*ne is roughly 0.4. The nearest planet in the habitable zone may be as little as 12 light-years away, according to the scientists. Continue reading for more.
Astronomers discovered the largest and oldest mass of water ever detected in the universe in the form of a massive, 12-billion-year-old cloud containing 140 trillion times more water than all of Earth's oceans combined. In other words, it surrounds a supermassive black hole called a quasar located 12 billion light-years from Earth. This shows that water has been prevalent in the universe for nearly its entire existence, researchers said. Continue reading for more.
The amazing image is of the Pavlof volcano erupting in the Aleutian arc and was captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The ISS provides a platform to conduct scientific research. While small unmanned spacecraft can provide platforms for zero gravity and exposure to space, space stations offer a long term environment where studies can be performed potentially for decades, combined with ready access by human researchers over periods that exceed the capabilities of manned spacecraft. Continue reading for more amazing photographs captured from the ISS.
On a clear, dark night, our eyes can see thousands of stars in the sky in places without light pollution. They always seem to twinkle, or change their brightness, all the time, but in reality it's the movement of air (sometimes called turbulence) in the atmosphere of Earth causes the starlight to get slightly bent as it travels from the distant star through the atmosphere down to us on the ground, producing a twinkling effect. You'll notice that stars closer to the horizon will appear to twinkle more than other stars. This is because there is a lot more atmosphere between you and a star near the horizon than between you and a star higher in the sky. Continue reading for more.
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Armstrong spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin slightly less, and together they collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material for return to Earth. Click here to view the first image in this week's WINS gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of a Star Trek fan's $500,000 memorabilia collection.
Japan-based artist Azuma Makoto launched his work into space to show that beauty can exist anywhere. Makoto partnered with JP Aerospace to make project "Exobiotanica" a reality. The first item he sent was a bouquet of colorful flowers sourced from around the world, and the other, a 50-year-old bonsai pine tree specially shipped from his private collection in Japan. They were launched at Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada, where the Burning Man Festival is held annually. Continue reading for more.
We know Mars as a terrestrial planet consisting of minerals containing silicon and oxygen, metals, and other elements that typically make up rock. The surface of Mars is primarily composed of tholeiitic basalt, although parts are more silica-rich than typical basalt and may be similar to andesitic rocks on Earth or silica glass. NASA has just released a video showing what a young Mars could have looked like billions of years ago with flowing water on its surface. Continue reading to watch.
All of the images you are about to see have won an award in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014 contest. The photo above was captured by Mark Hanson, and shows NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula. This cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across shows emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in the wind-blown nebula in red, green and blue hues. Its central star is classified as a Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136) and is burning fuel at a prodigious rate and near the end of its stellar life this star should ultimately go out with a bang in a spectacular supernova explosion. Continue reading for more.
Researchers have just discovered an alien planet that might be able to harbour life, located just 16 light years away. Named Gliese 832c, it's a 'super-Earth' at least five times as large as our planet. They believe it has Earth-like temperatures, albeit with large seasonal shifts. Astronomers from around the world claim that the exoplanet is in the star Gliese 832's 'habitable zone,' the perfect range distances that could allow liquid water to exist on a world's surface. Continue reading for a picture showing how big it is compared to Earth and for more information.
What you're looking at is the first image of Earth photographed from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon. This photograph was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day on March 8, 2004. It's a "mosaic of images taken by the rover's navigation camera showing a broad view of the sky, and an image taken by the rover's panoramic camera of Earth," according to Twisted Sifter. Click here to view the first image in this week's geek life gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of a dog taking on a robotic spider.