The Great Mystery of Spacetime --"Beyond the Planck Scale"

 

 

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Our experience of space-time is that of a continuous object, without gaps or discontinuities, just as it is described by classical physics. For some quantum gravity models however, the texture of space-time is "granular" at tiny scales (below the so-called Planck scale, 10-33 cm), as if it were a variable mesh of solids and voids (or a complex foam). One of the great problems of physics today is to understand the passage from a continuous to a discrete description of spacetime: is there an abrupt change or is there gradual transition? Where does the change occur?

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Today's 'Galaxy' Insight: "The Whales of Europa"



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"I know, I know," writes Mike Brown, Caltech's Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy and author of the mikebrownsplanets blog, who specializes in the discovery and study of bodies at the edge of the solar system. "We have all been instructed by Arthur C. Clarke to attempt no landings on Europa. But if you did land on Europa, wouldn’t you like to know where to go?

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Cosmic Beacons Reveal Milky Way's Ancient Core --"Preserves Early History of the Galaxy"

 

 

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Just as London and Paris are built on more ancient Roman or even older remains, our Milky Way galaxy also has multiple generations of stars that span the time from its formation to the present. Since heavy elements, referred to by astronomers as “metals”, are brewed in stars, subsequent stellar generations become more and more metal-rich. Therefore, the most ancient components of our Milky Way are expected to be metal-poor stars.

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China Confirms a Mars Rover Mission --Follows a 2018 Mission to Explore Far Side of the Moon

 

 

 

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China plans to send a rover to Mars to explore the Red Planet, a top space official announced on Friday, in the latest step of its ambitious space program.Authorities approved the mission in January, said National Space Administration director Xu Dazhe at a press conference in Beijing.

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ESA Releases "Stunning New Views of the Star-Forming Hubs of Milky Way's Plane and Galactic Center"

 

 

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ESA's Herschel space observatory mission released today a series of unprecedented maps of star-forming hubs in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. This is accompanied by a set of catalogs of hundreds of thousands of compact sources that span all phases leading to the birth of stars in our Galaxy. These maps and catalogs will be very valuable resources for astronomers, to exploit scientifically and for planning follow-up studies of particularly interesting regions in the Galactic plane.

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Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Post-Biological Life in the Universe"

 

 

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"I think it very likely – in fact inevitable – that biological intelligence is only a transitory phenomenon, a fleeting phase in the evolution of the universe," says Paul Davies, a British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative at Arizona State University. "If we ever encounter extraterrestrial intelligence, I believe it is overwhelmingly likely to be post-biological in nature."

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Violent Events in Milky Way Clusters of Massive Stars --"The Source of Rare Cosmic Rays"

 

 

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Most of the cosmic rays that we detect at Earth originated relatively recently in nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new results from NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft. ACE allowed the research team to determine the source of these cosmic rays by making the first observations of a very rare type of cosmic ray that acts like a tiny timer, limiting the distance the source can be from Earth.

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"A Few Seconds After the Big Bang" --Hacking the Origins of Visible-and-Dark Matter

 

 

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Anticipating precision cosmological data from the next generation of "Extremely Large" telescopes, the BURST code developed by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with colleagues at University of California San Diego, "promises to open up new avenues for investigating existing puzzles of cosmology," says Los Alamos physicist Mark Paris of the Nuclear and Particle, Astrophysics and Cosmology group. "These include the nature and origin of visible matter and the properties of the more mysterious 'dark matter' and 'dark radiation.' "

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The Spectacular Bubble Nebula --Highlights Hubble's 26th Year in Orbit

 

 

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This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to celebrate Hubble's 26th year in orbit, captures in stunning clarity what looks like a gigantic cosmic soap bubble. The object, known as the Bubble Nebula, is in fact a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it. The vivid new portrait of this dramatic scene wins the Bubble Nebula a place in the exclusive Hubble hall of fame, following an impressive lineage of Hubble anniversary images.

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Hologenomes --"Complex Microbial Communities Steer Human Evolution"

 

 

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Scientists increasingly realize the importance of gut and other microbes to our health and well-being, but one UC Berkeley biologist is asking whether these microbes — our microbiota — might also have played a role in shaping who we are by steering evolution.

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