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Mysterious Deep Space Radio Signal Repeats Every 16 Days, Baffling Scientists

Could it be aliens?

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Mysterious Deep Space Radio Signal Repeats Every 16 Days, Baffling Scientists
Photo Credit: Pexels

Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge

A startling scientific find by space researchers which sounds straight from the plot of the 1990’s sci-fi movie Contact is the last thing you might expect to read on CNN this week.

Mysterious radio signals from space have been known to repeat, but for the first time, researchers have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth,” the report begins.

The “mystery radio signal” has been recorded as repeating based on a clear discernible pattern according to a new paper by a team of astrophysicists in Canada that pinpointed bursts which are unprecedented, identified as “fast radio burst” — or a short radio emission, with a 16-day cycle.

The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object,” the team of scientists said in the paper. A brief summary of some of the key findings are as follows:

“Between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019, detected a pattern in bursts occurring every 16.35 days. Over the course of four days, the signal would release a burst or two each hour. Then, it would go silent for another 12 days.

…The signal is a known repeating fast radio burst, FRB 180916.J0158+65. Last year, the CHIME/FRB collaboration detected the sources of eight new repeating fast radio bursts, including this signal. The repeating signal was traced to a massive spiral galaxy around 500 million light-years away.”

The team hopes to eventually trace the origin of the mysterious bursts, which has a variety of possibilities, and has even raised the question of alien life “reaching out” to establish contact.

So could it be aliens seeking to establish contact via hidden messages meant to be deciphered from rational patterns?

The MIT Technology Review’s Neel Patel, who first broke the story this week of the research team’s latest breakthrough, thinks it highly unlikely:

Wait, is it aliens? Almost certainly not! The signals are a sign of energetic events that are on the extreme scale of the cosmos. Even a highly intelligent species would be very unlikely to produce energies like this. And there is no detectable pattern so far that would suggest there’s a sentient hand at play.

Patel offers likely scenarios including a celestial body orbiting another object, such as a “low-mass black hole.”

Some analysts have elsewhere suggested it’s the result of a binary system involving two massive stars orbiting each other. And Phys.org described what could be the most mundane theory, that it could be “nothing more than the noise created when two stars collide.”

“Another possibility is that stellar winds might be alternately boosting or blocking signals from a body behind them. Or it could be that the source is a celestial body that is rotating,” the same source offered.

The CHIME telescope in British Columbia will attempt to detect future fast radio bursts (FRBs), via USA Today.
The CHIME telescope in British Columbia will attempt to detect future fast radio bursts (FRBs), via USA Today.

Regardless, the breakthrough observation could help future astronomer’s better map out the universe.

Understanding fast radio bursts can also help astronomers learn more about the universe itself,” CNN concludes. “The more bursts they can trace, the better they may be able to use the signals to map how matter is distributed across the universe.”

By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge.com | Republished with permission

The views in this article may not reflect editorial policy of Collective Spark.

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NASA Just Unveiled Its 2020 Mars Rover, And We’re Beyond Excited

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nasa human mission to mars
Photo Credit: NASA

Laurent Banguet, Science Alert

The Mars 2020 rover, which sets off for the Red Planet this year, will not only search for traces of ancient life, but pave the way for future human missions, NASA scientists said Friday as they unveiled the vehicle.

The rover has been constructed in a large, sterile room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, where its driving equipment was given its first successful test last week.

Shown to invited journalists on Friday, it is scheduled to leave Earth in July 2020 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, becoming the fifth US rover to land on Mars seven months later in February.

It’s designed to seek the signs of life, so we’re carrying a number of different instruments that will help us understand the geological and chemical context on the surface of Mars,” deputy mission leader Matt Wallace told AFP.

Among the devices on board the rover are 23 cameras, two “ears” that will allow it to listen to Martian winds, and lasers used for chemical analysis.

Approximately the size of a car, the rover is equipped with six wheels like its predecessor Curiosity, allowing it to traverse rocky terrain.

Speed is not a priority for the vehicle, which only has to cover around 200 yards (180 metres) per Martian day – approximately the same as a day on Earth.

Fuelled by a miniature nuclear reactor, Mars 2020 has seven-foot-long (two metre) articulated arms and a drill to crack open rock samples in locations scientists identify as potentially suitable for life.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech)
(NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Ancient Life

“What we’re looking for is ancient microbial life – we’re talking about billions of years ago on Mars, when the planet was much more Earth-like,” said Wallace.

Back then, the Red Planet had warm surface water, a thicker atmosphere and a magnetic force around it, he explained.

And so it was much more conducive to the types of simple single cell life that evolved here on Earth at that time,” Wallace said.

Once collected, the samples will be hermetically sealed in tubes by the rover.

The tubes will then be discarded on the planet’s surface, where they will lie until a future mission can transport them back to Earth.

We are hoping to move fairly quickly. We’d like to see the next mission launched in 2026, which will get to Mars and pick up the samples, put them into a rocket and propel that sample into orbit around Mars,” said Wallace.

The sample would then rendezvous with an orbiter and the orbiter would bring the sample back to the Earth.”

Samples should reach Earth “in the course of a decade or so,” he added.

Human Mission

To maximize its chance of unearthing traces of ancient life, Mars 2020 will land in a long dried-up delta called Jezero.

The site, selected after years of scientific debate, is a crater that was once a 500-yard-deep lake.

It was formerly connected to a network of rivers that flowed some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.

The crater measures just under 30 miles (48 km) across, and experts hope it may have preserved ancient organic molecules.

The Mars 2020 mission also carries hopes for an even more ambitious target – a human mission to Mars.

“I think of it, really, as the first human precursor mission to Mars,” said Wallace.

Equipment on board “will allow us to make oxygen” that could one day be used both for humans to breathe, and to fuel the departure from Mars “for the return trip.”

The ambitions come as a new space race hots up, with Beijing increasingly vying to threaten US dominance.

China on Friday launched one of the world’s most powerful rockets in a major step forward for its own planned mission to Mars next year.

NASA’s Mars 2020 will remain active for at least one Martian year, which is around two years on Earth.

But Martian rovers have frequently exceeded their intended lifespans – its predecessor Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 and is still trundling around the planet’s Mount Sharp region.

This article (NASA Just Unveiled Its 2020 Mars Rover, And We’re Beyond Excited) was originally created for Science Alert and is published here under Creative Commons.

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NASA’s ‘Quiet’ Supersonic Jet Experiment Was Just Approved For Final Assembly

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NASA's 'Quiet' Supersonic Jet Experiment Was Just Approved For Final Assembly
West Wind NASA

The future had arrived. There was only one problem: it was deafening.

In the 1960s, the development of supersonic passenger aircraft promised to revolutionise the concept of international travel, teasing flights from New York to Paris in under 3.5 hours – less than half the duration of conventional subsonic jaunts.

With the famed Concorde, that incredible travel time became a luxurious reality for rich jetsetters, but the extreme noise pollution of sonic booms unleashed by aircraft breaking the speed of sound helped ground the supersonic dream.

Now, NASA has a bold plan to bring supersonic transport (SST) back to life: the X–59.

The X–59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST), to give it its full name, is an experimental jet being developed by the space agency, with a specific aeronautic design intended to cut down on sonic booms when the aircraft reaches supersonic speed.

The ambitious proof-of-concept project is the result of long years of research and development, and the design just passed a major technical hurdle this week, receiving clearance for final assembly, as announced by NASA.

What that means is that the X–59 is on track to have its first test flight in 2021, the details of which will be confirmed and approved next year.

The jet, which will still produce sonic boom shockwaves – but much quieter ones, expected not to disturb civilians on the ground – is currently being built by Lockheed Martin, in a project costing close to US$250 million.

When it’s complete, we’ll get a chance to see whether all that high-tech R&D delivers on its whisper-quiet promise, and if it does, supersonic transportation could once again get its chance to soar across the skies.

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NASA Just Confirmed There Are Water Plumes Above The Surface Of Jupiter’s Moon Europa

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NASA Just Confirmed There Are Water Plumes Above The Surface of Jupiter's Moon Europa
West Wind NASA

A team led by researchers out of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has confirmed traces of water vapour above the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.

And that’s a big deal as the tiny space rock is one of the highest priority targets in NASA’s search for extraterrestrial life, according to the agency.

While scientists have not yet detected liquid water directly, we’ve found the next best thing: water in vapour form,” lead researcher and NASA planetary scientist Lucas Paganini said in a NASA statement.

According to a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday, the NASA team discovered enough water vapour being released from Europa to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool within minutes.

But while that sounds like a lot, it was only just enough to be detected from Earth.

Out of 17 observations by the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which uses a spectrograph to detect the chemical compositions of other planets’ atmospheres by scanning the infrared light they release or absorb, the scientists only spotted water vapour in one.

We suggest that the outgassing of water vapour on Europa occurs at lower levels than previously estimated, with only rare localized events of stronger activity,” Paganini and his team wrote in the paper.

For many years, scientists have suspected that there’s water on Europa’s surface, and several observations appear to back up that suspicion.

More than two decades ago, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft found evidence of an electrically conductive fluid on the moon’s surface. Then, a 2018 analysis of the data found evidence of massive plumes of liquid. Data previously collected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope supported the existence of the plumes.

We performed diligent safety checks to remove possible contaminants in ground-based observations,” Goddard planetary scientist Avi Mandell said of the water vapour discovery in the statement. “But, eventually, we’ll have to get closer to Europa to see what’s really going on.”

A mission to do just that is already lined up.

NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission will get a much closer look at the icy moon’s surface as soon as 2023.

The spacecraft will feature a suite of cameras, spectrometers, and a radar to investigate the thickness of Europa’s icy shell during 45 flybys — and perhaps yield further insights into the water vapour above the moon’s surface while it’s there.

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

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Three Supermassive Black Holes Are On A Crash Course, NASA Says

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Three Supermassive Black Holes Are About To Collide In Deep Space
Photo Credit: NASA

It’s wild enough when two supermassive black holes collide, but scientists have now spotted an extremely rare triple hole smash-up.

The impending collision is occurring one billion light years away in a system called SDSS J0849+1114, which is a merger of three galaxies, according to NASA.

Scientists led by Ryan Pfeifle, an astrophysicist at George Mason University, identified the epic event while hunting for galaxy mergers, which occur when two galaxies collide and evolve into a unified system. Big galaxies host supermassive black holes in their centres, so a galactic merger may lead to a collision of gigantic black holes, as well.

Three Supermassive Black Holes Are On A Crash Course, NASA Says
Concept art of three black holes. Image: flickr/nasa goddard space flight center. Composition by Jordan Pearson

Supermassive black holes are the largest type of black hole known to scientists, and can grow to be millions or even billions of times as massive as the Sun. When galaxies collide, their central black holes emit radiation as they consume stars, gas, and dust from the merger. (While light cannot escape a black hole once it has passed the event horizon, tidal forces at the outside edge of black holes heat up matter, making it visible to telescopes).

Citizen scientists working on Galaxy Zoo, a project that allows users to help categorize galaxies in sky surveys, classified the system as a galactic merger using optical light images taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) telescope in New Mexico.

Three Supermassive Black Holes Are On A Crash Course, NASA Says
SDSS J0849+1114. IMAGE: X-RAY: NASA/CXC/GEORGE MASON UNIV./R. PFEIFLE ET AL.; OPTICAL: SDSS& NASA/STSCI

Pfeifle’s team then took a closer look at the system across multiple wavelengths, using three NASA telescopes: the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) spacecraft.

The results revealed that SDSS J0849+1114 contains three supermassive black holes that are about 10,000 light years to 30,000 light years away from each other, according to Space.com.

Pfeifle and his colleagues will publish their findings in a forthcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal (a preprint version is available on arXiv). Further observation of this galactic triplet could shed light on the potential dynamics of mergers between three supermassive black holes, compared to pairs.

According to a theory called the “final parsec problem,” the presence of a third black hole may hasten the merging of the other two. It’s possible that all three could eventually become one hole, but some theories suggest that supermassive black holes can also end up in tight orbits around each other, therefore remaining separate—though close—entities.

We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system,” said Pfeifle in a statement. “This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of actively feeding supermassive black holes.”

The video below offers a simulation of this epic trumvirate of black holes colliding.

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