Is the universe controlled by gigantic structures?

The idea that celestial objects exist within utterly immense cosmic structures is becoming inescapable.

Image source: Mike Rosecope/procy/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • New findings in astronomy are making some astronomers doubt our basic model of the universe.
  • Alignments of celestial objects suggest that they may be embedded in large-scale structures.
  • Galaxies too far apart to be influencing each other are moving through space together.
Keep reading Show less

Top 4 candidates in our solar system for terraforming

When it comes time for humanity to pick a new home, where will we go?

Shutterstock
  • Regardless of whether you think the Earth will suffer some catastrophe or not, most individuals believe that humanity will eventually have to live on another planet.
  • There is no nearby planet that can support human life, however; we'll have to pick a good candidate and terraform it.
  • Each celestial body presents its own unique challenges and requirements. Some need more carbon dioxide, others need less; some would become water worlds, others more Earth-like; and so on.
Keep reading Show less

After 42 years in space, Voyager 2 breaks thru the heliosphere

A historic NASA probe sends back a treasure-trove of information from billions of miles away.

  • NASA's Voyager 2 probe sends back invaluable information about interstellar space.
  • The probe was launched in 1977.
  • 5 new studies detail the data gathered by its instruments.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's curiosity rover finds remnants of a lost oasis on Mars

NASA's intrepid Curiosity rolls upward into Mars history.

Image source: NASA
  • Curiosity is exploring an exposed cross-section of Mars' early history within the unusual Gale Crater.
  • Intriguing salt deposits indicate briny bodies of water appearing and disappearing over time.
  • Curiosity is digging through Mar's past in search of environments that could have supported microscopic life.
Keep reading Show less

Outer space capitalism: The legal and technical challenges facing the private space industry

The private sector may need the Outer Space Treaty to be updated before it can make any claims to celestial bodies or their resources.

  • The Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in 1967, is the basis of international space law. Its regulations set out what nations can and cannot do, in terms of colonization and enterprise in space.
  • One major stipulation of the treaty is that no nation can individually claim or colonize any part of the universe—when the US planted a flag on the Moon in 1969, it took great pains to ensure the world it was symbolic, not an act of claiming territory.
  • Essentially to do anything in space, as a private enterprise, you have to be able to make money. When it comes to asteroid mining, for instance, it would be "astronomically" expensive to set up such an industry. The only way to get around this would be if the resources being extracted were so rare you could sell them for a fortune on Earth.
Keep reading Show less