A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
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    Dark energy located in intergalactic voids, predicts new study

    Astronomers propose a new location for the mysterious force that accelerates the universe.

    Credit: University of Hawaii
    • Astronomers predict that dark energy is located in the voids between galaxies.
    • Dark energy is thought responsible for the acceleration of our universe.
    • The intergalactic voids are known as GEODEs.
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    Did life on Earth start in space? Study finds evidence of panspermia

    A new study shows bacteria could survive travel from Earth to Mars.

    Credit: Pixabay / Dr. Michael Daly.
  • Japanese scientists find Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria can survive for up to 8 years in space.
  • The researchers studied the bacteria when it was attached to the International Space Station.
  • The results confirm the possibility of panspermia, that life can be spread in space by traveling microbes.
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    Stories from space! 4 astronauts share their adventures

    Firsthand accounts of what it's really like to go to and come back from space.

    • Being able to call yourself a former astronaut is a distinction that not many people on Earth have. Studying or reading about space from the ground is one thing, but getting to experience it firsthand is to join the universe's most exclusive club.
    • This video brings together the voices of former astronauts Garrett Reisman, Chris Hadfield, Ron Garan, and Leland Melvin as they each share a personal anecdote about what they saw, felt, and learned during their training and their time in space.
    • From Reisman's memories of seeing Earth's atmosphere from above for the first time, to Hadfield's extensive camera photography training, these space stories offer unique insights into a cool and very complex profession.
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    How math predicts life on Earth and the universe beyond

    Math doesn't suck. It is one of humanity's greatest and most mysterious journeys.

    • There is a pervasive cultural attitude against mathematics, but it is actually a mind-blowing tool for analyzing and predicting the world around us—and far beyond. We asked mathematicians Edward Frenkel and Po-Shen Loh, and physicists Michio Kaku, Michelle Thaller, Janna Levin and Geoffrey West to explain the wonders of math.
    • West explains the rule of 'quarter-power scaling' in biology—there is a mathematical equation that predicts how much food an organism needs to eat to survive and it's remarkably consistent, whether you're looking at ladybugs, cats, elephants, and even trees and flowers. Math underpins our lives in incredible ways.
    • Infinitesimal calculus—the math that describes how moving bodies change over time—turns out to predict not just phenomena on Earth but far out in the universe. The 11-dimensional math used by physicists turns out to predict the exact results of particle physics experiments. Humanity is on an incredible journey with mathematics and every day it opens up the world and universe in eye-opening ways.
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