Moon mission 2.0: What humanity will learn by going back to the Moon

Going back to the moon will give us fresh insights about the creation of our solar system.

  • July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing — Apollo 11.
  • Today, we have a strong scientific case for returning to the moon: the original rock samples that we took from the moon revolutionized our view of how Earth and the solar system formed. We could now glean even more insights with fresh, nonchemically-altered samples.
  • NASA plans to send humans to a crater in the South Pole of the moon because it's safer there, and would allow for better communications with people back on Earth.
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The Big Bounce: Why our universe might be eternal

When it comes to theories of the universe, the Big Bang theory is almost accepted as a fact. However, it's still uncertain, and some scientists believe that the universe didn't began with a bang, but a bounce.

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  • The Big Bang theory is treated as the de facto way the universe began, but it's had some issues.
  • One issue was that it could not describe how the universe became uniform and homogeneous, which is what we observe today.
  • Physicists tweaked Big Bang theory to accommodate this, but the Big Bounce theory can address these issues without too much tweaking.
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Surprising Science

Celebrate the 4th with Eta Carinae’s slo-mo fireworks

Hubble captures the afterglow of an epochal blast.

Image source: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona, Tucson), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute, New York)
  • Eta Carinae is one of the most massive stars we know of, and it's doomed.
  • In the mid-19th century, astronomers observed an eruption that foreshadows the star's end.
  • The stunning photo provides new insights into what happens when a start explodes.
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Surprising Science

That black hole photo: How event horizons bend time, space, and light

The recent photo of a black hole is something extraordinary. Here's why.

  • Black holes are usually surrounded by disks of very, very bright, very hot material. And that's how we find them.
  • Black holes themselves give off no radiation at all. Any light gets absorbed into the black hole — all forms of light, from gamma rays to radio waves.
  • A black hole's gravity is so strong it actually bends space itself. What does this mean? There's no way to get out of the black hole — out of the event horizon — because space and time themselves are bent into the black hole.
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There are 2 types of god. Only one is within the boundary of science.

Does God exist? The answer rests outside the "normal" boundaries of science.

  • Science is about natural law, while religion is about ethics. As long as you keep these two separate, Kaku says, there's no problem at all. Problems arise, however, when the natural sciences begin to "pontificate upon ethics" and when religious people begin to pontificate about natural law.
  • Albert Einstein believed in the "god of Spinoza" — not a personal god, but one who has set order and harmony in the fabric of the universe. "You can put the laws of physics as we know them on a simple sheet of paper — amazing! It didn't have to be that way," says Kaku.
  • The existence of God is not testable because such a review is not reproducible or falsifiable, as most scientific investigations are. In this sense, Kaku says the question and answer whether God exists rests outside the "normal" boundaries of science.
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