Scientists trying to unlock the secrets of our universe’s origin need to look no further than the photography studio of Thomas Blanchard and Oilhack. By mixing nothing more than paints, oil, and soap, the artists manage to create colorful miniature universes full of strange, tiny alien worlds.
We’re all clamoring to get into space these days, but lost in our excitement to fly to the Moon and colonize Mars is a brutal truth: the final frontier is a cold, inhospitable wasteland that’ll kill you at the first opportunity it gets. Astronauts already know this, but for the rest of us, here are just a few of the potentially lethal dangers faced by spacefaring pioneers.
Humanity hasn’t done a ton of good in our short stint on Earth, though we’ve definitely succeeded at turning this planet into a trash pit of despair. Today, researchers from NASA’s Kepler space telescope team announced we might get to bring our garbage party to another planet—perhaps a bunch of them.
You might not want to book that trip to Mars just yet. Researchers have published a study estimating that the risk of cancer from cosmic rays is twice as high as previously thought. They’ve determined that conventional risk models are incomplete. While NASA and other groups believe that radiation-based cancer stems only from direct cell damage and mutations, the new model accounts for the possibility that heavily damaged cells will increase the cancer risk for “bystander” cells. There’s a knock-on effect that would be difficult to escape.
Now that TRAPPIST-1 is the trendiest star system in the galaxy, astronomers and nerds alike are clamoring to learn more about it. We know that the seven-planet system contains three planets in the habitable zone, which means they could hypothetically support liquid water, and even life. We also know that the TRAPPIST-1 planets orbit around their ultracool dwarf star very closely, which could be good or bad for finding life, depending on who you ask. And now, we know a little more about the most distant planet in the bunch.
The Earth’s atmosphere bears precious little resemblance to what it looked like at the start of the Industrial Revolution. As radio technology has advanced and spread, the signals that transmitters produce — specifically the Very Low Frequency (VLF) variety — have changed the way that the upper atmosphere and the Van Allen Radiation Belts interact, according to a study recently published in the journal Space Science Reviews. In effect, these radio waves may be enveloping the globe like an electromagnetic comforter, protecting it from satellite-frying space radiation.