When asked what they want to be when they grow up, many little girls and boys say ‘Astronaut.’ Probably a few adults would say the same. Wired wanted to take a look at the many new ways that you can try your hand at becoming one of the lucky adventurers in space and try calculating your chances of becoming an astronaut with each one.
In the midst of chaos here on Earth, scientists are finding hope for life on other planets.
Scientists announced Thursday the discovery of three planets that are some of the best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our own solar system — and they’re very far away.
NASA’s Kepler satellite, which is keeping an eye on more than 150,000 stars in hopes of identifying Earth-like planets, found the trio.
Two of the planets — Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f — are described in a study released Thursday in the journal Science. They are part of a five-planet system in which the candidates for life are the farthest from the host star.
Physicists find evidence that Universe is a ‘giant brain’
According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain - with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies.
The results of a computer simulation suggest that “natural growth dynamics” - the way that systems evolve - are the same for different kinds of networks - whether its the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole.
It was a threshold crossed in the deepest reaches of space: A spacecraft launched from Earth has now entered new and unexplored territory that may or may not be outside our solar system. A press release issued at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday morning by the American Geophysical Union noted that Voyager I had exited our solar system, sparking excitement in the scientific community.
London to Sydney in 90 minutes: Hypersonic SpaceLiner that travels at 24 times the speed of sound ‘to be built by 2050’
A hypersonic SpaceLiner capable of reaching 24 times the speed of sound and transporting passengers from London to Sydney in 90 minutes could be with us by 2050.
Although the finished article is still a long way off, Martin Sippel, project coordinator for SpaceLiner at the German Aerospace Center believes the project could attract private funding within a decade.
The current concept includes a rocket booster stage for launch and a separate orbiter stage to carry up to 50 passengers halfway around the world without ever making it to space.
Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretches 4 billion light-years from end to end.
The structure is a large quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous galactic nuclei powered by supermassive central black holes. This particular group is so large that it challenges modern cosmological theory, researchers said.
"While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe," lead author Roger Clowes, of the University of Central Lancashire in England, said in a statement. "This is hugely exciting, not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe."
Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe. For decades, astronomers have known that they tend to assemble in huge groups, some of which are more than 600 million light-years wide.
But the record-breaking quasar group, which Clowes and his team spotted in data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, is on another scale altogether. The newfound LQC is composed of 73 quasars and spans about 1.6 billion light-years in most directions, though it is 4 billion light-years across at its widest point.
To put that mind-boggling size into perspective, the disk of the Milky Way galaxy — home of Earth’s solar system — is about 100,000 light-years wide. And the Milky Way is separated from its nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda, by about 2.5 million light-years.
The newly discovered LQC is so enormous, in fact, that theory predicts it shouldn’t exist, researchers said. The quasar group appears to violate a widely accepted assumption known as the cosmological principle, which holds that the universe is essentially homogeneous when viewed at a sufficiently large scale.
Calculations suggest that structures larger than about 1.2 billion light-years should not exist, researchers said.
"Our team has been looking at similar cases which add further weight to this challenge, and we will be continuing to investigate these fascinating phenomena," Clowes said.
"In 2011, Americans spent an estimated $10 billion on plastic surgery, according to an industry association, and about $5 billion on NASA space operations. By this logic, having perfect tits is worth twice as much as exploring the Universe."
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
While space is full of radiation, the earth’s magnetic field generally protects the planet and people in low earth orbit from these particles. However, once astronauts leave orbit, they are exposed to constant shower of various radioactive particles.
Which is interesting. It doesn’t have to be; it could be all colorless and weird and lumpy. Instead, it’s bursting with color, sculpted by vast forces, molded into fantastic shapes that please our eyes and delight our brains—especially once we understand what we’re seeing.
Every December I pick my favorite images from the previous year to display, a task that is extraordinarily difficult. I always wind up with a list of about 60 or 70, and I have to cull it down mercilessly. Such is the case this year again, and I could pare it only to 21, a score and more of gorgeousness for you to soak in. I choose the pictures not just for their beauty but also because they are interesting, and different—ones that stand out from the crowd somehow.