Posts tagged Astronomy

Experiment to Test if We're Living in a Simulation: Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation

Scientists have devised a way to test the simulation argument that states there is a strong likelihood we are living in a simulation.

Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.

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NASA's advice for near-term meteor strike: "Pray"

Interesting article on the implications of any ‘small’ meteors approach Earth

At a House Committee hearing Tuesday, NASA administrator Charles Bolden Jr. was asked what America would do if a meteor similar to the one that hit in Russia on Feb. 15 was found to be on a path toward New York City, with impact three weeks away. His response? “Pray.”

At the moment, we might be lucky to get even three weeks warning. The United States and the rest of the world simply do not have the ability to detect many “small” meteors like the one that exploded over Russia, which has been estimated at roughly 55 feet long. Donald Yeomans, Manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office and the author of “Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us,” told CBSNews.com that there are a lot of these small meteors in orbit, and little early warning system in place to detect them.

Yeomans said the most efficient way to find them would be a space-based infrared telescope. This has two benefits: One, the sun would not serve to prevent detection of some objects, and two, the infrared nature of the telescope would mean it would be effective in detecting them. (Part of the reason there was no warning for the Russia meteor is that the sun blinded the satellites.) CBS News contributor and City University of New York physics professor Michio Kaku calls such a telescope a “no brainer,” in part because it comes at the relatively low cost of a few hundred million dollars.

Mars One Introduction Video

What it feels like to fly over planet Earth

'Tatooine' gives first direct proof of 2-sun planet

Luke Skywalker looks out over a desert dominated by two setting suns in an iconic scene from “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” But this isn’t just the stuff of fiction. Now, astronomers have confirmed the first direct evidence that planets with two suns do exist.

Scientists at NASA and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute [SETI] are informally calling the newly discovered world Tatooine, as homage to Skywalker’s planet imagined by George Lucas.

Astronomers Discover 16 Super-Earths

European astronomers announced Monday they’ve discovered 50 new planets, including 16 so-called Super-Earths, one of which is potentially habitable.

The existence of the exoplanets outside our solar system was reported at the Extreme Solar Systems meeting at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Astronomers made the discovery using the High Accuracy Radical velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) telescope in Chile. Over the past eight years, that instrument has helped discover a total of 150 new planets.

Of special interest are the Super-Earths, which are larger than our planet, but not as big as “ice giant” planets like Neptune. In particular, one of the worlds, HD 85512 b, is estimated to have a mass of about 3.6 times that of the earth. That planet is also close enough to its star that liquid water, which is considered essential for life, may be present.