Last week, I was having lunch with some friends, which included a number of programmers. One of them mentioned an old urban myth, that I hadn't heard in several years, which claims that, due to a programming bug (involving a misplaced semicolon), NASA once accidentally sent a probe into the Sun. I pointed out to my friend how implausible this was. … Continue reading NASA has never accidentally sent a probe into the Sun.
I have to say that I had no idea this was still being debated: Voyager spacecraft might not have reached interstellar space. In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object. But, in the nearly two years since that … Continue reading Voyager spacecraft might not have reached interstellar space
Lee Billings has a fascinating article up at Aeon asking why we continue to send missions to Mars when the best chance of life existing today is in Europa's underground ocean. If Europa is alive, if some biology dwells within those dark waters, the implications would be even more staggering than finding life on Mars. … Continue reading It’s time to look for life in Europa’s ocean
Corey Powell, and editor at Discover Magazine, and Steven Sotor, co-writer of the new Cosmos series, have been having a back and forth about Giordano Bruno, who was highlighted in the first Cosmos episode. Your suggestion that Giordano Bruno was not the first to realize that the stars are suns is mistaken. You cited his … Continue reading Battle of the “Cosmos,” Round 3 – Out There | Discovermagazine.com
The universe is roughly 13.8 billions years old. The universe was 66% of its current age by the time the Sun and Earth formed. Life appears to have begun on Earth when it was around 10% of its current age of around 4.5 billion years. The Earth was 85% of its current age before the … Continue reading Perspectives on deep time
xkcd: Oort Cloud. Comet ISON survived its swing by the sun, at least somewhat.