Its the time to see some breathtaking views of the iconic Ring Nebula with the JWST! They have just revealed the stunning infrared image of this nebula. And it also entails beautiful details which are phenomenal.

What is the Constellation of Ring Nebula & What Does it Represents?

If we talk about the constellation of ring nebula, then it lies in the constellation Lyra. And it represents the left particles of a sun-like star’s death. And this star has a center that is expels its all materials into the space. Which is a very awe-inspiring phenomenon. When it does this, it creates the remarkable ring formation that we observe. Which results a star in undergoing transformation in a white dwarf.

But here arises a question. That what does the death of this star holds, and how it could provide benefits for scientists? So, the particular form of star death has left astronomers in awe for a long time. Since it provides a glimpse into what our own Sun will experience in approximately 5 billion years.

How Does Astronomers Professors & Astrophysicists Expressed Their Joy by Seeing Ring Nebula?

Albert Zijlstra, is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. Also expresses his excitement about the ring nebula, and the JWST view. He, thus said:

“The images have left us in awe, giving us knowledge about anything we’ve seen before. We always knew planetary nebulae were stunning. But what we witness now is simply spectacular!”

Aside from this, here we will also be quoting another statement by Jan Cami!

He is an astrophysicist. He mentioned:

“As a kid, I gazed at the Ring Nebula through a small telescope. Little did I know that one day, I’d be part of a team using the most powerful space telescope ever built to observe this very object.”

Besides Jan Cami, let’s see see another quote by Mike Barlow.  He is an astronomer and co-lead scientist of the JWST Nebula’s Ring Imaging Project from University College London.

He said:

“We are witnessing the final stages of a star’s life. Offering us a glimpse into the Sun’s distant future. JWST’s observations have opened a new window into understanding these captivating cosmic events.”

What are Some Diverse Shapes of Planetary Nebulae?

If you want to know more about the planetary nebulae, then let us drive you through some more interesting information. The Planetary nebulae scatter across the galaxy. And not just scattering, each one of them boasts unique characteristics with diverse shapes. That is why some exhibit bright rings, while others flaunt bubble-like formations. Aside from this, they also resemble butterflies and ethereal wisps.

Jelly Donut & Bagel Shaped Ring Nebulae:

And besides planetary nebulae, the ring nebula has a more intriguing similarity to a jelly donut or bagel. If we talk about its shape, then it resembles donuts. But, here arises the question that how it gives us captivating hints about its history.

M57 the Ring Nebula
M57 (the Ring Nebula) is accessible to amateur astronomers with good cameras. This ‘deep version’ taken by amateur astronomers Terry Hancock of Michigan and Fred Herrmann of Alabama, who both used Astro-Tech 12 inch Ritchey-Chrétien astrographs.

The next part of the blog is solely related to answering this question, so hang on, and keep reading!

What Details Have been Revealed by Ring of Nebulae So Far?

To uncover the secrets within these celestial wonders, many astronomers deeply study the light emitted by planetary nebulae. And when they go through this process, they can trace the chemical elements present within them, by delving into the intricate details of these elements. We will have a pretty knowledge about the remarkable story of a star’s evolution over time.

And to do this particular investigation, JWST is focusing on the ring using its NIRCam instrument. Which is highly sensitive to near-infrared light spanning from 0.6 to 5 microns (600-5000 nanometers). As the human eye can only detect a bit of infrared light up to around 0.7 microns (700 nm). That is why JWST gives us a broad vision to understand the nature and universe.

Life Cycle of Stars has been Expressed by Nebula Ring:

Mike Barlow is the lead scientist of the JWST. He emphasized how the high-resolution views provide a wealth of information about the Ring’s journey through its life cycle.

He shared:

“These detailed images not only unveil the intricate aspects of the nebula’s expanding shell but also offer a clear view of the inner region around the central white dwarf. Witnessing the final stages of a star’s life gives us a preview of the Sun’s distant future, so to speak. JWST’s observations have truly opened a new window into comprehending these awe-inspiring cosmic events. Moreover, the Ring Nebula also acts as an informative tool for studying the formation and evolution of planetary nebulae.”

A Diverse of Colors in Ring Nebula:

The captivating view of the Ring Nebula captured by JWST presents a wealth of valuable information. By analyzing the colors representing temperatures of ejected material at varying distances from the star, astronomers gain insights into the nebula’s composition and dynamics.

The captivating glow produced by gas and dust clouds is heated to approximately 100,000 degrees. And this is done by their star. It is an indicator of past and future changes within this nebula. It also provides us with knowledge of its history and evolution.

If we do a rough estimation that this process started around 4,000 years ago. Then, its ending provides us with a conclusion. And it gives us valuable insights into the final stages of a star’s life.

Ring Nebula
A close-up of the central region of the Ring Nebula. The brightest star is the very hot progenitor of the nebula. Courtesy JWST Ring Nebula Project.

JWST’s infrared-sensitive capabilities enable astronomers to penetrate even further into the Ring Nebula than previously possible, surpassing dust clouds’ limitations and providing unprecedented access to its intricate features. Meanwhile, NIRCam allows scientists to closely examine its structures; providing clearer insight into their inner workings than before. Furthermore, infrared emitting material detection enhances these observations, giving way to new understandings of this mysterious object’s intricate details.

outer halo of the Ring Nebula
A close-up of the outer halo of the Ring Nebula, with linear features stretching out from the main body. Courtesy JWST Ring Nebula Project.

What Could the Potential Information May be Provided by Ring Nebula in Near Future?

As we all know that JWST makes scientific discoveries, and inventions daily. That is why we can prospect some interesting further insights about the Ring Nebula. Moreover, the telescope’s capability to delve into the nebula’s edges will further examine the delicate details too.

This would be a fortune collaboration of international researchers from diverse countries too. As they hold great promise in advancing our knowledge about the star cycles, and the formation of the Universe. Henceforth, the anticipation of near future findings will give science fuel that will further help out in clearing a vision about our understanding of the Universe, galaxies, and stars. Now, what do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

NASA plans to send a group of three mini rovers to the Moon. That is aiming to assess their ability to work together. And not only this, but they also possess the ability to have direct control without the involvement of any humans as controllers on Earth.

 

Will Robots Overtake the Process of Autonomous Operations?

We call this project CADRE (Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Exploration). And it also shows an experiment to bring out a new technology. Besides representing an important step towards making the robots capable of doing their operation on their own. They also predict many impressive missions in the future.

What is the Exact Date of the Arrival of Mini Rovers Towards the Moon?

The CADRE mini rovers are scheduled to arrive on the Moon in 2024. As the part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative. Besides it, they will be deployed onto the Reiner Gamma region of the Moon using tethers. Moreover, these mini rovers are roughly the size of a carry-on suitcase and equipped with four wheels.

Mini Rovers
A pair of plastic prototypes of the CADRE rovers demonstrate driving in formation during a test at JPL last year. Seven of these “Mercury 7” prototypes were built, each named for one of NASA’s seven Mercury Project astronauts. John (for John Glenn) and Scott (for Scott Carpenter) are shown here. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What Will be the First Step of Mini Rovers Upon Landing?

When they will land on the moon, these mini rovers will see out a suitable spot for sunlight exposure. This spot would be the place where they will extend their solar panels to recharge. Aside this, they will spend an entire moon day, that is equal to about 14 Earth days. And this engagement in various experiments is would evaluate their capabilities too. Now that is impressive!

What is the Core Purpose of Sending Mini Rovers to the Moon?

The foremost goal of this cooperative robotic mission is to see how such missions can potentially enable new scientific discoveries. Or they will be able to provide support for scientists during future moon mission. By taking measurements from multiple locations. These mini rovers will aim to showcase the advantages of teamwork too. And this will be among good robotic systems in space exploration.

Let’s Know More About The Project of Mini Rovers:

The trio of four-wheeled rovers will set their mission by one by one, and they will be seeking out sunny spots to open their solar panels and charge up. And after the completion of this task, they will conduct experiments for a full moon day. Which will be equal to approximately 14 Earth days.

And if we talk about the main aim of the CADRE projects. Then they will demonstrate the effectiveness of a network of mobile robots working together one by one, and they will do it without the need for human intervention.

How Mini Rovers are the Part of NASA’S CLPS? Let’s Find Out!

These rovers are part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. And they are set to reach the Moon’s Reiner Gamma region in 2024.

The focus of doing operations by own is such as impressive feature. While mission controllers on Earth provide a general direction, these rovers  themselves will select a leader too. And allocate tasks among each other to accomplish their collective mission.

The rovers’ high level of autonomy is enabling them to make independent decisions, and these would includes:

  • Coordinating movements
  • Avoiding obstacles
  • Creating 3D images of the moon surface using stereo cameras

What Technical Challenges Would be Faced by Rovers?

Additionally, CADRE aims to assess the rovers’ adaptability in facing technical challenges. The success of this experiment will also highlight many future missions. If you are wondering then they will be specialized in navigating complex and scientifically significant terrains.

Though the primary focus of CADRE is not scientific research. The rovers will carry ground-penetrating radars too. By driving in formation and using radio signal reflections from each other. They will also generate a 3D image of the subsurface that would be around 33 feet below the lunar surface.

And it is quite impressive that this innovative approach would allow these mini rovers to collect more educative data. Which will further help out in the comparison to traditional ground-penetrating radar systems.

CADRE test rover
A CADRE test rover appears to catch the attention of the much larger engineering model of NASA’s Perseverance rover, called OPTIMISM, at JPL’s Mars Yard. CADRE will demonstrate how multirobot missions can record data impossible for a single robot to achieve – a tantalizing prospect for future missions. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What is the Clever Solution to Tackle These Potential Challenges?

The rovers will have the potential challenge of surviving the extreme thermal conditions prevalent at the Moon’s equator. The daytime temperature would be around up to 237 degrees which is Fahrenheit (114 Celsius). And that is why they must possess qualities of robustness, compactness, and lightness.

The CADRE team came up with a clever solution to tackle this challenge. Which will involve the implementation of 30-minute wake-sleep cycles. That is why to cool off and recharge their batteries, the mini rovers will power down every half-hour. And upon waking, they will exchange health status information and select a leader for the upcoming phase of the mission.

Subha Comandur is the CADRE project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. He said:

“Demonstrating a network of mobile robots can collectively achieve a task without human intervention. This breakthrough has the potential to revolutionize future exploration approaches too. Instead of relying on humans to control each rover, the question for future missions will be: “How many rovers do we send, and what can they achieve together?”

That is why mission controllers on Earth will send a general directive to the rovers’ base station aboard the 13-foot-tall (4-meter-tall) lander. And the team of small robots will then elect a “leader,” responsible for distributing work assignments too. Each of the mini rovers will independently determine the safest and most effective way to complete its designated task.

Three Mini Rovers Will Explore the Moon
Engineer Kristopher Sherrill observes a development model rover during a test for NASA’s CADRE technology demonstration in JPL’s Mars Yard in June. The team tested a new wheel design, surface navigation software, and mobility capabilities, among other aspects of the project. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What is the Collective Team Work & Coordination in Mini Rover’s Mission?

The CADRE project goes beyond just testing autonomy and teamwork capabilities.

  • The mini rovers must also confront the challenge of surviving the harsh thermal conditions near the Moon’s equator. Which is particularly demanding for small robots.
  • In the intense sunlight, these rovers might experience midday temperatures as high as 237 degrees Fahrenheit (114 Celsius).

What is the 30-minute Wake & Sleep Cycle?

In order to prevent the rovers from overheating, the CADRE team devised a good solution. Which is the implementation of 30-minute wake-sleep cycles. Every half-hour, the mini rovers will power down. Which will allow them to cool off with the help of radiators.

Once they wake up, they will communicate their health status with each other through a mesh radio network, through  Wi-Fi network. This information exchange enables them to collectively elect a leader based on fitness for the upcoming task. Then, they embark on another round of lunar exploration.

What Could be the Potential Forecast of Mini Rovers in Scientific Inventions?

The main objective of the mini rovers is to demonstrate how multirobot missions can pave the way for new scientific discoveries. And how they will provide support to astronauts during future moon’s missions. One of the rovers is pictured alongside a much larger engineering model of NASA’s Perseverance rover. This joint effort is expect to showcase the potential benefits and applications of collaborative robotics in space exploration.

EL Gordo is a galaxy cluster, and its phenomenal view has been captured recently by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. But one thing that is quite surprising you will find that this galaxy is locate more than 7 billion light-years away.

 
That is why it is surely an intriguing point for many of you. You will be amazed by the presence of two gravitational arcs in the image. And besides this, the most striking element in the picture is a vibrant red arc at the upper right. It is named “El Anzuelo” (The Fishhook).

And one thing that is noteworthy here is that the light from this arc has traveled for a 10.6 billion years before reaching Earth!

What is the Real Meaning of El Gordo?

El Gordo is a cluster that comprises hundreds of galaxies. They came into existence when the universe was approximately 6.2 billion years old. And that obviously making it a “cosmic teenager.” Apart from other interesting things, one thing is the EL Gordo had the title of the most giant cluster which we know. And if you want to know its originality, then it come from Spanish which means “The Fat One.”

Why the Astronomers Studied El Gordo? Gravitational Lensing Phenomenon!

If you are wondering why the scientists, and the research team chose to study El Gordo. Then it was due to its role as a natural cosmic magnifying glass. And it was achieved through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This process occurs when a cluster’s potent gravity bends and distorts the light of objects located behind it. This also resembles  the effect of an eyeglass lens.

This phenomenon, gravitational lensing, effectively boosts the brightness and magnifies the sizes of distant galaxies, granting astronomers a unique and valuable opportunity to study the far reaches of the universe in greater detail.

Team Pearls & Their Contribution in El Gordo:

Therefore, through the gravitational lensing by El Gordo, the brightness of galaxies that are far were boosted, and their sizes are magnified! This impressive lensing effect offers a special window into the far reaches of the universe. And allows researchers like Brenda Frye from the University of Arizona, co-leading the PEARLS-Clusters branch of the Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science (PEARLS) team. They conduct their observations and analysis on El Gordo.

What is El Anzuelo? Let’s Have Some Meaningful Insights

If we look deeper into the details of El Gordo, then we will find the one of the most notable elements. That is a vibrant red arc situated at the upper right. We call it as “El Anzuelo”, and its meaning is The Fishhook!

It is named by one of Brenda Frye’s students. Henceforth, the light emitted by this galaxy traveled a 10.6 billion years before reaching Earth. The distinctive red color results from a combination of reddening by dust within the galaxy itself. And not just galaxy but cosmological redshift too. All happened due to its immense distance.

The Phenomenon of “QUENCHING”!

The research team successfully determined that the background galaxy possesses a disk-like shape. They did it through careful corrections for the lensing distortions. And not only this, but with a diameter of approximately 26,000 light-years too. Which is roughly one-fourth the size of our own Milky Way.

Furthermore, their investigations into the galaxy’s star formation history also revealed a fascinating finding, which is none other than the process of quenching. And in this process the star formation rapidly declines, and they was already on the way, and in the center of the galaxy.

Let’s Know the Word of Patrick Kamieneski too!

Patrick Kamieneski from Arizona State University, the lead author of a second paper said:

“We skillfully unraveled the dust veil enveloping the galaxy’s center, where active star formation occurs. Now, with the capabilities of Webb, we can effortlessly peer through this dense curtain of dust. And it will be providing us with an unprecedented opportunity to witness the inner workings of galaxy assembly.”

El Gordo Galaxy
Two of the most prominent features in the image include the Thin One, highlighted in box A, and the Fishhook, a red swoosh highlighted in box B. Both are lensed background galaxies. The insets at right show zoomed-in views of both objects. Image: NASA, ESA, CSA. Science: Jose Diego (Instituto de Física de Cantabria), Brenda Frye (University of Arizona), Patrick Kamieneski (Arizona State University), Tim Carleton (Arizona State University), and Rogier Windhorst (Arizona State University). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI), Jake Summers (Arizona State University), Jordan D’Silva (University of Western Australia), Anton Koekemoer (STScI), Aaron Robotham (University of Western Australia), and Rogier Windhorst (Arizona State University).

What is the Reason Behind the Striking Red Color of El Anzuelo?

El Anzuelo’s striking red color come up from a combination of two factors:

  • The reddening effect caused by dust within the galaxy itself.
  • The cosmological redshift from its incredible distance.

And, the second prominent feature within the image is the pencil-thin gravitational arc, and the scientists gave a nickname it too. “La Flaca” (the Thin One).

This arc belongs to another lensed background galaxy, and its light also took nearly 11 billion years to reach Earth.

Who Lead the Keen Analysis of El Gordo?

PEARLS-Clusters branch, a part of the PEARLS team made their observations in this discovery. The images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) not only hold scientific significance. But they also let us in an awe with their breathtaking beauty. As they show the remarkable power of gravitational lensing, that is why it double up the beauty.

Moreover, his ability to tackle the gravitational lensing also fulfills the vision given by Albert Einstein over a century ago. It also opens up new possibilities for unraveling the secrets of the universe.

How The Theory of Relativity is Corelated with El Gordo Cluster?

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity come more than 100 years ago. And it predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. In the case of the El Gordo cluster, we witness this phenomenon come into visuals. The JWST’s remarkable infrared capabilities also allow it to penetrate through dust veils. Which furthermore making it more unique.

The concept of gravitational lensing by Einstein’s theory give us a vision of space and time. It tells us that they are  interconnected and malleable just like a skin to a tangible fabric. This 4D “fabric” can warp and ripple based on the presence of masses within it.

The JWST’s ability to observe and analyze gravitational lensing holds great significance in advancing our understanding of the cosmos.

Why the Distant Galaxies Appeared More Younger than the Nearest Galaxies?

As we are talking about El Gordo which is a very distant galaxy, so let’s find more insights about distant galaxies. Besides the objects captured in the Webb image, there are many intriguing elements. Through they might be less prominent.

For instance, Brenda Frye and her team, consisting of nine students ranging from high school to graduate level. They made a fascinating discovery. They identified five multiply lensed galaxies that seem to be part of a baby galaxy cluster. That was forming around 12.1 billion years ago. Furthermore, there are about a dozen other candidate galaxies that could also be part of this distant cluster.

The research team examined whether the properties of these galaxies differed from the ultra-diffuse galaxies or not. And they did find dissimilarities. The galaxies in the distant cluster appeared bluer, younger, more extended. And they displayed a more even distribution throughout the cluster.

These findings suggest that living in the cluster environment for the past 6 billion years has influenced the evolution and characteristics of these galaxies.

Ending Note on Timothy Carleton’s Words:

Timothy Carleton who is link with Arizona State University shares:

“We explored whether these galaxies exhibit any differences compared to the ultra-diffuse galaxies we typically observe in our local universe, and indeed, we found some intriguing variations. Specifically, they appeared bluer, indicating younger stars. And they displayed a more extended and evenly distributed pattern within the cluster. These observations strongly suggest that the cluster environment has played a substantial role in shaping the properties of these galaxies over the course of the last 6 billion years.”

Now, what do you think how are distant galaxies like El Gordo differ from the nearest one? What could be the potential manners of their difference?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has brought us an exciting week with its release of stunning photos of our Universe that reflects the old cosmic times.

 
One of the images allows us to glimpse faint distant galaxies as they appeared over 13 billion years ago.

SMACS 0723 deep field image
The SMACS 0723 deep field image was taken with only a 12.5-hour exposure. Faint galaxies in this image emitted this light more than 13 billion years ago. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

How Old is Our Planet Earth?

Today, cosmologists have successfully measured the age of the universe in various ways, and all these measurements agree. The age, approximately 13.7 billion years, is now a well-established fact and won’t undergo significant changes. Just like knowing the age of the earth, we also understand the age of the universe. That helps us comprehend the immense expanse of time since its inception and our place within it.

How Does the Speed of Light Shape Our View of the Cosmic Times?

Now is the perfect moment to pause and marvel at our exceptional access to the mysteries of the Universe. Thanks to our first-class ticket that allows us to explore its depths and witness the past through these extraordinary images.

These images also bring up intriguing considerations regarding how the Universe’s expansion impacts our calculations of distances on a cosmological scale.

Looking back in time may sound peculiar, but it’s a daily practice for space researchers.

Our Universe adheres to the laws of physics, with one well-known rule being the incredible speed of light. When we refer to “light,” we’re actually talking about all the wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum, zipping through space at a mind-boggling 300,000 kilometers per second.

Although light appears direct in our everyday experiences, it still takes time to make one’s way cross over the cosmic times.

For instance, when we gaze at the Moon, we’re seeing it as it appeared 1.3 seconds ago—just a tiny glimpse into the past. The same applies to sunlight, but in this case, the photons (light particles) emitted from the Sun’s surface take a little over eight minutes to reach Earth.

One paleontologist told The New York Times:

“It’s only by doing that that we’re able to reconstruct ancient ecosystems.”

How We Are Seeing a Nebula Image That is 2,000 Years Ago?

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, stretches over 100,000 light-years. While the beautiful newborn stars captured in the JWST’s Carina Nebula image lie 7,500 light-years away. In simpler terms, the image we see of this nebula comes from a time approximately 2,000 years in cosmic times before the invention of writing in ancient Mesopotamia.

Carina Nebula
The Carina Nebula is a birthplace for stars. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Whenever we direct our gaze beyond Earth, we’re essentially peering into the past, witnessing how things used to be. For astronomers, this ability to observe light from various points in time is like having a superpower, enabling us to piece together the enigmatic story of our universe.

What sets JWST apart and makes it truly spectacular is its capability to observe a wide range of infrared light. Unlike Earth-based telescopes, space-based telescopes like Hubble can access specific light ranges that Earth’s dense atmosphere blocks. Hubble, designed for ultraviolet (UV) and visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, excels in those areas. On the other hand, JWST’s specialization in infrared light allows it to peer further back in time compared to Hubble.

Cosmic Times
The electromagnetic spectrum with Hubble and JWST’s ranges. Hubble is optimised to see shorter wavelengths. These two telescopes complement each other, giving us a fuller picture of the universe. Credits: NASA, J. Olmsted (STScI)

What are the Longer & Shorter Wavelengths of Galaxies in Cosmic Times?

Galaxies emit various wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. That ranges from gamma rays to radio waves and everything in between. Each of these wavelengths provides crucial insights into the distinct physics occurring within a galaxy.

When galaxies are relatively close to us, their emitted light hasn’t undergone significant changes, allowing us to examine a wide range of wavelengths and gain a comprehensive understanding of their internal processes.

However, when galaxies are extremely distant, we face a different situation. The light from these faraway galaxies, as observed now, has been stretched due to the expansion of the universe. Which results in longer and shorter wavelengths.

The Concept of “Cosmological Redshift”:

Consequently, some of the light that was originally visible to our eyes when it was emitted has lost energy over time due to the universe’s expansion. As a result, it now resides in an entirely different segment of the electromagnetic spectrum. This fascinating phenomenon is known as “cosmological redshift.”

Why are Time Dilation and Relativity Essential for the Accuracy of GPS?

When people or objects move at speeds close to that of light, strange effects predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity start to influence time. One of these effects is that each observer perceives the other’s clock as running slower. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the clocks themselves. Rather, time itself appears to slow down for the fast traveler compared to those who remain at rest.

This time dilation phenomenon is real and has practical implications. For instance, if one twin were to travel at a speed approaching that of light and then return to Earth, she would be younger than her twin sister who stayed behind. The same effect occurs when gravity is strong, causing clocks to run slower. And it is one of the mesmerizing fact of cosmic time, and time travelling.

In particle accelerator laboratories, scientists routinely demonstrate the slowing down of clocks due to motion, significantly lengthening the lifetimes of unstable elementary particles when they move at speeds close to that of light.

Both the time dilation effect and the impact of gravity on clock speed, as described by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. And they are crucial factors considered in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Neglecting these effects would result in GPS errors, with inaccuracies amounting to several kilometers per day!

What Correlated Pairs of Objects Across the Universe Reveal About the Cosmic Times?

Cosmologists have long observed an intriguing pattern in space, discovering correlated pairs of objects distributed throughout the universe. These pairs are noticeable in various forms, such as hot spots seen in early universe maps from telescopes, pairs of galaxies, galaxy clusters, or superclusters in the present-day universe, and pairs found at all distances apart. By moving a ruler across a map of the sky, these “two-point correlations” become evident. With the presence of an object at one end increasing the likelihood of another object.

The most straightforward explanation for these correlations traces back to the early moments of the Big Bang. This is one of the impressive, and most awe-inspiring event in cosmic times. During this cosmic event, pairs of quantum particles spontaneously came into existence as space expanded exponentially. The particle pairs that emerge earlier in this process moved the farthest apart over time, leading to the formation of objects that are now distantly separated in the sky. On the other hand, particle pairs that emerged later remained closer together, forming pairs of objects that are more closely located to each other. Much like fossils that preserve ancient history, these pairwise correlations observed across the sky encode the passage of time. Which specifically representing the very beginning of time.

Cosmic Times

The Correlation Fact is Phenomenal! Let’s Agree to a Point:

For the universe as a whole, in which everything is moving with respect to everything else and some of the light that we see comes from near black holes where the gravity is very strong indeed, what clock can we possibly use to describe a meaningful age? What all cosmologists do is to imagine that there are clocks everywhere that started running at the Big Bang. And how that move with the expansion of the universe along with the nearby galaxies?

This gives a definite cosmic times that all observers can agree on.

For a long time, humans have thought about the potential existence of moon life, and they also thought of various creatures.

In this blog, we will provide brief answers to ideas regarding life on the moon. That was held in the 17th, 19th, and 20th centuries. By exploring these concepts, we will also gain valuable insights into scientific theories, and the discoveries by astronomers. Which will further assist us in our evolving understanding of the universe.

What are the Science Fiction Theories in Exploring Moon Life?

As telescopes and other advanced techniques for modeling the moon’s gravity and atmosphere became more

First Men in the Moon
An example of the intelligent insect creatures H.G. Wells described as living inside the moon. As more advanced tools for observing the moon showed its surface to be uninhabited, imagination shifted toward the idea that their might be creatures inside the Moon. The First Men in the Moon, 1901.

powerful. Supporting the notion of the moon as an Earth-like place became increasingly challenging. Despite outlining all the reasons that make life on the moon improbable. A 1915 astronomy textbook acknowledges:

“Even with all this, still life in some weird form may exist on the Moon.”

These ideas about peculiar forms of moon life also found their way into science fiction.

One such science fiction work, is H.G. Wells’ 1901 novel “The First Men in the Moon,”. He introduced a peculiar form of life on the moon’s surface. The story revolves around Mr. Bedford, a London businessman, and Mr. Cavor. He was an inventor who created a substance called cavorite, which negates gravity.

Persuaded by Cavor, Bedford embarks on a journey to the moon using this cavorite. Upon arrival, they encounter the Selenites, insectoid moon natives dwelling within the moon. Both men get capture by the Selenites but manage to escape. Although evidence had suggested a moon landscape, people remained intrigued by the impressive stories of its life that could exist beneath the moon’s surface.

What are the 20th Century’s Perspectives on Life on Moon & Extraterrestrial Competency?

In the 20th century, the Apollo missions brought the possibility of moon travel into reality, which is helping scientists to explore potential forms of life that might exist on the moon.

  • When training Apollo astronauts for encounters on the moon, Sagan, alongside other scientists.
  • Science fiction author Isaac Asimov, developed a curriculum to educate them on the possibilities of lunar organic materials. Their work also contributed to shaping procedures for quarantining returning astronauts, considering the potential effects of organic material and microorganisms from the moon.
  • Despite scientific advancements and the journey towards landing humans on the moon, imaginative ideas about exotic intelligent life on the moon’s surface continued to thrive in popular culture.
  • Even the long-running Dick Tracy comic strip, known for its tough detective, delved into moon life and the civilizations in the 1960s.

Does Life Exist on the Moon? Let’s Find out Through the Lens of Science!

Dick Tracy’s adventure to the moon revealed an advanced civilization and introduced the character of the Moon Maid, who acted as a liaison between Earth and the moon. While such stories captivated imaginations, the focus gradually shifted back to terrestrial crime-fighting as the real-world moon landing approached. With subsequent space exploration offering a deeper understanding of actual planetary conditions, the notion of intelligent life within our solar system became less tenable.

Previously believed to be inhospitable and lacking life, the Moon is now considered a potential habitat for lifeforms. The upcoming NASA Artemis 3 moon mission, set to launch in late 2025, aims to investigate whether microorganisms, which likely hitchhiked from Earth on previous space flights, might have survived in the extremely cold and permanently shadowed craters of the moon’s south pole. Space.com‘s report suggests that this mission could provide valuable insights into the existence of such life on the Moon.

Can Moon Life Originate from Earth? A Research Made in Artemis 3 Mission:

The research conducted by Saxena and his team was presented during a workshop focused on identifying potential landing sites for the Artemis 3 mission. NASA has already pinpointed 13 candidate regions near the Moon’s south pole.  Where the mission’s crew will make the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972. Scientists speculate that organic molecules, if present on the Moon, could have been transported there through “Earth meteorites.” Additionally, there is a possibility that resilient microbes originating from Earth, capable of enduring harsh conditions, may have traveled to the Moon aboard a lander.

Moon's south pole
Artemis astronauts explore a site near the Moon’s south pole. Image Credit: NASA

One intriguing aspect is the lack of strict requirements concerning forward contamination, meaning there will soon be 50 years of history with human objects on the Moon’s surface. Heather Graham, an organic geochemist at NASA Goddard, considers humans the most likely carriers of microbes, given the extensive data on our history of exploration and the potential for impacts from terrestrial sources. This exciting endeavor offers the promise of unraveling new aspects of moon life and deepening our understanding of the Moon’s potential as a habitat.

Moon Life
NASA has identified 13 candidate landing regions for the Artemis 3 mission. Image Credit: NASA

What is the Distance of the Moon from our Earth? Let’s Have Some Details Too!

The moon is, on average, about 238,860 miles (382,500 km) away from Earth. Which is roughly equivalent to 30 Earth diameters.

In terms of size, the moon’s diameter is approximately one-fourth that of Earth. And its surface area covers about 1/16th of Earth’s total surface area. As for mass, the moon weighs around 1.2% of Earth’s mass.

The point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth, we call it perigee. And during this time, the moon is approximately 224,000 miles (360,000 km) away from us.

The Concept of “Supermoon”

This occurrence is often referred to as a “Supermoon” because the moon appears about 14% larger. And approximately 30% brighter in the sky than at its furthest point, known as apogee or a “micro moon.”

How Can You Enhance Your Sky-watching Adventures to Observe the Moon?

For those interested in exploring the moon further, there are opportunities for sky-watching ventures. These include to observe its moon seas, mountainous terrain, and numerous craters. Guides are available for observing the Apollo landing sites, and equipment. It involves telescopes, binoculars, cameras, and lenses. They can enhance the experience of observing and capturing the moon’s beauty during sky-watching adventures.

Does Andromeda galaxy planets occur? If so, are they habitate too? Let’s answer your queries in this blog post!

As galaxies fill the universe, there is a belief system that the observable universe holds around two trillion of them. Among these galaxies, the closest one to us is the Andromeda galaxy, located approximately 2.5 million light-years away.

Given its proximity, astronomers are constantly seeking answers to our curiosity about Andromeda. They wonder whether it harbors any planets, and what these planets might look like. And most importantly, whether they could be habitable.

Facts about the Andromeda Galaxy:

  • The Andromeda Galaxy gets its name from the constellation Andromeda, a name after the mythological Greek princess Andromeda.
  • It is believed to be the most massive galaxy in the Local Group, contrary to previous assumptions that the Milky Way held this title due to its dark matter content.
  • A 2006 study revealed that the mass of Andromeda Galaxy planets mass is approximately 80% of the Milky Way’s mass.
  • Andromeda houses around 1 trillion stars, whereas the Milky Way contains about 200-400 billion stars.
  • In about 3.75 billion years, the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies will collide and merge, forming a giant elliptical galaxy.
  • Astronomers theorize that the Andromeda Galaxy was formed 5 to 9 billion years ago when two smaller galaxies collided and merged.
  • With an apparent magnitude of 3.4, the Andromeda Galaxy is bright enough to be visible to the naked eye on moonless nights.
  • The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at a speed of approximately 110 kilometers per second (68 mi/s).
  • Furthermore, a microlensing event called PA-99-N2 suggests the possibility of an extragalactic planet, estimation to be 6.34 times as massive as Jupiter. If confirmed, it would be the first exoplanet known to exist beyond the Milky Way.

A Quick Look at the Numbers:

  • Designation/s: Messier 31 (M31), NGC 224
  • Type: Spiral Galaxy
  • Constellation: Andromeda
  • Apparent Magnitude: 3.44
  • Size: 220,000 light-years across
  • Mass: 1,230 billion M☉ (solar masses)
  • Number of Stars: Approximately 1 trillion
  • Distance: 2.5 million light-years

What challenges astronomers are facing in locating the planets?

Currently, there is one very strong candidate planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, temporarily name PA-99-N2, which was detected during a microlensing event in 1999. Astronomers are diligently working to confirm its existence, and if successful, it would become the first officially recognized extragalactic planet ever discovered.

Andromeda Galaxy
Andromeda Galaxy – Credit: David Dayag

While the Andromeda Galaxy likely hosts millions or even billions of planets orbiting its numerous stars, none of them have been fully confirmed as of yet.

Detecting planets beyond our Solar System poses significant challenges because planets do not emit light. All confirmed exoplanets (planets outside the Solar System) are presently found within our galaxy. As our optical technology and data processing techniques continue to improve, we hope to extend our search for planets farther into the universe.

In 2010, several scientific publications reported the discovery of a Jupiter-like planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, known as HIP 13044 b. However, further analysis of the data raised multiple concerns, leading to the rejection of this planet candidate.

What is the likelihood of habitable planets in the Andromeda Galaxy?

As of now, we lack sufficient data about the stars and planets in the Andromeda Galaxy to determine with certainty whether any of its planets can support life. The best chance for a planet to be habitable is for it to be located within the “Goldilocks zone” or habitable zone of its star system.

The Goldilocks zone is the region around a star where a planet’s distance is just right to maintain liquid water on its surface.

Given the vast distance between Earth and the Andromeda galaxy, our knowledge about its stars and planets is not vast. Consequently, we cannot accurately ascertain the number of planets within the habitable zones.

Statistically, however, it is reasonable to infer that some planets in the galaxy might reside in the Goldilocks area of their respective stars. As our imaging techniques and telescopes advance in the future, we hope to confirm or refute these theories, gaining a better understanding of the potential for life within the Andromeda Galaxy.

What are the technological advancements made in Andromeda planets for further discoveries?

As of now, we do not have direct evidence to determine whether there are habitable planets in the Andromeda Galaxy. Due to the immense size of the galaxy and the distance from Earth, it is challenging to study its planets in detail using current technology.

The Andromeda Galaxy contains over a trillion stars, and many of these stars likely have sun-like characteristics, making it reasonable to assume that some of them might have planets. However, without detailed observations, we cannot confirm the presence of habitable planets in the galaxy.

As our technology advances, particularly with the potential development of NASA’s liquid lens telescopes, we hope to gain more detailed insights into the objects within the Andromeda Galaxy. With improved capabilities, we may discover more planets and solar systems in Andromeda in the future.

Regarding the Andromeda constellation, its genitive form, used for naming stars, is Andromeda. The constellation Andromeda from Greek mythology comes after the figure Andromeda. Cassiopeia’s daughter, Andromeda, was chain to a rock for sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus. Additionally, the constellation occupies a position north of the celestial equator.

Andromeda-Milky Way Collision – One of the Closest Galaxy to the Milky Way

The collision between the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way is predict to occur in approximately 4 billion years. This galactic collision will be a momentous event involving the two largest galaxies in the Local Group.

Andromeda, also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. Therefore, its name originates from the constellation Andromeda, the area of the sky where it appears. Scientists consider Andromeda to be the closest large galaxy to our Milky Way.

Is there any possible planet in andromeda for habitant perspective?

As for the possible planet in the Andromeda galaxy, PA-99-N2, this detection through a microlensing event. Moreover, this event is an astronomical phenomenon, and the reason for this is the gravitational lens effect. Which helps in detecting objects of varying masses, from planets to stars, regardless of the light they emit. Additionally, the exoplanet have a mass approximately 6.34 times that of Jupiter.

While no confirmed data currently exists regarding the existence of planets in the Andromeda galaxy. Statistical inferences suggest the possibility of planets existing within the habitable zones of their stars. Where liquid water could potentially support life.

James Webb Telescope captured two young stars’ images. These two stars are Herbig-Haro 46/47 and covered in orange-white splotch.

Young Stars
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a tightly bound pair of actively forming stars, known as Herbig-Haro 46/47, in high-resolution near-infrared light. Look for them at the center of the red diffraction spikes, appearing as an orange-white splotch. Herbig-Haro 46/47 is an important object to study because it is relatively young – only a few thousand years old. Star systems take millions of years to fully form. Targets like this give researchers insight into how much mass stars gather over time, potentially allowing them to model how our own Sun, which is a low-mass star, formed – along with its planetary system.
Credits: Image: NASA, ESA, CSA. Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

Webb Telescope Captures Stunning Images of Young Stars and Their Fiery Orange Lobes

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured fascinating images of two young stars, known as Herbig-Haro 46/47, in vivid near-infrared light. To spot them, just follow the bright pink and red spikes until you reach the center, where you’ll find the stars within the orange-white splotch. These stars are surrounded by a hidden disk of gas and dust that fuels their growth as they gain more mass.

What is so cool about the orange-white splotch in which these young stars are covered?

The coolest part is the fiery orange lobes that spread out on both sides from the center stars. This material was shot out from the stars as they swallowed and expelled gas and dust around them over thousands of years.

When the more recent ejections collide with older material, they shape these lobes differently, like turning a big fountain on and off randomly. This creates beautiful billowing patterns, and some jets release more material or move at higher speeds. Why does this happen? It’s probably because of the amount of material that fell onto the stars at specific times.

What are the key features observed in the recent ejections of the blue cloud of Herbig-Haro 46/47?

Let’s take a closer look at the stars’ recent ejections – they show up as thread-like blue lines just below the red spike at 2 o’clock. On the right side, these ejections form wavy patterns with breaks and end in a cool light purple circle within the thick orange area. On the left, we can see lighter blue, curly lines, though sometimes they’re hidden by the bright red spike.

These jets play a crucial role in star formation because they control how much mass the stars gather. The stars are surrounded by a small disk of gas and dust, like a tight band tied around them.

The Effervescent Blue Cloud: Let’s Know More About it!

Now, check out the second most prominent feature: the effervescent blue cloud. It’s a dense region of dust and gas, also known as a Bok globule. In visible light, it appears almost entirely black, but the James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared image lets us see through the hazy layers of the cloud. This reveals more of Herbig-Haro 46/47 and even shows distant stars and galaxies beyond it. You’ll notice the nebula’s edges in a soft orange outline, forming a backward L shape along the right and bottom.

What is the significance of the material ejected by young stars in the process of star formation?

The lobes we see are made up of material that the stars once swallowed from the dusty disk around them and then later expelled into space. These ejections play a vital role in the process of star formation. Picture them like a fountain, quickly turning on and off, creating beautiful patterns in the cosmic pool. Once these young stars finish growing, they will bring order to this chaotic scene.

In the background, you can’t help but notice the vast collection of stars and galaxies scattered across our universe. Each one, whether old or new, big or small, holds its significance in the vast expanse we call home.

What does the vast collection of stars and galaxies reveal about our universe?

Galaxies offer insights into the organization of matter on cosmic scales, providing valuable information to comprehend the universe’s nature and history. Scientists analyze both the present arrangement and the changes in organization across cosmic time to gain a deeper understanding of these fundamental processes.

What is the significance of the nebula in shaping the jets from the central stars?

Let’s explore the significance of the nebula in shaping the jets from the central stars. When the ejected material collides with the nebula on the lower left, it creates opportunities for the jets to interact with molecules in the nebula, causing both to light up.

Now, look at two other areas to compare the lobes’ asymmetry.

  • In the upper right, you’ll notice a blobby, sponge-shaped ejecta that appears separate from the larger lobe. Only a few semi-transparent wisps of material point toward the larger lobe, and there are almost transparent, tentacle-like shapes drifting behind it, like cosmic streamers.
  • On the lower left, beyond the hefty lobe, you’ll find an arc. Both the blob and the arc consist of material pushed farthest, possibly from earlier ejections. The arcs seem to point in different directions, suggesting they may have come from different outflows.

Take a closer look at the image. Although it seems like Webb captured Herbig-Haro 46/47 edge-on, one side is slightly closer to Earth, surprisingly the smaller right half. The left side, even though it’s larger and brighter, is pointing away from us.

Why Webb Space Telescope’s image of this cosmic nebula is so exceptional?

Throughout millions of years, the stars in Herbig-Haro 46/47 will fully form. And the stunning, colorful ejections we see now will eventually disappear. The binary stars will then become the main focus against a background filled with galaxies.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals such intricate details of Herbig-Haro 46/47 for two reasons.

  1. Firstly, the object is relatively close to Earth.
  2. Secondly, the telescope’s image is a combination of multiple exposures, adding depth to the picture.

Located 1,470 light-years away in the Vela Constellation, Herbig-Haro 46/47 is a cosmic nebula—a huge cloud of dust and gas. JWST’s special capabilities allow us to see through this haze and study what’s inside. Which is providing the most detailed portrait of these stars to date. The nebula is the reason why the stars’ jets appear to light up. As ejected material collides with the nebula on the lower left, it takes on wider shapes due to interactions with molecules within the nebula.

The image we have now is a sparkling spectacle, worth more than a thousand words. Even with all the information we’ve discussed, astronomers believe there’s still so much more to learn. They also believe about how stars form from this extraordinary picture.

The inner disc of the system PDS 70, rocky planets has been found with water vapours. And it is discovered by the Webb telescope. This is located 370 lightyears away.

Rocky Planets
Artist’s impression of the PDS 70 system

If you want to read more about this discovery, and its impact on further scientific studies, then this blog post is intended for you. But, let’s read the latest news first!

Water Vapours Near Developing & Rocky Planets in Distant Star System

Scientists have found water in the area around a star that already has two or more developing planets. Water is crucial for life on Earth, and researchers are trying to understand its existence here. And if the same process happens on distant rocky planets orbiting other stars.

They’re studying the PDS 70 system. Which has an inner and outer disc with a gap of eight billion km between them. Within this gap, two gas-giant planets have been identified. Using MIRI, scientists detected water vapor in the inner disc, at distances of less than 160 million km from the star. This region is significant because it’s where rocky planets, similar to Earth, might be forming.

Giulia Perotti, the lead author from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany, said:

“We’ve observed water in other discs, but never this close and in a system where planets are actively forming. Thanks to Webb, we can now make this kind of measurement.”

Surprising Water Discovery Near Old Star Challenges & Rocky Planet Formation Theories

Henning is also the co-principal investigator of Webb’s MIRI (Mid-InfraRed Instrument). And the principal investigator of the MINDS (MIRI Mid-Infrared Disk Survey) program responsible for gathering the data.

Thomas Henning, the MPIA director and a co-author of the study, added:

“This discovery is incredibly exciting. Because it allows us to study the region where rocky planets, similar to Earth, typically come into existence.”

PDS 70 is a type of star know as K-type, which is cooler than our Sun. It’s relatively old, about 5.4 million years old, especially for stars with planet-forming discs. The presence of water vapor in this system was surprising because as planet-forming discs age, they usually lose their gas and dust.

As time goes on, the material in these discs decreases either because the star’s radiation and winds push it away, or the dust starts clumping together to form larger objects like planets. Previous studies of similarly aged discs didn’t find any water in their central regions, leading astronomers to suspect that harsh stellar radiation might have evaporated the water, making it difficult for rocky planets to form in such dry conditions.

If you want to know more about the composition of these rocky planets, and their building blocks, then the following part will highlight it.

Water Vapor and Building Blocks Found Around Star PDS 70 ( Rocky Planets)

Astronomers have not yet found any planets forming close to a star called PDS 70, but they have discovered the building blocks for rocky worlds, known as silicates. They also detected water vapor, suggesting that if rocky planets are forming there, they will have water right from the start.

Water Vapours Detected by Webb
Spectrum of the PDS 70 system

One of the researchers, Rens Waters from Radboud University in the Netherlands, said they found a lot of tiny dust grains in the inner disc and combined with the presence of water vapor, it makes the inner disc a fascinating place to study.

What Could be the Potential Source & Cause of this Water?

Now, scientists are wondering where this water came from. They have two possible explanations for the finding. One idea is that water molecules are forming right there in the inner disc when hydrogen and oxygen atoms come together. The other possibility is that ice-coated dust particles are moving from the cooler outer disc to the hotter inner disc. When they reach the inner disc, the water ice turns into vapor. This would be surprising because the dust would have to cross a large gap created by two giant planets.

The discovery also raises the question of how water can survive so close to the star, where the star’s ultraviolet light could break apart water molecules. The team believes that surrounding materials like dust and other water molecules act as a protective shield, allowing the water to survive on rocky planets.

To learn more, the team plans to use two of Webb’s other instruments, the Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam) and the Near-InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec) to study the PDS 70 system. These findings were part of the Guaranteed Time Observation program 1282.

The following part of the blog will highlight the significant information about the Webb Telescope, and its remarkable contributions. So, let’s read it too!

ESA’s Key Role in Launching Webb Telescope- That is Where International Collaboration Makes History

The Webb telescope is the biggest and most powerful telescope ever sent into space. A collaboration between NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), launch this. As part of this collaboration, provided the telescope’s launch service using the Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

ESA played a significant role in the Webb mission. They were responsible for adapting and qualifying the Ariane 5 rocket for the Webb mission. And they also procured the launch service through Arianespace. Additionally, ESA contributed important instruments to Webb, such as the spectrograph NIRSpec and half of the mid-infrared instrument MIRI. A group of European Institutes known as the MIRI European Consortium develop this. Along with a partnership from JPL and the University of Arizona. This international cooperation made Webb possible, bringing together the expertise and resources of multiple space agencies to create this incredible telescope.

The first space stone, Boomerang meteorite could be the first rock that is going to leave the Earth, and then return to it too. If you want to learn “what this stone is capable of, and how it could bring interesting scientific discoveries, then this news is just for you”!

Let’s slowly uncover the hidden, and mysterious parts of this meteorite in this blog post!

Possible First Returning of Space Stone Found in Sahara Desert

A dark reddish-brown stone found in the Sahara desert, Morocco, might be the first meteorite to have returned to Earth after a journey into space that lasted thousands of years. The rock appears surprisingly well-preserved despite its long cosmic trip.

The team of scientists presented their findings at an international conference on geochemistry, but the research has not been published in a scientific journal yet.

According to Frank Brenker, a geologist from Germany:

“There seems to be little doubt that it is a meteorite, but whether it truly originated from Earth is still a topic of discussion”.

Now, you must be wondering about the chemical composition and isotopic transformations of the stone, so the following part is intended to answer your question.

Could NWA 13188( Space Stone) be Evidence of an Extraterrestrial Journey? If Yes, Then Let’s Find It!

Initial tests on the rock reveal that it shares a similar chemical composition to volcanic rocks found on Earth. However, some elements within it have transformed into lighter forms, which typically occurs when exposed to energetic cosmic rays in space. The discovery of this space stone is one of the key pieces of evidence supporting the idea that the rock ventured beyond Earth’s boundaries.

Geophysicist Jérôme Gattacceca, leading the investigation, presents compelling evidence supporting the extraterrestrial origin of the meteorite, officially named Northwest Africa 13188 (NWA 13188).

This finding strongly indicates that an asteroid launched the space stone into space, and it later impacted Earth around 10,000 years ago.

Space Stone’s  Journey through Space Validate Asteroid Impact Theory: Let’s have a brief overview!

Gattacceca and his team strongly believe that the stone was initially thrown into space due to an asteroid impact on Earth around 10,000 years ago. While volcanic eruptions can also launch rocks into the air, this possibility is highly unlikely to explain the rock’s characteristics. The recent volcanic eruption from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano only propelled rocks up to 36 miles (58 kilometers), falling far short of the meteorite’s apparent journey beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Once in space, the space stone would have been exposed to galactic cosmic rays, which are high-energy particles originating from exploding stars. These rays travel at incredible speeds and can penetrate our solar system. When they interact with meteorites, they leave behind specific isotopic imprints like beryllium-3, helium-10, and neon-21. In the case of NWA 13188, the levels of these elements are higher than those found in any Earth rock but lower than in other meteorites. This suggests that the intriguing rock might have spent thousands to tens of thousands of years orbiting Earth before re-entering its atmosphere.

It shows clues about its space journey, such as a fusion crust. So, let’s know about it further!

Glossy Fusion Crust: A Key Clue in NWA 13188’s Potential Journey from Space

The second important clue indicating the space stone journey is its glossy melted surface, known as a fusion crust. This crust forms when space rocks race through Earth’s atmosphere during their descent to the ground.

Diagram of the Space Stone
A diagram of the rock showing its approximate length and fusion crust. (Image credit: Albert Jambo)

The NWA 13188 meteorite, weighing 1.4 pounds, was bring back in 2018 by Albert Jambon. A retired French professor, at a mineral and gem show in France. Jambon, who has purchased around 300 meteorites for his university over the years. He found this one intriguing because of its unusual nature. However, its true value remains a mystery.

The meteorite was likely acquired by a Moroccan dealer from nomadic Bedouin tribes in the Sahara, making it unclear where exactly it landed on Earth. Jambon collaborated with Gattacceca, an expert in classifying meteorites for private collectors, to study the rock. However, their preliminary findings haven’t completely convinced other geologists, and they believe more research is needed before making extraordinary claims about its origin.

Is the Mysterious Boomerang Meteorite’s Age the Birth of Some Cosmic Puzzle?

One essential factor they haven’t determined yet is the meteorite’s age. Which would indicate whether it is from Earth or not. The current classification suggests it is 4.5 billion years old, like the solar system. But if it originated on Earth, it must be much younger.

The lack of a suitable impact crater is another concern. For a 0.6-mile-wide asteroid crashing into Earth 10,000 years ago, a crater about 12.4 miles wide would be expected. However, none of the 50 known impact craters on Earth. That meet this size requirement are younger than millions of years.

The Sahara, where the meteorite was find, does have 12 craters. But the youngest among them is at least 120 million years old. And much larger than what would be expected for the proposed timeline. Critics argue that a crater form just 10,000 years ago would surely have been discover by now.

Could this Space Stone Belongs to a New Class of Terrestrial Meteorites?

Another crucial aspect that scientists need to investigate is the amount of shock the space stone.  That is experience during the original impact. This information can be determine by examining the altered microstructures of the mineral crystals in the rock.

space rock
A full image of the space rock shown in the header. (Image credit: Albert Jambon)

According to Ferrière:

“This can be easily check with the naked eye and doesn’t require much time or expense. Making it a significant observation in this case”.

If the findings confirm the space stone Earthly origin. It will mark the beginning of a new classification of meteorites known informally as “terrestrial meteorites.” Currently, there is only one member of this group, which is a small piece of Earth.

Let’s Conclude Here:

While the boomerang meteorite, space stone is intriguing. There is a need of more research to determine its true origin. And the age before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.

NASA Perseverance rover sees the Light on Mars. Let’s uncover some of the important knowledge about this discovery, and see how it does it looks like?

Light on Mars Seen by Peserverance Rover
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover uses SHERLOC – one of several instruments on the end of its robotic arm – to study rocks in an area nicknamed “Skinner Ridge.” Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Perseverance Rover’s SHERLOC & Light on Mars

In a recent study, a cutting-edge tool called SHERLOC—which looks for compounds perhaps connected to ancient life—played a crucial role. Thanks to SHERLOC, a cutting-edge instrument on the rover’s robotic arm, NASA’s Perseverance rover may have discovered a varied assortment of organics during its first 400 days on Mars.

Organics are carbon-based substances thought to be the foundation of life. Whether the chemicals came from biological or geological sources is unknown to the mission’s scientists. Who are looking for proof that the planet formerly hosted microbial life.

Nevertheless, they are interested.

SHERLOC, an acronym for Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Light on Mars for Organics & Chemicals, aids researchers in determining whether or not a sample is worthwhile obtaining. The Mars Sample Return campaign therefore requires the equipment to be successful.

The campaign’s initial stage is the Perseverance rover, a joint effort by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). It aims to return carefully chosen samples from Mars back to Earth so that they may be investigated there with lab apparatus that is far more sophisticated than that which could be transported to the Red Planet. It would be necessary to return the samples to verify the presence of organics.

mineral mapped across a rock’s surface
Each color in this image represents a different mineral mapped across a rock’s surface. The mineral map was made by the SHERLOC instrument in a test prior to NASA’s Perseverance rover launching to Mars. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What are the SHERLOC’s Powerful Insights & Chemical Composition?

The core of SHERLOC’s capabilities is a method that examines the chemical composition of rocks by examining how they scatter light. An ultraviolet laser is point at the target by the equipment. The Raman effect, a phenomenon that describes how that light on Mars is absorb and then release. It offers a distinct spectral “fingerprint” of various substances.

As a result, scientists are better able to categorize the minerals and organics found in rocks and comprehend the environment in which they arose. For instance, different minerals can occur in saltier water than in fresh water.

SHERLOC uses its WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and Engineering) camera to record the textures of rocks, then adds information to the photos to produce spatial maps of the chemicals present on the rock’s surface. The results have been as encouraging as the instrument’s science team had hoped, as described in a recent report in Nature.

SHERLOC
Within a rock target called “Garde,” different kinds of carbon-based molecules called organic compounds were viewed by SHERLOC, one of the instruments on the end of the robotic arm aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/LANL/PhotonSys

Can SHERLOC Rocks Preserving the Evidence of Martian Life & Light on Mars?

A lead author Sunanda Sharma of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. JPL built SHERLOC along with the Perseverance rover, said:

“These detections are an exciting example of what SHERLOC can find. And they’re helping us understand how to look for the best samples”

Gale Crater, 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) from Perseverance. It has been verified to contain organic molecules numerous times by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Which landed on Mars in 2012. SAM, or the Sample Analysis of light on Mars. It is an equipment inside Curiosity that burns up powderized rock samples. And analyzes the vapor that results.
Scientists on Perseverance are searching for rocks. That may have preserved evidence of prehistoric microbial life, therefore they want to conserve the samples for further examination on Earth.

SHERLOC’s Intriguing Discoveries in Quartier and Beyond

Ten rock targets that SHERLOC researched are examine in the new Nature paper, including “Quartier.”

“We see a set of signals that are consistent with organics in the data from Quartier.”

The science team determines whether to use the rover’s drill to core a rock sample that is roughly the size of a piece of blackboard chalk when data from SHERLOC and other equipment appears promising. Following Quartier’s analysis, they took “Robine” and “Malay” rock-core

Light on Mars
This close-up view of the SHERLOC instrument located at the end of the robotic arm on NASA’s Perseverance rover was captured prior to the rover’s launch to Mars.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

samples from the same rock, making a total of two of the 20 core samples thus far.

Finding the most organic molecules doesn’t necessarily indicate a good target from which to take a sample. In the end, the researchers from Perseverance hope to gather a set of samples. That is typical of all the many regions that can be found in Jezero Crater.

Mars’ Past through Sample Analysis and Contextual Insight

Future researchers who examine these samples will be able to put them into context. By knowing what changes might have happened surrounding any samples. That might show evidence of prehistoric life, and light on Mars.

“The value comes from the sum rather than any individual sample,” Sharma said. “Pointillism is a good analogy for this. We’re eventually going to step back and see the big picture of how this area formed.”