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  • richardmitnick 3:40 pm on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Avi Loeb, , , , , Cosmic Modesty’ in a Fecund Universe, , ,   

    From Centauri Dreams: “‘Cosmic Modesty’ in a Fecund Universe” 

    Centauri Dreams

    8

    June 30, 2017
    Paul Gilster

    I came across the work of Chin-Fei Lee (Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Taiwan) when I had just read Avi Loeb’s essay Cosmic Modesty. Loeb (Harvard University) is a well known astronomer, director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a key player in Breakthrough Starshot.

    Breakthrough Starshot Initiative

    Breakthrough Starshot

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    SPACEOBS, the San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations Observatory is located at 2450m above sea level, north of the Atacama Desert, in Chile, near to the village of San Pedro de Atacama and close to the border with Bolivia and Argentina

    SNO Sierra Nevada Observatory is a high elevation observatory 2900m above the sea level located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada Spain and operated maintained and supplied by IAC

    Teide Observatory in Tenerife Spain, home of two 40 cm LCO telescopes

    Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM), located in the town of Sant Esteve de la Sarga (Pallars Jussà), 1,570 meters on the sea level

    Bayfordbury Observatory,approximately 6 miles from the main campus of the University of Hertfordshire

    [And, don’t forget Breakthrough Listen

    Breakthrough Listen Project

    1

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA



    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA


    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    His ‘cosmic modesty’ implies we should accept the idea that humans are not intrinsically special. Indeed, given that the only planet we know that hosts life has both intelligent and primitive lifeforms on it, we should search widely, and not just around stars like our Sun.

    More on that in a moment, because I want to intertwine Loeb’s thoughts with recent work by Chin-Fei Lee, whose team has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect organic molecules in an accretion disk around a young protostar. The star in question is Herbig-Haro (HH) 212, an infant system (about 40,000 years old) in Orion about 1300 light years away. Seen nearly edge-on from our perspective on Earth, the star’s accretion disk is feeding a bipolar jet. This team’s results, to my mind, remind us why cosmic modesty seems like a viable course, while highlighting the magnitude of the question.

    What Lee’s team has found at HH 212 is an atmosphere of complex organic molecules associated with the disk. Methanol (CH3OH) is involved, as is deuterated methanol (CH2DOH), methanethiol (CH3SH), and formamide (NH2CHO), which the researchers see as precursors for producing biomolecules like amino acids and sugars. “They are likely formed on icy grains in the disk and then released into the gas phase because of heating from stellar radiation or some other means, such as shocks,” says co-author Zhi-Yun Li of the University of Virginia.

    1
    Image: Jet, disk, and disk atmosphere in the HH 212 protostellar system. (a) A composite image for the HH 212 jet in different molecules, combining the images from the Very Large Telescope (McCaughrean et al. 2002) and ALMA (Lee et al. 2015).

    ESO/VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Orange image shows the dusty envelope+disk mapped with ALMA. (b) A zoom-in to the central dusty disk. The asterisk marks the position of the protostar. A size scale of our solar system is shown in the lower right corner for comparison. (c) Atmosphere of the accretion disk detected with ALMA. In the disk atmosphere, green is for deuterated methanol, blue for methanethiol, and red for formamide. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Lee et al.

    Every time I read about finds like this, I think about the apparent ubiquity of life’s materials — here we’re seeing organics at the earliest phases of a stellar system’s evolution. The inescapable conclusion is that the building blocks of living things are available from the outset to be incorporated in the planets that emerge from the disk. That certainly doesn’t count as a detection of life, but it does remind us of how frequently the ingredients of life manage to appear.

    In that context, Avi Loeb’s thoughts on cosmic modesty ring true. We’ve been able to extract some statistical conclusions from the Kepler instrument’s deep stare that let us infer there are more Earth-mass planets in the habitable zones of their stars in the observable universe than there are grains of sand on all the Earth’s beaches. Something to think about as you read this on your beach vacation and gaze from the sand beneath your feet to the ocean beyond.

    But are most living planets likely to occur around G-class stars like our Sun? Loeb reminds us that red dwarf stars like Proxima Centauri b and TRAPPIST-1, both of which made headlines in the past year because of their conceivably habitable planets, are long-lived, with lifetimes as long as 10 trillion years. Our Sun’s life, by comparison, is a paltry 10 billion years. Long after the Sun has turned into a white dwarf after its red giant phase, living things could still have a habitat around Proxima Centauri and TRAPPIST-1. Says Loeb:

    “I therefore advise my wealthy friends to buy real estate on Proxima b, because its value will likely go up dramatically in the future. But this also raises an important scientific question: “Is life most likely to emerge at the present cosmic time near a star like the sun?” By surveying the habitability of the universe throughout cosmic history from the birth of the first stars 30 million years after the big bang to the death of the last stars in 10 trillion years, one reaches the conclusion that unless habitability around low-mass stars is suppressed, life is most likely to exist near red dwarf stars like Proxima Centauri or TRAPPIST-1 trillions of years from now.”

    ESO Pale Red Dot project

    ESO Red Dots Campaign

    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets (NASA).

    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile interior

    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist-South National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile

    But of course, one of the reasons for missions like TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite),

    NASA/TESS

    is to begin to understand the small rocky worlds around nearby red dwarfs, and to determine whether there are factors like tidal lock or stellar flaring that preclude life there. For that matter, do the planets around Proxima and TRAPPIST-1 have atmospheres? There too the answer will be forthcoming, assuming the James Webb Space Telescope is deployed successfully and can make the needed assessment of these worlds.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    ” …very advanced civilizations [Loeb continues] could potentially be detectable out to the edge of the observable universe through their most powerful beacons. The evidence for an alien civilization might not be in the traditional form of radio communication signals. Rather, it could involve detecting artifacts on planets via the spectral edge from solar cells, industrial pollution of atmospheres, artificial lights or bursts of radiation from artificial beams sweeping across the sky.”

    Changes to the traditional view of SETI abound as we explore these new pathways. In any case, our technologies for making such detections have never been as advanced, and work across the exoplanetary spectrum, such as the findings of Chin-Fei Lee and colleagues, urges us on as we try to relate our own civilization to a universe in which it is hardly the center. As Loeb reminds us, we are orbiting a galaxy that itself moves at ~0.001c relative to the cosmic rest frame, one of perhaps 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe.

    Either alternative — we are alone, or we are not — changes everything about our perspective, and encourages us to deepen the search for simple life (perhaps detected in exoplanetary atmospheres through its biosignatures) as well as conceivable alien civilizations. Embracing Loeb’s cosmic modesty, we press on under the assumption that life’s emergence is not uncommon, and that refining the search to learn the answer is a civilizational imperative.

    See the full article here .

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    Tracking Research into Deep Space Exploration

    Alpha Centauri and other nearby stars seem impossible destinations not just for manned missions but even for robotic probes like Cassini or Galileo. Nonetheless, serious work on propulsion, communications, long-life electronics and spacecraft autonomy continues at NASA, ESA and many other venues, some in academia, some in private industry. The goal of reaching the stars is a distant one and the work remains low-key, but fascinating ideas continue to emerge. This site will track current research. I’ll also throw in the occasional musing about the literary and cultural implications of interstellar flight. Ultimately, the challenge may be as much philosophical as technological: to reassert the value of the long haul in a time of jittery short-term thinking.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Avi Loeb, , , ,   

    From Red Dot: “Is there life around the nearest stars? 

    Red Dots

    13th June 2017
    Avi Loeb

    1

    Is there extra-terrestrial life just outside the solar system? The recent discovery of Proxima b [1], a habitable Earth-mass planet next to the nearest star, opened a unique opportunity in the search for extra-terrestrial life.

    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    It is much easier to study nearby habitats for life, either by remote sensing of the feeble radiation signals from biologically-produced molecules (e.g. oxygen) or by sending spacecrafts that will image the planet’s surface or collect samples from its atmosphere through a close encounter. The Breakthrough Starshot initiative, announced in April 2016 (and whose advisory committee I chair) aims to send lightweight (gram scale) probes to the nearest stars at a fifth of the speed of light, so as to inform us of nearby life-hosting environments within our generation. To properly select the Starshot targets, we would like to know which nearby stars host habitable planets like Proxima b. The treasure of data expected from the Red Dots campaign will be invaluable for guiding and motivating the Starshot project.

    2
    Artistic’s conception showing the Starshot project concept. A laser beam propels a light sail towards a nearby exoplanet such as Proxima b. The sail carries on its center a lightweight probe with several measuring instruments. Starshot will start soon the first five-year phase of technology demonstration at a funding level of $100M, provided by the entrepreneur and physicist Yuri Milner (Credit: Breakthrough Starshot).

    The chemistry of life as we know it requires liquid water, but being at the right distance from the host star for a comfortable temperature on the planet’s surface, is not a sufficient condition. The planet also needs to have an atmosphere. In the absence of an external atmospheric pressure, the warming of water ice transforms it into directly into gas phase rather than liquid. The warning sign is just next door: Mars has a tenth of the Earth’s mass and lost its atmosphere. Does Proxima b have an atmosphere? If so, the atmosphere and any surface ocean it sustains, will moderate the temperature contrast between its permanent day and night sides. In collaboration with Laura Kreidberg, we showed [2] that the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in October 2018, will be able to distinguish between the temperature contrast expected if Proxima b is bare rock compared to the case where its climate is moderated by an atmosphere.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star with 12% of the mass of the Sun. Another dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, with 8% of the solar mass, was discovered recently [3],[4] to host 3 habitable planets out of a total of 7 and if life forms in one of the three it will likely spread to the others [5].

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets (NASA).

    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile interior

    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist-South National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile

    Such dwarf stars have a lifetime that is up to a thousand times longer than the Sun. Hence, they provide excellent prospects for life in the distant future, a trillion years from now, long after the Sun will die and turn into an Earth-size cold remnant, known as a white dwarf. I therefore advise my wealthy friends to buy real estate on Proxima b, since its value is likely to go up dramatically in the future. But this also raises an important scientific question: is life most likely to emerge at the present cosmic time near a star like the Sun? By studying the habitability of the Universe throughout cosmic history from the birth of the first stars 30 million years after the Big Bang to the death of the last stars in ten trillion years, I concluded [6],[7] that unless habitability around low mass stars is suppressed, life is most likely to exist near dwarf stars like Proxima or TRAPPIST-1 ten trillion years from now. This highlights the importance of searching for life around these nearby red dwarf stars, namely the Red Dots campaign. Finding bio-signatures in the atmospheres of transiting Earth-mass planets around such stars will determine whether present-day life is indeed premature or typical from a cosmic perspective.

    References [no links provided]:

    Anglada-Escudé G. et al. “A Terrestrial Candidate in a Temperate Orbit Around Proxima Centauri”, Nature, 536, 437 (2016).
    Kreidberg, L. & Loeb, A. “Prospects for Characterising the Atmosphere of Proxima b”, ApJ, 832, L12 (2016).
    Gillon, M. et al. “Temperate Earth-Sized Planets Transiting a Nearby Ultracool Dwarf Star”, Nature, 533, 221 (2016).
    Gillon, M, et al. “Seven temperate terretrial planets around the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1”, Nature, 542, 456–460
    Lingam, M., & Loeb, A. “Enhanced Interplanetary Panspermia in the TRAPPIST-1 System”, PNAS, in press (2017); arXiv: 1703.00878.
    Loeb, A., Batista, R. A., & Sloan, D. “Relative Likelihood for Life as a Function of Cosmic Time”, JCAP, 8, 40 (2016). “
    Loeb, A. “On the Habitability of Our Universe”, chapter for the book “Consolidation of Fine Tuning”, edited by R. Davies, J. Silk and D. Sloan (Oxford University, 2017); arXiv:1606.0892

    See the full article here .

    It seems to me that the author should have made mention of the Breakthrough Listen Project, a modest initiative using ground based telescopic assets.

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA



    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA

    and

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    Not to mention also missing

    Breakthrough Starshot Initiative Observatories

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    SPACEOBS, the San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations Observatory is located at 2450m above sea level, north of the Atacama Desert, in Chile, near to the village of San Pedro de Atacama and close to the border with Bolivia and Argentina

    SNO Sierra Nevada Observatory is a high elevation observatory 2900m above the sea level located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada Spain and operated maintained and supplied by IAC

    Teide Observatory in Tenerife Spain, home of two 40 cm LCO telescopes

    Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM), located in the town of Sant Esteve de la Sarga (Pallars Jussà), 1,570 meters on the sea level

    Bayfordbury Observatory,approximately 6 miles from the main campus of the University of Hertfordshire

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Red dots is a project to attempt detection of the nearest terrestrial planets to the Sun. Terrestrial planets in temperate orbits around nearby red dwarf stars can be more easily detected using Doppler spectroscopy, hence the name of the project.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:50 pm on January 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Avi Loeb, , , Dark Enrgy, Lawrence Krauss says “The longer you wait the less you will see and the more of the universe will disappear before your very eyes”, Milkomeda, , Physics in 1 Trillion Years   

    From NOVA: “Physics in 1 Trillion Years” from 17 Feb 2016 

    PBS NOVA

    NOVA

    17 Feb 2016
    Sarah Scoles

    When winter weather closed Harvard University one day in 2011, astronomer Avi Loeb used the snow day not to sled or start a new novel but to contemplate the future of the universe. In that future, cosmologists like him, who study the universe’s origins and evolution, might not be able to make a living.

    Nine years before, he had written a paper outlining the problem: Dark energy makes the universe expand faster and faster every femtosecond. As spacetime—the fabric of the cosmos—stretches, it carries galaxies along with it. The stretching sends each galaxy farther and farther from the others, eventually driving them so far apart that light will never be able to bridge the gap between them.

    1
    Far future cosmologists won’t have the same evidence as we do to infer the Big Bang. No image credit.

    In that future, our own oasis, the Milky Way, will be completely alone. When future astronomers look up, they will see only our galaxy’s own stars. They won’t find any evidence—even with the powerful telescopes of a trillion years hence—that other galaxies even exist beyond the horizon of their visible universe. Without a view of those other galaxies, they won’t be able to tell that everything was born in a Big Bang, or that the black vacuum of space is expanding at all, let alone that that expansion is speeding up. Ironically, dark energy itself will destroy evidence of dark energy.

    Thinking of this emptied universe, Loeb stared out the window at the snowfall, which covered the ground in a blank blanket. “I was pretty depressed that there would be nothing to look at, and that we won’t be able to tell how the universe started by observing it.”

    He set out to find a solution.

    A Galactic Merger

    Currently, cosmic expansion clues us in to the Big Bang. Press fast-forward on the growing universe we see today, and it continues growing, with objects flying ever-farther apart. It doesn’t take much creativity to then press rewind: The universe shrinks, and its ingredients squish together. If you rewind until the very beginning of the tape, everything piles into one infinitesimally small, infinitely dense spot. Press play and it bursts forth: a Big Bang.

    Astronomers only discovered that expansion because they could see other galaxies, which all seem to be running away from us. In 1999, using ultra-distant supernova explosions, they figured out that faraway galaxies were retreating faster than they “should” be, and that even more distant galaxies were distancing themselves faster than that. Something—which they later termed dark energy—spurs expansion on, like a car whose pedal never reaches the metal no matter how hard you push.

    The real problems won’t show up for a while, until about a trillion years after the Big Bang. By that time, the Milky Way will have long ago crashed into the Andromeda Galaxy. The stars will have spent 3 billion years swirling into stable orbits, before becoming a seamless chimera: a single galaxy called “Milkomeda,” a term Loeb coined in 2008 when he simulated and then forecasted the collision’s specifics.

    1
    After their first close pass, the Andromeda Galaxy as well as the Milky Way would be tidally stretched out, as shown in this artist’s conception. NASA / ESA / STScI

    Even as that galactic collision takes place, dark energy will be dragging everything else away from us. Little by little over billions of years, everything will pop over the visible horizon, along with any physical evidence of its existence, until only our neighbor stars in Milkomeda remain. “The universe becomes lonely,” says Glenn Starkman, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University. He and astronomer Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University in Tempe wrote an article titled Life, The Universe, and Nothing: Life and Death in an Ever-Expanding Universe, which also discusses this “lonely astronomer” problem. “The longer you wait, the less you will see and the more of the universe will disappear before your very eyes,” Krauss says.

    “Earth’s night sky will change,” Loeb says. Stars that humans (or whoever is around) will get to watch in a few billion years will shift radically. Today, the Milky Way appears as a diagonal swash of fuzzy light, the combined photons of billions of stars too small for our eyes to resolve. But when people in the distant future look up at Milkomeda, they will see those stars distributed evenly across the sky.

    If astronomers still live in Milkomeda at that point, they could be thrown into an astronomical dark age. To them, the universe will look like the one we thought we understood before telescopes. Back then, we thought we were the center of the cosmos, and we believed the Milky Way to be the entirety of the universe.

    That universe seemed static and without beginning. Alone in Milkomeda, future astronomers may—validly, based on actual evidence—see it that way, too. “Scientists who evolve on such a world will look out and find that the three main pillars of the Big Bang will all be gone,” Krauss says.

    Three Missing Pillars

    “It’s a gloomy forecast,” Loeb says. “We won’t be able to look at anything. It’s not just galaxies—it’s any relic left from Big Bang.” Right now, telescopes can see a glow of light left over from the Big Bang. This relic radiation, called the cosmic microwave background [CMB], comes from every direction in the sky. The Planck Telescope recently made a high-definition map of it, which is essentially a blueprint of a baby universe. It shows us the seeds that grew into groups of galaxies, tells us what the universe is made of, and tips us off about the very beginning of everything.

    CMB per ESA/Planck
    CMB per ESA/Planck

    ESA/Planck
    ESA/Planck

    But as time passes, the photons that make up cosmic microwave background cool off and lose energy, increasing their wavelengths. Eventually, those waves—which today are on the order of millimeters—will be bigger than the visible universe. There’s no telescope, not even one a trillion-year-old society could build, that can detect that. “They will no longer be able to learn what we know about the early universe,” Starkman says.

    The composition of the universe, which now tells scientists that the Big Bang occurred, won’t help in the far future, either. After the Big Bang, the universe began to cool off. Soon, free-range quarks settled down into electrons, protons, and neutrons, which could then intertwine into hydrogen atoms. Those atoms then smacked into each other and stuck together, fusing into larger helium atoms. In just 30 minutes, most of the helium that exists today had formed. A comparatively small amount has been created inside stars in the few billion years since.

    “Right now, we know the Big Bang happened because 25% of universe is helium,” Krauss says. “There’s no way stars could have made that.” But by the time the universe is 10 trillion years old, stars will have fused most of the hydrogen into helium. That is, in fact, their job. But in doing it so well, they will knock down the last solid evidence that the universe had a beginning at all. “All relics of Big Bang will be gone from us,” Loeb says. “There will be really nothing.”

    It seems that we live at a somewhat strange time in the universe—one in which our sky is filled with evidence of the cosmic narrative. Does that make us lucky? And does it make future observers unlucky? Astronomers generally shy away from suggestions that we are anything other than dead-average. They call it the Mediocrity Principle.

    But maybe each eon is a special snowflake in its own way, meaning none of them is really special, just like soccer kids who all get trophies. The far-future folks may have easy access to knowledge we, in our dark-energy-dominated and bright-skied time, can’t grasp. “I suspect that each era is interesting for different reasons,” Krauss says. “There may be cosmological observables that we could see in the far future that we can’t see now.”

    We can’t know for sure, nor can we know for sure that this future forecast is correct. Just like perfect weather prediction, it can only happen if we know everything about every subatomic particle. The year 1 trillion CE may not look exactly as we envision it. “That broad picture is what will happen if what we know continues to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Starkman says. “There’s a lot of chutzpah in thinking that’s really so, that we’ve captured everything there is to know about physics.”

    Possible Answers

    As the winter storm swirled outside, Loeb considered the dark, empty (potential) future he’d predicted. He hated that so much knowledge—the science he loved—would disappear, like all the galaxies. He had recently given a public talk on the topic, sharing his sadness, and an audience member’s question had sent him reeling: Would this future convert cosmology into a kind of religion? “You would have books talking about the story of how the universe started, but you wouldn’t be able to verify that,” he says. “I was worried that cosmology would be turned into folklore.”

    “There will really be nothing,” he thought again. But then a flash swept through his brain. Nothing—except for one thing. “I realized that not everything is lost,” says Loeb. The key is a type of object called a hypervelocity star.

    “The center of our galaxy keeps ejecting stars at high enough speeds that they can exit the galaxy,” Loeb says. The intense and dynamic gravity near the black hole ejects them into space, where they will glide away forever like radiating rocket ships. The same thing should happen a trillion years from now.

    “These stars that leave the galaxy will be carried away by the same cosmic acceleration,” Loeb says. Future astronomers can monitor them as they depart. They will see stars leave, become alone in extragalactic space, and begin rushing faster and faster toward nothingness. It would look like magic. But if those future people dig into that strangeness, they will catch a glimpse of the true nature of the universe. “Just like Edwin Hubble observed galaxies—historically trying to infer expansion—they could observe those stars outside the galaxy and figure out the universe is expanding,” Loeb says. Starkman says they could accomplish this synthetically, too. “They could send out probes far enough to notice that the probes accelerated away,” he says.

    And then, perhaps, they will imagine pressing fast-forward on this scenario. And, if their imaginations are like ours, they will then think about rewinding it—all the way back to the beginning.

    Krauss doesn’t necessarily buy this. Occam’s Razor states that the least complicated answer is usually the correct one, and that principle will lead these future beings astray. It sounds crazy that the very fabric of the universe is growing larger faster all the time, carrying some runaway star with it. It’s not the explanation that comes to the tip of the tongue. But perhaps more importantly, with just Milkomeda in the night sky, astronomers will have no reason to come up with a theory of anything beyond those stars. Just as pre-telescope scientists thought only of what they could see with their eyes, not of an invisible universe outside of that, so too could future astronomers’ imaginations be constrained.

    Loeb stands by his solution, although he admits it could remain in his 21st century paper and never occur to someone in the 2.1 trillionth century. “It’s difficult to speculate what will happen in a year or 10 years on Earth, let alone a trillion years,” he says. “We don’t even know if humans will still be around…I’m just talking about what one could learn.”

    Which is why Loeb is so intent on forecasting the future cosmos, even though he won’t be around to see it. “Most of my colleagues do not care about the future because they regard themselves as down-to-Earth,” he says. “They only think about things that can be tested or looked at right now. We can’t really observe the future, so they prefer not to think about the future. They often run computer simulations of the universe to the present time and then stop. All I’m saying is ‘Why stop?’ ”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    NOVA is the highest rated science series on television and the most watched documentary series on public television. It is also one of television’s most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over.

     
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