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Artist's impression of the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b. Credit: ESO

Escape from Proxima b

April 18, 2018

Avi Loeb's lated Scientific American blog post explores the idea that, "A civilization in the habitable zone of a dwarf star like Proxima Centauri might find it hard to get into interstellar space with conventional rockets."

Read More: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/escape-from-proxima-b/

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Yellow Triangle with the text Sputnik

Weekend Special: "Are We Alone in the Universe?"

January 2, 2018

"Are we alone? This is surely a question each and every one of us has asked, at some point in our lives. And while most of us go no further than simply putting this question out there, there are people who feel compelled to devote time and effort in a bid to find the answer. Today our guest on Sputnik's Weekend Special is just such a man - Abraham Loeb, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and an adviser to the Breakthrough Listen project."

Listen to Radio Interview: ... Read more about Weekend Special: "Are We Alone in the Universe?"
This artist's concept depicts the interstellar visitor known as 'Oumuamua as a battered metallic space rock. Some astronomers, however, speculate that 'Oumuamua may be something far stranger. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Alien Probe or Galactic Driftwood? SETI Tunes In to 'Oumuamua

December 13, 2017

"It’s a long shot, but scientists are about to listen very closely for radio signals from our solar system’s first known interstellar visitor."
"Ever since its discovery in mid-October as it passed by Earth already outbound from our solar system, the mysterious object dubbed ‘Oumuamua (Hawaiian for “first messenger”) has left scientists utterly perplexed."

Press Coverage:
  • Scientific American: ...
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illustration of Dense, expanding gas of debris

Cosmic alchemy: Colliding neutron stars show us how the universe creates gold

October 24, 2017

For thousands of years, humans have searched for a way to turn matter into gold. Ancient alchemists considered this precious metal to be the highest form of matter. As human knowledge advanced, the mystical aspects of alchemy gave way to the sciences we know today. And yet, with all our advances in science and technology, the origin story of gold remained unknown. Until now.

Read Full Article: The Conversation, by Duncan Brown, Syracuse University and Edo Berger, Harvard University

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Discovery Image

Astronomers See Light Show Associated With Gravitational Waves

October 16, 2017

Marking the beginning of a new era in astrophysics, scientists have detected gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation, or light, from the same event for the first time. This historic discovery reveals the merger of two neutron stars, the dense cores of dead stars, and resolves the debate about how the heaviest elements such as platinum and gold were created in the Universe.

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Project Starshot, an initiative sponsored by the Breakthrough Foundation, is intended to be humanity's first interstellar voyage. Credit: breakthroughinitiatives.org

In Quest to Reach Alpha Centauri, Breakthrough Starshot Launches World’s Smallest Spacecraft

July 31, 2017

Press Release:

First Prototype ‘Sprites’ – Precursors to Eventual ‘StarChip’ Probes – Achieve Low Earth Orbit

San Francisco – July 26, 2017 – Breakthrough Starshot, a multi-faceted program to develop and launch practical interstellar space missions, successfully flew its first spacecraft – the smallest ever launched.

On June 23, a number of prototype “Sprites” – the world’s smallest fully functional space probes, built on a single circuit board – achieved Low Earth Orbit, piggybacking on OHB...

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Magnetar model

Astronomers Discover “Heavy Metal” Supernova Rocking Out

July 31, 2017

Cambridge, MA -

Many rock stars don’t like to play by the rules, and a cosmic one is no exception. A team of astronomers has discovered that an extraordinarily bright supernova occurred in a surprising location. This “heavy metal” supernova discovery challenges current ideas of how and where such super-charged supernovas occur.

Supernovas are some of the most energetic events in the Universe. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it can collapse onto itself and create a spectacular explosion that briefly outshines an entire galaxy, dispersing vital elements...

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