If Earth Collided with a Black Hole

 

Worlds Collide

A new online tool calculates just how much cosmic destruction a run-in between the Earth and a black hole would cause.
The aptly-named Black Hole Collision Calculator determines how much a black hole would expand and the amount of energy it would release if it absorbed the Earth — or any other object, since the calculator is totally customizable, Space.com reports.
 

Big Kaboom

Particle physicist Álvaro Díez created the tool, which is hosted on the calculator database project Omni Calculator. Based on his calculations, a black hole swallowing the Earth would release some 55 quintillion times the planet’s annual energy consumption.
But even that destructive event would be a light snack for a supermassive black hole — its event horizon would only expand by a hundredth of a trillionth of a percent, per the calculator.
The main flaw with the calculator? The artistic rendering of a black hole obliterating the Earth that pops up next to the results doesn’t change to match any increasingly goofy collisions.
 

READ MORE: See What a Black Hole Would Do to Earth with Online ‘Collision Calculator’ [Space.com]
More on cosmic annihilation:Two Supermassive Black Holes Are on a Devastating Crash Course
 

Considering an Interstellar Mission

 

Going Interstellar

A group of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory are eager to send a probe into interstellar space, Wired reports. Pending NASA’s approval, they claim the project could launch as soon as 2030.

It could represent “humanity’s first explicit step into interstellar space,” as team member at the Applied Physics Laboratory Pontus Brandt told Wired, years after Voyager 1 became the first-ever human-built spacecraft to reach interstellar space.

Rocket Plan

The basic outline of their proposal, which arose out of a NASA supported interstellar probe study last year, is to launch a spacecraft that weighs less than 1,700 pounds on NASA’s upcoming — but much delayed and over budget — Space Launch System rocket.

It would then use gravity assist to sling it to speeds over 100,000 miles per hour — fast enough to leave the Solar System. The goal is to travel 92 billion miles from Earth in less than 15 years. In comparison, it took almost 40 years for Voyager 1 and 2 to get to just 13 billion miles.

Leaving the Heliosphere

While Voyager 1 and 2 were only outfitted with basic instruments, the proposed spacecraft will be have a host of sensors that could gain a better understanding of interstellar space — which remains largely mysterious to today’s scientists.

And leaving the heliosphere, the bubble-like region of space around the Sun, could provide additional opportunities.

“We’re sitting inside a bubble trying to figure out what shape it is, which is extremely hard,” Brandt told Wired. “The uniqueness of an interstellar probe is that we can go out and take a picture of our habitable little bubble in space.”

READ MORE: NASA Is Getting Serious About an Interstellar Mission [Wired]
More on interstellar space: After the Moon and Mars, NASA Wants to Head to Alpha Centauri in 2069

Climate Change will KILL us all

 

Global Warning

More than 11,000 scientists in 153 nations have endorsed a newly published statement on climate change — and it’s extremely gloomy.

“The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected,” the authors wrote. “It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

Climate Emergency

The statement, published on Tuesday in the journal BioScience, includes decades’ worth of hard data and scientific analysis on climate trends to support the authors’ claims. It also includes a slew of concrete actions humanity could take to address climate change, from replacing fossil fuels with renewables to reducing meat consumption.

“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” the scientists wrote. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems”.

Decades Of Destruction

The timing of the statement’s publication was appropriate for two reasons.

First, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference. And just one day prior to the statement’s publication, the United States officially notified the United Nations that it’s leaving the Paris Climate Agreement — potentially humanity’s best hope of avoiding the disaster foreshadowed by the authors.

READ MORE:More Than 11,000 Scientists Just Officially Declared a Global Climate Emergency [ScienceAlert]
More on climate change: “Climate Apartheid” Is Imminent. Only the Rich Will Survive.
 

Beautiful Design for a Moon Habitat

 

Moontopia

Professor Lewis Dartnell, a professor at the University of Westminster, has an ingenious plan to build a human colony on the Moon — and though it would require certain sacrifices, it manages to retain most of the creature comforts we enjoy on here on Earth.

His “Moontopia” habitat would be built inside massive hollow tubes, originally formed by lunar volcanic eruptions. The idea is that the kilometer-long, five-story openings would shield inhabitants from space radiation and extreme temperature swings.

Atmos-Fear

The tubes could also help with the Moon’s complete lack of atmosphere, which Dartnell calls one of the “hardest obstacles to overcome,” by sealing the giant tubes on both ends.

Installing gigantic lights overhead could provide inhabitants with a more Earth-like night-day cycle – unlike on the Moon, where a single lunar day takes almost 28 Earth days.

Harvesting Minerals

Humans could occasionally venture forth onto the surface to harvest minerals, including helium for fuel and water ice. But living inside such a “Moontopia” wouldn’t be quite as glamorous as it sounds.

Residents “would be confined to a relatively small city space, with a small population,” writes Dartnell. “The inability to leave the colony without great preparation and risk, could cause colony members to feel claustrophobic.”

READ MORE: Moon habitat city concept shows how humans could live a comfortable life [Inverse]More on lunar habitats: This Roomy, Inflatable Habitat Could One Day Take You to Mars

Aliens: Spy Probe Orbiting The Sun

 

Alien Spies

A physicist who’s on the hunt for extraterrestrial life says there’s a chance that an ancient alien civilization has been spying on Earth for millions of years.

That’s not to say that he’s suggesting they walk among us, but physicist and independent SETI researcher James Benford suggests that aliens could have visited a rock orbiting the Sun in a path similar to that or Earth, according to Live Science. While such an extraterrestrial visit is extremely unlikely, it’s technically within the realm of possibility that alien tech is sitting on one of those so-called co-orbitals, waiting to be uncovered.

The Gist

Every so often — roughly twice every billion years — another star will venture within a light-year of Earth, per Live Science. Since Earth is a couple billion years old, Benford argues in research published this month in The Astronomical Journal that it’s technically possible that an advanced civilization could have come close enough to launch an expedition to our solar system.

“This is essentially extraterrestrial archaeology I’m talking about,” Benford told Live Science.

Long Shot

Of course, that relies on a whole bunch of assumptions — that extraterrestrial life exists, developed advanced technology, lived near one of those nearby stars, and took interest in Earth.

“How likely is it that alien probe would be on one of these co-orbitals, obviously extremely unlikely,” Arizona State University physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, who didn’t contribute to Benford’s research, told Live Science.

READ MORE: Could E.T. Have Bugged a Space Rock to Listen In on Earthlings? [Live Science]
More on SETI: Scientists Are Terrified of SETI Research

Obtained Alien Artifacts

 

Exotic Materials

Former Blink-182 singer Tom DeLonge has pulled off an astonishing career change. In 2017, after quitting the band, he co-founded a group called To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, an organization committed to researching aliens.

And he may now have something extraordinary to show for it. In a recent Q&A with The New York Times, a reporter asked whether the group had obtained “exotic material samples from UFOs.” The spokesperson’s response: “certainly.”

Aliens Exist?

It’s still unclear what precise materials the Academy has gotten its hands on, and whether they relate in any way to the three videos it obtained of “unidentified aerial phenomena” that a spokesperson for the Navy recently revealed to be legitimate.

“What we have been doing is trying to find the most qualified individuals at the most respectable institutions to conduct scientific analysis,” Luis Elizondo, the director of global security and special programs for DeLonge’s group, told the Times. “That scientific analysis includes physical analysis, it includes molecular and chemical analysis and ultimately it includes nuclear analysis.”

Dammit

And it might be a while until we learn more about the group’s activities.
As Elizondo puts it, “the last thing we want to do is jump to any conclusions, prematurely. Ultimately, the data is going to decide what something is or what something isn’t.”

READ MORE: How Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge Became a U.F.O. Researcher [The New York Times]
More on the UFO videos: Navy Confirms That Three UFO Encounter Videos Are Real