New mission will explore the possibility of alien life in Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to our own, only four light-years away. It consists of three stars: Alpha Centauri A and B, which are similar to the Sun, and Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf that hosts the nearest known exoplanet, Proxima b. Could there be other planets orbiting these stars, perhaps even ones that could support life?
A new satellite mission aims to find out. The mission is called TOLIMAN, after the ancient Arabic name for Alpha Centauri. It is a collaboration between the University of Sydney and EnduroSat, a Bulgarian company that specializes in micro-satellites.
The mission is also supported by Breakthrough Initiatives, a philanthropic organization that funds projects related to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
The goal of TOLIMAN is to detect Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of Alpha Centauri A and B, the region where liquid water could exist on the surface.
To do this, the mission will use a technique called astrometry, which measures the tiny wobbles of stars caused by the gravitational pull of their planets.
This method is complementary to other techniques such as transit photometry and radial velocity, which look for dips in starlight or shifts in star spectra due to planetary orbits.
TOLIMAN will employ a custom-designed space telescope that will fit inside a 12-liter cube. The telescope will have a high-resolution camera and a coronagraph, a device that blocks out the bright light of the stars to reveal their fainter companions.
The telescope will also use a novel optical system called aperture masking interferometry, which combines the light from different parts of the telescope’s mirror to create interference patterns that reveal information about the star system.
The mission will launch in 2024 and orbit the Earth for two years. During this time, it will observe Alpha Centauri A and B for about 20 minutes every day, collecting data that will be analyzed by scientists on the ground.
The mission hopes to achieve an astrometric precision of 10 microarcseconds, which is equivalent to measuring the width of a human hair from 500 kilometers away.
If TOLIMAN succeeds in finding planets around Alpha Centauri A and B, it will open up new possibilities for further exploration and characterization. For instance, future missions such as James Webb Space Telescope or Breakthrough Starshot could target these planets for spectroscopic analysis or direct imaging, looking for signs of atmospheres, oceans, or even life.
TOLIMAN is an ambitious and innovative mission that will push the boundaries of satellite technology and exoplanet science. It will also bring us closer to answering one of the most profound questions in human history: are we alone in the universe?
Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say
Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.
space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.
During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.
Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.
despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.
To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.
while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.
Betelgeuse is acting strange again
Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.
However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.
Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of
Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.
Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.
Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.
A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.
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