Top Solar System News Of 2015

Humanity’s grasp on statistics may be seriously underestimating our estimates of how big hypothetical aliens may be. Here I will share the top 3 stories on solar system of 2015.

Aliens May Be Polar Bear-Sized

*According to statistics. How big and powerful would aliens be compared to humans? The answer that we can currently give is of course limited, because we haven’t found any evidence for extraterrestrial life, yet. But a little statistics knowledge suggests we may be way underestimating a typical alien’s stature.

The University of Barcelona’s Fergus Simpson just conducted a thought experiment along these lines. On a website explaining a recently published paper, he suggests going up to fans of English football (soccer) and asking them to name favorite teams. Most of them will cite the exceptional ones, even though there are 5,000 teams in football that pull in far less revenue and far fewer fans. Read More…

Neighboring Earth-like Planets Could Share Alien Life

There’s only one planet in our solar system that can communicate across interplanetary space. But imagine if things were different. Say if Mars, for example, had intelligent beings able to talk to us at the same time as we talked to them — how would that have changed our history?

This scenario is impossible in our own solar system, but could be (albeit remotely) possible elsewhere in the galaxy. This is part of what the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Jason Steffen considered in a new paper looking at possibly habitable planetary pairs. It’s not something that has been yet seen by the Kepler space telescope, although the NASA mission has spotted plenty of planets close to one other. Read More…

Life-Friendly Chemistry Revealed Inside Saturn Moon

After determining that the ocean beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus has roughly the same pH as Windex or soapy water — an indication that the water has been in contact with rock, creating potentially life-friendly chemistry — scientists are moving on to the trickier hunt for evidence of hydrothermal venting.

Saturn’s Double Aurora Show
NASA and ESA astronomers released movies of Saturn’s northern and southern lights, glimpsed edge-on for the first time by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The data comes from NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft, which in October made its deepest dive into plumes of vapor and ice jetting off the southern polar region of Enceladus, a 310-mile wide moon that has emerged as a top contender in the search for life beyond Earth. Read More…

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