Will NASA’s New Telescope Discover ET Life?
The spectacular first images from the James Webb Space Telescope are finally here and they do not disappoint.
After years of planning, construction, delays, and a cost of about $10 billion, we finally have the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Launched in December of 2021, the JWST is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever to be put in space.
Astronomers have waited a lifetime to see with such amazing clarity deep into space. JWST does this by operating in the infrared spectrum; it “sees” light that is outside the visible spectrum of our naked eye and previous telescopes like Hubble.
NASA released photos of the first five targets noting, “These first images from the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope demonstrate Webb at its full power, ready to begin its mission to unfold the infrared universe.”
We caught up with astronomer and Gaia News contributor Marc D’Antonio on the road in Arizona, to break down the images.
“I saw these images and the release of all five different images represent a different aspect of what this telescope can do — absolutely astonishing to me — from galaxies to gas clouds, this telescope hands down, has the ability to show us so much that we don’t understand.”
Most laypeople are impressed by the images, but what does an astronomer see? What should we be looking for?
“If you look at that large-scale shot, the deep field shot that the JWST took, that image encompasses a whole bunch of things happening there. In one case, you see galaxies that are stretched and curved. That is called gravitational lensing and we’re seeing the result of a galaxy cluster that’s in the foreground warping images of galaxies behind it. Those red galaxies on the outside, those galaxies are literally 13.6 billion years old. These are formed just after the Big Bang itself. This is kind of cool, I should say, it’s filling in the gaps. We haven’t been able to see back that far with any of our instrumentation. And when you say ‘see back that far,’ it really means the galaxies are so far away and moving so fast away from us, that their light has all shifted into the far-infrared where none of our telescopes have been able to penetrate until now.”
How will this help in the search for extraterrestrial life?
“This telescope is going to help us in the search for extraterrestrial life when it starts looking at exoplanet atmospheres. Now, it looked at the WASP-96 b planet’s atmosphere and it could see chemical traces in the atmosphere. This is something that’s extremely important because right now, up to this point, we have not been able to really, accurately look at atmospheres of planets around other stars. Now we have that capability. This is going to herald in an era of potentially finding another Earth-like planet with an oxygenated atmosphere.”
What does this latest discovery mean for the future of astronomy, space exploration, and even humanity?
“If you look at the JWST and the data they’re pulling in, and in a sense, all of these projects embody the human need to find answers. That’s what we’re doing, we’re hunting down answers to whether we’re alone in the universe and we’re trying to solve mysteries of the universe. The Webb’s first five images have already started to solve a huge number of mysteries.”
Science Says Wormhole Travel is Real; Can We Use it for Exotic Propulsion?
Once believed to be sci-fi fantasy, new research suggests we may be able to achieve interstellar travel using wormholes as shortcuts through spacetime.
Recently, physicist Pascal Koiran at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France published a pre-print study detailing the potential that matter could enter the event horizon of a black hole and pass through a wormhole and exit out the other end intact. Though still highly theoretical, wormholes are believed to be incredibly unstable as they exist as a tunnel between a black hole and a white hole in another part of the universe.
But because nothing, including light, can escape a black hole once it has crossed its event horizon, physicists have believed that matter would need to somehow enter the wormhole outside of the event horizon in order to safely pass through.
Dr. Simeon Hein, director of the Institute for Resonance, explains the mind-bending physics of this theoretical phenomenon.
“So the idea people were beginning to think, ‘well, what happens to the matter and energy that gets condensed and condensed into a black hole?’” Dr. Hein said. “The idea was that it had to be ejected somewhere else beyond that point in space. And that became the idea of a wormhole to another point in spacetime where all the matter and energy would be ejected from the black hole to conserve this idea of symmetry which is the foundation of modern physics — that there’s kind of a basic symmetry to the universe. And so the other side of the wormhole is a white hole.”
If wormholes have been conceptualized by theoretical physics for decades, what is so novel about the mathematics proposed in this recent paper?
“Physicist Pascal Koiran in France, he looked at another way to measure what’s going on in the mathematics of black holes. He used a different metric than Einstein would have used because back in the 1950s, two different physicists, David Finkelstein and Sir Arthur Eddington of the Royal Society in the UK, both proposed that there was this point of no return in the black hole where once you got past a certain point, it was no longer symmetrical, you couldn’t leave anymore, the so-called Schwarzschild radius,” Dr. Hein said.
“Past this point, you would just keep getting more compressed and you would have to go through the wormhole. So, using the so-called Finkelstein-Eddington metric — and a metric, by the way, is kind of the idea of a standard unit of measurement, a standard unit of anything: speed, direction, or position — using this measurement Koiran was able to show that it’s actually more stable than you think; that there is some stability even at the highest level of gravitational compression in a black hole. This would suggest that moving through it, maybe something really would survive.”