Open Mind & Open Heart
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Open Mind & Open Heart
indulging in an intellectual smorgasbord
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BBC Future: Are we alone in the Universe? May we one day contact alien lifeforms?

BBC Future: Are we alone in the Universe? May we one day contact alien lifeforms? | Open Mind & Open Heart | Scoop.it
Discovering planets outside our Solar System has raised hopes that we may one day contact alien lifeforms. But will this ever happen?

 

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” So said sci-fi author Arthur C Clarke. We’ve been fascinated by the idea life may exist elsewhere, and for over 50 years the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (Seti) has been scanning the galaxy for messages from an alien civilisation to no avail.

 

But the discovery of planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, has raised hopes that efforts to contact alien lifeforms may one day succeed. BBC’s Horizon joined the planet hunters who discovered a new world called Gliese 581 c. To date, it is one of the most Earth-like planets found around another star, and it may have habitats capable of supporting life.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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NASA SDO - The Gradient Sun

Watching a particularly beautiful movie of the Sun helps show how the lines between science and art can sometimes blur.

Via Sakis Koukouvis
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NASA - Dynamic Earth

A giant explosion of magnetic energy from the Sun, called a coronal mass ejection, slams into and is deflected completely by the Earth's powerful magnetic field. The Sun also continually sends out streams of light and radiation energy. Earth's atmosphere acts like a radiation shield, blocking quite a bit of this energy.

Much of the radiation energy that makes it through is reflected back into space by clouds, ice and snow and the energy that remains helps to drive the Earth system, powering a remarkable planetary engine – the climate. It becomes the energy that feeds swirling wind and ocean currents as cold air and surface waters move toward the equator and warm air and water moves toward the poles – all in an attempt to equalize temperatures around the world.


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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