The secrets behind the mysterious 819-day Mayan calendar and its planetary connections over 45 years are revealed. Researchers shared how expanding the calendar’s length to 20 periods of 819 days uncovers the alignment with periods of planets in our universe.
When a toddler suddenly starts talking to someone in an empty room, everyone can freak out. Some people explain these situations with a transitional age or children’s imagination. Others, on the contrary, tend to see something mysterious and even otherworldly in this.
You’re on a plane heading to an important astronomy convention when you see a large figure outside your window that eclipses the whole Sun. You spit out all of your coffee, and everyone in the plane stares outside in shock. You then notice that it has rings like Saturn. You were supposed to fly to Japan, but you’re forced to land in California.As soon as you land, you look up in the sky and see some more giant planet-like structures floating around in the sky. Everyone is taking pictures and trying to figure out what’s going on. Suddenly you notice a huge ball of fire crashing down near the airport. Everyone scrambles for safety, and luckily, it ends up in the middle of the runway with no one around. The bad news is that there’s no more runway for planes to land.
People are shouting and waving their hands in the auction room. The presenter can’t calm everyone down because the lot on the table is the most expensive dirt in the world. Its price is about $9 billion. But it’s really hard to imagine its real value. Because it’s dirt from Mars. It’s so expensive because it’s going to take one decade, billions of dollars, and three space missions to deliver the dirt here, to Earth. And we’ve already started the first mission. On July 30, 2020, a single-use Atlas V rocket was launched from Earth’s surface toward Mars. The cost of launching such a rocket is about $109 million. The rocket carried the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity drone. The flight took about seven months. On February 18, 2021, the rocket finally reached its destination. The landing module carrying the rover and drone was launched into the atmosphere of Mars. The robotic heroes traveled inside a capsule faster than the speed of sound. Underneath, the capsule was protected by a heat shield to keep its valuable cargo from burning due to high temperatures.
We’re flying past the planets of our Solar System. We pass by Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Then we move through dark space beyond the edge of our world. We’ve reached our destination. It’s the Oort cloud. It’s a hypothetical region around the Solar System that holds tons of asteroids and blocks of ice. It’s likely to be where the largest comet in human history was born. And now, it’s heading toward the Sun! Bernardinelli-Bernstein was discovered totally by accident during the Dark Energy Survey. Our telescopes were pointed at distant space. Their main goal was to learn more about how the Universe was expanding. Astronomers also wanted to make a more detailed map of the observable universe.Scientists analyzed over 80,000 images and found a moving object. It was alarmingly close to our home planet. Its size was an impressive 62[ml (100 km)] miles. That’s about the width of Lake Michigan. It was an already active comet with a long tail. Usually, comets get a tail when they come close to the Sun. The heat from the star warms the comet’s surface, and light materials, like ice, begin to evaporate. This forms a cloud of steam and dust that stretches far beyond the comet.
You take off from Earth and park your spacecraft somewhere near the Moon. You’re now almost 240,000 miles away from your home planet. That’s almost 100 widths of the United States. Now, you take out a giant hammer and an enormous chisel using the robotic arms of your spaceship. You place the chisel at the Earth’s North Pole and strike its head with the hammer. Earth splits open like an eggshell, and you see it... Another planet.It’s Theia. And it’s hiding inside our planet like a yolk in an egg. You’d need to go back in time 4.5 billion years to find out how it got there. This beautiful nebula will soon become our Solar System. Colored dust and various space debris are slowly coming closer toward the common center. Soon this jigsaw puzzle of debris becomes too heavy and dense. The temperature inside the giant is rising. Soon, it gets so high that it triggers a nuclear chain reaction.
The most expensive stuff in the universe — yeah, grandiose — is called anti-matter. Its existence was first theorized in 1930, when the electron was discovered. Scientists thought it might mean the exact opposite should exist too, and they called this hypothetical particle “positron.” Later, antipodes of other elementary particles, protons and neutrons, were proven to exist as well.When a particle and its evil twin collide with each other, they disappear, releasing literal tons of energy — 10,000 times more than a nuclear reaction does. But there’s a catch: it takes about 100 billion years to create just 1 g of anti-matter, and it can only be created using the Large Hadron Collider. That’s why the cost of this substance is about $62 trillion bucks. And we’re not even close to getting that much!Throughout the entire history of space observation, only two objects from another star system, or maybe even another galaxy, have entered our Solar System. The first one was the Oumuamua asteroid, discovered in 2017. The second was Borisov — a comet found in August 2019. The cloud of dust that surrounds it allows scientists to learn more about substances that may have come to us from another galaxy.
Oh boy. You find yourself in the mysterious ruins of an ancient city. You’re the only member of the expedition who has managed to make it here. You’re walking through a dark maze when you accidentally activate a trap! Whoa, that’s a strange sound.Suddenly, a huge rock starts rolling towards you down the hallway! You run as fast as you can, jumping over debris. A final dash, and... Phew! This room looks like a treasury! Gold coins and gems are scattered everywhere.You go wide-eyed with astonishment. That’s enough money to live a life of luxury for decades on end! But it’s not the shiny gold that interests you. It’s an old lamp that lies in the rubble. As soon as you pick it up, the lamp starts shaking, and a huge genie jumps out of it!
People stop their cars on the highway, get out of them, and lift their heads in wonder. In the cities, everyone takes to the streets. Balconies and rooftops of houses are full of people staring at the Moon in shock. It’s red. Some people scream that it’s the end of the world; some seek shelter. Indeed, the usual white Moon now looks like it has been doused in red paint. There’s no need to be afraid if you see such a thing. On the contrary, enjoy the view, because you have witnessed a rare astronomical phenomenon. This is a total lunar eclipse.
Recently, Chinese scientists discovered something interesting on the Moon... An unusual crystal. Moreover, they found out that this crystal contains an element that can literally replace nuclear fuel! Let’s find out more. The composition of the Moon has long remained a mystery to us. Half a century has already passed since the Apollo mission. Unfortunately, we haven’t traveled to the Moon much since then, so it’s not surprising that it’s not so easy for us to study it. But recently we’ve made a breakthrough in this area! In December 2020, Chinese scientists sent a Chang’e-5 probe to the Moon. The mission was named after the ancient Chinese deity of the Moon, Chang’e. Quite poetic, isn’t it?
I hope you feel well-rested. Because I’ve got a tough task for you. Don’t worry — it’s fun! You’re going to visit different planets of our Solar System and try to run on each of them! Let’s figure out where you can run the fastest and where you can barely walk! The fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, can run with an average speed of about 23 miles per hour. But his top speed is higher — up to 27 miles per hour! Sadly, we can’t all be Usain Bolts. The average person runs at a speed of 6 to 8 mph. But maybe, there’s a planet out there where you can beat the famous Jamaican sprinter’s records? But first things first, what will affect your speed when you run on other planets? For one thing, gravity. Depending on how strong it is on the planet you visit, it’ll influence your weight. And in most cases, the heavier you are, the more slowly you run.
Among all the planets of the Solar System, our Earth is unique since it’s the only one that has developed life. But what if we got a competitor? What if a second Earth appeared out of nowhere? Then there would be two different scenarios. The first is the destruction of both planets. The second has an unexpected but pretty logical ending. But let’s start with the catastrophic scenario. The second Earth with the same conditions could exist only if it received absolutely the same amount of sunlight as our planet. The orbit that our Earth follows is perfect for getting the necessary amount of solar heat. If we were a little further away, the entire surface of our planet would resemble Antarctica. And if Earth was a little closer to the Sun, we’d all live in a huge desert inhabited by very few living beings. So, for the second Earth to be identical to ours, it’d need to follow the orbit of our planet.
Millions of people around the world go out on the streets and rooftops to look at the amazing cosmic phenomenon. Another planet... right next to the Moon! A big red one. At first, everyone’s excited. Mars showing up out of nowhere is having a strange effect on humanity.Just as the moon can affect the psychological and physical state of some people, Mars’s unexpected visit is causing people to behave pretty strangely. Every night, the sky is lit up by the white light of the Moon and the red glow of Mars.Many people get a sort of instant insomnia. Some even stop drinking coffee because they no longer feel sleepy. Mars brings out the energy and a little wildness in people, makes them laugh more, and even drives a few poor people crazy. They begin to go out of their houses more often and enjoy the unusual night sky.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Antarctica? Most likely, “cold, snow, ice, and penguins.” Yet, this is one of the least explored regions in the world that hides many strange and unique things. Check them out.
Adhara Pérez, a young girl from Mexico, has captured widespread acclaim due to her extraordinary intellectual abilities. Born in 2011, this exceptional young prodigy has been acknowledged for her remarkable intelligence, surpassing even legendary geniuses in IQ. The delightful news is that Adhara promises to significantly contribute to our understanding of the universe in the coming years.
The conditions on this mysterious island might teach us how we can live on Mars one day! Devon Island is, to this day, the largest uninhabited island on our planet. It’s located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. And it’s easy to see why people find it impossible to make a home here: the soil stays frozen throughout the seasons. The eastern part of the island is covered by a thick ice cap all year round. Summers here last for less than 50 days, and by summer, I mean that the ground is snow free and the temperatures are slightly over 46 degrees F. Since almost no plants are growing here, there are no animals that could have adapted to these conditions. That’s why scientists compare this island to what it would be like to live on Mars.
It’s the year 2031, and the first human has just set foot on the red surface of Mars. It was a long flight that lasted 172 days. It was a tough journey. There were lots of technical issues. There were some physiological obstacles. Astronauts had to deliver tons of equipment and energy-generating and life-supporting systems to the Red Planet. Those responsible for the mission had to understand how to deal with low-pressure atmosphere and catastrophic sandstorms. How to keep people safe on Mars’ surface, and how to bring them back to Earth after their work is done. It does sound like a science-fiction story. But soon, it’s going to be our reality. But the coolest thing? It’s not the limit. After exploring Mars, people might set even more ambitious goals. And this is what some of them may look like.
As we ponder the possibility of life on other planets, we’re faced with two intriguing options. One is embarking on a mind-bogglingly long journey to another solar system, which would take tens of thousands of years. Imagine living cramped in a spaceship for your entire existence, with 2,000 generations coming and going, all while strictly controlling the population. Not exactly a walk in the park.
Perhaps, we’ve all stopped to think at one point about what it would be like to live on a different planet. I know I’ve had days like that. Gotta get away. And maybe even interact with other types of creatures that already live somewhere else in space. These days, such ideas sound more like something from a science fiction book. But in the future, permanently changing your address to another planet might turn out to be mandatory. Think of the star in our Solar System as a battery.
Venus has exceptionally high temperatures, hot enough to melt lead. It’s the hottest planet in our Solar System, with a high-pressure environment and super-strong winds. The winds there are 50 times faster than the planet’s rotation. It’s getting stronger over time, and scientists don’t know why. But they did find something interesting in the planet’s clouds — a potential sign of decaying biological matter. Could there be life then? Not quite, since Venus has a dry, windy atmosphere and doesn’t have enough water for life to develop.
You were lucky to find that 6 by 6 foot apartment, after all. None of your friends own one: they mostly live in capsule modules where it’s only possible to sleep without turning and tossing much. The price for what they call “a mansion” today is obscenely high, and you still can’t fully accept it. Tomorrow you gotta sign that contract and make the down payment. Actually, you had the chance to buy it only because you won that chance in the lottery. This is how you live in 2999 — you and the other 100 billion people.
Did you know that humans are real space people? You were born in Space. Heck, even I was born in Space. We all were born in Space! But for humans to be here on Earth, so many conditions have to be precisely correct that it is highly improbable that we even exist. But we do. First, we — and any other space creatures who might be out there — have to live on a planet orbiting a yellow-ish white star, not a red star or a blue star. Not a blue star because they burn out too quickly — in a few million years — there wouldn’t be time for evolution to do its relatively slow magic and produce intelligent beings. Blue stars also tend to swell up and turn red — when they collapse and explode! It makes it highly unlikely that any civilization could prosper near a blue star.
The good old Solar System is actually a pretty bizarre place, what with all its out-of-this-world phenomena that we, humans, haven’t managed to explain so far! There are rumors that a gigantic, undiscovered planet is hiding behind Neptune, volcanoes on Pluto spew ice, and a colossal canyon on Mars can accommodate the whole US territory! Well, let’s figure out if it’s true by talking about the most mystifying Solar System facts. The Solar System is 4.6 billion years old! So old — it’s a senior Solar System. Scientists came to this conclusion after they studied the oldest material they managed to get a hold of — and by that, I mean meteorites, of course.
Everything in the Universe is in constant, quite predictable motion. Some very complicated math can help us predict what the night sky will look like in hundreds of years! That’s why astronomers make up entire calendars of unusual celestial events. So, let’s find out more about the most interesting astronomical events that are waiting for us in the next 100 years.
Ah, yes. February 14, 2000. Just a regular Valentine’s Day, some flowers and some candy, the beginning of the new millennium, and... A good day to make history. NEAR Shoemaker (which stands for Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) spacecraft, launched in 1996 [February], finally got a date with asteroid 433 Eros. It wasn’t about swiping right but going around Eros and completing the first soft landing on an asteroid ever.NEAR almost didn’t make it there, because an engine misfire from 1998 brought it into the wrong trajectory, and it missed the target. Yet, engineers decided to let NEAR do the circle around the Sun for one more year — and it eventually made it.NEAR Shoemaker was created to find, target, and stalk some smaller space objects for around a year and collect important data about them. This spacecraft got more than 160,000 pictures of the asteroid’s surface which helped with research in the years to come — before that, some scientists took asteroids for just some random flying piles.
You’re strapped in a Spaceship that’ll take you all the way to Pluto for your galaxy backpacking trip. It’s the longest journey from Earth and without any shortcuts, so you’ll have to get quite comfy. It’s recommended for everyone aboard to have at least 8 hours of sleep at night.Astronauts in the International Space Station have little rooms suitable for 1 person with special sleeping bags and enough room for personal belongings. If they don’t, they’ll float, bumping into each other.
I have to say — it would be hard to visit the biggest waterfall in the world because it’s underwater. Deep down below, there are fissures and caverns on the ocean floor. They form when water oozes through the layers of salt that are beneath it. This water is filled with dissolved salt. This makes it denser than the water surrounding it, which is why it ends up settling into these fissures. Such type of dense water forms a massive waterfall near Denmark. It’s a giant cascade that plummets 11,500 feet. That’s over three times the height of the well-known Angel Falls in Venezuela. So, the colder water of this waterfall sinks after it collides with the surrounding water that’s less dense.
It’s there, I finally see it, for the first time in my life! A grayish body far away in the sky, hidden behind the clouds, the size of 1-4 of a full moon. It won’t be there for long, the last time it was there was 33 years ago — and we’ll have to wait for 33 years more to see it again.Tellus, the mysterious planet humankind still have so much to learn about. For a long time, Earth was the only planet quietly traveling its circular orbit around the center of our Solar System, the Sun. Our solar system was generally a pretty stable place. Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and other planets — they all acted in a predictable way, always the same orbits. Until some time ago something unexpected happened — another planet entered the Earth’s orbit.
Weird unusual sounds out of nowhere are spreading all over our galaxy, constantly repeating, and it’s something we’ve never heard before... Scientists discovered it in 2020, and it was nothing like any of the other energy signatures they ever studied.Powerful and bright radio signals occurring from time to time, mysteriously disappearing within a day. It doesn’t fit the profile of any space body we know. The signal is a bit irritating, and it disappears without a schedule. When scientists tried to match the signal with some other telescopes, it was gone. Low-mass stars sometimes flare up with radio energy, but not here since they mostly have X-ray counterparts. Very dense collapsed stars like Pulsars, Magnetars are also not a choice.
Betelgeuse. A red supergiant. This ball of boiling plasma is one of the largest stars in our galaxy and one of the brightest. It’s about 500 times larger than the Sun. But Betelgeuse is pulsating, getting bigger and smaller. At its peak, it becomes 800 times its average size. If this star were a bucket, it would fit about 300 million Suns — even though its weight is only 17 times greater.And here, about 500 light-years away, is Earth. We launch our faster-than-light spaceship and set off on our journey to Betelgeuse. A few seconds, and we’ve already traveled 240,000 miles [390,000 km] and are now close to the Moon. That’s 9.5 trips around the Earth. A traditional rocket-powered spacecraft would take 3 days to get here.
April 12th in the Year 1912. It’s a great date for humanity: the 300th anniversary of the launch of the legendary Titanic. The best engineers of the world have collaborated for years to bring their masterpiece to the public: the Spacetanic. And they’ve done it just in time. The glorious spaceship is waiting in its harbor under the limelight, photographed by thousands of people. The trip was scheduled for April 12, just like 300 years ago.Finally, the big day has come. The passengers are going on board the most magnificent spaceship of the time — they call it unbreachable. It has 12 decks, from the third class closer to the bottom to the most luxurious first class on the top, with panoramic view of outer space.
Imagine you’re 15 and you got bored of playing video games. Instead, to pass the time, you decide to give some attention to an old hobby of yours: tracking down lost Mayan cities. You’ve heard that some ancient civilizations are said to have built entire cities based on constellations, so you decide to check out whether that was true for the Mayans.
We fly away from Earth to look at it from a distance. It glows like a holiday tree! Big cities look like yellow spots at night. And during the day we see strange structures, like a palm tree-shaped island in the UAE or a dark band that runs all the way through China — the Great Wall. These are traces of human existence. Now let’s point our telescope at other planets. Mars? It’s just an empty, endless desert. Venus? Only rocks and volcanoes. Even if we look into distant space, all the planets out there are deserted and lifeless. Not a single trace of an extraterrestrial civilization.
Attention! Attention! Residents of all countries and cities of the world! A massive asteroid is approaching the Earth. Now its speed is several times greater than the speed of sound, and each day it accelerates even more. Once it enters our solar system, it will fly past Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The gravitational fields of these planets will also accelerate the asteroid. And our planet will be the final destination! A collision is inevitable. According to scientists, a meteorite the size of Mount Everest can destroy the entire planet. The disaster will happen in 350 days. There’s panic in the streets. People buy and build bunkers. Scientists and astronomers from all over the world were assembled to find a solution.
Well, looky here! You’re about to figure out what lies under the surface of each planet in the Solar System! Get into your spaceship equipped with the largest drill you can only imagine — and off you go! You start with Mercury. It’s the closest planet to the Sun. At first sight, the place looks similar to our good old Moon! But after landing, you understand it’s an illusion.