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.
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.
Let’s pretend that humanity faces a huge threat from outer space. We’ll imagine that a giant planet-eating octopus comes to our solar system to eat Venus, Mars, Earth, Jupiter, and other planets, except Saturn. Therefore, people decide to move to the big planet with giant rings. Fortunately, they already have cool technologies that allow them to make such trips. So, we quickly get into giant ships, take off, and fly to Saturn. Life on the planet itself is impossible because it has no solid ground. The ship won’t be able to land there. This is a giant gas ball that is 9 times wider than Earth.
Get ready for the ultimate sleepover! Twelve brave volunteers are about to go through a space-like experience without leaving the comfort of their beds — literally. This crazy experiment involves staying in bed for a whopping two months! But this isn’t your ordinary slumber party. These volunteers are actually helping scientists figure out how to keep astronauts’ muscles strong during space travel.
Now, as much as we love epic space battles with blasters cutting through the black void and causing cheerful booms, that’s not exactly what happens when something explodes in the big black. Space is basically a vacuum, meaning it has no oxygen. And oxygen is an essential part of any process of burning we have here on Earth. You might argue that stars can burn and explode into supernovae, but that’s not exactly true either.
There are a lot of space objects all around the Universe, from stars to planets, to satellites, comets, and asteroids. But our closest celestial body is the Moon, which has been subject to much research, theories, and even myths. As our only natural and permanent satellite, the Moon is in the top ten list of biggest satellites in our Solar System.
Ahh, what a nice cosmic family. Meet Mars — I bet you’ve met him before. These two little guys are Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ small moons. But it seems like Mars isn’t treating the little ones the right way. Phobos and Deimos are believed to be captured asteroids.
Seems like to feel at home on any planet we need the four crucial elements: air, water, earth, and fire. I’m gonna tell you what you need to squeeze to get a glass of water on Mars, how to grow your salad there, charge your phone without getting an astronomical electricity bill, and even generate some fresh air!
Mercury gets a bad rap for always being hot, but that’s not entirely true. The planet’s got no atmosphere, so its temperature swings are wild. When it’s facing the Sun, it can get up to a blistering 800°F, but when it’s turned away, it drops to a frigid −290°F. The reason for this is that Earth has a cozy atmosphere that keeps our temps in check. Mercury doesn’t have that luxury, so it’s at the mercy of the Sun’s rays. But despite all that, Mercury’s still worth checking out. It’s close to the Sun, which makes it a prime spot for studying how solar radiation affects planets. And even though it’s not exactly hospitable to life, there are still plenty of mysteries to unravel.
The year is 2160. The place? The Pacific Ocean. Off the coast of Japan. The ocean seems calm. At least the surface does... The ocean floor is cracking right now. Boom! The Earth opens up, magma shoots out. The crack in the ocean floor triggers an earthquake and a massive amount of energy shoots into the ocean.
Our Sun. Something strange just happened now. Every TV channel, the news, they’re all talking about a black hole that came closer to us — on the spot where our Sun used to be! You can even see an accretion disk, and the background of the sky looks kinda distorted, which means it got really close.Normally, black holes are so far away that we can’t see them with the unaided eye. You can’t even see them with a telescope directly! What is it doing here, so close? Where is the Sun? Did the black hole swallow it?
Ahh, Earth... the third rock from the Sun. The blue planet. You get it. Its atmosphere is made up of around 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon, water vapor, and carbon dioxide, a nice balance for any living creature to breathe. The weather here is also perfect for life to exist, unlike in places like Saturn, Mercury, or any other celestial object in our Solar System — we have the troposphere to thank for that. It’s the densest part of the atmosphere on our planet and is 5 to 9 miles thick. It’s the layer of the atmosphere that always affects our weather and secures the right conditions for life to exist and to have bodies of water.
It’s been decades since the last manned moon landing, Apollo seventeen, which happened in December nineteen seventy-two. Isn’t it time we thought about going back to our dusty satellite... and maybe even staying there?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if every planet in our solar system was the size of Earth? Well, it’s time to dive into this mind-boggling scenario! Let’s imagine what each planet would look like if they were as big as our beloved blue planet. Would the barren, red landscape of Mars suddenly become a lush green oasis? Would the massive, swirling gas giant Jupiter just disappear? And how would it affect our solar system as a whole — are we all doomed? Buckle up and let’s find out.
Colonizing other planets is like the ultimate cosmic adventure — it’s a challenge that has captured the imagination of humans for centuries, and it’s something that we’ve always dreamed of doing. One of the most popular candidates for this role is Mars. And this isn’t surprising. Mars is a rocky planet that is similar to Earth in many ways, and it even has evidence of water on its surface. This makes it a prime candidate for human colonization. Many scientists and engineers are working on plans to send humans to Mars and establish a permanent settlement there. But... What about the other candidates?
Whoosh! Dust storms on Mars can really go crazy! They hurtle through the Red Planet’s Southern Hemisphere, especially during the summer. These storms can grow and encompass large areas of the planet, as happened in January 2022. Then, a dust storm covered almost twice the area of the United States. Could it be something like this that caused one of the robots we sent to Mars to go missing?
Do you know that Leonardo da Vinci created a drawing of a mechanical robot in knight’s armor in 1495? According to the detailed plan, this knight could move and swing a sword thanks to an internal mechanical system consisting of ropes and gears. Whether Leonardo built this robot is unknown, but in 2002, one robotics engineer created this mechanical knight. And do you know what the first real robot looked like? It wasn’t a person in a cardboard robot suit. It was a real machine powered by electricity. It looked like a large box with an arm sticking out of it — like a smaller version of a crane. An inventor from Kentucky, George Devol, created it in the 1950s. He patented his invention and called it “Unimate.” The box with a mechanical arm was used in a TV show. The robot hit a golf ball into a cup, poured a drink into a mug, and impersonated a music band. People were delighted, but the invention didn’t bring George Devol money.
Imagine stepping out of your spacecraft and setting foot on the surface of the Moon. Under your feet, the ground is covered with a fine material that looks like powder. That’s lunar dust. You look around and take a lungful of fresh air. It smells very different from the air on Earth but still nice... Unfortunately, this is a highly unlikely scenario. And one of the reasons is that the Moon has almost no atmosphere. Earth’s natural satellite is too small — less than 2% of our planet’s mass. That’s why it doesn’t have a magnetic field strong enough to keep an atmosphere. But even if the Moon had it, solar winds would immediately pull it away.
So, Mars has two moons — Phobos and Deimos. And, apart from the bizarre shape, there’s nothing remarkable about them... Except for one thing. Not so long ago, scientists discovered a strange phenomenon on the surface of Phobos. And they still can’t find any explanation for it. What is this phenomenon? And what does it tell us about the history of our Solar System? Let’s find out. American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos and Deimos back in 1877. Do you know that all the planets in our Solar System are named after Greek and Roman deities? For example, Mars, or Ares, is the famous deity of war. That’s why the satellites of this red planet were named after the sons of Ares — Phobos and Deimos.
You step on the surface of the Moon. It’s... unusual. You definitely feel lighter here, and it’s easier to walk. You decide to check out that obsessive idea of yours — jump on Earth’s natural satellite. And even despite your bulky spacesuit, you literally fly up into the air! Woohoo! Anyway, you continue your walk on the surface of the Moon when you feel something strange. The ground under your feet is... is it SHAKING?! It feels as if an earthquake has just started on the Moon! But it’s simply impossible! Or is it? Surprisingly, your gut feeling hasn’t let you down this time — moonquakes do exist! In fact, there are four types of moonquakes that are strong enough to be detected from a large distance. There are deep moonquakes occurring more than 430 miles below the surface. Then there are meteoroid impacts. Thermal quakes occur when the frigid lunar crust expands. It happens when the morning sun illuminates the satellite after a two-week-long deep-freeze lunar night.
Ever wanted to taste a salad from space? Well, you might be able to one day. Scientists have taken soil from the Moon and successfully grown plants in it! Back in the late 1960s and early 70s, it was the first time in our history we set foot on a surface that wasn’t Earth. During the several trips to the Moon in the Apollo program, astronomers brought back some rocks and soil to study. Some scientists knew it would be a good idea to preserve this soil, stick some seeds in it, and see what would happen. They didn’t do anything at first, aware that decades into the future, they’d have more advanced equipment to conduct these studies. The researchers named the lunar soil “regolith” and used the seeds of a particular plant called blah-bah-blah-baa — you can read it here [Arabidopsis thaliana] which is found in Asia, Europe, and parts of Africa. It’s similar to such veggies as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Yum.
Apples you usually grab in the supermarket seem super fresh, but they can be up to a year old. It’s all about how they’re stored: first, they’re covered with wax. Next, the wax is dried with hot air, and finally, the apples go into cold storage.
It’s a clear night, and you are outside looking at the stars. The Milky Way alone seems overwhelmingly huge. You check on your phone and discover that the galaxy you’re in at this exact moment is 100,000 light-years wide. For scale, 1 light-year is already a very long distance. For example, it takes 4.2 light-years to go from Earth to Proxima Centauri, which is the closest star to our planet other than the Sun. So 100 thousand light-years is way more than we normal humans can fathom. And that’s just one galaxy. There’s a whole lot more out there. Now, looking at this data it seems pretty unlikely that we’re the only life form out there, doesn’t it? But how come we’ve never found anything else so far?