NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, the search for planets and life beyond our solar system.


A trip down the list of exoplanets found so far is a wild ride. These planets beyond our solar system, whether orbiting other stars or floating freely between them, can make the planets closer to home look tame by comparison. “Hot Jupiters” are star-hugging, infernal worlds. “Super Earths” are super mysterious. Frozen planets, gas giants that make Jupiter look puny, or small, rocky planets in Earth’s size range but in tight orbits around red dwarf stars – the catalog keeps growing, and soon, that growth will become exponential.


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Spider webs are already strong enough to restrain small insects unlucky enough to fly into them, and soon, they may be capable of carrying the weight of a person.


In a new study published in 2D Materials, Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento in Italy and his team detail how they cranked arachnids’ already impressive metabolic process up to 11 by adding graphene and carbon nanotubes to a spider’s drinking water. Afterward, the spider produced silk as it normally would, but the silk was five times stronger, putting it on par with the likes of pure carbon fibers and Kevlar — the strongest materials on Earth.

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  • The reality we perceive is not a direct reflection of the external objective world.
  • Instead it is the product of the brain’s predictions about the causes of incoming sensory signals.
  • The property of realness that accompanies our perceptions may serve to guide our behavior so that we respond appropriately to the sources of sensory signals.


The Neuroscience of Reality

Anil Seth

Scientific American

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Mathematical model suggests dark matter may have been produced before the big bang during cosmic inflation, when space was expanding rapidly


Researchers believe dark matter makes up about 80% of the universe’s mass, but its origins and composition remain among the most elusive mysteries in modern physics. A new Johns Hopkins University study suggests dark matter may have existed before the big bang. The study, published in Physical Review Letters, presents a new idea of how dark matter was created and how it might be identified during astronomical observations.


"The study revealed a new connection between particle physics and astronomy," says Tommi Tenkanen, a postdoctoral fellow in JHU’sDepartment of Physics and Astronomy and the study’s author. "If dark matter consists of new particles that were born before the big bang, they affect the way galaxies are distributed in the sky in a unique way. This connection may be used to reveal their identity and make conclusions about the times before the big bang, too."



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