New finds have been released in Mexico, which demonstrate extraterrestrial connectivity thousands of years ago

There are more and more finds in Mexico that support the authenticity of previous similar objects. Non-everyday artwork depicts idiosyncratic creatures and aircraft that local residents are constantly experiencing in Mexico.

Things that are often tempting seemingly come back thousands of years and represent creatures with long, elongated skulls and large, almond-like eyes.

And other sculptures seem to show spacecraft flying in the air.

Mysterious objects are said to be very popular among locals living near caves in an unspecified area of ​​Mexico.

There is a Facebook page on ” Extraterrestrial archeology Mexico “, where photos and videos are regularly displayed on recent discoveries.ía-Extraterrestre-Mexico-605957852807789/

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In addition, during the lectures conducted by experts in the field, evidence is produced with evidence that was made in the places where the finds were found.

The two videos below show a lot of evidence from Mexican shaman and researcher Paulino Martínez, and a member of a Mexican research team, José Luis Rueda.

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Area 51: Secrets under the sun

LAS VEGAS — In the dim light of her tidy trailer, the widow dabs at her eyes and presents proof that the man she loved for more than four decades — “my Wally” — existed. Proof that he was born, worked, sacrificed, lived and died. An ordinary man, but one like no other. His name was Walter S. Kasza, and Stella Kasza wants you to know that, damn it, he existed. He was her man.

She displays his Army papers: He landed in Europe in ‘44, fought in the Ardennes, earned three bronze stars. On the paneled wall hangs their wedding portrait — St. Norbert’s Church in Detroit, 1950 — and pictures of their children. “You’re together that long, you eat together, you sleep together,” Stella says, her voice dissipating to a sigh. More tears, another tissue.

From the pantry she retrieves a brown paper bag full of empty pill vials. For years the doctors couldn’t figure out why Wally was coughing so much, why his skin cracked and bled, turning their bedsheets red. They prescribed unguents, antibiotics, decongestants, pain killers. His guts ached for years, too, and when they finally found the kidney cancer, even morphine didn’t help the pain. He died in April 1995, a wraith, 73 years old.

“Memories,” she says bitterly, tossing the vials into the bag. “Nobody gives a damn. Nobody.”

Stella Kasza, silver-haired, strong-willed — “I’ve got a temper, a Polish temper,” she warns — blames all the high and mighty officials back in Washington for what happened to her Wally, and one big shot in particular. “If Clinton was here right now I’d look at him and say, You know what you did to my man? You took my life away. You — ‘ “ She spits out several curses.

A sign marking the “Little Ale’Inn,” a watering hole in tiny Rachel, NV. Rachel is the closest town to the secret base, and hosts pilgrims from around the world who come hoping for UFO sightings. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Bill Clinton certainly did not kill Wally Kasza, but he has been forced to deal with his angry widow. The administration maintains an abiding interest in the lawsuit Stella Kasza has brought against the federal government. Under a “presidential determination” that he must renew annually, Clinton has decreed that potential evidence related to Kasza’s death is classified, top-secret, a matter of national security — and that “it is in the paramount interest of the United States” that none of it be disclosed.

Why should Wally Kasza matter? He was a sheet-metal worker. For seven years he put up buildings and installed cooling systems for a defense contractor at an Air Force base in the middle of the Nevada desert.

But that base, about 100 miles due north of here, is the most mysterious in America. It is so secret that top officials won’t say anything about it — they claim it has no name. They only speak of it in the most general terms: “There is an operating location near Groom Dry Lake.” That’s the Air Force’s official position.

Stella Kasza and the rest of America know it as Area 51.

In the imagination of UFO enthusiasts, Area 51 is where the government harbors space aliens and conducts experiments on recovered interstellar craft. The real secrets of Area 51 are more mundane. And they involve things more dangerous to human beings than the squidlike aliens in “Independence Day,” a movie that used Area 51’s obsessive secrecy as a plot device.

What’s being covered up there, according to lawsuits filed by Kasza’s widow, another worker’s widow and five former Area 51 employees, are brazen environmental crimes. For several years, the workers say, they labored in thick, choking clouds of poisonous smoke as hazardous wastes were burned in huge open trenches on the base. Military officers armed with M-16s stood guard as truckloads of resins, paints and solvents — materials used to make the Stealth bomber and other classified aircraft — were doused with jet fuel and set ablaze with road flares.

Another sheet-metal worker at Area 51, Robert Frost, died at age 57, allegedly from exposure to hazardous wastes. Biopsies showed that his tissues were filled with industrial toxins rarely seen in humans. Men who worked there from the late 1970s into the early 1990s say that inhaling the smoke resulted in persistent respiratory distress, cancers and strange rashes.

“Fish scales,” the workers call these hard membranes. Some use sandpaper to remove the embarrassing growths from their hands, feet, legs and arms, but they keep coming back. They slather themselves with Crisco to stop their skin from blistering and cracking.

What is the government’s response to these horror stories? The government says . . . nothing. The policy is that nothing illegal occurred at Area 51 because, officially, nothing occurs at Area 51.

Employees there cannot talk about the work they do. Everything and everyone connected to the base is classified — part of the military’s multi-billion-dollar “black budget” operations. “Specific activities . . . both past and present . . . cannot be discussed,” the Air Force says in a statement.

That position infuriates Stella Kasza because it makes her husband disposable, a nonentity. She sees it this way: If, officially, Wally Kasza didn’t work at Area 51 for seven years, then, officially, his death had nothing to do with his job. He didn’t wake up with bloody pajamas from the fish scales, didn’t hack his lungs out in the middle of the night kneeling next to the bed. Didn’t get cancer. Didn’t suffer so horribly that his son wanted to smother him with a pillow to end it all.

Stella Kasza stanches her tears, points to a table in the living room and says, “There is something he made.” It’s a miniature, felt-topped craps table, perfectly detailed; Wally was quite the handyman. Now it holds Stella’s legal papers, medical reports, clippings, letters. Thick envelopes full of evidence that she hopes will be enough to prove in federal court that her Wally worked and died for the United States government. Officially. A Base With No Name

“Someday I hope to visit Stella and not make her cry,” says attorney Jonathan Turley, driving away from his client’s triple-wide trailer in the Desert Inn Mobile Estates. It’s a sun-blasted retirement community near a blue-collar casino whose billboard advertises “Cash your paycheck — win up to $250,000!”

Turley is a law professor at George Washington University — he directs its nonprofit Environmental Law Advocacy Center, funded in part by Hollywood do-gooder Barbra Streisand. He flies here every few months to meet with the clients he is representing in a lawsuit against the government — Area 51 workers past and present and their families. He represented Wally Kasza before he died.

The brash young lawyer would meet the sick old man in secret, in cars and garages, fearful of detection by military investigators. If Turley seems paranoid — he avoids using hotel phones, travels under phony names, swears he is being tailed — he has his reasons.

His campus office remains sealed by federal court order — students and others are not allowed to enter because the government says Turley’s files hold documents that are classified. In a letter, a Justice Department attorney helpfully called Turley’s attention to the specific statute that, “as you know, prohibits unauthorized possession of national security information” and provides a mandatory 10 years in prison for violators. (Turley is appealing the order that classified his office.)

The Area 51 workers he represents also face 10 years in the slammer if they are caught disclosing anything about their jobs. In court papers, they are identified only as John Doe. Their affidavits express fear of “retaliation, harassment and injury” if their civilian employers or the military finds out who they are.

“These are deeply patriotic guys,” Turley says of his clients, many of whom have military backgrounds. “They are trained to go with the program and trust the line of command. It took a great deal for them to even talk to an attorney.”

Turley represents more than 25 workers at no charge. He filed the case three years ago against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense. The plaintiffs aren’t asking for money; they want information on the chemicals they might have been exposed to so they can get appropriate medical treatment. They also want the military to admit that burning barrels of toxic wastes — allegedly twice a week for more than a decade — was wrong.

And they want an apology. “Let them admit the truth,” one worker says.

They’ll probably get none of the above. So far, the government’s arguments for absolute secrecy have largely been upheld in U.S. District Court here. Unless they win on appeal, the Area 51 workers will face the same fate as the nuclear test site workers, uranium miners and the hapless citizens of Nevada and Utah who were exposed to radiation during the heyday of atomic bomb testing: Many got sick and died, and the courts held no one liable.

“I don’t like to be discouraging, but I fought these lawsuits for 15 years and we failed, we failed in all three cases,” says lawyer Stewart L. Udall, who was secretary of the interior during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. “You have to ask which is more important: grave damage to this vague concept of national security’ or grave damage to American democracy?”

Turley had hoped that, when confronted with credible testimony about environmental crimes and evidence of the workers’ illnesses, the Pentagon might cover their medical bills, or allow them to be treated for free by military doctors with the proper security clearances. He asked the Justice Department to give his clients immunity and launch a criminal investigation. Instead, the Justice Department, the EPA, the Air Force and the White House erected a stony wall of secrecy — not denying the charges, but not confirming them, either.

A few months after Turley sued, EPA officials conducted their first-ever inspection of Area 51. It was a victory, but a hollow one. Backed by Clinton, the Air Force refuses to disclose the results of the inspection — meaning the workers can’t know what hazardous wastes might have been incinerated there. “President Clinton’s decision protects the environment and national security,” the Justice Department intones.

In a statement issued to The Washington Post, the Air Force touts its “strong environmental record,” but spokesmen refuse to address any questions about Area 51. “Most people understand that there is some information the government has to keep secret . . . to protect national security and the military personnel who keep us all safe,” the statement says.

The litigation puts the government in the Orwellian position of trying to keep secret a 40,000-acre complex where airplanes and buses full of workers arrive every day. (Hundreds of them commute from Las Vegas’s main airport on 737 jets that bear no external identification numbers.) Not only have Russian satellites photographed the base — huge blowups are for sale locally — but it can be observed from a nearby mountain. Locals also call it Dreamland, Watertown, the Ranch, or more generically, the Test Site — a name that dates from the ‘50s, when you could sip “atomic cocktails” in Vegas while watching mushroom clouds rise over the desert.

“There is no name for the operating location near Groom Lake,” an Air Force attorney named Richard Sarver insisted to federal Judge Philip Pro in 1995, during one of the few public proceedings in the Area 51 lawsuits. Please ignore references to Area 51 in previous cases and in 300 pages of job-related and government documents obtained by Turley, Sarver said. “Your honor, there is no name.” The Mosaic Theory

The weathered metal sign at the border of Area 51 identifies it in large red letters as a “Restricted Area.” It warns that anyone who trespasses comes under the jurisdiction of military law. You may be buzzed by a helicopter or an F-16. You may be shot.

“Use of Deadly Force Authorized,” the sign says, citing, in smaller print, the “Internal Security Act of 1950.”

In many ways this place is an anachronism, a vestige of the days when unquestioned military authority seemed necessary to keep the world free. At Area 51, a rigid Cold War mentality still prevails: America’s enemies are everywhere. Workers tell of an intimidating security apparatus within the base, of wiretaps and gunpoint interrogations.

Established by the CIA in the mid-’50s, the base sprawls over a dry lake bed that once served as a landing strip for the U2 spy plane. The reasons for calling it Area 51 are obscure, but declassified manuals cite an equally mysterious Area 27 and Area 12 in the vast federally owned desert.

Solar-powered robotic video cameras observe anyone who approaches Area 51’s perimeter; parabolic microphones pick up conversations. There are motion sensors beneath the dusty soil.

“They’re watching you now,” Jonathan Turley says, hiking up a ridge about 13 miles from Area 51. He focuses his binoculars on the spindly robot, and scans the ridge for evidence of Jeep-driving security men, known locally as “Cammo Dudes.” None is visible. “They’re being shy today,” he says.

Trying to prove a point, Turley has brought us to the base’s one public border that can be reached by paved road. When a white-and-silver bus barrels by in a cloud of dust, he is ecstatic. “Did you get a photo?!” he shouts.

Typically, those bus riders would be union laborers — the Wally Kaszas of Area 51 — who rise at 3 a.m. for the haul up from Vegas. The bus is evidence that people work at Area 51, of course. But Turley also regularly photographs the buses and planes to document what he calls “activity consistent with hazardous waste storage.” If there are vehicles, there must be batteries and fuel on the base, he argues.

The Air Force refused to admit even that much in its legal briefs. The government’s lawyers say that acknowledging the existence of innocuous and essential items would place the nation at grave risk.

The “mosaic theory,” the Air Force calls it. If, say, the Iraqis or North Koreans were to learn about any materials or chemicals used at the Groom Lake base, the argument goes, they could puzzle out how we make secret weapons and radar-defeating planes.

Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall raises the prospect of spies skulking behind saguaro cactuses, sniffing for smoke, combing the desert around Area 51 for clues. “Collection of information regarding the air, water and soil is a classic foreign intelligence practice,” she states in a 1995 affidavit, “because analysis of these samples can result in the identification of military operations and capabilities.”

The workers say that under the mosaic theory, nothing could leave the base, and that’s why everything was burned, from old computers to entire tractor-trailers. Some men had to scramble into the pits after the ashes cooled to ensure complete incineration — increasing their exposure to toxins, according to the lawsuits.

Environmental crimes are particularly insidious because, as Turley points out, the victims often don’t know they are victims. The burnings alleged by the workers are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. From their perspective, the evidence has been suppressed by the most powerful man in America. Federal environmental law requires public disclosure of the results of the EPA’s inspection of the Groom Lake base. To prevent this, President Clinton invoked the military and state secrets privilege, specifically exempting the base from disclosing any pollution reports.

“Clinton doesn’t want these crimes made public,” says Turley, building up to a full-fledged rant: “When we finally prevail in this case and the truth comes out, I think the public is going to want to burn the Justice Department to the ground — followed quickly thereafter by the White House.”

Prone to hyperbole and something of a media hound, Turley is the grandson of a former United Mine Workers official who contracted black lung. He likes to quote his grandmother’s recollections of how mules were deemed more valuable than people by the coal companies.

Now 36, Turley has been a loyal liberal since his days as a teenage congressional page. He takes on cases that give him high-profile platforms — he also represents rebellious federal grand jurors who investigated environmental crimes at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility in Colorado and opposed the Justice Department’s decision to levy fines rather than send corporate officials to jail.

Turley sees delicious hypocrisies in the Area 51 case. It allows him to target a president who’s often touted his environmental record. And who claims to have empathy for working-class citizens done wrong by government experiments. In October 1995, Clinton publicly apologized to victims of secret radiation tests in New Mexico.

“When the government does wrong, we have the moral responsibility to admit it,” the president said. Americans have become cynical and lost faith in democracy, he said, “because of stonewallings and evasions of the past, times when a family member or a neighbor suffered an injustice and had nowhere to turn and couldn’t even get the facts.”

A few days before that speech, Clinton signed the first order exempting Area 51 from disclosing its pollution records. John Doe in Secret

Sitting in a seedy motel room near the Vegas Strip, his back to the window, the man offers a handshake and introduces himself. “John Doe,” he says in a phlegmy voice.

He proceeds with his story of how 55-gallon drums of classified chemicals were trucked in from a California aircraft facility and routinely set ablaze at Area 51.

“The barrels would blow up and vaporize, like a huge smoke grenade. The smoke was dark, grayish white — it was as thick as London fog.” He hacks, wheezes and clears his throat.

“When I went up there I was in good health — healthy as an ox,” the man says. He’s never smoked, he says, and coughs again. “I’d like to know if there’s a remedy to reestablish my breathing — or will I be like this the rest of my life? Has my life expectancy been shortened?”

As a condition of conducting the interview, Turley says we can’t describe the man or his work in any way. The lawyer believes the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) is trying to photograph or otherwise hunt down the “John Does,” to bring charges against them for breaching national security.

Turley paces nervously, drawing aside the curtains on the room’s only window, checking the peephole at the door. He turns up the television — a precaution, he says, against electronic eavesdropping.

“I’m sure the room’s clean but that window bothers me,” he says. Laser microphones can pick up conversations from vibrations on glass, even from the ice in a drink. Turley keeps up on spook technology. He once did a stint in the general counsel’s office of the National Security Agency.

He instructs John Doe to take a seat farther from the window.

The man goes on: How workers were denied breathing masks; how he was told to quit if he didn’t like it.

But the money was good — at least $15,000 above the annual wages in Vegas. You just had to get used to a climate of fear. If you were ordered not to look up at some crazy new plane overhead, you kept your eyes on the dirt.

“It was very understood that when you left there, you never talked about this. You can’t divulge anything, not even its existence. How can a guy go and make a claim for workman’s comp if the investigator can’t investigate what it was?”

Suddenly, Turley is pushing aside the curtains. Trouble. “A van just pulled up next to the window,” he announces. “Three guys, clean-cut, are getting out.”

He terminates the interview. “We stayed too long.”

The van’s passengers have put its hood up. To Turley that’s a classic sign of surveillance: the old car-trouble ruse.

The lawyer picked this motel because guests must park in a central courtyard. The room’s window faces a rarely used road. What is that van doing there?

A reporter and photographer drive around the side of the building to case the van. The men are gone. It’s a dark blue Dodge, a bit beat up. Its license plate reads . . .

U.S. Air Force. For Official Use Only. The Official Response

It was all a coincidence, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon says later. Yes, the Office of Special Investigations routinely probes national security leaks, but that wasn’t an OSI detachment, he assures us.

The Air Force traced the license number of the blue van. It turns out that the men came from a C-141 transport plane and were overnighting in Las Vegas because of a bunk shortage at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.

Can we have the van’s maintenance records, to see if it really had a breakdown?

Sorry, the spokesman says. That information is confidential. John Doe in Tears

Another hotel room, another John Doe. This one is weeping at the memory of his co-workers. “I’m sorry I get so emotional,” he says. “It’s hell to watch someone die.”

He may be next. Ugly, crusty scales cover part of his body.

How easily the tears come in this arid place. But how quickly they dry — as if they never existed. Love Everlasting

All of this started because of $300. About 10 years ago, Robert Frost, who was foreman of the sheet-metal workers at Area 51, became so ill that he missed a week of work. By then his face and body were scarred by scales and red welts. He would drape himself in a blanket to shield his skin from the sun. His legs buckled when he tried to walk.

Frost filed a claim for lost wages; his employer, Reynolds Electrical & Engineering Co., fought it. By the time a hearing was held in 1990, Frost was dead of a liver disease that doctors associated with exposure to smoke containing dioxin and dibenzofurans, chemicals found in plastics and solvents. But the compensation claim was denied after a company superintendent testified that no burning ever occurred at Area 51.

Frost’s widow, Helen, got a belt buckle in the mail — “in appreciation of Robert’s 10 years of continuous service with REECo,” the accompanying letter said. “We deeply regret that the award cannot be presented to him.”

Furious, she wanted to file a wrongful death claim, but the lawyers in Las Vegas told her there was nothing to be done — the military and its contractors were too powerful.

Eventually Helen Frost found a Washington watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight, that was willing to investigate. She knew of several other widows and workers. One of them was her husband’s good friend Wally Kasza — a guy so tough he worked up at Area 51 until he was 69, when he became too sick to go on.

Wally and “Frostie,” as friends knew him, were union brothers in Local 88. Now their widows are united in their scorn for the federal government, lending their names to the lawsuits Frost v. Perry (against the former secretary of defense) and Kasza v. Browner (against the EPA administrator).

Turley, who took over the case from the oversight group, is like a son to them. When he comes to call, they have cookies and pies waiting, and the latest proud stories about their grandchildren.

They are a lot alike, Stella and Helen. They grew up in ethnic Rust Belt towns, met and married their men as teenagers — they never thought they’d lose them. Their men had fought wars, come home to tell about it. How could the government they fought for betray them, put them in mortal danger without fair warning? How could everyone right up to the president deny it?

Keeping secrets is one thing, the black-budget widows say. But people still ought to count for something. The truth ought to count.

Stella Kasza points to the wall. An Olan Mills studio portrait taken several years ago captures her loving gaze as she poses next to a still-handsome old devil with wavy gray hair, the guy whose big grin and blue eyes first made her swoon when she was 15, when he lived down the block.

A sappy country song is playing on the radio. Stella turns it up, up, up — as loud as she can stand it. Something about having one last night together on the town. She sways across the room, alone, trying not to cry again. CAPTION: It’s out there: Attorney Jonathan Turley squints into the sun toward Area 51, 13 miles away. That’s about as close as you can get without security clearance. Turley represents more than 25 workers who claim that they were injured there. The government contends there is no “there” there. CAPTION: Stella Kasza, left, with her son, and Helen Frost, with her daughter. Both women are widows of men who became sick after working for years at Area 51. Frost displays photos of her husband. “Nobody gives a damn,” says Kasza. “Nobody.” CAPTION: Unmarked buses and planes haul union laborers, like Wally Kasza, below, and Robert Frost, from Las Vegas to Area 51. Right, Jonathan Turley and co-counsel Joan Manley at their office at George Washington University. The warning posted on their door is a federal court order — students and others are not allowed to enter because the government says Turley’s files hold documents that are classified.


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Chandra Space Telescope: Revealing the Invisible Universe

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is a NASA telescope that looks at black holes, quasars, supernovas, and the like – all sources of high energy in the universe. It shows a side of the cosmos that is invisible to the human eye.

After more than a decade in service, the observatory has helped scientists glimpse the universe in action. It has watched galaxies collide, observed a black hole with cosmic hurricane winds, and glimpsed a supernova turning itself inside out after an explosion.

The telescope – billed as one of NASA’s Great Observatories along with the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory – has been a public relations tool for the agency, as well. Its pictures are frequently used by NASA in press releases.

One of Chandra’s more notable images is of what appears to be a cosmic “hand” reaching for a bright nebula, although the scientific explanation is quite different. [Gallery: Amazing Photos by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory]

X-ray astronomy is especially challenging because you need to leave the Earth’s atmosphere behind to observe the rays. The first X-ray observations were fleeting, taking place in minutes-long sounding rocket flights, or perhaps for a few hours in a stratospheric balloon.

In 1962, Italian-American astronomer Riccardo Giacconi and his team sent a rocket with an X-ray detector aloft, and discovered the first source of stellar X-rays. Giacconi was naturally eager to do more research.

Based on his design, NASA launched the first X-ray telescope: Uhuru, which was also known as the Small Astronomical Satellite-1. It remained in orbit for more than two years and discovered the first signs of a black hole. Another of his team’s ideas – the Einstein Observatory – flew from 1978 to 1981. This was the first X-ray telescope that could take pictures.

Giacconi, now an established authority in X-ray astronomy, teamed up with the Smithsonian’s Harvey Tananbaum to propose a more powerful observatory. Dubbed the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, its goal was to take “high-resolution images and spectra of X-ray sources,” according to Harvard University.

The telescope was first proposed in 1976. Work proceeded in the 1980s, and the telescope was reconfigured in 1992 (by reducing mirrors and instruments) to save money and to make it suitable to launch by shuttle. Shortly before launch, the telescope was renamed “Chandra” after Nobel laureate and astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

Chandra launched July 23, 1999, from the payload bay of space shuttle Columbia, the largest satellite the shuttle ever launched. Just eight hours after Columbia reached space, Chandra left the shuttle’s shelter and rocketed away. Controllers made several adjustments to Chandra’s orbit in the coming days.

When finalized, Chandra was in an elliptical orbit around Earth ranging anywhere from about 9,940 miles (16,000 kilometers) to 82,650 miles (133,000 kilometers) from Earth. At its zenith, Chandra is about a third as far as the distance from the Earth to the moon. This allows it to make observations for as long as 52 hours before losing sight of its target.

As for Giacconi, the long-standing champion of Chandra? He shared a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in X-ray astronomy in 2002. His colleague, Tananbaum, became director of the Chandra X-ray Center in 1991, a position he still holds today.

Red represents low-energy X-rays, the medium range is green, and the most energetic ones are colored blue. The blue hand-like structure was created by energy emanating from the nebula around they dying star PSR B1509-58. The red areas are from a neighboring gas cloud called RCW 89. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.

“First light,” or the first time Chandra opened its telescopic eyes to space, took place in mid-August 1999. One of its first pictures was of Cassiopeia A, the remnants of a star that exploded in a supernova witnessed by Tycho Brahe in 1572.

The picture was pretty, but more importantly, Chandra was already probing into Cassiopeia A’s history. “Scientists can see evidence of what may be a neutron star or black hole near the center,” NASA wrote in an August 1999 press release.

Later that year, astronomers released a paper in Astrophysical Journal Lettersdiscussing the elements Chandra found in the gas surrounding the star. The findings included sulfur, silicon and iron that blasted out from the star’s interior.

Stars tend to burn off their hydrogen and helium earlier in their lifetimes; by the time these elements were fusing, temperatures in the star reached many billions of degrees Fahrenheit before the explosion.

Another of Chandra’s early targets was the Crab Nebula, which showed – for the first time – a ring circling a pulsar star in the center of the nebula. Previously, Hubble spied wisps of matter surrounding the neutron, but the ring was something entirely new.

“It should tell us a lot about how the energy from the pulsar gets into the nebula,” stated Jeff Hester, a professor at Arizona State University, in a September press release. “It’s like finding the transmission lines between the power plant and the light bulb.”

In its second year of operations, Chandra was hitting its stride. Regular updates appeared talking about the telescope’s investigations: X-ray emanating stars embedded in the Orion Nebula, a galaxy growing by gobbling up its neighbors, and evidence of baby stars.

The telescope also began a series of discoveries concerning black holes. It spotted evidence of a Type 2 quasar black hole emanating X-rays behind a thick sheet of material that previously hid the black hole’s existence.

Later, scientists announced a possible new kind of black hole in the galaxy M82. From eight months of observations, the scientists said the black hole could represent an evolutionary stage between small black holes formed from stars, and the much more massive ones lurking in the centers of galaxies.

“The black hole in M82 packs the mass of at least 500 suns into a region about the size of the moon,” NASA wrote in September 2000.

“Such a black hole would require extreme conditions for its creation, such as the collapse of a ‘hyperstar’ or the merger of scores of black holes.”

Astronomers are on a continual hunt for “dark” matter, which is believed to be practically invisible stuff that makes most of the universe. So far, we can only detect it through its gravity.

In 2006, a team of astronomers spent more than 100 hours using Chandra to watch the galaxy cluster 1E0657-56, which contains gas from a galaxy cluster collision. Chandra’s observations were combined with that of several other observatories.

Researchers examined the effect the galaxy cluster had on gravitational lensing, which is a known way that gravity distorts the light from background galaxies. Their observations of the gravity showed that normal matter and dark matter ripped apart during the galaxy collision.

While the dark matter search continues, Chandra has been used to find other missing matter. In 2010, researchers used Chandra and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton observatory, probing a reservoir of gas resting along a wall of galaxies about 400 million light-years away from Earth.

Scientists found evidence of baryons, which are electrons, protons and other particles that compose matter found through much of our universe. The researchers suspected the gas would contain a significant amount of this matter.

While scientists continue to probe the nature of matter, Chandra continues to produce stunning pictures that also reveal the structure of the universe. These pictures include a survey of planetary nebulas and a fast-growing galaxy cluster, as well as a “superbubble” found in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

In 2013, Chandra detected a record-breaking outburst from the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, an object known as Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*. At the time, astronomers were observing how Sgr A* would react to what was then suspected to be a cloud of gas but later determined to be a cloud surrounding a compact object. While G2 didn’t produce the fireworks scientists hoped for, scientists did spot a megaflare that was 400 times brighter than the black hole’s normal quiescent state, three times brighter than the previous record holder. 

“If an asteroid was torn apart, it would go around the black hole for a couple of hours – like water circling an open drain – before falling in,” Fred Baganoff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a statement. “That’s just how long we saw the brightest X-ray flare last, so that is an intriguing clue for us to consider.”

Another theory suggests that the magnetic field lines within G2 became tangled as they flowed toward Sgr A*. The occasional reconfiguration of the field lines produces a bright x-ray outburst similar to magnetic flares seen on the sun.

In 2017, Chandra was one of several instruments that picked up a pulse of high-energy light from the powerful explosion caused by two merging neutron stars. Observations with the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) had spotted gravitational waves tied to the collision, encouraging scientists to hunt for signs of the explosion’s aftermath.

“This is extremely exciting science,” Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division, said in a statement. “Now, for the first time, we’ve seen light and gravitational waves produced by the same event. The detection of a gravitational-wave source’s light has revealed details of the event that cannot be determined from gravitational waves alone. The multiplier effect of study with many observatories is incredible.”

Chandra is even helping prepare humans for voyages to other star systems. In 2018, Chandra announced the results of a decade-long study of Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to the sun. The triple star system lies just over four light-years from Earth and is the target for projects like Breakthrough Starshot, which aims to send a swarm of nanocrafts to the system in search of potential life. After observing the system, Chandra data revealed that X-ray bombardment around Alpha Centauri A is slightly better than the sun, and only slightly worse around Alpha Centauri B.

“This is very good news for Alpha Cen AB in terms of the ability of possible life on any of their planets to survive radiation bouts from the stars,” Tom Ayres, a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, said in a statement. “Chandra shows us that life should have a fighting chance on planets around either of these stars.”

Chandra’s mission, originally expected to last five years and then extended to at least 10, is still going strong after more than 18 years of operations. In a 2010 interview with, Roger Brissenden, Chandra’s manager and flight director, said that the instrument had enough power and propulsion systems reserves to last until “at least 2018.”

“There’s enough fuel for many tens of years,” Brissenden said. “The 20-year mission would be within reach.”


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Trump just ordered the Pentagon to establish a Space Force ‘immediately’

The United States seems to have always been pioneers in the space program. They were the first ones to actually walk on the moon, and they created the first ever reusable space vehicle in the space shuttle.

Now if President Donald Trump has his way, the country will again be pioneers when it comes to outer space exploration. Not only does he want to reignite the space program which has more or less been dormant in the country since the space shuttle program was retired, but he wants to create the first ever space force.

In fact, he has gone as far as to make the request of the Pentagon itself to implement this task force. He has gone as far as to tell their Department of Defense to start to put such a force into effect. In a press, In fact, President Trump has been quoted as saying:

“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security, ”

If this program is implemented it will become the sixth branch of the military and actually the only branch of the air force that has been created in 71 years.

According to Trump it is imperative to the nation’s security, but is this really true? Well, we never know what could be lurking in space, and no this isn’t a reference to extraterrestrials, although you never know. But what about asteroids or comets that could have the ability to cause destruction to the earth, and such a task force could help eliminate this problem not only for the United States but the rest of the world as well.

Whatever, the reasons President Trump could have a point that maybe this is not just an idea to consider, but again the United States could get the wheels in motion. So, perhaps the universe imagined by Gene Roddenberry in Star Trek where there is a branch of the military known as Starfleet could actually be to the point of becoming a reality.

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The U.S. Military Has Been in Space From the Beginning

While the proposed branch of the armed forces may be controversial, the history of the so-called “Space Force” is longstanding

he words “Space Force” conjure up images of plastoid-alloy-clad soldiers firing ray guns at aliens, but military activities in space aren’t just science fiction. The U.S. military has been involved with space since the beginning, just, perhaps, not under that name.

That might change if President Donald Trump has his way. Monday, during a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House, Trump directed the Pentagon to create a Space Force, a sixth branch of the United States military. “My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation. The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers. But our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security,” he announced. “[I]t is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”

Yet if the idea is to ensure the military is involved in space, a dedicated space force may not be needed; the military has been in space since space was a place you could be in. As early as 1915, the newly established National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was dominated by military personnel and industry executives. NACA laboratories helped develop many technologies that ended up in military aircraft during World War II. After that, NACA worked with the Air Force to develop planes capable of supersonic flight. It then moved on to working on ballistic missile designs and in the 1950s began developing plans for manned flight. In 1958, a year after the U.S.S.R’s launch of the first ballistic missile and Sputnik satellite kickstarted the Space Race, NACA was rolled into the newly created NASA, a civilian agency which had a broader mandate, more power and more resources.

Clinton Parks at reports that the civilian nature of NASA was never a given. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson wanted to establish a space agency to make sure the United States controlled space militarily. President Eisenhower didn’t want a space agency at all, believing it was a waste of money. Eventually, the two compromised, creating a civilian agency after Johnson was convinced space wasn’t just a potential battlefield, but that a platform for scientific and technological advancement that would be a huge boon for the U.S. and commercial interests.

The establishment of NASA did not mean an end for the U.S. military in space, though many of its projects among the stars were and still are classified. In fact, during the 1960s, the U.S. Air Force ran a parallel manned space program to the one run by NASA, even designing an orbiting “laboratory” and selecting a class of 17 astronauts. Though it ran for six years, the program was cancelled in 1969 and no Air Force astronauts were launched (that we know of).

In 1982, the Air Force Space Command was officially established, and today employs 35,000 people. The agency works on cybersecurity, launches satellites and other payloads for the military and other government agencies, monitors ballistic missile launches and orbiting satellites and runs a military GPS system. And of course there’s plenty of things they do that we don’t know about. For instance, it’s well documented that the Air Force has two X-37B space planes, including one that returned to Earth last year after two years in orbit, though what it was doing is unknown.

And NASA and the military also maintain a strong relationship. Over the decades, the vast majority of NASA astronauts have been military service members. During the heyday of the space shuttle, NASA would routinely ferry classified payloads into orbit for the Department of Defense among other projects the agencies have collaborated on.

As for the President’s directive to create a new space force, Alex Ward at Vox reports that it may not be valid. Constitutionally, only Congress has the authority to “raise and support armies.” The last branch to be created, the Air Force, was created by an act of Congress in 1947. Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies tells Patrick Kelley at Roll Call that “[t]he President can’t create a new military service on his own. There’s going to have to be legislation.”

What’s more, the military seems resistant to the idea of separating out a Space Force from the Air Force. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, for one, has gone on the record opposing the creation of a space force. Last summer, when a Space Corps proposal was floated in Congress, Mattis wrote in a letter that it would add an “additional organizational and administrative tail” and excess layers of bureaucracy to military operations. At the that time, the White House also called the establishment of a space branch “premature.” Officials from the Air Force also went on record saying the move would add costs and unnecessary layers of bureaucracy to current space operations and that they would rather space operations become more integrated into the Air Force’s mission.

That’s not to say the U.S. military isn’t focusing on potential threats in space. Military analyst Lt. Col. Rick Francona tells Euan McKirdy at CNN that military leaders definitely have an eye on the sky. “I hate the term ‘the final frontier’ but (space) is the ultimate high ground. Space doesn’t dominate one small geographic area–it dominates continents, oceans,” he says. “Most military thinkers know this is the battle space of the future.”

Deborah Lee James, Air Force secretary during the Obama administration, agrees, pointing out that many critical satellites and communications devices necessary for modern warfare are located in space, and that other nations, China and Russia in particular, are making moves to control the region around Earth. “Space is no longer a peaceful domain,” she told Ward last July. “There is a real possibility that a conflict on Earth could bleed into space.”

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Get ready for a gold rush in space: Mining asteroids could unlock enough wealth to ‘earn everyone on Earth £75 BILLION’, claims Nasa

  • Several space companies are vying to be the first to mine nearby asteroids
  • Certain space rocks are loaded with platinum, nickel, iron and gold 
  • Deep Space Industries is building steam-powered thrusters for spacecraft 
  • The firm envisions swarms of probes flying out to draw resources from asteroid

Humanity’s next gold rush could take place aboard small probes jetting between asteroids in outer space.

Several private and publically funded companies are vying to be the first to mine space rocks for precious resources, including Nasa.

The celestial objects are thought to be loaded with tonnes of precious metals and minerals, including pricey platinum, worth quadrillions on Earth.

Nasa estimates the total value of resources locked in asteroids is equivalent to $100 billion (£75 billion) for each person on Earth.

One private company looking to tap into these orbiting minerals is the US firm Deep Space Industries, which plans to power its spacecraft with steam-powered thrusters.

The firm says it will launch its first mining probe in the early 2020s, and antitipates that, by 2030, the market for asteroidal minerals will top £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion).

In a new interview, a technology expert at Deep Space Industries said he envisions swarms of small mining craft flying out to draw resources from near-Earth asteroids.

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Humanity’s next gold rush could take place aboard tiny probes jetting between asteroids. One private company looking to tap into these orbiting minerals is the US firm Deep Space Industries, which envisions using probes to mine asteroids (artist’s impression)

Grant Bonin, chief technology officer at the company, which is based in San Jose, California, said the probes would operate from a central depot in space.

‘It is like honey bees going out to a lot of different flowers and flying that back to the hive,’ he told the Guardian.

The depot, positioned somewhere between the moon and Earth, would allow spacecraft to fly out to asteroids as they quickly pass by our planet.

It would act as a spot to store resources which could then be sold to governments or private companies.

This could be platinum, iron, nickel, gold or even water-derived hydrogen or oxygen fuel.

‘To some extent we are agnostic about what the first market will be,’ Mr Bonin said.

Nasa estimates the total value of resources locked in space rocks is £522 quintillion – equivalent to £75 billion ($100 billion) for each person on Earth. the space agency plans to send a probe to the mineral-rich asteroid 16 Psyche in 2022 (artist’s impression)

‘We think it will be propellant for gas stations in space, but we wouldn’t want to bet.’

Deep Space Industries (DSI) intends to launch a fleet of unmanned ships to intercept small asteroids as they speed past our planet.

The firm’s propulsion system uses water vapour heated to 1,000°C (1,832°F) to produce thrust. It has already sold 40 of these boosters to other space companies.

‘Deep Space Industries is an asteroid mining company, developing the technologies to find, harvest, and supply the asteroid resources that will transform the space economy,’ the firm’s website reads.

Chief executive David Gump, who produced the first ever TV commercial shot on the International Space Station, said: ‘Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development.

‘More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year.

‘They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century – a key resource located near where it was needed.

Deep Space Industries intends to begin mining asteroids that fly over Earth. Pictured is an artist’s impression of an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft

‘In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy.’

DSI is one of a number of companies with visions of a mining industry beyond Earth’s orbit.

Bankers from Goldman Sachs hope to build an ‘asteroid-grabbing spacecraft’ to make billions from mining space metals.

A 98-page report from the banking investment company claimed last year that mining asteroids for precious metals in the near future is a ‘realistic’ goal.

‘Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6bn,’ the report said.

Even the UK has entered the race with the Preston-based Asteroid Mining Corporation, run by 23-year-old space entrepeneur Mitch Hunter-Scullion.

The graduate plans to build a satellite that can land on asteroids and extract minerals, eventually expanding the operation to include a mining space station.

Asteroids are made of carbon, silicon or metal, but it is the metallic asteroids that mining companies are most interested in.

The compositions of these asteroids are still poorly understood as most research into space rocks is focussed on threats to our planet posed by collisions.

Nasa plans to sample the asteroid Psyche 16. If the asteroid could be transported back to Earth, the iron alone would be worth $10,000 quadrillion (£8,072 quadrillion). Pictured is an artist’s impression of the Psyche 16 mission

No asteroid has yet been directly sampled, but Nasa aims to change that with its plans to send a probe to the mineral-rich asteroid 16 Psyche.

16 Psyche is located in the large asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is one of the most mysterious objects in the solar system.

It may have started as a planet before it was partially destroyed during the formation of our star system.

Now, it is a 130 mile (200km) wide chunk of metal, made up of iron, nickel and a number of other rare metals, including gold, platinum and copper.

Nasa announced in January 2017 that it intended to send a probe to the asteroid to sample its chemical makeup in 2022.

Several private and publically funded companies are vying to be the first to mine space rocks for precious resources as they race past Earth, including Nasa (stock image)

Lindy Elkins-Tanton the lead scientist on the Nasa mission and the director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, said: ’16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core.

‘We learn about inner space by visiting outer space.’

If the asteroid could be transported back to Earth, the iron alone would be worth $10,000 quadrillion (£8,072 quadrillion).

In comparison, all the money on Earth is thought to be worth $60 to $75 trillion.

Experts have warned that its value would be large enough to destroy commodity prices and cause the world’s economy to collapse.



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Are Aliens Plentiful, But We’re Just Missing Them?

A little over 80 years ago, humanity first began broadcasting radio and television signals with enough power that they should leave Earth’s atmosphere and progress deep into interstellar space. If someone living in a distant star system were keeping a vigilant eye out for these signals, they would not only be able to pick them up, but immediately identify them as created by an intelligent species. In 1960, Frank Drake first proposed searching for such signals from other star systems by using large radio dishes, giving rise to SETI: the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Yet over the past half-century, we’ve developed far more efficient ways to communicate across the globe than with broadcast radio and TV signals. Does searching for aliens in the electromagnetic spectrum even make sense anymore?

This question, of course, is extraordinarily speculative, but gives us a chance to look at our own technological progress, and to consider how that might play out elsewhere in the Universe. After all, if someone from a culture that was versed only in smoke signals and drum beats found themselves deep inside the heart of a forest, they might conclude that there was no intelligent life around. Yet if you gave them a cellphone, there’s a good chance they could get reception from right where they stood! Our conclusions may be as biased as the methods we apply.

The mechanism of electricity only began to be understood in the late 18th century, with the work of Ben Franklin. The power of electricity only began to be harnessed to run electric circuits and other powered devices during the 19th century, and the phenomena associated with classical electromagnetism only became understood through the latter half of that century. The first transmissions of electromagnetic signals for communication didn’t take place until 1895, and the power of radio broadcasts to extend far out into interplanetary and interstellar space wasn’t achieved until the 1930s.

The speed of light is quite a limiting thing as well: if our radio signals have been traveling through interstellar space for 80 years, that means that only civilizations within 80 light years of us would have had an opportunity to receive those signals, and that only civilizations within 40 light years would have had the opportunity to receive those signals and send something back to us that we would’ve received by now. If the Fermi Paradox is the question of “where is everyone,” the answer is, “not within 40 light years of us,” which doesn’t tell us very much about intelligent life in the Universe at all.

While there might be hundreds of billions of stars within our galaxy alone, and around two trillion galaxies in the observable Universe, there are less than 1,000 stars within 40 light years of Earth.

And to make matters worse, electromagnetic signals going out from Earth into interstellar space are decreasing, not increasing. Television and radio broadcasts are increasingly being run through cables or via satellite, not from transmission towers here on Earth. By time another century passes, it’s very likely that the signals we sent out (and hence, began looking for) during the 20th century will cease to be emitted from Earth altogether. Perhaps an alien civilization, making note of these observations when the signals do arrive, would draw the conclusion that this blue, watery planet orbiting our star in the great distance actually achieved intelligent, technologically advance life for a short while, and then wiped ourselves out as the signals gradually stopped.

Or, perhaps, drawing conclusions from what is or isn’t present in any form of electromagnetic signal is altogether wrongheaded.

If we were to look at Earth from a nearby distance in visible light, there would be no doubts about the fact of whether or not it’s inhabited: the great glow of cities at night is unmistakably a sign of our activity. Yet this light pollution is relatively new, and is something we’re finally learning how to manage and control if we put the effort (i.e., time, money, manpower and resources) into it. There’s no reason not to be optimistic that by the end of the 21st or 22nd centuries, the Earth at night will look no different than it did for billions of years: dark, except for the occasional aurora, lightning storm or erupting volcano.

But if we weren’t looking for electromagnetic signals, what would we look at? Indeed, everything in the known Universe is limited by the speed of light, and any signal created on another world would necessitate that we be able to observe it. These signals — in terms of what could reach us — fall into four categories:

  1. Electromagnetic signals, which include any form of light of any wavelength that would indicate the presence of intelligent life.
  2. Gravitational wave signals, which, if there is one unique to intelligent life, would be detectable with sensitive enough equipment anywhere in the Universe.
  3. Neutrino signals, which — although incredibly low in flux at great distances — would have an unmistakable signature dependent on the reaction that created them.
  4. And finally, actual, macroscopic space probes, either robotic, computerized, free-floating or inhabited, which made its way towards Earth.

How remarkable that our science-fiction imaginations focus almost exclusively on the fourth possibility, which is by far the least likely!

When you think about the vast distances between the stars, how many stars there are with potentially habitable planets (or potentially habitable moons), and how much it takes, in terms of resources, to physically send a space probe from one planet around one star to another planet around another star, it seems literally crazy to consider that method to be a good plan. Far more likely, you’d think, it would be smart to build the right type of detector, to survey all the various regions of the sky, and seek out the signals that could unambiguously show us the presence of intelligent life.

In the electromagnetic spectrum, we know what our living world does in response to the seasons. With winters and summers, there are seasonal (and hence, orbital) changes in what electromagnetic signals our planet emits. As the seasons change, so do the colors on various parts of our planet. With a large enough telescope (or array of telescopes), perhaps the individual signs of our civilization could be seen: cities, satellites, airplanes and more. But perhaps the best thing we could look for is alterations of the natural environment, consistent with something that only an intelligent civilization would create.

We haven’t yet done these things, but perhaps large-scale modifications of a planet would be the exact thing we should be looking for, and should be the large-scale projects we’d aspire towards. Remember, any civilization that we find is unlikely to be in their technological infancy like we are. If they survive it and thrive through it, we’ll likely encounter them in a state tens or hundreds of thousands of years more advanced than we are. (And if that doesn’t boggle your mind, consider how much more advanced we are than we were just a few hundred years ago!) But this brings up two other possibilities, too.

Perhaps — as our gravitational wave technology becomes set to detect the first signals from the Universe — we’ll discover that there are subtle effects that lend themselves to detection across the cosmos. Perhaps there’s something to be said for a world with tens of thousands of satellites orbiting it, something unique that a gravitational wave detector could spot? We haven’t worked it out in great detail because this field is in its infancy and not yet developed to the point where it could detect such a small signal. But these signals don’t degrade the way electromagnetic ones do, nor is there anything that shields them. Perhaps this new branch of astronomy will be the way to go, hundreds of years from now. But my money’s on the third options, if you want an out-of-the-box thought.

What’s likely to be the power source for a sufficiently advanced civilization? Perhaps it’s nuclear power, most likely fusion power, and most likely a specific type of fusion that’s proven to be efficient, abundant, different from what occurs in the cores of stars, and that emits a very, very specific neutrino (or antineutrino) signature as a by-product. And those neutrinos should come with a very specific, explicit signature as far its energy spectrum goes: one that isn’t produced by any natural process.

If we can predict what that signature is, understand it, build a detector for it and measure it, we can find a fusion-powered civilization anywhere, and not have to worry about whether they’re broadcasting or not. So long as they’re making power, we can find them. With SETI focusing solely on electromagnetic signatures, we may, at present, be looking for the cosmic equivalent of smoke signals in a cellphone-filled world. But this likely won’t be the case for long. As our technology continues to advance, our knowledge of what to look for will advance along with it. And perhaps someday — perhaps even someday soon — the Universe may have the most pleasant surprise of all in store for us: the news that we aren’t alone, after all.

Asteroid a half mile long about to make closest pass by Earth

A space rock that could be taller than the tallest skyscraper on Earth is set to whip by our planet this week.

The object, technically classified as Asteroid 2017 YE5, is thought to be a comet that’s gone extinct, meaning it’s probably dried up and no longer has a distinct tail. 

It will come within 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) of Earth on Thursday, which is over 15 times the distance to the moon. This is the closest pass it will make between now and at least 2189 and the closest it’s come since at least 1908, according to NASA.

That’s also definitely a large enough distance that we shouldn’t worry about the possibility of any kind of impact with Earth or the moon, but 2017 YE5 is still considered a “potentially hazardous” asteroid due to its size.

NASA radar observations estimate the former comet could be up to 860 meters in diameter, or more than 2,800 feet. For comparison, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai stands at 2,717 feet. 

Lots of asteroids zip safely by Earth every week, including many that come much closer than this one. But 2017 YE5 is likely one of the five largest objects to come within around 16 lunar distances over the past year. As such, some of our bigger telescopes, like the Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico, may be able to get a glimpse of it this week. Stay tuned…


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How hats were placed atop the Easter Island statues

The famous statues of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, are best known for their deep-set eyes and long ears.

They also sport impressive multi-tonne hats made from a different rock type.

Quite how these pukao, as they are known, were transported and placed atop the statues has long been a puzzle.

But now American archaeologists believe they have a clearer understanding. The giant hats were moved with minimal effort and resources using a ramp and rope technique, they say.

“The fact that they successfully assembled these monuments is a clear signal of the engineering prowess of the prehistoric Rapanui people,” said Sean Hixon, lead author and graduate student in anthropology, at Penn State.

Image copyright SEAN HIXON Image caption The pukao emplacement process

The researchers’ investigations indicate the pukao were rolled across miles of rugged terrain and earthen ramps to reach the top of the ancestor heads, called Moai. The largest of these colossal red hats has a diameter of over 2m and weighs nearly 11 tonnes.

The researchers motion-mapped overlapping digital photographs to capture surface details of each pukao. By applying filters to their models, they began to identify clues that are shared among pukao which show the marks of wear and tear in how they were moved.

The team’s findings, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, argue that similar notches, grooves and indentations suggest the Rapanui people built ramps in front of forward-leaning Moai. They then rolled the hats till they reached the top, before finally tipping the Moai upright.

Islanders are likely to have wrapped the pukao with ropes to roll and tip them. This “parbuckling” method, often used today to right capsized ships, would have made moving the stones physically feasible and required smaller groups of individuals to be involved.

“Even in the case of the most massive pukao that was brought to the top of the tallest statue, 10 people likely could have rolled it up a ramp with reasonable dimensions,” Mr Hixon explained.

Image copyright TERRY HUNT Image caption Some red scoria pieces have smaller cylindrical projections on top

The large cylindrical pukaos are made of red volcanic rock called scoria, while the Moai heads are carved from volcanic tuff. The materials were excavated from craters at opposites sides of the island.

In many cases, the giant pukaos were rolled into position as far as 13km away from the quarry where they were sourced. Red scoria is also porous and therefore less dense than tuff, making it easier to raise into position.

Some of the cylinders were seemingly abandoned during the transport and have been left in the upright wheel positions in which they remain today. The researchers found that the wear and tear markings on these examples also give further proof of transport by rolling.

Image copyright TERRY HUNT Image caption Researchers used 3D imaging to compare pukao indentations

Previous theories have suggested the transport and production of the statues were linked with deforestation and the eventual collapse of a large population. But the new evidence that this scale of engineering expertise could be accomplished using only a few ropes and small groups of people could debunk widely held notions of an “ecocide” in which a big population overexploited island resources.

“With the building mitigating any sense of conflict, the Moai construction and pukao placement were key parts to the success of the island,” said anthropology professor Carl Lipo.

Image copyright TERRY HUNT Image caption Red scoria’s colour would have matched cultural traditions about hats

The prehistoric Rapanui people made nearly 1,000 giant stone statues and carvings, the largest of which weigh 74 tonnes and stand 10m tall – the height of a three-floor building. The Moai were positioned to form a ring around the island, facing inland.

“The hats would be the grand finale – the final showing off of the coherence of the group, the technology and the genius in engineering,” Prof Terry Hunt, from the University of Arizona, told BBC News.

“Culturally, the addition of hats is likely related to honouring ancestors. The head is traditionally thought to contain ‘mana’, so adding the hat provides additional prestige,” Prof Lipo said.

Image copyright TERRY HUNT Image caption Standing Moai on the South Coast of Rapa Nui

The members of the Spanish expedition to Easter Island in 1770 were the first to record their descriptions of the scoria hats. F. A. de Agüera y Infanzon wrote, “the diameter of the crown is much greater than that of the head on which it rests… a position which excited wonder that it does not fall”.

In 1917, anthropologist Scoresby Routledge thought the pukao resembled hats after likening them to grass headgear; while Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl believed them to look more like heads of hair.

Prof Lipo said this incorrect notion came from thinking they were the same elite “red haired” people who built monuments in South America, instead of the Polynesian descended Rapanui society. However, given the “deep tradition of headgear, thinking of pukao as hats is more consistent with what we know about the island,” explained Prof Lipo.

Image copyright TERRY HUNT Image caption The people of Rapa Nui were of Polynesian descent

Many questions remain for the finely crafted figures and the fate of the Rapanui who made them, but the new study sheds light on the unique abilities of our prehistoric relatives.

“These were ancient engineers with a genius that allowed people to walk multi-tonne statues and roll multi-tonne hats – which teaches us about the society’s investment in honouring their ancestors. It’s quite a remarkable accomplishment,” Prof Hunt said.


A signed, personalized note from Armstrong himself was also analyzed and determined to be authentic, adding to the sample’s veracity.

But there is some precedent for NASA’s desire for the vial, as it has repossessed lunar samples in the past. In April 2013, 20 vials of moon dust were discovered sitting in a warehouse at Berkeley National Laboratory that had been forgotten for 40 years. NASA got them back, though the lab was quick to oblige as it was run by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Last year, a bag of moon dust sold at auction for nearly $2 million, after Nancy Lee Carlson purchased it through a federal auction website for $995. Before the auction, Carlson sent it to NASA for verification, but found that the agency refused to give it back. Carlson sued and had the sample returned to her, promising to contribute some of the auction money to charitable causes.

Ironically, Carlson’s bag of moon dust was originally confiscated as part of a multitude of stolen items found in the home of a Kansas space museum owner, named Max Ary. Police seized a number of items from Ary, before selling them at government auctions, apparently not realizing they should be returned to NASA.

When it comes to moon rocks and space dust, it’s likely NASA is so protective due to the frequency of con artists selling counterfeit samples. NASA agents will frequently go undercover to bust people, including the time in 2011 when agents ran a sting operation on a 74-year-old woman in a Denny’s parking lot. The woman, Joann David, said her husband was gifted her granular lunar sample from Armstrong as well, much like Cicco.

But while David’s attempt to sell her sample was probably legal, there have in fact, been quite a few cases of counterfeit deals NASA has intercepted over the years.

Of the more than 800 pounds of lunar samples brought to Earth during the Apollo missions, many samples were given to foreign countries and private individuals as gifts, though NASA claims this was under the pretense they still remained government property – essentially, they were loaned. Though it’s now estimated that 90 countries and 10 U.S. states cannot account for their samples. So, when they end up in the hands of private individuals, who’s to blame?

It was determined that 180 of the 270 moon rocks brought back to Earth from Apollo missions are unaccounted for. These are mostly rocks gifted to foreign nations by the Nixon Administration, known as Goodwill Moon Rocks. One of these rocks, gifted to Honduras, was recovered during a sting operation in Miami, but most remain missing, likely hidden in private collections throughout the world.


A few years ago, NASA destroyed hundreds of Apollo-era tapes found in the basement of a deceased Pennsylvania man’s home. Two massive computers were also found in the basement, though NASA claimed the serial number imprinted on them didn’t match anything in its records.


In response to a FOIA request from Motherboard, NASA’s Office of Inspector General released a report detailing an investigation into a trove of data reels found in the basement of a former IBM engineer. The engineer, whose name was redacted in the report, had worked as a NASA contractor and was given permission to take the tapes, as well as two large computers, sometime between 1968-1972.

According to his widow, the IBM Alleghany Center in Pittsburgh gave him permission to take the materials. The man’s widow expressly stated, “please tell NASA these items were not stolen.”

Upon receiving custody of the tapes, a NASA inspector decided there was no use for them, as they were moderately to severely damaged by mold. The tapes, many of which were unlabeled, appeared to be from the Pioneer and Helios missions. The Pioneer missions sent probes to study Jupiter and Saturn, while Helios probes were sent to study the sun.

The inspector broke down the number of reels per mission:

PN8 [Pioneer 8]: 1 reel

PN9 [Pioneer 9]: 2 reels

PN1O [Pioneer 10): 40 reels

PN11 [Pioneer ll]: 53 reels

HEL1 [or] HEL-A [Helios 1]: 10 reels

HESA [possibly an abbreviation for Helios A]: 2 reels

Intelsat IV: 2 reels


The labelled reels accounted for just over 100 of the 325 tapes. After conferring with NASA’s archive department, the inspector deemed them historically insignificant and recommended they be destroyed.

But the correspondence between the inspector and his NASA colleagues revealed some strange findings that were left unexplained. One discrepancy was found with a tape seeming to be labelled from the Pioneer 11 mission, which launched in 1973. However, the date on the tape was marked 1972.

The computers found in the basement presented another enigma, as they were incredibly heavy and labelled with a contract serial number that NASA had no record of ever having. The numbers read, NAS5-2154 and NAS5-17620-5, initially bringing up a contract number for an HVAC system. Even stranger, the contract duration for one of the computers found in the NASA archives was from 2003-2004 for a computer number inscription from 1962.

NASA destroys tapes

This quandary lead one NASA employee to state, “It really feels like archeology to me.”

NASA said it had no use for the computers and they could be used for scrap or disposed of by whatever means. The computers themselves were said to be extraordinarily heavy, likely requiring a crane to move them. Yet, somehow, they ended up in the basement of this man’s house.

Though these tapes are unrelated to the Apollo missions, they are relevant when considering NASA’s archival preservation methods at the time. One would be remiss not to remember the degaussing, or erasing, of over 200,000 magnetic tapes, in which one with the original footage of the moon landing in 1969 was lost.

Motherboard pointed out NASA’s abysmal archival process has been known and chastised by the government in the past. For the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions contained in this recent trove of basement tapes, only 30 to 59 percent of mission data was archived at the Goddard National Space Science Data Center. NASA considers this a “good” level of documentation.

Motherboard confirmed that the tapes were disposed of and recycled by NASA. It will remain a mystery as to what exactly was contained on the tapes, though NASA employees say they were likely blank. It is surprising, however, that NASA would allow a private contractor to take home that many magnetic data reels when it was making such an effort to save money by erasing and recycling them, including the one containing the moon landing. Was this unnamed engineer who held onto the tapes for over 40 years really just a collector?


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This Space Cloud Smells Like Rum And Tastes Like Raspberries

So there’s a giant cloud hanging out in the Milky Way galaxy that smells a little bit like rum and tastes a little bit like raspberries. Here’s why Sagittarius B2 may be the most delicious cloud in space.

Let’s work our way up the ladder on this one. We’ll start at the bottom step, where things are unimaginably tiny. A carboxyl group is a group of atoms that looks like this: (C(O)OH). A carboxylic acid is any acid that has a carboxyl group. Glue one single extra atom of hydrogen on that group and you have formic acid, the most simple carboxylic acid. In fact, this acid is so basic that ants’ bodies can make it. If you have ever been stung or sprayed with ant venom, you have probably felt the sting of formic acid.

Let’s take another step up the ladder and add booze. Mix ethanol with formic acid and you have ethyl formate, which is an ester. Esters are the most famous of the aroma compounds and are responsible for most of the floral, fruit, and wine smells. A good proportion of esters are simply combinations of carboxylic acids and alcohols. To non-chemists who nevertheless paid attention in chemistry class, esters are known as the “smell molecules.”

Ethyl formate has a role to play in both fruit and wine. Drinkers know it as the “scent of rum,” but it comes wafting out of a lot of alcohols from cognac to whisky. Berry pickers will also know ethyl formate if they get their mouth around it; it’s one of the chemicals that gives raspberries their distinctive flavor. So smell it and it smells vaguely of rum; taste it and it tastes vaguely of raspberries.

When we examine ethyl formate on an even larger scale, we get the weird twist — way out in space, a cloud of gas is laden with ethyl formate, which means it smells like rum and tastes like berries.

Or perhaps we have this all the wrong away around. Perhaps we should have started large instead of small, because Sagittarius B2, the dust cloud 400 light-years away from the center of the galaxy, predates both the raspberry and rum. So maybe we should say that rum smells of cosmic dust cloud, and raspberries taste of it.


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There are Giant Clouds of Alcohol Floating in Space

Ten thousand light years from earth in a constellation far, far away, there is massive cloud of alcohol. It’s space booze.

Discovered in 1995 near the constellation Aquila, the cloud is 1000 times larger than the diameter of our solar system. It contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer. To down that much alcohol, every person on earth would have to drink 300,000 pints each day—for one billion years.

Sadly, for those of you planning an interstellar pub crawl, the cloud is 58 quadrillion miles away. It’s also a cocktail of 32 compounds, some of them as nasty as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia.

The galaxy has a second intergalactic liquor cabinet in the Sagittarius B2 Cloud (the bright, orange-red spot in the image above), which holds 10 billion billion billion liters of cosmic hooch. Most of it’s undrinkable, though. The cloud holds mostly methanol, the same alcohol in antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. Similarly, near the center of the Milky Way, a cloudy bridge of methanol surrounds a stellar nursery. The bridge of booze is 288 billion miles wide.

It wasn’t spilled after some Martian keg party.  As new stars heat up—formed as clouds of gas and dust collapse—ethyl alcohol can attach to specks of floating dust. As the dust moves toward the budding star, the alcohol heats, separates, and turns to gas. For astronomers, these alcohol clouds can be a telling clue into how our biggest stars form.

Not to mention, alcohol is an organic compound: the building blocks of life. According to Barry Turner at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, these alcohol clouds may “help us better understand how life might arise elsewhere in the cosmos.”

Now, if you’re wondering what these space spirits may taste or smell like, Sagittarius B2 has an answer. The cloud contains ethyl formate, an ester that helps give raspberries their taste—and reportedly smells like rum. It seems, then, that the center of our galaxy may taste and smell like raspberry-flavored rum.

Scientists haven’t found if it pairs well with moon cheese.


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NASA will visit an undersea volcano in Hawaii to figure out how to hunt for aliens

NASA will soon visit Hawaii’s Lo’ihi volcano, which sits more than 3,000 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean, all in the name of one day hunting for life out in the solar system. 

The NASA expedition, called SUBSEA, endeavors to visit underwater volcanoes — which are often rich in colorful mats of microbial life — to better grasp how life might exist in deep, harsh, lightless places in our solar system. 

Lo’ihi is an active volcano sitting about 50 miles off the coast of the Big Island. 

NASA — which will launch the mission in August — will use the rocks and bacteria it collects from the volcano to plan ambitious robotic explorations of these water worlds, should the agency get funding.

Plumes of water vapor, ice, and salts shooting from the surface of Enceladus.

The space agency is specifically interested in Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa — both of which are suspected to harbor heat-emitting vents and oceans beneath their thick, ice shells.

A black smoker emitting jets of particle-rich fluid.

Deep sea vents are common below Earth’s oceans, existing thousands of feet down in parts of the Atlantic and Pacific. There, the scorching vents are famous for emitting thick plumes of “black smoke,” which feed extremophile microbes and worm-like creatures nearby. In some locations lobsters, snails, and crabs also rely on these vents. 

“But Lo’ihi is different,” Darlene Lim, a NASA geobiologist and head of the SUBSEA program, said in an interview. 

Scientists suspect that if deep sea vents exist on other worlds, they’re more like Lo’ihi’s, which aren’t quite as intensely hot as black smokers in the deep Atlantic, said Lim.

A closer view of the microbial life on Lo’ihi.

Black smokers reach over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas planetary scientists think those on Enceladus might fall between 120 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (50 to 200 Celsius), said Lim.

NASA doesn’t have an exploration vessel, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does, so NASA is partnering with the seafaring agency to study Lo’ihi for 21 days. Remote operated vehicles (ROVs) will be sent down to Lo’ihi to collect rocks and observe the vibrant microbial community around the volcano. 


“It’s extremely rich in diversity,” Craig Moyer, a volcano microbiologist at Western Washington University who has been studying Lo’ihi for over two decades, said in an interview. 

Life down around Lo’ihi isn’t just abundant in microbial chemotrophs — which feed exclusively on chemicals in a lightless world — but these communities change in parallel with Lo’ihi’s fluctuating activity, said Moyer.

Tubeworms living off of vents 8,200 feet beneath the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Since Lo’ihi’s eruption in 1996, the volcano has been pretty quiet and the vents have cooled off, meaning the volcano isn’t emitting much of its typical gases like hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide. This leaves the microbes down there to feed on the chemical available, iron. 

But when Lo’ihi’s activity ramps up again, heat and new chemicals will allow other microbes to prosper.

vigorously erupting Kilauea is likely to share a deep plumbing system with Lo’ihi.” data-reactid=”96″ style=”user-select: auto !important; margin: 0px 0px 1em;”>”My fingers are crossed that we’ll see an uptick in the activity once again,” said Moyer, noting Hawaii’s vigorously erupting Kilauea is likely to share a deep plumbing system with Lo’ihi.

The icy, cracked surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa.

45,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — nearby Lo’ihi is relatively easy for NASA to study because it’s in U.S. territory.  ” data-reactid=”109″ style=”user-select: auto !important; margin: 0px 0px 1em;”>Not only is Kilauea exceptionally active right now — erupting enough lava over the last month to fill over 45,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — nearby Lo’ihi is relatively easy for NASA to study because it’s in U.S. territory.  

“It’s a wonderful confluence,” said Lim. 

By the end of SUBSEA, which plans to visit another volcanic vent system in 2019, Lim hopes to give NASA’s future deep space planners an improved idea of where to best seek life on uncharted alien worlds like the moon Enceladus.

Europa, too, has potential for life to thrive in the ocean sloshing beneath its thick ice crust. 

“Anywhere you’ve got liquid water you’ve got a high probability of finding life,” said Moyer. 

“I’m rooting for both of them.”


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Extremely Large, Extremely Expensive: The Race for the Next Giant Telescopes

Even as astronomers await a verdict on construction of a huge telescope on Mauna Kea, they are still trying to figure out how to pay for the next stargazing Goliaths.

It is high noon, again, for astronomers who want to erect a gigantic telescope on Mauna Kea, the grand volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

On June 21, the Supreme Court of Hawaii will hear oral arguments in Honolulu on whether to approve a building permit for the telescope, which would be the biggest and most expensive in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Thirty Meter Telescope (named for the diameter of its main light-collecting mirror) has been 15 years in the planning. It would be one of three gargantuan telescopes now in the works that could transform astronomy in the 21st century.

If they don’t get clearance to start building on Mauna Kea soon, the Thirty Meter astronomers say they will build it on La Palma in the Canary Islands, off Africa, where the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is home to several telescopes, including the 10-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias.

The Thirty Meter Telescope would be completed in 2029, if construction can start — somewhere — next year. But that’s still a big “if,” and would leave the telescope far behind its rivals in the race to enlarge the scrutiny of the heavens.

The Mauna Kea drama has overshadowed other issues about the financing and future use of the next generation of extremely large telescopes, as they are generically called.

Most of the groups involved, for example, have not yet raised all the money and partners required.

That in itself is hardly surprising.

“It takes a generation to build a telescope,” said Charles Alcock, director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a board member of the Giant Magellan Telescope Observatory, which is building a rival giant telescope in Chile. You can’t wait for all the money before you begin, he added; construction should start with whatever money is in hand.

Both the Giant Magellan and the Thirty Meter Telescope are hundreds of millions of dollars short of their funding goals, according to unofficial estimates from outside scientists. Some astronomers say the Thirty Meter Telescope, which was originally estimated to cost $1.4 billion, will now take some $2 billion to complete. Project officials themselves have declined to say how much they need.

In a statement released by the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory, Edward Stone, a Caltech professor and executive director of the observatory, said the exact price of the telescope would depend on when and where it was built.

The light-gathering ability of a telescope is determined by the area of its main, or primary, mirror. Which means that the 30-meter-class telescopes under development will be 10 times as powerful as the largest telescopes now on Earth, which have primary mirrors 10 meters across.

But all this virtue costs money and groundbreaking technology.

Following the model of the Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea, the main light-gathering mirror of the Thirty Meter Telescope will be a mosaic of hundreds of smaller hexagonal mirrors put together like tiles on a bathroom floor. The Giant Magellan, by contrast, achieves its power by combining seven 8-meter-diameter mirrors.

However, the Giant Magellan will start up with only four of the mirrors in place, in 2023, making it temporarily the biggest telescope on Earth.

It will be eclipsed a year later by another entry in the giant telescope sweepstakes: the European Extremely Large Telescope, being built by the European Southern Observatory, also in Chile. It was originally going to be a mosaic 100 meters in diameter (formally known as the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope, or OWL); it was reduced to 42 meters in diameter and now 39. When it goes on line in 2024, it will be the largest optical telescope in the world.

A sore point of both the Thirty Meter and Giant Magellan telescope projects is that neither has received much support from the National Science Foundation, which traditionally finances ground-based astronomy in the United States.

There is now a proposal afoot to fix this: According to the plan, which has many bureaucratic, academic and political hoops to leap through, the National Science Foundation would contribute a quarter of the cost of each of the two telescopes in return for access to observation time for outside astronomers.

Otherwise, all the telescope time would be reserved for astronomers from the institutional partners in those collaborations.

David Silva, director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, said the idea arose last year during discussions of an upcoming survey of astronomical priorities by the National Academies of Science. Once a decade, the academy convenes a blue-ribbon panel to recommend how to spend federal dollars. The 2020 survey starts this fall, when someone is chosen to lead the main committee.

Previous panels have given projects like the Hubble Space Telescope important political and financial momentum.

An obvious question about the survey, Dr. Silva recalled, was what to do to boost one or both of the Giant Magellan and Thirty Meter telescopes. The two projects started up a few miles apart in Pasadena — at the Carnegie Observatories and at the California Institute of Technology, partners with the University of California — with very different ideas on how to proceed. The efforts have grown into sprawling international consortiums, intense rivals for partners and other resources since birth.

“Both projects finally woke up to the fact they are being creamed by the European 39-meter,” said Matt Mountain, the president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, which manages the national observatory and other astronomical facilities for the government.

Dr. Silva and others, most notably Dr. Mountain, concluded that the two projects would have a better chance of success if they joined forces and put forward a unified science case.

“A bigger umbrella would work better,” Dr. Silva said in an interview.

Without a plan, he pointed out, American astronomers were facing the looming possibility of not having access to the largest telescope on Earth — after a century of dominance with telescopes like the 200-inch on Palomar Mountain in California.

The situation is reminiscent of the plight of American particle physicists, who ceded leadership in high energy physics a quarter century ago when the Superconducting Supercollider was canceled, he said. CERN then built the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, which has been the center of physics ever since.

If the Thirty Meter and Giant Magellan telescopes do not reach fruition, Dr. Silva said in an email, American astronomers could still participate in European-led projects in Chile. “But at the very least, that’s a significant psychological line to cross for U.S. astronomy,” he noted.

The plan would entail identifying “key science programs,” involving subjects or exoplanets or dark energy that could be pursued with both United States telescopes in a coordinated “big data” kind of way. The national observatory would control the observing time.

For now, the boards of both collaborations have bought in to the idea. “This is very much a work in progress,” Dr. Silva said. “We are in a trust-building phase. Can we work together?”

Dr. Alcock said that as yet there was no firm number on how much the science foundation would contribute, but they were talking about $350 million apiece to the two telescopes. In the end, he said, they would probably get more.

Representative John Culberson, Republican of Texas and chairman of a House panel that oversees financing for the National Science Foundation, recently signaled his possible support for the giant telescopes by tripling the proposed budget for the agency’s construction budget for 2019.

“There should be enough room in the international community for three E.L.T.s,” Dr. Alcock said.

But where they will be is still an issue.

Mauna Kea, with its high altitude and calm, dark skies, is considered by some to be the natural place for a telescope like the Thirty Meter. Mauna Kea is part of so-called “ceded lands” that originally belonged to the Hawaiian Kingdom and are now administered by the state for the benefit of Hawaiians.

In 1968, the University of Hawaii leased the top 11,000 acres of the mountain for a dollar a year, and began awarding subleases to various observatories for telescopes.

But some environmentalists and native Hawaiian groups say the spread of observatories on the summit has polluted the mountain, interfering with traditional cultural and religious practices, or are actually infringing on the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

In 2014, protesters broke up a groundbreaking for the Thirty Meter Telescope and then blockaded the mountain, preventing any construction. The same court that revoked the telescope’s building permit is also pondering the sublease for its site.

A recent poll shows that a growing majority of Hawaiians favor building the telescope on Mauna Kea, but nobody knows what will happen or who will show up to protest when the court decides on the telescope’s permit and sublease, or when construction trucks can start going back up the mountain.

The whole universe will be watching.