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Dark Energy, Life Searches Make Strange Bedfellows

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-would-the-kids-look-like? dept.

Space 68

eldavojohn writes "Both the EU and US are using a strategy to merge what used to be two separate searches: the search for exoplanets that may harbor life and the search for dark energy. In an effort to develop 'robust, low-risk missions that maximize the scientific return,' the article analyzes how, without any changes, a space-based dark energy telescope could also check for microlensing events indicating an exoplanet."

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68 comments

still easier to find that... (0, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30168838)

...intelligence in teh US of teh America.

I can't be... (1, Funny)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30168920)

So this is what it feels like to be the first one to post?

Re:I can't be... (0, Offtopic)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30168946)

So this is what it feels like to be the first one to post?

Nope. I think I beat you to it.

Re:I can't be... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30169174)

That's what SHE said

Re:I can't be... (1, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169556)

This is Slashdot. It's more than likely what he said.

Re:I can't be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30173806)

So you're admitting that Adolf Hitroll is a sockpuppet of yours?

Re:I can't be...Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,ugg (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:I can't be...Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,ugg (0, Offtopic)

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So can any astronomers explain ... (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30168952)

... why this isn't obvious, and being done already?

From my layman's POV, it seems like we have telescopes all over the spectrum, from X-rays to long radio waves, constantly gathering enormous amounts of data which could easily be mined for dark energy detection, SETI, and just about anything else conceivable. So while I think it's very cool that two such different applications can share data and techniques, I'd like to know what the reasons are that this doesn't just happen all the time. Is it a reluctance to share data, differences in the type of data needed, or something else entirely?

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (2, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30168978)

I'd also like to point out that while exoplanets are obviously relevant to people seeking extraterrestrial life, they are scientifically interesting in other ways too. They can suggest things about the history or future of our solar system, and about star systems in general. Additionally, the more we learn about them, the easier it becomes to find additional ones, and the easier it is to create and test hypotheses about them.

From the title, you'd expect that these telescopes were listening for signals that the SETI folks spend so much time decoding, or something of that nature. I suppose searches for distant planets and distant dark matter don't make sufficiently "strange bedfellows" for a proper /. headline, though.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169858)

Even though exoplanets could provide useful knowledge, the search for dark matter is just as fruitless as trying to prove that aether exists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether#End_of_aether.3F). It's another theory that we should be developing, not conforming what we see into a theory we know to be flawed.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (5, Informative)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170578)

Well, I've got a couple of comments on that. Firstly, the article isn't talking about dark matter which is an entirely separate issue to dark energy -- effectively, dark matter is gravitationally attractive and appears on scales ranging from galactic to cosmological, while dark energy is gravitationally repulsive and appears on cosmological scales. Secondly, the search for dark matter cannot (yet) be compared to the search for the aether and any such comment, without being qualified and backed-up with reasonable arguments, is uneducated. The evidence for "dark matter" (meaning an apparent weakness of gravity on galactic and supergalactic scales) is extremely strong -- the problem is there. The next question is simply whether something is wrong with the theory of gravity, which is certainly possible, or whether there is actually missing matter of some form out there.

Taking the second view first, which is more or less the current view, there are plenty of ways that we can get "dark matter". The simplest is simply matter that is difficult to see -- but there are problems with this and it is unlikely that it makes up a significant amount of the problem. Then you get more interesting models. The immediate particle candidate is a neutrino. Neutrinos exist, of this we can be sure, and they appear to have a small but non-vanishing mass -- of this we can be very confident. (This immediately tells us, by the way, that the standard model of particle physics in its simplest form is flawed since it predicts neutrinos of vanishing mass.) Since neutrinos interact only very weakly with matter, they are an immediate dark matter candidate. The problem is that if you make all teh dark matter in the universe the result of massive neutrinos you wash out cosmic structure -- it just doesn't fit observations. So it can't be (entirely) neutrinos. The most common candidate at hte minute would be neutralino, which is the supersymmetric partner of a neutrino. If you believe supersymmetry (which personally I don't, quite, but plenty of people do and there are very good reasons to believe that there's something in it) then you believe in supersymmetric partners; and you also must believe in a *lightest* supersymmetric partner. This particle will be stable, since it can't easily decay into non-supersymmetric particles. In most models, this particle is the neutralino. The hope is that its mass may be such that we can detect it at the LHC. If we do, much of the dark matter problem will be immediately solved -- there would be neutralinos in enough numbers to fit the observations.

The first view, that of modifying gravity itself, is an old one -- and a current one too. It is entirely wrong of you to suggest that people aren't "developing" the theory, since they are and have been ever since Einstein proposed general relativity in the first place. The main ways of modifying relativity come from adding an extra (scalar) degree of freedom into the theory; this can either be done by literally adding in a scalar degree of freedom (which ultimately makes Newton's "constant" time-dependent) or by modifying the "action", the function that generates the equations of motion, such that the Einstein action linearly dependent on the Ricci scalar becomes instead an arbitrary function of the Ricci scalar.

You can struggle to get dark *matter* out of such theories, but if you go one step further and also add in additional vector degrees of freedom, then you have dark matter along with dark energy. (And a really ugly theory.) The other advantage is that you can tune the theory such that in the non-relativistic limit it matches the predictions of "MOND" (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics), which is a purely phenomenological "theory" that aims to predict galactic rotation curves without recourse to dark matter. Effectively, in MOND there is a minimum acceleration below which the nature of gravity changes. With this simple idea, you get startlingly good agreements with many observations (and truly rubbish ones with others, it must be said). The benefit of the scalar-vector-tensor approaches is that you can also apply something that acts as MOND on galactic scales to cosmology and see if it works on cosmological scales.

So what's the right way to go? Frankly, all of them. I'll not be too surprised if we observe a neutralino at the LHC -- disappointed, because I'm no fan of supersymmetry, but not surprised. That then will act as a dark matter. But I also know for sure that relativity is wrong, simply because it breaks down on small scales. We don't know what form the quantum theory would take, but while there are reasons to believe that on large scales it will resemble relativity, there's no solid proof of such -- and no proof that we won't have scalar and vector degrees of freedom (and an action containing more than just the Ricci scalar) that may well combine to give additional dark matter effects.

So I suspect it will be a mixture of everything.

All of this boils down to the fact that the search for dark matter is not "fruitless" -- without it we have absolutely no evidence to guide the theory. We cannot simply "develop" theory without evidence; we must have observations to test it against. So we need the studies. And it's entirely erroneous to claim the theory isn't being developed; on the contrary, we're waiting for data to start discriminating between theories that *have* been developed. The LHC will be a big first step in doing this; large cosmological surveys another.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30267900)

But I also know for sure that relativity is wrong, simply because it breaks down on small scales

Perhaps you could expand on that somewhat. It's a surprising claim.

(I am assuming here that you mean GR and small length scales in the weak field limit, and guessing that your claim relates to the difficulty in testing very small accelerations attributable to gravitation, rather than space-time curvature that is significant at lengths less than particle wavelengths, or difficulties with SR in the quantum limit. If you are really complaining about the middle of these (i.e., quantum gravitation) I think it's a stretch to say that GR is wrong per se at this point, and "blaming" GR for QFT et al.'s shortcomings when studying the early boundary conditions or black hole thermodynamics may be pointing a finger in the wrong direction (among other things, as you say, we have strong experimental and observational evidence that the SM is wrong; where is that for GR?)).

Other than that, thanks for the clear and reasonable write-up in your commment -- undoubtedly someone found it useful.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (2, Informative)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#30173730)

The Michaelson-Morley experiment was an attempt to find out more about the luminiferous aether - specifically, how we were moving relative to it. Are you arguing that it was fruitless? (For the history-challenged, it was one of the driving forces behind relativity. One of the important features of special relativity was that it explained Michaelson-Morley in a way that was consistent with observed facts, if not with the way scientists thought about the world.)

Physics is partly a matter of pushing accepted theories and knowledge until they break, then arguing about the pieces. Sometimes you come up with very odd theories, such as an exceedingly rigid but intangible medium for light waves, or that certain physical properties (angular momentum, say) come in discrete amounts as opposed to being continuous. Some of them work out and a whole lot don't. The most fruitful lines of physical research from the beginning of the 20th Century came from ideas just as wacky-sounding as dark matter and dark energy.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170958)

Life != intelligent life. They're searching for planets that could harbor life; planets in the "goldilocks zone" with water. It's assumed that anybody reading slashdot should know this.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30168996)

Possibly because these projects simply aren't aware of possible overlap and possibly because they need to have their own project running 24/7, simply without time left to share.

AFAIK, most satelites actually DO include "secondary" hardware for different research that piggy-backs along for the ride, but we're talking about having two "primary" purposes for a single device.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30169010)

We wished we had telescopes all over the spectrum, there is a lot of interference in many frequencies and I guess we are watching about 15% max of the sky at any given minute.

Dark Energy != Radiomagnetic Waves (1)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169020)

As far as I understand they account an unknown source of energy due to the accelerating rate of expansion of the universe. Telescope allow you to measure its effects, but not its nature.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (3, Funny)

deoxyribonucleose (993319) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169082)

... why this isn't obvious, and being done already?

From my layman's POV, it seems like we have telescopes all over the spectrum, from X-rays to long radio waves, constantly gathering enormous amounts of data which could easily be mined for dark energy detection, SETI, and just about anything else conceivable. So while I think it's very cool that two such different applications can share data and techniques, I'd like to know what the reasons are that this doesn't just happen all the time. Is it a reluctance to share data, differences in the type of data needed, or something else entirely?

I have a huge number of programs on my hard drive for everything from web browsing and word processing to Java IDE's and hard disk defragmenting. Why can't I get by with just one program which can do everything?

Oh, wait, I just installed Emacs. Problem solved!

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30172786)

I have a huge number of programs on my hard drive for everything from web browsing and word processing to Java IDE's and hard disk defragmenting. Why can't I get by with just one program which can do everything?

Oh, wait, I just installed Emacs. Problem solved!

Wait you had to install Emacs? I thought it was something intrinsic to Linux Distros, like DNA is to all known multi-cellular life...

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169098)

I suspect you over estimate the amount of data being collected and how unsuitable some data may be for any other purpose.

Ignoring the obvious, that space is a huge space, you can hardly expect optical telescope sky scans used to detect, say, Kuiper belt objects in visible light to be suitable for detecting dark matter. Quasar signals won't be useful to detect the slight wobble induced by a planet in a star's motion.

Everywhere you look on this planet there are cameras and cell phones and radios, seismographs and weather stations.
We have telescopes, space stations, and radio survey webs.

Yet we missed the asteroid that passed on November 9th till it was only 15 hours away.
http://www.universetoday.com/2009/11/09/surprise-unknown-asteroid-buzzed-earth/ [universetoday.com]

Just because you have data doesn't mean its useful for all purposes, or any other purpose that that for which it was collected.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169136)

Like a reusable space vehicle.

--

Beaten up and left for dead by an imaginary extra terestrial friend.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

wylf (657051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169260)

meh, bring on the smell-o-scope i say. it's got your et life right there.

and what does dark matter smell like? why, burnt toast of course.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30169292)

It's all about power, personal knowledge, honour, nationalism, ... whatever feeds their ego that they are doing a better job that the other guys.
If it was about making progress, they would have done this ages ago...

Get to Work! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30169388)

There's lots of data available, so get to work: http://www.us-vo.org/portalhome

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (4, Insightful)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169494)

I'd like to know what the reasons are that this doesn't just happen all the time. Is it a reluctance to share data, differences in the type of data needed, or something else entirely?

Actually, it's primarily lack of funding to build archives and, therefore, lack of access to the data. I think most astronomers have no problem sharing data, as long as they're properly credited and the data is used for something other than the original use (i.e. detecting exoplanets instead of dark energy). There are, of course, differences in the optimum observing strategy and obviously you can't figure everything out from the same instrument/observation, but additional observations are always good and there are usually ways to use the data.

What most people probably don't know is that the majority of data from ground telescopes (except for a few roboticized telescopes) is kept only by the observer. Observations often yield something "weird", in which case the "standard" procedure is to ask colleagues if they know what the "weird" thing is. If no one has any clue, the data is often put aside for later analysis, and typically forgotten about. Everyone is guilty of it, but it is entirely possible that what is one person's trash is another's gold mine.

Amusingly enough, at the last AAS (American Astronomical Society) meeting, there was a grad student discussion session with some of the higher ups in AAS. One of the things we grad students were very much in favor of was an observation archive with exclusivity for the PI for 12-18 months (this is the standard for NASA space missions). The reason we were given that this would never happen is funding.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30172852)

Ah, that makes sense, in a sad way. In the bioinformatics world, we're used to the existence of large open archives, but of course this is because the funding agencies have specifically made grants for the purpose. Perhaps NASA or the NSF could be persuaded to think about such a thing, at some point.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

deprecated (86120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177888)

This phenomenon is in no way unique to astronomy. Or even science. Or new. It happens to all data and it always has. (Cuneiform anyone?)

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

Trapezium Artist (919330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180250)

Well, I suspect this is a rather North American perspective. All data taken with the largest optical/IR observatory in the world, the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, are archived and are freely available to researchers after a (typically) 12 month proprietary period. This is true for observations made on site by the astronomers who proposed them (so-called "visitor mode") and for observations made by ESO staff on behalf of the successful proposer, saving them the need to travel ("service mode").

Yes, it costs money, and yes, it should really be built in from the outset, as the telescope and it's systems are developed, but it's entirely feasible. Quite how much use is made of such archives in general is another question, of course, although Hubble's is well-used.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169504)

... why this isn't obvious, and being done already?

I think you answer your own question: the enormous amounts of data involved - that, as well as the fact that they are using different and probably incompatible ways of storing the data. And that is just the technical side of the problem; someone has to translate the data into actual knowledge first, so we know what to combine; and we still don't have computers that can do that.

This has always been the problem in scientific research; an enormous amount of knowledge is being generated, and nobody can keep up with it, let alone combine widely different streams of knowledge.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (1)

crgrace (220738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170816)

One issue is how deeply you have to look into space to get a large number of supernovae in your field of vision. Generally, the integration time to image a supernova is extraordinarily large. The radio telescopes famous for SETI experiments are non-directional, therefore they cannot find supernova. You have to look at a specific region of space and look HARD to find them. That is why various space missions are proposed to find supernova in a sky survey, then look at them hard once they're found.

Re:So can any astronomers explain ... (0, Offtopic)

rewfdytyiukfgherewre (1682734) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170974)

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SETI (3, Funny)

Schiphol (1168667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169000)

It's a pity that they cannot smuggle SETI into the pack. Anyway, if I were a SETI researcher, I'd save some of my radiotelescope time to look into those exoplanets deemed as suitable for life by research such as this.

Re:SETI (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170932)

If there is a planet with intelligent life that has their own SETI, they would not know Earth had intelligent life unless they were within 120 light years away, becaue noneof the radio signals would have reached them. SETI is incredibly limited.

SETI (3, Funny)

Schiphol (1168667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169008)

It's a pity that they cannot smuggle SETI into the pack. Anyway, if I was a SETI researcher I'd save some of my radiotelescope time to look into the region of space occupied by exoplanets deemed suitable for life by research such as this.

Re:SETI (2, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169296)

It's a pity that they cannot smuggle SETI into the pack. Anyway, if I was a SETI researcher I'd save some of my radiotelescope time to look into the region of space occupied by exoplanets deemed suitable for life by borg such as this.

Re:SETI (2, Funny)

Schiphol (1168667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169332)

I deserve it :)

Re:SETI (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169664)

I thought you were making some witty reference to the search for dark matter and the SETI experiments together. That would have been deserving of your current "funny" mod on both posts, mistake or not.

Re:SETI (1)

Schiphol (1168667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169700)

Witty or not, I only needed one post to make it. I meant I deserve Trepidity's retort.

Re:SETI (2, Informative)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169882)

The fact that there you posted the same thing twice and that these two sets of astronomers are doing the same thing is ironic and an unintended witticism. That was probably why you're modded funny rather than redundant.

What? (2, Funny)

Zixaphir (845917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169022)

I know nothing about these two subjects. Dark Energy? Planet searching? Bahhh, it is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Re:What? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169230)

SPACE GRUES! So THAT's why we've not returned to the moon...

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30169238)

That only applies if you are cursed or doomed. AFAICT the SETI program has been that for quite some time.

Re:What? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169676)

That only applies if you are cursed or doomed.

Only if you didn't get the reference. Getting eaten by a grue is not an invention of ADOM.

Re:What? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169896)

I know nothing about these two subjects. Dark Energy? Planet searching? Bahhh, it is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

A grue? Pfft. I'd be more worried about Vin Diesel.

Re:What? (3, Interesting)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170496)

Interestingly (to me anyway) I am currently reading Asimovs "Of Time and Space and Other Things" from 1968, where he posits that if the night sky were not dark, life would probably not have evolved. To be honest it wasn't his idea (and he doesn't claim it is). In 1826 a German scientist called Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (b 1758), who also discovered the asteroids Pallas and Vesta, started an investigation which became known as Olbers Paradox.

To briefly summarise the idea, if you take the estimated number of stars in the galaxy then add up all the light which they are emitting, there should be no dark night on earth, as the cumulative effect of 100s of million of stars would ensure a blinding sky, not to mention an amazing amount of heat. When you add to that the light from other galaxies, the situation becomes even more untenable for life. But trying to solve this paradox led Olbers and later Hubble to discover that stars and galaxies are not uniformly spread throughout the universe, and then to discover further that the universe is expanding and due to red shift, we never receive the energy from those most distant from us. Hence the dark skies.

I did say it was a brief summary ! Interesting read, in a Connections type of way. And also shows how long these topics have been studied before the truth was known. Olbers didn't know what he was looking for, he just thought that the situation needed some thought. When he started, the existence of other galaxies wasn't known, let alone the size of the universe. Most of his work was theoretical as the technology to see the problem first hand didn't exist. Logic abounds in science !

Re:What? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30171100)

Only if you're female; I'm straight.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30171936)

Researcher A: Oh Look! Hey! I found a world with life on it! And it's ....it's... uh oh....

Researcher B: It's what?!

Researcher A: Nevermind, the planet just got eaten by a blob of dark energy, nothing to see here.

Researcher B:

Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (3, Informative)

andersh (229403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169088)

The European Space Agency is NOT a part of the EU. When will people learn that the EU is NOT synonymous with Europe!?

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169188)

I guess the general population of the world doesn't really take much time to consider the Swiss and Norwegians. (or Belarusian. and should Iceland really count as part of Europe, how far away from the continent do you have to be)

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (3, Funny)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169246)

And there I was, thinking we had a complete moon for ourselves. :(

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (4, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169554)

What kind of question is that? Don't you know that America was that close to get a vice-president that wouldn't be able to find the US on a map of Nort America? I think you need to adjust your expectations a bit.

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30169702)

What kind of question is that? Don't you know that America was that close to get a vice-president that wouldn't be able to find the US on a map of Nort America? I think you need to adjust your expectations a bit.

Instead you got a president that's visited 57 states, which is so much better. As for Biden's screw-ups ... no better than Palin, from an outsiders perspective. Oh, and you can't spell North America apparently, though it's possible you could find it on a map but we can't tell for sure over the internet.

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (2, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170292)

The National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs 2006 Geographic Literacy Study paints a dismal picture of the geographic knowledge of the most recent graduates of the U.S. education system

Thirty-three percent of respondents couldn't pinpoint Louisiana on a map.
Fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.
Two-thirds didn't know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.
Six in 10 could not find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
Forty-seven percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.
Seventy-five percent were unable to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.
Nearly three-quarters incorrectly named English as the most widely spoken native language.
Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world.
Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.

Source: The Associated Press
http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/05/02/geog.test/ [cnn.com]

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (1, Insightful)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 4 years ago | (#30172226)

I guess I dont really understand how knowing what shape is formed by the borders of a country Ill never go to is useful or relevant knowledge

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (2, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30171628)

And you wouldn't recognise humour if it slapped you in the face. Cheer up, big fella.

You've now got a president to be proud of, so the American population weren't as daft as all that.

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30176506)

Leave Joe Lieberman alone!

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30244510)

What? Bush could find the USA on a map of North America? Wow. Seems he was not as dumb as he looked... or spoke... or just about everything... ;)

Re:Not the EU, but Europe's Space Program! (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30171116)

The ESA isn't an official EU entity, but it is dominated by EU memberstates. That will give them control when the EU becomes a nation. I think the perception is merely premature.

Dark energy? (3, Funny)

lastgoodnickname (1438821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169194)

Wake me up when they start talking about plaid energy.

Re:Dark energy? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30171650)

Politically incorrect! It's "African American energy!"

Re:Dark energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30172928)

Politically incorrect! It's "African American energy!"

I prefer "spook" energy...

Re:Dark energy? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175336)

I think that refers to quantum entanglement of photons. Is there such a thing as an antiphoton? And if so, are they dark?

Re:Dark energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175570)

No and no.

Some background information (1)

Trapezium Artist (919330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30169914)

As already pointed out, the European project (Euclid) in question is being studied by the European Space Agency, not the EU: these are simply not synonymous.

Euclid is one of six missions currently under study for two so-called M-class mission slots within the first round of ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. The first two-year long study phase is over now and the results will be made public at a meeting in Paris on December 1, prior to ESA's scientific advisory working groups and committees coming up with a prioritised list of the top four (most likely) missions to go forward into a competitive definition phase for a further two years. At the end of that, there will be a final downselect to (nominally) two missions for actual implementation and launch in roughly 2018-2019.

So, don't be surprised if you start seeing more of these stories in the coming days and weeks, as the various mission proponents start jockeying for position ahead of the first downselect :-)

[FYI, the full set of M-mission studies currently running are (in alphabetical order): Cross-Scale (solar plasma physics), Euclid (dark energy), Marco Polo (asteroid sample return), PLATO (exoplanet discovery and asteroseismology), Solar Orbiter (detailed solar science close to Sun), and SPICA (far-infrared astronomy).]

Have I got branes or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170106)

I say it's the strings. As they decay they get more dimensions. And the new dimensions give rise to mass and/or time. It's their decay that fuels the expansion of the universe.

Who tagged this 'darklife'? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177956)

Now I gotta write about it on my Deadjournal after I cut myself!

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