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Writer Fuel: Ten Things We Learned About Black Holes in 2022

Black Hole - Deposit Photos

Black holes are scary beasts — objects so massive that not even light can escape their clutches.  In 2022, we learned more about these gravitational monsters than ever before — from the first direct image of the black hole “heart” at the center of the Milky Way to one of the earliest black hole ancestors … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Geologically Speaking, Mars Isn’t As Dead As We Thought

Olympus Mons, Mars - Deposit Photos

For decades, astronomers assumed that Mars was geodynamically dead — a planet without rumbling earthquakes and erupting volcanoes. Though remnants of towering volcanoes exist on the surface of the Red Planet today, these colossal structures have been dormant for millions of years. With little to no heat firing the planet’s engine, scientists reasoned, Mars became … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Looking Inside Black Holes

Black hole - deposit photos

Black holes are some of the most enigmatic objects in the universe. This is partially because the equations of general relativity that we use to understand them break down when studying black holes’ ultra-dense centers. However, a new paper shows how astronomers could one day overcome this challenge by using gravitational waves to “see” inside … Read more

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Space: Hear a Dust Storm on Mars

Mars Dust Storm - NASA

A towering dust storm that engulfed the Mars Perseverance rover in September 2021 was a colossal 390.4 feet (119 meters) tall, the first-ever audio recording of a dust devil on the surface of Mars reveals. The recording, an analysis of which was published Tuesday (Dec. 13) in the journal Nature Communications (opens in new tab), … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Scientists Theorize Origins of Hell Planet With a Diamond Core

hell planet - deposit photos

Scientists studying a distant “hell planet” where clouds rain lava, the oceans are molten and the core is filled with diamonds have found that the nightmarish planet wasn’t always so bad; but it became infernally hot after being yanked closer to its sun. The planet, classified as 55 Cancri e, is nicknamed “Janssen” after Zacharias … Read more

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Writer Fuel: How Did the Milky Way Form?

milky way - pixabay

The exact origins of the Milky Way are shrouded in mystery. But astronomers believe that our home galaxy started out more than 13 billion years ago, and that it was much smaller than its present-day size. How did it grow so much to reach its current size? For that, we can likely thank eons of … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Did Life on Earth Come From Radioactive Space Rocks?

meteor - deposit photos

A special type of radioactive meteorite could have seeded life on Earth, a new study found. Carbonaceous chondrites, a type of radioactive meteorite chock full of water and organic compounds, produce energetic gamma rays that can drive the chemical reactions to synthesize amino acids — the building blocks of life — researchers discovered. Meteorites are … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Life On Venus? Not a Chance

Venus - Pixabay

New research has debunked a controversial 2020 study that claimed to have found the chemical phosphine in Venus’ hellish atmosphere. The chemical’s reported existence had hinted that there was alien life on the planet. In 2020, a team of researchers announced that they had found phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere using data collected by the Japanese … Read more

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Writer Fuel: South Africa’s MeerKAT Telescope Joins the Search for Aliens

MeerKAT dish - Wikipedia

One of the world’s largest telescopes has just joined the hunt for signs of alien life elsewhere in the cosmos. Since 2016, the Breakthrough Listen project has been quietly using radio telescopes to listen for unusual radio signals, or technosignatures, from potential advanced extraterrestrial civilizations within the Milky Way. The project, launched in part by … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Who Owns the Moon?

man writing on the moon - deposit photos

The flags of two countries hang unfurled — not by any breeze but by metal wiring — over the desolate, eerily still surface of the moon. One is the stars and stripes of the United States; the other, the crimson of China. But if you ask any official from these countries, they will tell you … Read more