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“We [are] a species endowed with hope and perseverance, at least a little intelligence, substantial generosity and a palpable zest to make contact with the cosmos.” -Carl Sagan When the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft were launched, they contained a message emblazoned on them: a map of 14 pulsars, showing the location of Earth relative to…

“Even though the reason for taking the photographs was science, the result shows the enormous beauty of nature.” -Miloslav Druckmuller, eclipse photographer During those moments of totality, the Sun is eclipsed by a new Moon, with the latter’s shadow falling onto Earth. From within that shadow, the Sun’s disk is blocked entirely, revealing a slew…

“An extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may have started from systems with single heritable elements that are functionally equivalent to a nucleotide.” -Alexei A. Sharov & Richard Gordon We talk about the origin of life on Earth with bated breath,…

“Yes, I am well aware that nature — or what we call nature: that totality of objects and processes that surrounds us and that alternately creates us and devours us — is neither our accomplice nor our confidant.” -Octavio Paz For most of us heading to the path of totality, we’re in for an incredible…

“Life is not a miracle. It is a natural phenomenon, and can be expected to appear whenever there is a planet whose conditions duplicate those of the Earth.” ―Harold Urey It’s been yet another fascinating week of scientific stories here at Starts With A Bang! But as of the last 48 hours, there’s something I absolutely have…

“In the future, maybe quantum mechanics will teach us something equally chilling about exactly how we exist from moment to moment of what we like to think of as time.” -Richard K. Morgan It’s absolutely true that, in quantum mechanics, there are certain pairs of properties that we simply can’t measure simultaneously. Measure the position…

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” -Neil Gaiman Enjoying the Perseid meteor shower this year, as perhaps you do every August? As you look up, the great cosmic show might have a lot more to offer than mere streaks of light, due to cometary…

“I’m old enough to remember when the polio vaccine was still new. Also, it hadn’t been that long since most people who caught pneumonia died from it. These medical breakthroughs were practically miracles.” -Pat Cadigan When it comes to health, safety, and how we interact with the world around us, pretty much everyone recognizes the…

“Our first priority was making sure we weren’t fooling ourselves.” -Keith Riles, LIGO team member When LIGO announced their first discovery of a black hole-black hole merger, it came as a surprise to almost everyone. The shocking part wasn’t that LIGO had seen merging black holes, but that they were discovered to be so massive.…

“To be on my very first spacewalk, to be outside, and to have contamination in my suit to the point that I couldn’t see in either eye – that, I think, would cause some people to lose control.” -Chris Hadfield Sure, you probably laughed about it when you first heard that NASA had a Planetary…