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Pareidolia, Pattern Matching, and AI Art

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

Release Date: 08/04/2023

Following the Water Toward Climate Change show art Following the Water Toward Climate Change

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

This week’s episode is brought to you by last week’s terrible weather. While experiencing hail and thunder IRL, we also saw press release after press release and article after article discussing climate change. This one-two punch of new science and the need for a new roof means we will touch on climate change in our closer look this week. We apologize in advance; it’s not pretty out there -- unless you like storm chasing, then it’s kind of the stuff of dreams at the moment.

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Planet Formation is (Still) Not Well Understood show art Planet Formation is (Still) Not Well Understood

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

One of our recurring topics is “Planet formation is not well understood,” and a trio of new papers is making it clear why planet formation continues to... not be well understood. Put simply: the universe likes to create more diverse solar systems than an entire planet’s worth of sci-fi writers can imagine.

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SPECIAL SHORT: How NASA Budget Cuts Will Hurt Space Science show art SPECIAL SHORT: How NASA Budget Cuts Will Hurt Space Science

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

Earlier in March, Congress voted into place the FY2024 budgets for multiple agencies, including NASA. The agency is being asked for an overall 2% cut. Combined with inflation rates over 3%, we are looking at a fairly significant cut to the U.S. budget for space science. Dr. Pamela Gay breaks down what these cuts will affect, including people and missions, as we move forward with this already stressful fiscal year. (This episode was recorded on March 14, 2024)

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Grindavik, Iceland, and Volcanoes with Dr. Melissa Scruggs show art Grindavik, Iceland, and Volcanoes with Dr. Melissa Scruggs

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

As you know, our team loves volcanoes, and since we’ve been focused on Iceland for months, we brought in Dr. Melissa Scruggs (aka VolcanoDoc on Twitch) for a chat about Grindavik and all things volcanic in Iceland.

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Stability, Instability, Drama, and How We are Space Stuff show art Stability, Instability, Drama, and How We are Space Stuff

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

It is possible to buy stickers, sweatshirts, mugs, and other stuff and things emblazoned with the simple phrase, “We are star stuff”. This phrase was popularized by Carl Sagan, and it serves as a gentle reminder that all the complex atoms - by which I mean most everything heavier than helium - found their start either in the nuclear core of a star or in the nuclear explosions of a dying star or stars. But, as with so many things, the truth is much more complicated than the meme.

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Early Black Holes Formed Before Stars? show art Early Black Holes Formed Before Stars?

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

One of the unexpected realities of JWST is the discovery that we have really been asking the wrong questions in many astronomy areas. For instance: we generally asked how supermassive black holes and galaxies formed, with a basic assumption that these things happened in some interrelated process. We thought stellar mass black holes came from stars and that there might have been tiny primordial black holes that evaporated away, but that was it. Closed case. Black holes formed with all the normal structures we experience today. Except that now, JWST’s observations require us to find a way to...

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Yes, Scientists DO Look at the (Dark Energy Survey) Data show art Yes, Scientists DO Look at the (Dark Energy Survey) Data

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

Every time I get the digital “why can’t you scientists just look at the data” lecture, I wonder what people think scientists do. All we do is look at data, and when that data tells us our understanding of the universe is wrong, we’re pretty good at accepting the data and throwing out our false understandings… even when the data makes our life a whole lot harder. Such is the case with the accelerating rate of expansion of the Universe...

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Celebrating the Mars Robots that Could show art Celebrating the Mars Robots that Could

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

Robots on Mars have a long history of exceeding all possible expectations. From Spirit and Opportunity lasting far beyond their planned 90-day missions to Ingenuity lasting 72 flights out of a planned five, these craft have become so beloved that we mourn their missions ending. Today, while we recognize NASA's Day of Remembrance, we also celebrate all the Mars missions that have done more than expected.

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The Compass (Sometimes... Kinda) Points North show art The Compass (Sometimes... Kinda) Points North

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

If you take a compass and follow its pointy little needle, you will end up in Northern Canada but not at the North Pole. If you have a boat, you'll end up on Ellesmere Island wondering where Santa is hiding. The fact that the rotational north pole of the Earth and the magnetic pole of the Earth don’t align means that if you want to actually get to the Earth’s rotational North Pole - the one the pole sticks out of on your globe - you have to look up corrections online and veer a little bit in whatever direction the correction happens to be at the moment. And if you are catching this show...

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Spooky Season Space Images show art Spooky Season Space Images

EVSN: Escape Velocity Space News

From October 25, 2023: Around our parent collaboration, CosmoQuest, Halloween is, hands-down, the most beloved season of the year. Costumes are worn. Yards are decorated. We are here for all the strangers that knock on our door - the weirdos, the witches, and the oh-so-many werewolves - and there will be as much candy as we can afford given out. We know we are not the only ones. With about a week to go, we know that any day now, NASA, ESA, ESO, and others will begin releasing their spooky season images. There will be nebulae cropped with the contrast adjusted just so to reveal witches' hats,...

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More Episodes

Humans are the ultimate pattern matchers - at least for now. I have to admit I’m looking forward to the day I can give some new AI a set of images and ask it to tell me what animals it can find among the nebulae. The software isn’t there yet… But we’re also going to take a closer look at how art and AI look at space. And also science: From looking at active volcanism on Venus to eruptions on the Sun to rotating black hole jets and more, we take you on a journey through all that is new in space and astronomy. (This episode originally aired on YouTube April 1, 2023.)