A NASA mission has discovered that there may be far fewer galaxies than initially believed, opening up the possibility that humanity is alone in the universe.
The New Horizons mission, which obtained the first close-up photos of Pluto, provided scientists with enough information to determine that the number of galaxies was initially thought to be in the hundreds of billions instead of 2 trillion.
“That’s an important number to know – how many constellations are there?” The study’s lead author, Mark Postman, said in a statement. “We just can’t see the light of 2 trillion galaxies.”
NASA Eye Pluto Mission
These findings, which were published and can be read here, are comparable to the 2 trillion long-used figure, thanks to data from the Hill Space Telescope. Scientists using the mathematical model Dell determined that 90% of the galaxies in the universe are beyond Hubble’s ability to see “visible light.”
Traveling at approximately 33,000,000 miles per hour, the million 720 million New Horizons spacecraft, which launched in January 2006, will eventually reach interstellar space like the Voyager Probe before it. The fact that it is currently close to the edge of the solar system allows one to see the surrounding sky 10 times darker than Hubble’s favorable point.
“This type of measurement is very difficult. Many people have been trying to do this for a long time,” said Todd LL Arre, co-author of the study. “New horizons have given us a decent place to measure the cosmic optical background better than anyone could have done.”
The New Horizons spacecraft is now 4.4 billion miles from Earth.
The new Horizons spacecraft makes the historic PLUT tone flyby
“Look at all the galaxies that Hubble can see, double that number, and that’s what we want – but nothing more,” Lauer added.
NASA’s James Webb Telescope, which delayed its launch due to a coronavirus epidemic, will help scientists learn more about the sculptural glow in the background of space and whether it is dwarf galaxies.
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The New Horizon spacecraft has made many discoveries in recent memory, including the Ul Bjack Aerokoth, formerly known as the last name Thule. In May 2019, New Horizons discovered water and organic molecules on the Aerocoth, deep in the so-called Kuiper Belt or Twilight Zone, outside Neptune’s orbit.