A NASA mission found that the number of galaxies may be much smaller than initially imagined, which opened the possibility of human beings alone in the universe.
The “New Horizons” mission produced the first close-up photo of Pluto, which provides scientists with enough data to determine that the number of the Milky Way may be hundreds of billions instead of the 2 trillion originally thought.
“Know that this is an important number-how many galaxies are there?” Marc Postman, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. “We can’t see the light from 2 trillion galaxies at all.”
NASA Eye Pluto mission
Thanks to data from the Hubble Space Telescope, these findings have been published and can be read here, in stark contrast to the long-term use of the 2 trillion figure. Scientists use mathematical models to determine that 90% of the galaxies in the universe exceed Hubble’s ability to see “visible light”.
The US$720 million New Horizons spacecraft flew at a speed of about 33,000 miles per hour and was finally launched in January 2006, just like the previous Voyager probe. It is currently located near the edge of the solar system, a fact that allows it to see the surrounding sky 10 times darker than Hubble’s vantage point.
Tod Lauer, the co-author of the study, explained: “This type of measurement is very difficult. Many people have tried it for a long time.” “New Horizons provides us with a better The favorable position for measuring the optical background of the universe.”
The New Horizons spacecraft is now 4.4 billion miles from the earth.
New Horizon spacecraft makes historic Pluto flyby
Lauer added: “Double the number of all the galaxies that Hubble can see, and this is what we see-but nothing more.”
NASA’s James Webb telescope has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It can help scientists learn more about the faint glow in the background of space and whether they are dwarf galaxies or other galaxies.
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The New Horizons spacecraft has made many discoveries in recent memory, including the Arrokoth celestial body, formerly known as Ultima Thule. In May 2019, New Horizons discovered water and organic molecules on Arrokoth, which is located deep in the so-called Kuiper belt or twilight zone, far beyond the orbit of Neptune.