This week, the world of science is tempted by two anticipated announcements that promise to change the way we think about the universe. Two major press conferences are scheduled for Thursday, June 29, and while the date may be the same, the content of these announcements is totally unique. We look forward to the unveiling of these discoveries and are ready to share with you all the information we can get.
The first announcement has to do with gravitational waves. The International Pulsar Timing Team (IPTA) in conjunction with the North American Nanohertz Gravitational Wave Observatory (NANOGrav) will hold a press conference to share their latest research. The IPTA is an international consortium of gravitational wave detectors that includes NANOGrav of North America, the European Pulsar Timing Array, the Indian Pulsar Timing Array Project and the Australian Parkes Pulsar Timing System. Scientists have not disclosed details of the announcement at this time, but it is believed to be related to the gravitational wave background, also known as the background noise of the Universe.
The detection of this background noise is of great importance because it could shed light on the early days of the Universe and change our understanding of its evolution. Gravitational waves can provide information about the Universe before inflation began, just 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang. This means that we can learn about the Universe earlier than is possible with electromagnetic radiation. However, isolating the weak background of gravitational waves from all the other “noise” in the Universe is an extremely difficult task. Using pulsar arrays is one of the most promising methods to detect this background.
Pulsars are neutron stars, the remnants of massive stars that died in supernova explosions, leaving behind a dense core. They rotate and emit radio waves at regular intervals. The ripples from the gravitational waves should cause small discrepancies in the timing of these pulsar bursts. A single pulsar may not provide much information, but if many pulsars show similar mismatches, this may indicate the type of gravitational waves caused by the merger of black holes in the early Universe.
The second announcement we expect this week has to do with the International Space Station (ISS). This time, NASA astronauts will present the results of a study of an organism grown in weightlessness. This research is important for future interplanetary missions because it can help us understand how organisms adapt to the space environment and what problems may arise during long-duration missions.