The universe is filled with wild and wonderful mysteries, scenes of breathtaking beauty, and incredibly powerful forces. It is also home to new scientist Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane, who present Dead Planets Society. In this new podcast, our two intrepid hosts imagine what it would be like if they were given cosmic powers to rearrange the universe.
Along with expert astronomers, physicists, and planetary scientists, they explore everything from relatively benign scenarios: Could we make Pluto a planet again? Is it possible to make Venus a habitable planet for humans? – to the downright destructive. Subscribe to New Scientist Weekly to access all of our podcasts, including Dead Planets Society, and learn what could happen if we punch a hole in a planet, chisel Earth out of a cube, or turn off the sun.
While you wait for new episodes to drop, check out seven of our most popular in-depth articles exploring the solar system and beyond. To celebrate the launch of Dead Planets Society, we’ll be posting these premium items for free until July 25. Unlock your access by clicking and registering as a newscientist.com user.
a cosmic catalog
What exactly is out there? Explore our inventory of the universe, a concise guide to everything we know about the cosmos, from stars and planets to galaxy clusters and dark energy. Powerful telescopes have given us deep looks into a collection of moons and black holes, super-Earths and hot Jupiters, and given us a deeper understanding of how the universe works.
Save Earth from an asteroid
What would we do if scientists detected an asteroid the size of a large building heading straight for Earth? Figuring out which cities to evacuate, who to notify, and how to keep the human race going is the goal of planetary defense projects. In this article, follow a group of scientists who met in Washington DC to discuss how we might respond to the cosmic worst-case scenario.
black hole choose your own adventure
Imagine being sucked into one of the common giants of the universe: a black hole. A gathering darkness bathes your eyes and your body stretches into shreds, “spaghetti” as scientists call it. But then what? In this choose your own adventure story, you decide. Will you be devoured and evaporate in Hawking radiation? Would his atoms of him be crushed and spewed out into a white hole? Or could you end up in another universe entirely?
postcards to the stars
Ever since commercial radio began in the 1920s, without realizing it, we’ve been broadcasting our presence to the stars. About half a century later, scientists began deliberately sending messages out into the universe in the hope that there might be some intelligent life to receive them. So what kind of image do aliens have of us? If they have ears or eyes, they have heard Morse code and have seen The Simpsons. They have also received a binary-coded missive representing the DNA double helix and perhaps even hummed Through the universe by the Beatles. More recently, researchers have been working on an updated message to send out into the cosmos, but some say there’s a potential danger in revealing too much about Earth.
How to get to Mars
Earth and Mars are worlds apart. The Red Planet is a frozen wasteland with less pressure and gravity than our home planet. But that is not the only challenge for any human being who wishes to settle there. Just getting to Mars is an endeavor we can confidently undertake only after we’ve answered some important questions: How do we build a rocket big enough for the trip? Can you take all the food and spare parts we would need to make the trip? journey of months, and who do we send as the first humans to set foot on another planet? And the biggest question of all: can we bring them home?
Black holes since the beginning of time
As the early universe was expanding rapidly, spacetime was expanding faster than the speed of light. Out of this chaos arose primordial black holes. Or did they? These ancient black holes have been theorized for decades, and some scientists believe we may have already detected them, which would be a monumental discovery. They would not only be the first black holes to form, but also the most interesting in the cosmos. Read more to find out what they could tell us about dark matter, the accelerating expansion of the universe, and the forces that hold everything together.
make a moon base
There has been renewed interest in the moon for years, with plans for landers and rovers coming out of China, Russia, Japan, India, Europe and private space companies. But NASA doesn’t just want to visit: the US space agency wants to stay. He has plans to collect lunar ice samples and explore outside the landing areas of the Apollo missions decades ago. But first, the astronauts you send will have to overcome the challenges of space radiation and dangerous moon dust to build and power a lunar base.