All About Space

CHAOTIC UNIVERSE

When it comes to surviving in space, the tiniest things can be the difference between life and death. As Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said: “An astronaut who doesn’t sweat the small stuff is a dead astronaut.” That may be the case for human space travel, but astronomers are increasingly suspecting the same mantra also applies to the wider universe. When it comes to the cosmos, it seems chaos theory is king.

Chaos theory traces its origins way back to the 19th century. French polymath Henri Poincaré was attempting to win a prize of 2,500 crowns – a third of a professor’s yearly salary – offered up by King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway to celebrate his 60th birthday. To win you had to predict the orbits of the planets. Isaac Newton’s work on gravity allows you to foretell the future positions of two gravitationally intertwined objects with clockwork precision. Yet throw a third object into the mix and that ability vanishes. Poincaré failed to solve this ‘three-body problem’, but was awarded the prize nonetheless for important insights into why it is such a thorny conundrum to crack.

Russian mathematician Sofya

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da All About Space

All About Space8 min letti
11 Missions The World Doesn't Know About
What are the first names that spring to mind when you think of space exploration? NASA? SpaceX? The European Space Agency? That’s completely reasonable, seeing as they are making tremendous strides forward in this field. However, space is not restric
All About Space2 min lettiScience
A Single Grain Of Apollo Moon Dust Opens Up A World Of Lunar Science
A team of scientists set out to find a way to analyse Moon dust based on only a single grain of the material. The researchers reported their results in a new study that analyses a single grain of Moon dust gathered in 1972 by astronauts on the Apollo
All About Space1 min letti
The Changing Climate Of Venus
Just like the primitive Earth, early Venus was still largely molten as a result of the high-energy impacts that formed the planet in the first place. This led to a widespread ocean of magma (molten rock) across the planet, leading to very high temper