astronomy

Ultima Thule was formed when two balls of rock, each about 10 miles across, collided slowly and stuck together. Photo: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

In 10 million years, will any signs of humanity remain on Earth’s surface? Nobody knows; possibly all the evidence will have been erased or buried. But there are some artifacts of our technology that should still be intact, in good condition, even in 100 million years! These are the spacecraft that we humans have launched to explore the outer reaches of the solar system.

From CNN, Feb. 16, 2019: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln discusses the Zwicky Transient Facility, a massive sky-survey instrument designed to scan the heavens and look for “transients” or things that brighten unexpectedly. When the instrument sees a change, alerts go out to other astronomers subscribed to the service, who can then use even more powerful telescopes to study the transient event in detail. Even the public can get a daily summary of the previous night’s happenings.

From CNN, Jan. 3, 2019: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln discusses NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and Ultima Thule, a frigid, snowman-shaped block of ice located about 4 billion miles from the sun.

From CNN, Nov. 20, 2018: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln talks about a stellar stream called S1, which consists of nearly 100 stars of similar age and composition, orbiting the Milky Way in a direction exactly opposite that of normal stars.