A NASA mission revealed that there may be far fewer galaxies than originally anticipated. This opens up the possibility that humanity is alone in the universe.
The New Horizons mission provides the first close-up images of Pluto, providing enough data for scientists to decide that the number of galaxies is likely to be in the hundreds of billions, instead of 2 thousand. billion as originally speculated.
“This is a large number to know to confirm the number of galaxies. We just cannot see the light of 2 trillion galaxies,” said lead author Marc Postman. .
The published results are in stark contrast to the figure of 2 trillion that has long been used thanks to data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists used a mathematical model to determine that 90% of the galaxies in the universe are beyond Hubble’s “visible light” visibility.
With a speed of over 53,000 km / h, the $ 720 million New Horizons spacecraft is now near the edge of the solar system, offering views 10 times darker than the Hubble point of view.
“These types of measurements are extremely difficult. A lot of people have been trying to do this for a long time. New Horizons has provided us with a point of view to measure better than anyone else. All the galaxies that Hubble can see, double that number and that’s what we see, but nothing more, ”said study co-author Tod Lauer.
NASA’s James Webb Telescope, meanwhile, has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It can help scientists learn more about the dim light in space and whether it is a dwarf galaxy or something else.