Category:
Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy

Are we swallowing other universes?

An unusual cosmological hypothesis was recently published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. At least, it's an idea I haven't heard before.

It suggests that our universe has been swallowing "baby universes," and that this eating habit is the cause of the observed accelerating rate of expansion of our universe.



The article, authored by researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, quickly veers off into mathematics that's incomprehensible to me. But I can extract a few interesting ideas. For instance, what if the initial "Big Bang" of our universe was caused by us (when we were still a baby universe) being swallowed by a larger universe?

the fact that the universe has expanded from, say, a Planckian size to 10−5m in a very short time, invites the suggestion that this expansion was caused by a collision with a larger universe, i.e. that it was really our Universe which was absorbed in another "parent" universe.

And what would happen if, now that we're an adult universe, we collided with another adult universe? The researchers don't answer this question, but I'm guessing the outcome wouldn't be good.

While a continuous absorption of microscopic baby universes probably can be accommodated in a non-disruptive way in our Universe, it is less clear what happens if the "baby" universe is not small, since we have not suggested an actual mechanism for such absorption.

More info: "Is the present acceleration of the Universe caused by merging with other universes?"

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 06, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Science, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, Weird Theory

The Kendall Paracone

In the early years of the American space program there was a lot of concern about how to get stranded astronauts safely back to Earth. One idea was the "Kendall Paracone," proposed by Robert Kendall of McDonnell Douglass.

Kendall imagined astronauts dropping from space back to earth inside of a giant, gas-inflatable shuttlecock. The shape of the shuttlecock would ensure that it always remained nose down, preventing the device from tipping over and roasting the astronaut during re-entry. It also required no parachute. It would simply plunge all the way to the ground, slowing down naturally from air resistance just as badminton shuttlecocks do. Shock absorbers in the nose would dampen the final impact.


Coos Bay World - Oct 29, 1976



"astronaut escape sequence"
"Techniques for space and hypersonic flight escape, SAE Transactions, Vol 76, Section 3



Kendall thought his paracone system could also stop helicopters from crashing:

Aeronautical Engineering - Jan 1978

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 01, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy

The One-Way Mission to the Moon

1962: Fearing that the Soviets were going to beat the United States to the moon, two engineers from Bell Aerosystems Company, John Cord and Leonard Seale, proposed a way to make sure America got there first. Their idea was to send an astronaut on a one-way mission to the moon. After all, it's a lot easier to send a man to the moon if you don't have to worry about bringing him back.

They presented their idea at the meeting of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in Los Angeles and also published it in the Dec 1962 issue of Aerospace Engineering.

Read the entire article (pdf)



Their plan was for NASA to first land a series of unmanned cargo vehicles on the moon that would contain all the necessities for a lunar base. An astronaut would then make the journey to the moon and, after landing, assemble the base. Every month NASA would send a new cargo vehicle to resupply the astronaut with essentials — food, water, and oxygen. This would continue until NASA figured out a way to bring him back.

NASA, perhaps sensing that the public would perceive a one-way mission as an admission of defeat rather than a sign of victory, ignored the proposal.

Base for a one-way lunar mission



Although NASA ignored Cord and Seale's plan, it caught the attention of science-fiction writer Hank Searls, serving as the inspiration for his 1964 novel, The Pilgrim Project. Hollywood developed Searls' book into a 1968 movie, Countdown, directed by Robert Altman and starring James Caan and Robert Duvall.

In both the book and movie, NASA succeeds in landing an astronaut on the moon. The astronaut then discovers that the Soviets got there first — but all died.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 06, 2023 - Comments (8)
Category: Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, Space Travel, 1960s

Bishop in Space

Nov 1957: Lord Alastair Graham offered a solution for declining church attendance. Launch a bishop into space inside a sputnik.

For context, the Soviets had just a few days before (Nov 3, 1957) launched Sputnik 2 which carried the first living creature into space, a small dog named Laika. Graham's remark was evidently a reference to this.

However, while the Soviets had succeeded in getting Laika into space, they had made no plans for getting her back alive. It was a one-way trip. It's not clear that Graham realized this, but it definitely puts a different spin on his suggestion.

The Guardian - Nov 13, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 20, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Religion, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1950s

The Linden Springs Rocket Restaurant

The Linden Springs Rocket Restaurant, located in Staunton, Virginia, opened in 1959. A full-size, neon-lit rocket stood outside of it.

Going along with the theme of being a restaurant of the future, it boasted that it served food "cooked by radar." By this it meant that the food was microwaved.

This has to be one of the few times that a restaurant has actually bragged about serving microwave-cooked food.

image source: hippostcard.com



The restaurant went out of business in the 1970s, and the rocket was taken down. I haven't been able to find out where it ended up.

Staunton Daily News Leader - Nov 20, 1959



Staunton Daily News Leader - Nov 2, 1959



Staunton Daily News Leader - July 31, 1959

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 02, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Restaurants, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1950s

Meat-Nik

Sep 1958: The National Live Stock and Meat Board's response to the launch of Sputnik was the creation of "Meat-Nik," aka "intercontinental bologna missile."

The National Provisioner - Sep 6, 1958



The National Provisioner - Sep 20, 1958


Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 22, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Food, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1950s

The Possibility of Life inside Stars

The conventional wisdom is that if sentient life exists elsewhere in the universe, it probably lives on another planet. But in 2020, the physicists Luis Anchordoqui and Eugene Chudnovsky argued that we should consider the possibility that life (including technologically advanced civilizations) might exist inside stars.

Their argument relies upon a very expansive view of the definition of life. They admit that biological life couldn't exist inside a star, but they argue that high-energy physics supplies various "nuclear objects" such as "strings, monopoles, and semipoles" that might be able to encode information and form a self-replicating system (i.e. life).

Their hypothesis is, of course, highly speculative, but they suggest it might provide an explanation for a previously unexplained phenomenon observed in some stars:

Cosmologists have observed stars at all stages of development and decline and can calculate a star’s life cycle based on features like size, heat, and light. As stars age, for instance, they begin to cool and radiate less light. Occasionally, however, a younger star is observed to dim for unknown reasons, as if it is cooling more rapidly than expected.

“There are no theories that explain it,” Chudnovsky said. “So maybe it’s a very complicated process related to the function of a civilization inside the star.”

If a star harbored a nuclear civilization within it, he explained, the energy used to sustain that civilization would cause the star to cool and dim faster—in effect speeding up the aging process. And, at some point, the star would no longer produce enough energy to sustain this form of life.

More info: Lehman College News Center; "Can Self-Replicating Species Flourish in the Interior of a Star"

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 10, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Aliens, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy

Page 1 of 9 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›




weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •