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Can the Sun Exhibit Consciousness? Exploring the Unconventional Realm of Panpsychism

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The inquiry into the essence of consciousness, its origins, and its interconnectedness with the physical realm has been a prominent subject of philosophical and scientific contention throughout the course of human intellectual inquiry. Is there a separation between the mind and body? While there are differing opinions, a third faction posits an intermediate and even more revolutionary notion: all entities in the cosmos possess consciousness, including the Sun.

The term used to describe this perspective on the universe is panpsychism. The concept that consciousness originates from the physical realm is referred to as physicalism; however, our understanding of the factors that give animals consciousness remains ambiguous. The dualist perspective encompasses the notion of thought and matter as distinct entities. Panpsychism serves as a means of connecting the two. Consciousness emerges inside us, as it is inherent in all entities.

Similar concepts have been observed throughout history in various religious and philosophical systems. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in the concept of analytical philosophy. One notable paper, written by biologist Rupert Sheldrake, explores the possibility of the Sun having consciousness. Sheldrake is renowned for his research on morphic resonance, which suggests that similar organisms may have telepathic connections and collective memories.

In a scholarly article published in the Journal of awareness Studies in 2021, Sheldrake presents a compelling argument advocating for the existence of awareness in the Sun and other celestial bodies. The biologist posits that self-organizing systems can exhibit consciousness, awareness, or experience at various levels of complexity. According to Sheldrake, this perspective shifts our focus away from the physical origins of consciousness in a basic system and instead extends awareness to encompass celestial bodies such as stars, solar systems, galaxies, and the entirety of the universe.

According to Sheldrake’s statement to Popular Mechanics, consciousness is not limited to the confines of the brain. Rhythmic electromagnetic fields, which are present in the human brain naturally, appear to mediate the connection between cognitive processes and physiological systems. These entities are also found within and in the vicinity of the sun, potentially serving as the interface connecting the solar mind and the solar body.

There are many philosophical and scientific reasons against panpsychism, but for this paper, we were most interested in what would happen if the Sun and the 100 billion other stars in the Milky Way were all conscious. One possible outcome is that the stars can move by sending out guided jets that take them where they need to go.

According to Sheldrake’s research, some people think that stars don’t move because of dark matter’s gravity but instead move themselves into the right place. Claims that are out of the ordinary always need proof that they are out of the ordinary. Strong stellar jets are found in many things, but stars never use them to move.

Also, the Gaia observatory of the European Space Agency has made a beautiful picture of the Milky Way. It not only shows where almost two billion stars are but also how they are moving. We can turn back time in the Milky Way and see how the stars have moved over billions of years with this information.

Scientists would be very excited about stellar motions that were not subject to gravity because dark matter ought to exist in the universe. Dark matter was first thought of because of the way stars move, as if there were a lot more matter than we could see.

Many of the points made in the study are based on the sun’s complex magnetic field. But if we want to think about something even more complicated, we should check out Uranus’s magnetic field. Uranus’ magnetic field is not centered like the sun’s generator or Earth’s magnetosphere. It may open and close every day, moving around. The question “Is Uranus Conscious?” might not have the same ring to it as “Is the Sun Conscious?”

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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Space Exploration

NASA is now investigating a peculiar rock found on Mars

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NASA has examined a peculiar rock on Mars called “Bunsen Peak,” which was named after the peak in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Upon capturing the image of the rock, it quickly captured the interest of NASA scientists.

“This rock caught the attention of NASA due to its impressive height compared to the surrounding terrain and the intriguing surface texture on its left face,” NASA stated after its discovery.

“One notable aspect of the rock captured in the image was the nearly perpendicular surface directly facing the rover.” The science team finds a vertical face intriguing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it offers a unique opportunity to examine any chemical or physical layering within the rock through a cross-sectional view. Additionally, a vertical face tends to have less dust accumulation, which is advantageous for our scientific instruments!

On March 11, Perseverance successfully obtained a sample of a rock measuring 1.7 meters by 1 meter (5.6 feet wide and 3.3 feet high) using its drilling tool. The rock was found to be composed of 75 percent carbonate grains held together with a high concentration of silica, as determined by spectrometers.

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover collecting a sample from "Bunsen Peak"

So what makes this rock so fascinating to NASA? Discovering signs of ancient microbial life is a key objective of Perseverance’s mission, and rocks such as this one offer the greatest potential for uncovering these clues.

“This is the exact rock we were hoping to discover during our exploration of Jezero Crater,” stated Ken Farley, the project scientist for Perseverance at Caltech in Pasadena, California. “The majority of minerals in the rock we just collected were formed through water processes. On Earth, minerals deposited by water have a remarkable ability to capture and safeguard ancient organic material and biosignatures.” The rock can provide valuable insights into the climate conditions on Mars during its formation.

Based on preliminary findings, additional investigation is required to confirm whether the rock is associated with a prehistoric body of water.

“We’re currently investigating the margin and collecting data, but the preliminary findings seem to align with our hypothesis that the rocks in this area were created near the edges of a prehistoric lake,” stated Briony Horgan, a scientist from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who specializes in physical chemistry. “The science team is also exploring alternative explanations for the origin of the Margin Unit, as there are additional methods for the formation of carbonate and silica.” Regardless of the rock’s formation, it’s truly thrilling to obtain a sample.

Perseverance is diligently gathering samples in the Jezero Crater and is now making its way towards an intriguing region called “Bright Angel,” which is believed to house ancient rocks. If everything goes according to plan, the samples will be brought back to Earth by a sample collection mission scheduled for 2028.

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Space Exploration

The CEO of True Anomaly discovers the positive aspect in the startup’s unusual first objective

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The first flight of True Anomaly didn’t go at all as planned, but even Rogers, CEO of the space and defense startup, said he doesn’t see it as a failure. He gave new information about what went well and poorly and talked about how they’re making this strange event into a “success story.”

The company hasn’t said what caused the problems that stopped the mission yet, but a timeline of events shows how an in-space startup responds to a problem while the mission is still going on.

On March 4, the company sent up its first two satellites on SpaceX’s Transporter-10 sharing mission. The two spacecraft, which the company calls “Jackals,” are made to move close to other items and use optical and radar sensors to take high-resolution pictures and videos of them. The first flight, called Flight X, was supposed to show off these new skills in orbit for the very first time.

The rocket released the two spacecraft as planned, but the company started having problems that same day: mission controllers were supposed to be able to talk to each spacecraft within three hours of launch, but they didn’t see any signal from the first spacecraft, which was named Jackal 2, and their first contact with Jackal 1 was only partially successful.

They got a positive telemetry package from Jackal 1. The spacecraft’s arrays were getting voltage, and the data showed that it was pointing at the sun properly. But mission controllers couldn’t uplink data, and efforts to get in touch with both vehicles overnight also failed.

It was a hint of what was going to happen. Rogers, on the other hand, is sure that calling the mission a failure would be wrong.

According to him, Mission X’s plan is to get something up there as soon as possible that is complicated enough for us to learn from and then move on. He explained this to me. “This is how we think about it: we didn’t meet our goals, but we’re not seeing it as a failure for the flight test, just like when SpaceX blows up a rocket, everyone cheers.”

The only failure is not learning, not giving 100%, and not taking responsibility for the design as it is and the changes needed to enhance it.

Event timeline
The next day, True Anomaly engineers checked satellite tracking with rideshare passengers and space domain awareness suppliers.

Rideshare missions, where dozens of passenger spacecraft are launched quickly, make it impossible to identify which satellites belong to whom. Communications networks like high-latitude ground stations and ViaSat’s geostationary satellites get overloaded as providers rush their services.

An undisclosed non-Earth imagery provider sent the corporation photographs of Jackal 2 on March 7, confirming that it had deployed its solar panels and appropriately oriented itself. photographs of Jackal 1 followed the next day. Mission controllers added ground station integration on March 9 and confirmed both satellites’ orbits six days after launch. Jackal 2 remained silent, so they couldn’t reach Jackal 1.

Engineers added features to Mosaic, the in-house command and control program, and sent commands to the two Jackals during the expedition. On March 21, the corporation claimed it could not confirm Jackal’s functionality or status.

Rogers said root-cause analyses take time, especially when you have little data.

We know for sure that the spacecraft’s solar panels were deployed and facing toward the sun when we received the latest status update, he said. The setup sequence displayed some nominal behavior. We couldn’t communicate.”

He was confident that it was “probably upstream of communications” rather than a radio issue.

“Fly, Fix, fly.”
first mission of True Anomaly was closely watched. The startup has garnered attention since emerging from stealth a year ago with ambitious intentions to build intelligence-gathering chase satellites to strengthen national security and defend American assets from orbital threats. True Anomaly raised $100 million in Series B last year to expedite those objectives.

True Anomaly’s four co-founders titled the mission outcomes blog post “Fly, Fix, Fly,” referencing the company’s quick design cycles. Engineers are making several changes to Jackal and Mosaic before the second mission, some of which will happen regardless of Mission X.

One major difference is the satellite design: The future Jackals will be 100 pounds lighter, improving agility and payload. The corporation is also strengthening ground-test infrastructure and satellite power architecture. They’re also altering how the flight software weighs several “out-of-limit inputs” (signals of trouble).

True Anomaly plans to fly twice more in the next year, notwithstanding Mission X’s outcome.

The success story of Jackal Mission X is threefold, Rogers added. The first is partners and other Transporter-10 mission members helping each other. Second, our staff reacted and iterated quickly.”

 

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Science

Scientists conducted research on our planet’s responses during the phenomenon of totality

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The snapping turtles all simultaneously entered the waters of Lake Tawakoni as soon as the moon covered the sun. The earth was adorned with twilight. The clouds swiftly traversed the sky. Jupiter was present next to the sun and was brightly radiating during the day. The majority of birds and insects had become quiet or completely silent.

Describing the experience of a total solar eclipse is challenging due to its profound effects on the surrounding light and abrupt drop in temperature, causing surprise shivering. However, on April 8th, I, along with many individuals throughout North America, had the opportunity to observe a remarkable astronomical phenomenon.

I traveled to Wills Point, located around one hour east of Dallas, to rendezvous with Darci Snowden, a space physicist from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, along with her undergraduate students. Local families gathered to watch as weather balloons were launched from a wooden pier to collect data, bringing joy to the onlookers.

Prior to the eclipse, the weather forecast in Texas indicated unfavorable conditions, including the possibility of thunderstorms and cloud cover obstructing the view of the heavens. After the situation settled, we experienced an extended period of clear skies while the moon passed in front of the sun, causing it to appear like a thin crescent. At the precise moment of totality, a substantial cloud passed past, resulting in audible expressions of disappointment from all present. Fortunately, the sun’s typically imperceptible atmosphere, known as the corona, became visible through gaps in the clouds. Fiery flares bursting from the sun’s surface were seen as tiny red spots at its edges.

Regardless of whether the weather was cloudy or clear, there were still scientific tasks to be completed. Occasions of total solar eclipses offer exceptional chances to examine the sun and its influence on Earth in unparalleled manners.

In Wills Point, the day before the April 8 eclipse, Snowden’s team initiated the launch of a sequence of 30 weather balloons, commencing at 2 p.m. CDT. The intention was to launch one object into the air every hour, consistently during the whole night, and to continue this pattern for six hours following the occurrence of the eclipse. These balloons, filled with helium, may ascend to a height of 33 kilometers (20 miles) in the stratosphere, which is the second-lowest layer of the atmosphere. They transported battery-operated instrument bundles known as radiosondes to gather data on temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind direction and speed.

Snowden and her students aim to obtain comprehensive data regarding the impact of an extraordinary occurrence, like a total solar eclipse, on Earth’s atmosphere. The researchers are investigating the phenomena occurring in the lowest part of the atmosphere, called the planetary boundary layer, which extends up to around two kilometers and covers the Earth’s surface. The topography of the terrain, which includes features like mountains, buildings, and woods, and solar radiation descending from the atmosphere, both have an impact on the dynamics of this layer.

Specifically, the team is seeking evidence of gravitational waves. It is important to distinguish gravitational waves from gravitational waves, which are disruptions in the spacetime continuum brought about by the collision of sizable celestial objects like black holes. Gravity waves, on the other hand, are a phenomenon that occurs closer to the Earth’s surface. These phenomena can occur when a mountain range or other external force lifts pockets of air, which then fall as a result of gravity. This process generates a regular oscillation that can transfer energy across the atmosphere. Additionally, sudden fluctuations in temperature might trigger their activation. When cool air gets more compact and descends, it occasionally descends to such a low point that it surpasses its balance and then rises again, creating a wave.

“It is akin to exerting pressure on an ice cube submerged in a glass of water,” Snowden remarks.

In the 2017 U.S. total solar eclipse, scientists conducted an experiment by flying balloons in Wyoming and New York, outside the path of totality. They discovered indications that the shadow of the moon, as it swiftly moved across the atmosphere, produced gravity waves near the surface that propagated outward, resembling the bow waves created by a moving ship. This phenomenon had been forecasted over half a century before but had never been conclusively observed. During the same event in 2017, scientists definitively saw eclipse-induced gravity waves at higher altitudes in the atmosphere for the first time (SN: 4/30/18).

In this instance, Snowden aims to verify the prior indications of their presence in the lower layers of the atmosphere. The objective of launching the balloons 24 hours before totality, which occurs when the moon totally obscures the sun, was to gather the first measurements prior to the eclipse. Subsequently, these measures might be juxtaposed with the ones obtained during and subsequent to the occurrence.

This data has the potential to contribute to more accurate forecasts for both short-term weather patterns and long-term climate trends. Although gravity waves are one of the smallest types of atmospheric waves that scientists investigate, they can have a substantial impact. They exert a significant impact on the dynamics of turbulence, facilitate the passage of heat, and facilitate the dispersion of airborne chemicals across the entire world. Numerous individuals traverse extensive distances, occasionally shattering akin to ocean waves at altitudes of 500 kilometers or more above the Earth’s surface.

Eli Pugsley, a senior physics major involved in leading the launches, describes the process of getting the team’s weather balloons up shortly before and during totality as “undoubtedly stressful.” “However, once we establish a consistent pattern, each individual fulfills their responsibilities, and the process proceeds effortlessly.”

The data collected from the students will be combined with data from approximately 40 other teams participating in NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project. These teams will also be deploying weather balloons along the line of totality. Collectively, the data may ascertain whether the eclipse generated gravity waves in the lower atmosphere. However, it will take around one year to collect and analyze the information, according to Snowden.

Researchers and citizen scientists across the country were conducting various studies connected to the eclipse. Meanwhile, large numbers of eclipse watchers flocked to towns along the path of totality, hoping for an unobstructed glimpse of the celestial event.

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Physicist Fabiano Rodrigues and his team at the University of Texas, Dallas campus, focused their attention on the ionosphere, which begins at an altitude of around 80 to 90 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

Solar radiation bombards the thin atmospheric gases in this layer, causing ionization, where the atoms split into electrons and nuclei. During the night, while not exposed to the intense sun radiation, these charged particles have an opportunity to come together again. Analogous transformations occur when there is an abrupt transition into darkness during a complete solar eclipse.

Rodrigues and his students strategically positioned inexpensive, readily available devices with the ability to receive satellite signals, such as GPS, in a large triangular formation. One device was placed at the university, another approximately 100 kilometers to the north, and the third approximately 50 kilometers east in the town of Terrell. These detectors monitor the instantaneous increase and decrease of electron concentration in the ionosphere, which serves as an indicator of its level of ionization.

The data obtained by Rodrigues and his team during the eclipse could potentially validate the forecasts on the extent to which the ionosphere will deionize due to the reduction of sunlight caused by the eclipse. It could also identify any shortcomings in these predictions. The collected data will be utilized to study the influence and deterioration of satellite transmissions caused by changes in the ionosphere. This research aims to enable engineers to mitigate these effects in future communication and navigation systems.

According to Rodrigues, the number of electrons in the ionosphere decreased, as anticipated during the event. However, it would probably take a few days for him to determine which models provided the most precise forecasts. Although there was some cloud cover in Dallas, he is very satisfied with the outcome.

Meanwhile, when the sun regained its usual intensity above Lake Tawakoni, Snowden and her colleagues paused to contemplate the extraordinary event they had just observed before resuming their balloon releases.

“It is an awe-inspiring encounter,” she states. “I consider myself very lucky to have witnessed it.”

 

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