I understand that some of these I could look up, and perhaps I will eventually, but the purpose here is for me to post a few scientific questions I find interesting, and would like to know more about.
Quick note: A few of these questions (specifically some of those in biology) may sound immoral to some people. I am not necessarily suggesting we do these things depicted in the questions, I am just curious about the science behind them.
- We often times announce that the new “smallest planet ever found” has been discovered. How close would we have to be to a mirror of our own solar system before we could see the earth? How about the other 7 planets? How about Pluto? And the various moons?
- If we saw this mirror solar system, could we determine is life existed on the 3rd closest planet to it’s star, and if so, how?
- With current technology, how long would it take to send a probe to the next closest solar system?
- Easter Island is the most isolated place on earth (at least I believe this to be the case). What would be the equivalent on a solar system level?
- What we think of as “empty space” actually has dust, solar winds, etc in it. Is there a place (between galaxies perhaps) that would be the “most empty” place in the universe? How “empty” would it be compared to earth’s “air” (quantity of “stuff” per unit)?
- As I understand it, we can currently see the entire universe (essentially), but in the future as the universe continues to expand, we will lose sight of distant galaxies, the microwave background radiation, etc… When will this happen? And what will we see when we look past the furthest objects we can see (will it be black, etc)?
- Theoretically, if one could go faster than the speed of light (significantly faster for this hypothetical), if one left the earth going in any random direction, how long would it take before you were past the “furthest” galaxies (so looking ahead there is nothing, and looking behind there is “everything”?
- (This one I believe is unanswerable, but just in case it is not, here goes) Same scenario, once you get to the edge of how far the universe has expanded, what does the border look like? What is on the other side of that border?
- What is the definition of a “species” vs that of a “race” or “breed”?
For example, if it has to do with mating, is a chiwawa the same species as a wolf, or a great dane?
If it has to do with genetic markers, are bonobos and chimpanzees the same species?
- I know this sounds very Jurassic Park-esque, but could we create a neanderthal from the DNA samples we have? (this is not about the ethics, just the science)
- If we took one of the first humans who left Africa 60,000 years ago, how tall would they be (people seem to have grown in height in just the past couple of hundred years, so I’d assume we’ve grown even more in 60k years).
- Would they have the same intellect, physical abilities, as “we” do now?
- We have obviously been able to create different “breeds” of various animals (most obviously dogs). If we started “breeding” intelligent people only with other intelligent people, and athletic people only with other athletic people, how long would it take before there would be noticeable differences between the two groups?
Update 6/12: I thought up one more Biology questions, so the total is no longer 13, but I felt this question was cool enough, I could not leave it out…
- It seems to me that we have “helped” to guide evolution in specific directions in animal species in the past (domesticated animals specifically), so could we “guide” a species towards “higher intellect”? Specifically here I am thinking of chimpanzees and bonobos; could we “guide” them to a “human level” intellect? It seems to me, that a lot of the basics are already in place (empathy, jealousy, tool use, ability to use language, etc).