By Raza Mehdi
June 28, 2022
Astronomers don’t know what 95% of the universe is made of. Atoms, which form everything, only account for 5%. The substantial remainder is composed of two shadowy entities – dark matter and dark energy. What is it? We don’t know.
Four billion years ago, a few chemicals got together and made the first molecules capable of replicating themselves. But how did the basic chemicals arrange themselves into something resembling life? How did we get DNA? We still can’t agree about what happened.
The universe is expanding. But where is, or what is, the boundary? We can only see a part of the universe, the so-called “observable universe”, which goes on for 46.5 billion light-years in all directions. But how far does it go past that?
Pink flamingos in the skies, elephants stomp through the savannas, and weird fruits and ferns hide in crevasses everywhere. There are just too many species of plants and animals. But that doesn't stop scientists from trying to determine that elusive number.
What is the point of dreams? Some scientists theorized that dreams help us solve problems; others suggest that they are just random meaningless images. Ultimately, we just don’t know.
While the question of what consciousness exactly is belongs to philosophy, the question of how it works is a problem for science. How is it that a grey mass of cells, themselves made of carbon and hydrogen, are able to reflect on its own existence? Well, we don’t know for sure.
Ninety-five per cent of the ocean is unexplored. The discoveries we’ve made so far – from bizarre fishes to a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s made by crustaceans – are a tiny fraction of the strange world hidden below the waves.
The number of people on our planet has doubled to more than 7 billion since the 1960s and it is expected that by 2050 there will be at least 9 billion of us. Where are we all going to live and how are we going to make enough food and fuel for our ever-growing population?
Perhaps not. Astronomers have been scouring the universe for places where water worlds might have given rise to life, from Europa and Mars in our solar system to planets many light-years away. But we are yet to see any sign of life on our alien-hunting mission so far.