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Why?

Today’s episode focuses on a surprising result found by a NASA balloon-borne experiment. We chose this story because it highlights the excitement and uncertainty in any scientific experiment – you never know what you’ll find. Will your data support your predictions, contradict them, or point you in an entirely new direction? ARCADE was launched to look for the radio signals of the first stars in the Universe, but their detector found a strange, strong signal coming from deep space. What is it? Good question.

In a sense, science is the profession of asking, “Why?” It’s not just blind questioning – scientists see something happening and ask questions about what’s going on and why. And if they can find answers to those questions, there are always more details to explore. I think most human beings are innately curious. Especially as children, we want to know¬†everything. What will happen if I take this toy apart? Will I float away if I attach enough balloons to my chair?

I think this is why people love a good mystery. It lets us explore a world of what-ifs and whodunnits. When scientists get an unexpected result, they start looking for the culprit. It could be as simple as an issue with a piece of hardware, or as complicated as a new discovery far away in space or way back in time. These surprises can shape the way we understand the Universe, and they definitely shape the way we think.

I hope you enjoy this episode. We’re about to overhaul this website, so don’t be surprised if you check back and find it looks a little different! Consider it a Blueshift experiment.

Check out Confounding Cosmic Questions, released today!

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