NASA Astrobiology –“Early Earth is a Model for Emerging Life on Alien Planets”




Early Earth's regulatory carbon/seafloor weathering process would occur on any rocky planet with water. “There’s nothing special about these processes,” says Joshua Krissansen-Totton from the University of Washington's astrobiology program and Virtual Planetary Laboratory. "We know pre-solar nebulae contained the ingredients for life; we also know countless exoplanets with those ingredients exist in habitable zones. The study widens the window of time on which life could have emerged on those planets."



“Huge Increase in Size of Cerebral Cortex” –Scientists Pinpoint Unique Evolution of the Human Brain


Over the last million years of evolution, our brain underwent a considerable increase in size and complexity, resulting in the exceptional cognitive abilities of the human species. This brain enlargement is largely due to an increase in the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex, the outer part of the brain. Since we share about 99% of our genome with that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, it has remained a daunting task for scientists to identify which human-specific gene changes may underlie the unique aspects of human brain evolution.


“Alien Moons May Be Best Bet for Life” –100 Giant Exoplanets With Moons Identified as Habitable





"There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system. While most of these moons orbit Saturn and Jupiter, which are outside the Sun's habitable zone, that may not be the case in other solar systems," said Stephen Kane, an associate professor of planetary astrophysics and a member of the University of California Riverside's Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center. "Including rocky exomoons in our search for life in space will greatly expand the places we can look."


“Our Plugged-In Cosmos” –Dark Matter May Be Electrically Charged




"We are constraining the possibility that dark matter particles carry a tiny electrical charge – equal to one millionth that of an electron – through measurable signals from the cosmic dawn," says Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "Such tiny charges are impossible to observe even with the largest particle accelerators."


Today’s “Planet Earth Report” –Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has had Five Near-Deaths in the Past 30,000 Years


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The historical die-offs are similar to “what we’re seeing right now on the Great Barrier Reef,” says Mark Eakin, a coral reef ecologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in College Park, Maryland.



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