“The Galaxy Report” provides paragraph-length summaries of headline news by leading science journalists about the amazing discoveries, technology, people, and events changing our knowledge of Planet Earth and the Cosmos beyond. Our caffine-inspired curation team scours the world, doing your work for you –all in one place.
Giant Blobs Nestled Deep in the Earth may influence everything from the structure of island chains to mass-extinction events, writes Joshua Sokol for Quanta. “It would be like having an object in the sky, and asking, ‘Is that the moon?’ And people are like, no. ‘Is that the sun?’ No. ‘What is it?’ We don’t know!” said Vedran Lekić, a seismologist at the University of Maryland. “And whatever it is, it is intimately tied to the evolution of the Earth.”
Dark Matter Particles the Size of Planets? –“Yes” Say ‘Cold-Model’ Physicists. At first, we thought it was absurd. How else could you respond to the idea that black holes generate swirling clouds of planet-sized particles that could be the dark matter thought to hold galaxies together? We tend to think about particles as being tiny but, theoretically, there is no reason they can’t be as big as a galaxy,” said theoretical physicist Asimina Arvanitaki, at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
A Wild Discovery About Fungi Just Changed Earth’s Evolutionary Timeline –The finding deepens our understanding of how modern life originated on Earth and shows there’s a lot we still don’t know about our planet’s history, writes Becky Ferreira for Motherboard. Scientists have discovered fossils of a fungal lifeform that lived between 715 and 810 million years ago, long before the dawn of complex life.
Death on Mars –The Martian radiation environment is a problem for human explorers that cannot be overstated. A few years ago, writes Caleb Scharf for Scientific American, this idea was in the spotlight because of now-defunct efforts like Mars One, which somehow got 200,000 people to express interest in what would have been a lifelong trip to the red planet.
Weird dust balls seen impossibly close to our galaxy’s huge black hole –At the center of our galaxy, less than 0.2 light years from Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, six strange objects are defying gravity, writes Leah Crane for New Scientist. They look like clouds of gas and dust, but behave like stars, and astronomers don’t know what they are.
Beings That Are Smarter Than Humans Inhabit the Galaxy —Originally published by Scientific American, July 1943 “If, as appears to be probable, vegetation exists on Mars, life has developed on two out of the three planets in our system where it has any chance to do so. With this as a guide, it appears now to be probable that the whole number of inhabited worlds within the Galaxy is considerable. To think of thousands, or even more, now appears far more reasonable than to suppose that our planet alone is the abode of life and reason. What the forms of life might be on these many worlds is a question before which even the most speculative mind may quail.”
Scientists Think We’re Closer to the End of the World Than Ever –The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it’s ever been. “Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a statement. “The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”