Dawn of the Heliocene to Virus-Hunting Microbes (Planet Earth Report)

Earth from the ISS


“Planet Earth Report” provides descriptive links to headline news by leading science journalists about the extraordinary discoveries, technology, people, and events changing our knowledge of Planet Earth and the future of the human species.


“Lucky or Inevitable” –Life May Have Relied On Something Other Than Oxygen for the First 1.5 billion Years. Albert Einstein observed that “one can best feel in dealing with living things how primitive physics still is.” Perhaps the same can be said about origin of life theories. Scientists are now asking did early life on Earth rely on arsenic for the first 1.5 billion years, before oxygen was present?

Dawn of the Heliocene –-Why the next geological epoch should be named for when we tapped the sun’s energy, reports Nautil.us

Big money is powering a massive hunt for alien intelligence, reports Science.

Life on Earth may have begun in hostile hot springs –Understanding how complex molecules formed on our planet could guide the search for life elsewhere in the solar system, reports Science News.

“Undiscovered Phenomena” — Mystery of Gold in the Universe

Earth life may have traveled to Venus aboard sky-skimming asteroid, reports Space.com –If there is indeed life on Venus, it may have come from Earth — aboard an asteroid that scooped up microbes high in our skies, a new study suggests.

‘Extremely Brilliant’ X-Ray Beams Are About to Revolutionize How We See Into Matter, reports Gizmodo –A new way of producing powerful X-ray beams—the brightest on Earth—is now making it possible to create 3D images of matter at astounding resolutions. This “Extremely Brilliant Source” officially opened last month at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France, and scientists are already using it to study the coronavirus behind covid-19. These X-ray beams will image the interiors of fossils, brains, batteries, and countless other interesting items down to the atomic scale, revealing unprecedented information and supercharging scientific research.

Ocean Heat Waves Are Directly Linked to Climate Change –The “blob” of hotter ocean water that killed sea lions and other marine life in 2014 and 2015 may become permanent, reports The New York Times.

Nothing Eats Viruses, Right? Meet Some Hungry Protists, reports The New York Times. On the dinner plate that is planet Earth, there exists a veritable buffet of viruses — an amount of biomass that is the equivalent of about 25 billion human beings. So perhaps it’s a bit baffling that scientists have yet to pinpoint a species that deliberately eats viruses for energy. New genetic evidence builds the case that single-celled marine microbes might chow down on viruses.

COVID-vaccine results are on the way — and scientists’ concerns are growing –Researchers warn that vaccines could stumble on safety trials, be fast-tracked because of politics or fail to meet the public’s expectations. reports Nature.

Reasons Revealed for the Brain’s Elastic Sense of Time –New research finds that the subjective experience of time is linked to learning, thwarted expectations and neural fatigue, reports Quanta.

Telepath is a buzzy new social network trying to fix what’s broken on Twitter –How a team of former Quora employees are using lessons learned from Twitter are trying to make social networking fun again, reports The Verge.

Coffee Rust Is Going to Ruin Your Morning –Coffee plants were supposed to be safe on this side of the Atlantic. But the fungus found them, reports The Atlantic.

Cult leader who claims to be reincarnation of Jesus arrested in Russia –Former traffic officer Sergei Torop, AKA Vissarion, arrested in special operation in Siberia, reports The Guardian.

356 Elephants Dropped Dead. Did This Bacteria Poison Them? Reports The New York Times. Some conservationists accepted the explanation provided by Botswana’s government, but others raised doubts.

Gold miners discover 100 million-year-old meteorite crater Down Under –The meteorite may have been longer than two football fields, reports Live Science.

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