Planet Earth Report –“NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Viruses to COVID-19 from Space Debunked”

 

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.

NASA Scientists Searching Space for Extraterrestrial Viruses, reports Massive Science. Viruses outnumber all other forms of life on Earth and scientists hope to find them elsewhere. Since the dawn of the Space Age, astrobiologists have worked to determine whether neighboring planets harbor life forms, particularly microbes like bacteria, archaea, and fungi. Some scientists are wondering if they left something out. Now, the search for extraterrestrial life has landed on viruses.

Strange worlds unlike Earth may be our best bet to find alien life, reports New Scientist. From rogue worlds that roam the cosmos alone to Tatooines that orbit two suns, astronomers are expanding our definition of habitable exoplanets

The Neurons That Appeared from Nowhere, reports Nautil.us. How an accident led to what could be a medical revolution.

Alive? An unusual meteorite, more valuable than gold, may hold the building blocks of life, reports Science. Every year, tens of thousands survive the plunge through Earth’s atmosphere. More than 60,000 have been found and classified by scientists. But meteorite falls, witnessed strikes that take their name from where they land, are rare—just 1196 have been documented. And even among that exclusive group, there was something extraordinary about this particular meteorite, something anyone with the right knowledge could know from the first pictures. The dull stone was, as far as rocks go, practically alive.

The Supervolcano Under Yellowstone Is Alive and Kicking, reports Nautil.us Around 10,000 geothermal features in Yellowstone hint at a mysterious hot spot beneath the crust.

Wild theory suggests COVID-19 came to Earth aboard a space rock, reports Astronomy. There’s no evidence Coronavirus came from space, yet a group of panspermia proponents are wildly speculating that’s the case — and the implications could be downright dangerous. The space virus theory has been the work of a group of researchers, notably Edward J. Steele and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe. This group has published ten papers on the topic since the pandemic began.

Earth Was a Very Different Place Before Mud –reports The Atlantic. A great mud boom 400 million years ago changed features such as the shape of rivers and the planet’s biodiversity.

The pandemic appears to have spared Africa so far. Scientists are struggling to explain why, reports Science. Although Africa reported its millionth official COVID-19 case last week, it seems to have weathered the pandemic relatively well so far, with fewer than one confirmed case for every thousand people and just 23,000 deaths so far. Yet several antibody surveys suggest far more Africans have been infected with the coronavirus—a discrepancy that is puzzling scientists around the continent.

Growing underwater heat blob speeds demise of Arctic sea ice, reports Science. a study published last week suggests deep heat in the Arctic Ocean has risen and is now melting the ice from below. Ice has kept its grip on the Arctic with the help of an unusual temperature inversion in the underlying waters. Unlike the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, the Arctic gets warmer as it gets deeper. Bitter winters and chilly, buoyant freshwater from Eurasian rivers cool its surface layers, which helps preserve the underside of the ice. But at greater depths sits a warm blob of salty Atlantic water, thought to be safely separated from the sea ice.

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