“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.
Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua could still be alien technology, new study hints, reports Live Science. a mysterious, interstellar object that crashed through our solar system two years ago — might in fact be alien technology. That’s because an alternative, non-alien explanation might be fatally flawed, as a new study argues.
What’s Special About Bat Viruses? What We Don’t Know Could Hurt Us –The immune systems of bats are weird, but we don’t know how weird, how they got that way or enough about other animals, reports The New York Times.
New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life –The ingredients for reactions ancestral to metabolism could have formed very easily in the primordial soup, new work suggests, reports Quanta. On the early Earth, a forerunner of the complex cycle of reactions that underpins metabolism in today’s cells might have originated from interactions between just two simple, versatile molecules in water, according to new research.
Could We Force the Universe to Crash? –If we’re all living in a simulation, as some have suggested, it would be a good, albeit risky, way to find out for sure, reports Caleb Scharf for Scientific American.
The Quantum Internet Will Blow Your Mind. Here’s What It Will Look Like –The next generation of the Internet will rely on revolutionary new tech — allowing for unhackable networks and information that travels faster than the speed of light reports Discover.
The Cerebellum Isn’t What We Thought –Scientists long believed its function was simply to coordinate movements. Now they suspect it could do much more, reports The Atlantic.
“Transforms Matter Into Consciousness” –Most Ancient Part of the Human Brain Reveals Its Secrets. “The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe,” observes physicist Michio Kaku. The neocortex, observed Carl Sagan is where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” Located deep in the brain’s center, the subcortex, the most evolutionarily ancient part of our brain, processes everything from our basic senses to long-term memories.
Alchemy Arrives in a Burst of Light –“The idea sounds like magic, pure and simple. You create a light beam that can make substances vanish, give them properties they shouldn’t possess, or turn them into a perfect mimic of another substance entirely. It’s 21st-century alchemy, in principle capable not just of making lead resemble gold, but of turning ordinary materials into superconductors,” reports Quanta.
Scientists Are Finding a Ton of New and Mysterious Craters on Mars –Martian craters appear “concentrated in certain areas and we know that physically there is no reason for that,” said a JPL researcher. An AI tool may help figure out why, reports Motherboard Science.
A High-Tech Twin for a Renaissance Masterpiece, reports Elisabetta Povoledo for The New York Times. A copy of Michelangelo’s David printed in 3-D will be the centerpiece of the Italy Pavilion at the next world fair. “David has been celebrated for its sculptural perfection and its embodiment of youthful beauty and strength. Now, Italian officials want the sculpture to help showcase Italian craftsmanship and high-tech expertise in the digital age. Over the next several months, a battery of Italian engineers, technicians, craftspeople and restorers will use what the project’s coordinator has described as ‘the most advanced technologies available today’ to 3D print an exact copy of the 17-foot statue.”
No One Lasts Long on St. Matthew Island –A journey to Alaska’s most isolated place, reports The Atlantic
A Ridiculously Huge New Solar Farm Just Came Online in China, reports Singularity Hub. The project is a collaboration between Chinese company Sungrow, which specializes in inverters for renewable energy sources, and the state-owned utility Huanghe Hydropower Development. Its 2.2 gigawatt capacity makes it second only to India’s Bhadla solar park, which opened late last year and has a capacity of 2.5 gigawatts.
The Far Side of the Moon Is an Ideal Place to Listen For Alien Civilizations, reports Singularity Hub. A recent paper—written by Breakthrough Listen sponsored researchers Eric Michaud, Andrew Siemion, Jamie Drew, and Pete Worden—makes the case for a SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) observatory on the moon or in lunar orbit. And notably, they suggest that such a project is, perhaps, for the first time approaching feasibility.
Space Mining Should Be a Global Project—But It’s Not Starting Off That Way–Exploiting the resources of outer space might be key to the future expansion of the human species. But researchers argue that the US is trying to skew the game in its favor, with potentially disastrous consequences, reports Singularity Hub.
The deep Anthropocene, a revolution in archaeology has exposed the extraordinary extent of human influence over our planet’s past and its future, reports Sally Davies for Aeon –The ArchaeoGLOBE project “tells a completely different story of Earth’s transformation than is commonly acknowledged in the natural sciences. ArchaeoGLOBE reveals that human societies transformed most of Earth’s biosphere much earlier and more profoundly than we thought—an insight that has serious implications for how we understand humanity’s relationship to nature and the planet as a whole.”