“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.
What Earth Owes to Black Holes –The cosmic objects have a reputation as monstrous maws, but without them the universe would make less sense, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic.
Astronomers Preview Giant Magellan Telescope, Discuss Extraterrestrial Life, reports The Harvard Crimson. The online discussion, titled “Are We Alone in the Universe?”, invited Chilean astronomers and researchers from the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard to discuss the feasibility of identifying extraterrestrial life and how the Giant Magellan Telescope could change current understandings of the universe.
The Wow! Signal: An alien missed connection? –Did humanity’s first contact with aliens already happen back in 1977? Probably not, but we may never know for sure, reports Astronomy.com. On August 15, 1977, the Big Ear Radio Telescope in Delaware, Ohio, received the most powerful signal it would ever detect during its decades of observations. The data looked much like what SETI astronomers expected to see from an alien intelligence. However, despite many attempts to follow up on the find, the so-called “Wow! Signal” has never reappeared.
Will robots and AI take our jobs in covid-19’s socially distanced era? –Coronavirus has put a rocket under plans for more automation, roboticization and use of AI. Should we fear for our jobs – or will we just get better ones? asks New Scientist.
“Transforms Matter Into Consciousness” –Most Ancient Part of the Human Brain Reveals Its Secrets. 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.
Stephen Hawking memoir: ‘An iron man in a frail man’s facade’ –Leonard Mlodinow’s book on his friendship with Stephen Hawking shows another side to the late physicist, including tales of punting in Cambridge and annoying a restaurant chef, reports New Scientist.
SpaceX’s Starman and Elon Musk’s Tesla just made their 1st Mars flyby –Starman got less than 5 million miles from the Red Planet, reports Space.com
Supermassive Black Holes Might Really Be ‘Traversable’ Wormholes, Astrophysicists Suggest--“The wormholes we are considering are traversable wormholes, so theoretically spacecraft can travel through them,” said the lead author of a new study, reports Motherboard Science.
What Happened to South America’s Missing Mega-Mammals? asks the New York Times. –South America is filled with mammals from North America, but why more didn’t survive the reverse trip has been a natural history mystery. Paleontologists call the event the Great American Interchange. But they’ve long been puzzled by one aspect of it: Why did the majority of mammal immigrants go south, rather than the other way around? What happened to the southern mammals?
Greenland Is Melting Faster Than Any Time in Past 12,000 Years, reports Scientific American.
How drones are waging a stealth war on the way we think about society, reports New Scientist.Must-read book The Drone Age by Michael J. Boyle reveals how drone technology is challenging everything we do – and how we think about war and peace.
Mars Painted Desert –In Arizona’s badlands, not far from the Grand Canyon and located mostly within the Petrified Forest National Park, lies the Painted Desert. Different types of rock, including siltstone, mudstone and shale, characterize the stratified layers (known as horizons in geologic terms) of the Painted Desert. Each horizon is a beautiful shade of red, orange, beige, or purple. A new research paper recently published in Icarus shows a similarly stratified region of Mawrth Vallis, one of the oldest valleys on Mars, reports The SETI Institute.
Ÿnsect –A New Factory in France Will Mass-Produce Bugs as Food, reports Singularity Hub.
Face masks: what the data say –-The science supports that face coverings are saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, and yet the debate trundles on. How much evidence is enough? asks Nature.
Why we’re in for a long wait to hear from intelligent aliens, reports New Scientist.Hints of bacteria on Venus are encouraging, but finding life beyond Earth is the easy part. A new analysis suggests the evolution of human-like intelligence on another planet is more improbable than we like to imagine.
The wreck of the WWII steamship Karlsruhe may hold lost Russian treasure, reports Arstechnica. The disassembled treasure room hasn’t been seen since 1944.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded to 2 Scientists for Work on Genome Editing –Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna developed the Crispr tool, which can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with high precision, reports the New York Times.
Someone Bought a T. Rex Skeleton for a Record-Breaking $31.8 Million –An unnamed buyer paid a record-breaking sum for the fossil, which was up for auction due to a court resolution between two brothers, reports Motherboard Science.