“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.
Why Haven’t We Found Alien Life Yet? Blame Our Closed Minds –Are we simply looking for life in the wrong places, in the wrong way? Would we even recognize the signs? One astronomer says that out there ideas may point the way to E.T., reports Discover. Most of the searching so far has been in the radio range, where scientists have examined a tiny fraction of the possible frequencies in an equally tiny fraction of the possible search space. Surveys in optical wavelengths have been much less extensive. For any new technology we develop, says Harvard’s Avi Loeb., we should consider whether, somewhere, an alien civilization might have developed it, too, possibly leaving behind some detectable traces. “As our technology improves, that can help us imagine things we haven’t imagined before and explore things we haven’t searched for before.”
The International Space Station Is Ailing. Its Replacement Will Shape the Future of Space Exploration, reports Singularity Hub –Unsurprisingly, the ISS is starting to show its age. Earlier this month, astronauts finally fixed an air leak that had been going on for more than a year—and this is just one of a litany of maintenance problems the station has faced recently.
Weird ‘gravitational molecules’ could orbit black holes like electrons swirling around atoms, reports Live Science. a team of researchers has shown that a special kind of particle can exist around a pair of black holes in a similar way as an electron can exist around a pair of hydrogen atoms — the first example of a “gravitational molecule.” This strange object may give us hints to the identity of dark matter and the ultimate nature of space-time.
Scientists Think a Glowing Ice Moon Can Help In the Search for Alien Life –“The night-time ice glow occurring on Europa may be very unique and unlike any other phenomenon in our Solar System,” according to a new study, reports Motherboard Science. a team of planetary scientists has discovered that this tantalizing world may also glow in the dark, a characteristic that “could enable more precise surface characterization and provide unique night-time views” for future space probes, according to a paper published on Monday in Nature Astronomy. This would allow Europa missions to learn even more about the conditions on the mysterious moon, including whether it could (or does) host alien life.
“Someone is Looking Back at Us” –Three-Hundred-Million Earth-Like Worlds of the Milky Way. “One in 200 stars has habitable Earth-like planets surrounding it – in the galaxy, half a billion stars have Earth-like planets going around them – that’s huge, half a billion. So when we look at the night sky, it makes sense that someone is looking back at us,” says physicist, Michio Kaku, author of The Future of Humanity.
Pfizer covid-19 vaccine: Is it the breakthrough we’ve been hoping for? –Pfizer and its partner BioNTech say their coronavirus vaccine is 90 per cent effective in phase III trials. How excited should we be about the news, and what questions remain unanswered? asks New Scientist.
The Covid pandemic is worse than 2008 crisis for a majority of Americans, study says, reports CNBC
Is a dangerous new coronavirus strain circulating in farmed mink? asks New Scientist. The Danish government has ordered the slaughter of all farmed mink in the country after the reported discovery of a mutant form of coronavirus in the animals. It has already spread to humans.
The intriguing maps that reveal alternate histories, reports BBC Future –What if major elections, wars and events had turned out differently? Samuel Arbesman explores the detail and delights of maps that plot alternative worlds to our own..
Record Number of Great Whites Tagged in Southern California –Researchers working in Southern California tagged 38 sharks this year, more than triple last year’s total, reports The Smithsonian.
The Batteries of the Future Are Weightless and Invisible, reports Wired –There’s a renaissance underway in structural battery research, which aims to build energy storage into the very devices and vehicles they power. “Unlike a conventional battery pack embedded in the chassis, these structural batteries are invisible. The electrical storage happens in the thin layers of composite materials that make up the car’s frame. In a sense, they’re weightless because the car is the battery.”
How the Associated Press Became Part of the Nazi Propaganda Machine –New research suggests a backscratch agreement that traded access for control, reports The Smithsonian.
Could Listening to the Deep Sea Help Save It? –In the abyss, everyone can hear you scream, reports The New York Times.
Old Dogs, New Research and the Secrets of Aging –-The ways that dogs grow and age may provide potentially useful similarities with people,, reports The New York Times. Poets from Homer to Pablo Neruda have taken notice. As have folk singers and story tellers. Now science is taking a turn, in the hope that research on how dogs grow and age will help us understand how humans age. And, like the poets before them, scientists are finding parallels between the two species.
The Xenobot Future Is Coming—Start Planning Now –We’re on the cusp of being able to program biological systems like we program computers. That raises some thorny questions, reports Wired.
In a warming world, Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ drought won’t be an anomaly, reports Stanford University.
Brain Scientists Explore the How of When –-A new study offers the strongest evidence yet of “time cells” in the brain, reports The New York Times. “The first thing to say is that, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘time cells’ in the brain,” said Gyorgy Buzsaki, a neuroscientist at New York University who was not involved in the new research. “There is no neural clock. What happens in the brain is neurons change in response to other neurons.”
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