“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.
Tibor Gánti may have found the key to the origins of life. So why have so few heard of him? –Hungarian biologist Tibor Gánti is an obscure figure. Now, more than a decade after his death, his ideas about how life began are finally coming to fruition, reports National Geographic. If Gánti’s theories had been more widely known during the communist era, he might now be acclaimed as one of the most innovative biologists of the 20th century. That’s because he devised a model of the simplest possible living organism, which he called the chemoton, that points to an exciting explanation for how life on Earth began.
Endless Creation Out of Nothing –Could our universe have been an experiment by an ancient civilization? asks Harvard’s Avi Loeb for Scientific American.
The Best Science Images of 2020 –A new virus, wafer-thin solar cells, gene‑edited squid and more, brought to you by Nature.com.
Are strange space signals in Antarctica evidence of a parallel universe? asks Astronomy.com –Odd detections at the South Pole have so far defied explanation, inviting theories beyond conventional physics.
To explain away dark matter, gravity would have to be really weird, cosmologists say, reports Science. –if you want to get rid of dark matter, a new study finds, you’ll need to replace it with something even more bizarre: a force of gravity that, at some distances, pulls massive objects together and, at other distances, pushes them apart. The analysis underscores how hard it is to explain away dark matter.
How scientists plan to protect Earth from extraterrestrial germs, reports National Geographic. –As missions return more cosmic material, cautious space agencies are building highly secure biosafety labs to keep the precious cargo contained.
Three Signs a ‘New Arctic’ Is Emerging –Record wildfires, dwindling sea ice and ecosystem disruptions all point to the rapid change besetting the region, reports Scientific American.
The unseen man-made ‘tracks’ on the deep ocean floor, reports BBC Future. –Far from land, deep sea mining trials have left barren marks that are still there decades later, and as Richard Fisher writes, they symbolize two different timescales colliding.
Astronomers Just Found Cosmic ‘Superhighways’ For Fast Travel Through The Solar System, reports Science Alert –These channels enable the fast travel of objects through space, and could be harnessed for our own space exploration purposes, as well as the study of comets and asteroids.
What the Pandemic Christmas of 1918 Looked Like –Concerns about the safety of gift shopping, family gatherings and church services were on Americans’ minds then, too, reports The Smithsonian.
Human-Made Stuff Now Outweighs All Life on Earth, reports Stephanie Pappas for Scientific American –“Humanity has reached a new milestone in its dominance of the planet: human-made objects may now outweigh all of the living beings on Earth. Roads, houses, shopping malls, fishing vessels, printer paper, coffee mugs, smartphones and all the other infrastructure of daily life now weigh in at approximately 1.1 trillion metric tons—equal to the combined dry weight of all plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, archaea and protists on the planet.”