Planet Earth Report –“The ‘Douglas Adams Epoch’ to Earth’s Earliest Life May Owe Existence to Viruses”

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.

 

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to an Ancient Geomagnetic Disruption, reports Alanna Mitchell for The New York Times –A shift in Earth’s poles 42,000 years ago may have drastically altered the planet’s climate, scientists have found — and they’re naming the period after the author Douglas Adams. “About 42,000 years ago, Earth was beset with oddness. Its magnetic field collapsed. Ice sheets surged across North America, Australasia and the Andes. Wind belts shifted across the Pacific and Southern Oceans. Prolonged drought hit Australia; that continent’s biggest mammals went extinct. Humans took to caves to make ochre-color art. Neanderthals died off for good.”

Stromatolites – fossils of earliest life on Earth – may owe existence to viruses, reports the University of New South Wales –As the Mars Rover sets out to look for evidence of life on another planet, scientists back on Earth suggest viruses played a key role in creating stromatolites, our planet’s earliest lifeforms.

The Comet –“That Forever Changed Planet Earth” reports The Daily Galaxy –“It must have been an amazing sight, but we don’t want to see that again,” said Harvard astrophysicist, Avi Loeb about the comet that created the the Chicxulub crater off the coast of Mexico that spans 93 miles and runs 12 miles deep that forever changed Earth’s evolutionary history when it crashed 66 million years ago.

The Mind-Boggling Theory That We Could Be Descended from Martians, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard/Vice. Amir Siraj, an astrophysics at Harvard University, talks about the potential spread of life throughout the Milky Way in a VICE News interview.

The science-fiction scenario of an artificial planet is already here –Earth. Looking around us over a large part of the planet, this observation is not so surprising, writes Joël Chevrier for Phys,org. –“There are more than 1 billion automobiles on Earth, several billion smartphones, computers and tablets. There are buildings and roads absolutely everywhere, not to mention the colossal mass of clothing… 7 billion humans, massively equipped, against 3,000 billion trees without any possession. Not surprisingly then, but to have it scientifically quantified sets off major alarms. The authors drive the point home: “This quantification, based on its mass, of human enterprise gives a quantitative and symbolic characterization of the Anthropocene era induced by man.”

“Our Planet May Come to Resemble Ancient Alien Earths” reports The Daily Galaxy –Our climate models may be missing something big, warns Peter Brannen, author of Ends of the World, for The Atlantic “Our planet is fickle. When the unseen tug of celestial bodies points Earth toward a new North Star, for instance, the shift in sunlight can dry up the Sahara, or fill it with hippopotamuses,” writes Peter Brannen. “Of more immediate interest today,” he observes, “a variation in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere of as little as 0.1 percent has meant the difference between sweltering Arctic rainforests and a half mile of ice atop Boston. That negligible wisp of the air is carbon dioxide.”

How to Escape the Confines of Spacetime According to the CIA, reports Motherboard/Vice –In the ’80s, the spy agency investigated the “Gateway Experience” technique to alter consciousness and ultimately escape spacetime. Here is everything you need to know.

The seafloor was inhabited by giant predatory worms until 5.3 million years ago, reports the University of Granada –An international study in which the University of Granada participated—recently published in the journal Scientific Reports—has identified a new fossil record of these mysterious animals in the northeast of Taiwan (China), in marine sediments from the Miocene Age (between 23 and 5.3 million years ago)

Ancient relic points to a turning point in Earth’s history 42,000 years ago, reports the University of New South Wales –“The temporary breakdown of Earth’s magnetic field 42,000 years ago sparked major climate shifts that led to global environmental change and mass extinctions, a new international study co-led by UNSW Sydney and the South Australian Museum shows.”

Pulsing Supergiant Betelgeuse Discovered Closer to Earth –“May Someday Collapse into a Black hole or Neutron Star” reports The Daily Galaxy –Seething supergiant Betelgeuse –a star so huge it could someday collapse into a black hole or neutron star, which would make it the closest black hole to Earth some 725 light-years distant– has displayed unprecedentedly large drop in its brightness in early 2020, prompting speculation that the pulsing may be a dire prelude. A new study by an international team of scientists concluded that the star is in the early core helium-burning phase (more than 100,000 years before a supernova event) and has smaller mass and radius–and is closer to Earth–than previously thought. If the bright-red object replaced the Sun at the center of our solar system, its outer surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter.

Ancient microbial life used arsenic to thrive in a world without oxygen, reports the University of New South Wales– How ancient microbes survived in a world without oxygen has been a mystery. Scientists discovered a living microbial mat that uses arsenic instead of oxygen for photosynthesis and respiration.

A Quite Possibly Wonderful Summer, reports James Hamblin for The Atlantic. –The summer of 2021 is shaping up to be historic., Families will gather. Restaurants will reopen. People will travel. The pandemic may feel like it’s behind us—even if it’s not.

 

THe Galaxy Report

The Galaxy Report newsletter brings you twice-weekly news of space and science that has the capacity to provide clues to the mystery of our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our current Anthropocene Epoch.