Planet Earth Report –“Messenger RNA Rx for Cancer to Unlocking Secrets of Einsteinium”

Earth from Space

 

“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.

 

The Most Worrying Mutations in Five Emerging Coronavirus Variants –Here is a guide to novel versions of the COVID-causing virus—and genetic changes that can make them more contagious and evasive in the body, reports Sara Reardon for Scientific American.

Tiny Blobs of Brain Cells Could Reveal How Your Mind Differs From a Neanderthal’s, reports Carl Zimmer for the New York Times –Researchers grew clusters of brain cells in the lab –blobs of hundreds of thousands of live human neurons that look and act something like a brain–with a gene carried by our ancient ancestors.

Avi Loeb interview: Could ‘Oumuamua be alien technology after all? Reports New Scientist –Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb has drawn criticism for suggesting a weird object passing through the solar system could be an alien spacecraft. But he insists we must keep an open mind when nature throws us a curveball.

What Is Behind The U.S. Navy’s ‘UFO’ Fusion Energy Patent? Asks Ariel Cohen for Forbes. The latest in a series of bizarre Navy patents isn’t just for a revolutionary reactor that could power cities, but also potentially a craft.

China’s Tianwen-1 enters Mars orbit, reports Paul Voosen for Science — After a half-year journey, China’s Tianwen-1 robotic spacecraft—the country’s first interplanetary mission—today successfully entered orbit around Mars, the China National Space Administration confirmed. The arrival was first reported by amateur radio signal observers, as China declined to provide real-time coverage of the attempt.

The Next Act for Messenger RNA Could be Bigger Than Covid Vaccines reports Antonio Regalado for MIT Technology Review–“In the near future, researchers believe, shots that deliver temporary instructions into cells could lead to vaccines against herpes and malaria, better flu vaccines, and, if the covid-19 germ keeps mutating, updated coronavirus vaccinations, too. But researchers also see a future well beyond vaccines. They think the technology will permit cheap gene fixes for cancer, sickle-cell disease, and maybe even HIV.”

Bill Gates says bioterrorism and climate change are the next biggest threats after pandemic, reports CNBC. Years before the coronavirus battered the globe, Bill Gates warned that governments weren’t prepared for a pandemic. Now, he’s calling out the threats of bioterrorism and climate change. “The number of deaths with the right system should be a 10th of what we see here,” Gates said.

SpaceX announces first All-Civilian Mission reports Joey Roulette for Verge.“Elon Musk’s SpaceX is planning to send its first ‘all-civilian’ crew to space at the end of 2021 in a charity-focused mission commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman. The company said in a press release it’ll pick three people to ride alongside Isaacman to orbit aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.”

Machines Are Inventing New Math We’ve Never Seen, reports Motherboard/Vice –Pushing the boundaries of math requires great minds to pose fascinating problems. What if a machine could do it? Now, scientists created one that can.

What would Florence Nightingale prescribe to Fight Covid? Fresh Air, reports The Guardian. The epidemics of the 1800s left Britain with healthier, better-ventilated public spaces. After Covid, we’ll need more of them.

Whale Songs Could Reveal Deep Secrets Beneath the Oceans, reports Robin George Andrews for The New York Times –The aquatic mammals’ sound waves penetrate into the rocks under the waves, which could assist seismologists’ surveys.

Brain’s Background Noise May Hold Clues to Persistent Memories, by Elizabeth Landau for Quanta. By digging out signals hidden within the brain’s electrical chatter, scientists are getting new insights into sleep, aging and more.

Scientists Just Studied a Dangerous Element Discovered in a 50s Nuke Test –‘Einsteinium’ was first recovered from the debris of a hydrogen bomb in 1952, and it’s been difficult to characterize in the laboratory and study in detail, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard/Vice.

Einsteinium Is Mysterious. Scientists Have Unlocked Some of Its Secrets –Number 99 on the periodic table does not occur naturally and is difficult to make and store, challenging researchers who want to study it, reports Kenneth Chang for The New York Times. It first showed up in the explosive debris of the first hydrogen bomb in 1952, and the team of scientists who discovered it gave it a name to honor Albert Einstein.

Can Science Illuminate Our Inner Dark Matter? –Neither introspection nor brain scans can reveal our deepest thoughts, reports John Horgan for Scientific American.

The missing continent it took 375 years to find–It took scientists 375 years to discover the eighth continent of the world, which has been hiding in plain sight all along. But mysteries still remain, reports BBC Future.

Found in Alaska, These Blue Beads Could Be the Oldest Evidence of European Goods in North America –European-crafted glass beads found at three different indigenous sites in northern Alaska date back to the pre-colonial period of North America, in what is an intriguing archaeological discovery, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo.

 

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