“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.
NASA Is Launching a $10 Billion ‘Time Machine’ –The James Webb Telescope will peer farther back into the universe’s history than ever before and is the “ultimate time machine,” scientists say, reports BECKY FERREIRA for Motherboard Vice.
The mystery of how big our Universe really is, reports BBC Future –” The cosmos has been expanding since the Big Bang, but how fast? The answer could reveal whether everything we thought we knew about physics is wrong.”
NASA analysis: Earth is safe from asteroid Apophis for 100-plus years, reports the et Propulsion Laboratory–After its discovery in 2004, asteroid 99942 Apophis had been identified as one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth. But that impact assessment changed as astronomers tracked Apophis and its orbit became better determined.
Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life, reports Howard Lee for Quanta –New data indicating that Earth’s surface broke up about 3.2 billion years ago helps clarify how plate tectonics drove the evolution of complex life.
Search for Alien Life Moves Well Beyond Mars –If life does exist beyond Earth—be it primitive or advanced—scientists say they may find a trace of it soon, re[ports The Wall Street Journal.–“The expanding quest for clues to life beyond Earth—and for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence—is edging into the mainstream of astronomy and planetary exploration. In addition to NASA’s Mars rover missions now under way, dozens of research teams are searching for biosignatures of early microbial life, while the search for plausible evidence of alien civilizations is gaining respectability.”
In ‘Klara and the Sun,’ We Glimpse an Eerie Future Through the Eyes of a Robot, reports Singularity Hub –“In a store in the center of an unnamed city, humanoid robots are displayed alongside housewares and magazines. They watch the fast-moving world outside the window, anxiously awaiting the arrival of customers who might buy them and take them home. Among them is Klara, a particularly astute robot who loves the sun and wants to learn as much as possible about humans and the world they live in.”
Where Science and Miracles Meet –Recent speculations in physics reveal that believers and nonbelievers may have more in common than they think, reports Alan Lightman for The Atlantic. –“The commitment to a totally scientific view of the world has led to theories that may be unscientific. But both believers and nonbelievers have sworn allegiance to concepts that cannot be proved. Those passionate beliefs must originate from somewhere deep inside our minds, a secret room that all of us share, vital and primitive, like the ancient rituals of our ancestors.”
Covid-19 paused climate emissions – but they’re rising again –“Yhe planet had already warmed by around 1.2C since pre-industrial times when the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. This began a sudden and unprecedented drop in human activity, as much of the world went into lockdown and factories stopped operating, cars kept their engines off and planes were grounded.”
Here’s How We’ll Know an AI Is Conscious, reports Joel Frohlich for Nautilus.
Apes constantly reinvent the wheel, reports the University of Tübingen –Great apes do not pass on their behavior to the next generation. Unlike humans, they do not copy the specific knowledge of those around them, instead learning it anew in each generation.
NASA joins White House Climate Task Force –-reports Space.com –“The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis. We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents,” the executive order reads.
Huge rogue waves rise from nowhere to sink ships. Can we predict them? –Freak waves cause death and destruction at sea. As climate change looks set to make them more extreme, researchers are scrambling to find ways to predict when and where these killers will strike, reports New Scientist.
Huge uptick in lightning over the Arctic in past decade, reports Bob Yirka for Phys.org –In this new effort, the researchers found that for one cold region, the number of lightning strikes has been increasing dramatically as average air temperatures rise due to global warming. Notably, prior research has shown that temperatures are rising approximately three times faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world.
Did ancient primates walk alongside T. rex? New evidence backs up theory –-The oldest known primate fossils were dated to just after the extinction event 66 million years ago—suggesting some primate ancestors lived even longer ago, reports National Geographic.– a theory proposes that the ancestors of primates lived alongside the dinosaurs—and somehow survived the extinction event that killed off about three-quarters of life on Earth. Two of the teeth in the new study belonged to a second, previously known species, Purgatorius janisae, which also lived 65.9 million years ago. And if two ancient primate species existed at this time, some unknown animal must have come before.
This Shape-Shifting Robot Can Rearrange Its Body to Walk in New Environments, reports Singularity Hub –“DyRET, the Dynamic Robot for Embodied Testing, or “the animal” in the Norwegian of its creator, Tønnes Nygaard, was designed to explore the idea of a shape-shifting robot.”
Your free twice-weekly fix of stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence.
e and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.