“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.
Sci-Fi Writer or Prophet? The Hyperreal Life of Chen Qiufan –As China’s science fiction authors are elevated to the status of oracles, Qiufan’s career—and his genre’s place in society—have gone through the looking glass, reports Wired.
Unexplainable: A new podcast about the most fascinating unanswered questions in science–a new podcast at Vox.com in the spirit of embracing the unknown, and the great stories that are borne out of the endeavor. Unexplainable will explore the most interesting, crucial, and surprising unanswered questions in science. The show premieres with two episodes and releases weekly episodes every Wednesday. The first episode examines one of the biggest mysteries in the universe: dark matter. It’s the substance that holds galaxies together, but no one knows what it is exactly.
China and Russia unveil joint plan for lunar space station –Russian space agency Roscomos and Chinese counterpart CNSA to develop research facilities on surface of moon or in its orbit, reports The Guardian.
The Universe’s Seven biggest mysteries (and why they’re unsolved) –Dark matter, the nature of time, aliens and supermassive black holes: these seven things will be puzzling astronomers for years to come, reports BBC Science Focus.
Scientists underestimated the coronavirus — and are racing to keep up with evolution –Variants of the virus have become a global preoccupation — and a potential threat to vaccines, reports The Washington Post.
Climate Change Could Make It Too Hot and Humid to Live in the Tropics, reports The Weather Channel. –The research, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, focused on tropical regions between 20 degrees latitude north and 20 degrees latitude south, already some of the hottest places on Earth.
We Now Can See a Virus Mutate Like Never Before--Tracking the coronavirus’s evolution, letter by letter, is revolutionizing pandemic science, reports Sarah Zhang for The Atlantic. “The first genome for the virus causing a mysterious illness we had not yet named COVID-19 was shared by scientists on January 10, 2020. That single genome alerted the world to the danger of a novel coronavirus. It was the basis of new tests as countries scrambled to find the virus within their own borders. And it became the template for vaccines, the same ones now making their way to millions of people every day. That first coronavirus genome may have been the most important 30,000 letters published in all of 2020.”
The supposedly oldest impact crater on Earth isn’t a crater after all –A history-rewriting discovery in Greenland in 2012 has been debunked, reports Julie Hollis for Massive. “It was a great story. The authors of a 2012 study proposed that 3 billion years ago – before multi-cellular life appeared on Earth – a giant meteorite plummeted through the atmosphere. It punched through the Earth’s surface into the deep crust in what is now west Greenland.”
“Mount Everest Would Have Been Submerged” –Ancient Earth, One of the Milky Way’s Countless Water Worlds, reports The Daily Galaxy –In 2016, astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler mission, discovered a planet unlike anything in our solar system –a “water world” planetary system orbiting the star Kepler-62 –a five-planet system with two worlds in the habitable zone — their surfaces completely covered by an endless global ocean with no land or mountains in sight.
Beyond Marie Curie: The women in science history we don’t talk about –-Science historians Leila McNeill and Anna Reser tell us about the hidden women who contributed to our understanding of the world, reports BBC Science Focus.
Antarctica’s magnetic link to ancient neighbors, reports Phys,org.For the first time, an international team of scientists has used magnetic data from ESA’s Swarm satellite mission together with aeromagnetic data to help reveal the mysteries of the geology hidden beneath Antarctica’s kilometers-thick ice sheets, and link Antarctica better to its former neighbors.
Tasmanian Tigers Are Extinct. Why Do People Keep Seeing Them? –Quirks of the human mind and how we process information might explain the uncanny appearances of thylacines, reports The New York Times.
Fossil forests under Antarctic ice –We now know that fossils are, in fact, abundant in Antarctica, and the most common are of wood and leaves. They are evidence of what is called the Antarctic Paradox—how can forests be preserved on a continent that experiences temperatures as low as -83 °C and is covered in thick ice sheets?”
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 and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.