Another wild week of news on Planet Earth, ranging from Russia cloning an ancient warrior army to the scary prospect of fossilized cities to the amazing story of the Apollo 14 Rock.
Elon Musk Is Maybe, Actually, Strangely, Going To Do This Mars Thing, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic — “Take this path all the way to Boca Chica, past the solar-panel farms and storage sheds, past the little street that used to be called Joanna Street until Musk renamed it Rocket Road, and you end up on the beach, with sky and sea stretching out before you. It’s a beautiful view on any day, and maybe, one day, it’ll be someone’s last look at Earth.”
Is war in space inevitable?-– Space.com asked experts about the ongoing militarization of space. “What conditions could lead to clashes in space? Is such a situation a given, or can conflicts be short-circuited ahead of time? Could nations “slip into” off-planet muscle-flexing, quarreling and actual warfighting in space that might spark confrontation here on terra firma?”
Bye-Bye, Bennu: NASA Heads Back to Earth With Asteroid Stash in Tow, reports The New York Times. “The OSIRIS-REX mission will spend two years cruising home with space rock samples that could unlock secrets of the early solar system.”
Alien plants: The search for photosynthesis on other worlds, reports New Scientist. — “Looking for signs of life in exoplanet atmospheres is fraught with uncertainty. But now that we can detect polarised light reflected directly off other worlds, we could spot unmistakable evidence of photosynthesis.
The Farthest Spacecraft from Earth Picks Up an Unexpected New Signal, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard Science. “Voyager 1 has likely made the first continuous measurement of the density of matter in interstellar space.
How Cities Will Fossilize, reports David Farrier for The BBC — “If cities have a geological character, it begs the question of what they will leave behind in the stratigraphy of the 21st Century. Fossils are a kind of planetary memory of the shapes the world once wore. Just as the landscapes of the deep past are not forgotten, how will the rock record of the deep future remember Shanghai, New York and other great cities?”
DNA’s Histone Spools Hint at How Complex Cells Evolved–reports Quanta. “New work shows that histones, long treated as boring spools for DNA, sit at the center of the origin story of eukaryotes and continue to play important roles in evolution and disease.”
Russia Is Going to Try to Clone an Army of 3,000-Year-Old Scythian Warriors, reports Popular Mechanics — “When you hold a job like Defense Minister of Russia, you presumably have to be bold and think outside the box to protect your country from enemy advances. And with his latest strategic idea—cloning an entire army of ancient warriors—Sergei Shoigu is certainly taking a big swing. Shoigu, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggested using the DNA of 3,000-year-old Scythian warriors to potentially bring them back to life.”
“The Apollo Rock” –Half-a-Billion Years Before the Appearance of Life an Asteroid Blasted a Piece of Earth to the Moon, reports The Daily Galaxy. –“The absence of a lunar atmosphere,” writes Loeb in “The Moon as a Fishing Net for Extraterrestrial Life”, “guarantees that these messengers would reach the lunar surface without burning up. In addition, the geological inactivity of the moon implies that the record deposited on its surface will be preserved and not mixed with the deep lunar interior. Serving as a natural mailbox, the lunar surface collected all impacting objects during the past few billions of years. Most of this “mail” comes from within the solar system.”
CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden fueled vaccine hesitancy in Pakistan, reports New Scientist.
“Invisible Monsters” –Supermassive Black Holes Roam the Milky Way, reports The Daily Galaxy. “It is extremely unlikely that any wandering supermassive black hole will come close enough to our Sun to have any impact on our solar system,” said lead author Michael Tremmel, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. “We estimate that a close approach of one of these wanderers that is able to affect our solar system should occur every 100 billion years or so, or nearly 10 times the age of the universe.
Giant sea lizard fossil shows diversity of life before asteroid hit, reports the University of Bath. — “he high diversity of the fauna shows how mosasaurs, giant marine lizards related to snakes and Komodo dragons, thrived in the final million years of the Cretaceous period before they, and most of all species on Earth, were wiped out by the impact of a giant asteroid 66 million years ago.”
How planets form controls elements essential for life –Rice University scientists attribute Earth’s nitrogen to rapid growth of moon- to Mars-sized bodies.
Marco Rubio is Taking UFOs Seriously and He Thinks You Should Too –– “”Dozens of men and women we have entrusted with the defense of our country are telling us about encounters with unidentified aircraft with capabilities we do not fully understand,” Rubio said in exclusive comments ahead of a 60 Minutes interview that will air this weekend. ‘We cannot allow the stigma of UFO’s to keep us from seriously investigating these encounters’.”
Humans Have Been Sharing Food With Animals for Centuries. Why Is That? — “Researchers want to learn more about the connections between humans and the feeding of birds, beasts and other fauna.”
Paralyzed man uses ‘mindwriting’ brain computer to compose sentences, reports The Guardian. “Man, known as T5, was able to write 18 words a minute with more than 94% accuracy on individual letters.”