“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.
SpaceX’s Private Passengers Are Flying Higher Than the Space Station –The tourism era of American spaceflight is really, truly here, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic.
Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s Latest Wild Bet on Living Forever, reports Antonio Regalado for MIT Technology Review– “Altos is pursuing biological reprogramming technology, a way to rejuvenate cells in the lab that some scientists think could be extended to revitalize entire animal bodies, ultimately prolonging human life. …The new company…is recruiting a large cadre of university scientists with lavish salaries and the promise that they can pursue unfettered blue-sky research on how cells age and how to reverse that process.
A New Company With a Wild Mission: Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth –With $15 million in private funding, Colossal aims to bring thousands of woolly mammoths back to Siberia. Some scientists are deeply skeptical that will happen, reports Carl Zimmer for The New York Times.
Looking for Interstellar Monuments –-An ancient civilization from a distant star could have created immortal machines to roam the Milky Way and keep its legacy alive, reports Avi Loeb for Scientific American.
A Massive Subterranean ‘Tree’ Is Moving Magma to Earth’s Surface –Deep in the mantle, a branching plume of intensely hot material appears to be the engine powering vast volcanic activity, reports Robin George Andrews for Quanta.
‘Explosive’ Dixie Fire Could Become Biggest in CA History –Extremely dry conditions could help the blaze overtake last year’s August Complex fire as the record holder, reports Scientific American.
‘The Exoplanet Variant’ –Viruses may Form a Vital Part of Ecosystems on Alien Planets, reports The Daily Galaxy –“Enigmatic viruses –not living, yet not dead–help create, protect and transform the universe, observed Carl Zimmer in his classic A Planet of Viruses. Viruses, he notes, have had a huge impact on the history of all life on Earth–their population of Earth’s Oceans would stretch out into space 42 million light years.”
Evolving globs of yeast may unlock mysteries of multicellular life –A multiyear experiment made yeast clusters much bigger and tougher, hinting at how the first complex life on Earth came to be, reports National Geographic.
In Great Barrier Reef, a giant coral has survived many hardships for centuries, offering hope for future –Nicknamed “Muga dhambi,” it has endured as many as 80 cyclones and 99 coral bleaching events, scientists say, reports Nikk Ogasa for the Washington Post
The once-sedate astronomy world is quarreling over whether ‘Oumuamua was an alien craft –Alien probe or a “chunk of Pluto”? The scientific debate over ‘Oumuamua continues, reports Slate.
Origin of Technosignatures —Signs of technology might point to life in the universe, but we have to ask what really gives rise to technology in the first place, reports astrophysicist Caleb Scharf for Scientific American.
Continents of the Underworld Come Into Focus –-Giant blobs nestled deep in the Earth may influence everything from the structure of island chains to mass-extinction events, reports Joshua Sokol for Quanta.
The mystery of the hole in the universe--Astrophysicist Paul Davies discusses: the past century has revolutionized human knowledge of the universe, but some essential mysteries remain unknown: What, if anything, existed before the Big Bang? Are there other universes, and could they crash into ours? And how is it that humans have the ability to comprehend the cosmos in the first place?
One Lab’s Quest to Build Space-Time Out of Quantum Particles –For over two decades, physicists have pondered how the fabric of space-time may emerge from some kind of quantum entanglement. In Monika Schleier-Smith’s lab at Stanford University, the thought experiment is becoming real, reports Adam Becker for Quanta.
Did Nazis Produce These Uranium Cubes? Researchers Look for an Answer –Determining whether the cubes were produced by Nazi Germany could lead to more questions, such as whether the Nazis could have had enough to create a critical reaction, reports The New York Times.
Galileo Project: Religion, science and the search for extraterrestrial life, reports Avi Loeb for The Hill–“Finding extraterrestrials would feel like discovering cosmic relatives whom we never met, and who can unravel family secrets from our past. The implications of their existence are looming too large to be encapsulated by scientific equations and extend well beyond the halls of academia.”
Why are orcas ‘attacking’ fishing boats off the coast of Gibraltar? reports Aimee Gabay for New Scientist. “Martin Evans a sailor on his way to Greece, was about 80 kilometers from Gibraltar on 17 June when he saw the orcas. “I knew immediately that we were having a major issue,” he says. “I jumped onto the helm and tried to hand steer the boat, but it was ripped from my hands with tremendous force.”
A group of gorillas is being treated for covid –The great apes will soon get their shots, too, zoo says. More animals across the country have been receiving vaccine doses, as zoos respond to and try to prevent coronavirus outbreaks among animal populations, reports Paulina Firozi for the Washington Post.
Fossils and ancient DNA paint a vibrant picture of human origins –A century of science has begun to explain how and where Homo sapiens and our kin evolved, reports Science News.
Exploding Stars Likely Shaped the Destiny of Planet Earth, reports KQED. –Scientists are looking at a star-forming region in the constellation Ophiuchus. The area is a window into the origins of other solar systems, and the vast cloud of dust and molecules in which they form.
The chances of this asteroid hitting Earth are tiny, NASA says — but not zero. Bennu, a rugged, rock-spewing asteroid with a diameter of about one-third of a mile, is headed in our direction, reports the Washington Post.
An amateur astronomer has discovered a possible new impact flash in Jupiter’s equatorial region, reports Sky & Telescope –“Did Jupiter just get smacked again? Amateur astronomer José Luis Pereira of Brazil just discovered a probable new impact at the gas giant on September 13th at around 22:39:30 UT (18:39:30 EDT). Weather conditions were poor at the time, but Pereira decided to search anyway for possible flashes with DeTeCt software. The free program, created by planetary observer Marc Delcroix, is a useful tool to check for transient events such as planetary impacts.”