The “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. Today’s new stories range from Carl Sagan and Frank Drake on Extraterrestrial Intelligence on January 6, 1997 to the Arctic search for Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance to James Webb Space Telescope’s “First Light,” and much more.
What is the “average star” like? Hint: It’s not like our Sun –Please stop calling our Sun an “average star.” It is philosophically dubious and astronomically incorrect, reports Big Think. “From an astronomical census viewpoint, the “average star” is about half the size of our Sun. This has major implications for extraterrestrial life, as these common, smaller stars produce far less energy.”
The hunt for the trees sent to the Moon –Not all astronauts were animals, reports BBC Future. “One of the last Apollo missions to the Moon carried seeds that were later returned to be planted back on Earth. But where many of these space-faring plants ended up is a mystery, and now the hunt is on to track them down.”
Can the Multiverse Unite Christianity and Buddhism? asks Ross Pomeroy for RealClearScience.
Our universe probably isn’t special enough to be in a multiverse –-That life in the universe arose thanks to extremely lucky circumstances may be a misconception, reports Poplar Science.
“First Light” –James Webb Telescope Sends Home a Selfie and 18 Images of Starlight. “The spacecraft recorded a series of images of a target star that will be used to help its mirrors prepare for scientific research, reports the New York Times.
The search for extraterrestrial life forms: Will we ever be able to confirm their existence? Every so often, news breaks about the discovery to confirm an unexplained alien object, but the claims never hold up to intense scientific scrutiny. The quest goes on regardless, reports El Pais.
Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, January 6, 1997: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence –There can be little doubt that civilizations more advanced than the earth’s exist elsewhere in the universe. The probabilities involved in locating one of them call for a substantial effort, reports Scientific American.
Earth’s Water Was Around Before Planet Earth, reports SciTechDaily –“To understand how life emerged, scientists investigate the chemistry of carbon and water. In the case of water, they track the various forms, or isotopes, of its constituent hydrogen and oxygen atoms over the history of the universe, like a giant treasure hunt.”
Why the Tongan eruption will go down in the history of volcanology –The 15 January blast sent shock waves around the globe and defied scientific expectations. Researchers are now scrambling to work out why, reports Nature.
Omicron’s Surprising Anatomy Explains Why It Is Wildly Contagious –Specific mutations hide the COVID variant from the immune system and give it a new route into more cells, reports Scientific American.
A Search Begins for the Wreck Behind an Epic Tale of Survival –Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed by Antarctic ice in 1915. Now, a team of researchers is heading to the Weddell Sea where it went down, reports The New York Times.
Why extraterrestrial intelligence is more likely to be artificial than biological, writes Lord Martin Rees for The Conversation. “Organic human-level intelligence would then be just a brief interlude in our “human history” before the machines take over. If we were to detect extraterrestrial life, it would be far more likely to be electronic than flesh and blood – and it may not even reside on planets.
Did the ‘Black Death’ Really Kill Half of Europe? New Research Says No. –Looking at ancient deposits of pollen as markers of agricultural activity, researchers found that the Black Death caused a patchwork of destruction in Europe, reports the New York Times.
Infrared images of lions on the hunt –Infrared imaging allows rare shots of hunting lions in perilous darkness. reports BBC One.
There Is Nothing Normal about One Million People Dead from COVID, reports Scientific American. Mass media and policy makers are pushing for a return to pre-COVID times while trying to normalize a staggering death toll.
Lion and Leopard Injuries From Humans Are Recorded in Tooth and Bone –A study shows that even in a country that is considered a bastion of conservation, many big cats were severely wounded in encounters with human snare traps and shotguns, reports the New York Times.