Today’s stories range from Scientists that found Shackleton’s lost ship are developing a ‘Google Maps for the Antarctic’ to Alien Worlds that may be more habitable than Earth to How will humans change in the next 10,000 years, and much more. 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.
Scientists that found Shackleton’s lost ship are developing a ‘Google Maps for the Antarctic’ –Navigating the polar regions is almost as complicated now as it was when Ernest Shackleton’s HMS Endurance sank in 1915. But the technology used to find the shipwreck could help create “a kind of Google Maps for the Arctic and Antarctic”, reports BBC Science Focus.
What happened to the world’s ozone hole?, asks BBC Future –“Back in the 1990s, the hole in the planet’s ozone layer was a pressing global crisis – if we had ignored it, today there would be several.”
The James Webb Space Telescope’s Super Secret 1st Science Targets –“project personnel are staying strictly mum about their first targets, reports Space.com. “We will be seeing back in time, to understand how galaxies like our own Milky Way formed, and then evolved over 13.7 billion years of cosmic time,” said Jane Rigby, the James Webb Space Telescope operations project scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said during a news conference held on March 16, adding that the $10 billion Webb observatory will also study exoplanets, planets orbiting other stars than our sun, and analyze their atmospheres.”
At the ends of the Earth – why are we so obsessed with the tragedy of polar exploration? explores Imogen West-Knights for The Guardian. “Ernest Shackleton’s ship was finally found this month by an expedition team from the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust on 5 March, having lain on the bed of an Antarctic sea in near-perfect condition for 107 years. His story speaks to our chaotic lives today.”
Michio Kaku makes 3 predictions about the future –physicist Michio Kaku predicts, among other things, how we’ll build cities on Mars and why cancer will one day be like the common cold, reports Big Think. In this video and article, Dr. Kaku makes predictions about the future of humanity.
Future evolution: from looks to brains and personality, how will humans change in the next 10,000 years?, reports Nicholas R. Longrich, Senior Lecturer in Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Bath for The Conversation answering the question “If humans don’t die out in a climate apocalypse or asteroid impact in the next 10,000 years, are we likely to evolve further into a more advanced species than what we are at the moment?”
Should Alpha Centauri be our first interstellar target? –The closest star system to Earth, just over 4 light-years away, has three stars and at least one Earth-sized planet. Is it time to go there? asks Ethan Siegel for Forbes. “Of all the stars in the Universe beyond our Sun, the trinary Alpha Centauri star system is the closest at just over 4 light-years away. We know there’s at least one rocky, Earth-sized planet around Proxima Centauri, and if we’re lucky, one of the planets in these systems may be home to life. But does that make Alpha Centauri the best target for an interstellar mission? Maybe not. Here’s why.”
Is Geometry a Language That Only Humans Know? –Neuroscientists are exploring whether shapes like squares and rectangles — and our ability to recognize them — are part of what makes our species special, reports Siobhan Roberts for The New York Times. Stanislas Dehaene, a cognitive neuroscientist with the Collège de France “asks what sorts of thoughts, or computations, are unique to the human brain? Part of the answer, he believes, might be our seemingly innate intuitions about geometry.”
Riding the Twitter Wave –Enthusiasm for the social media platform changed science communication during the pandemic—but will it last? asks Science.com
Would Earth be any different if it spun the other way? asks Dr Alastair Gunn for BBC Science Focus–“An Earth spinning in the opposite direction would have very different atmospheric and ocean currents. Although the global mean temperature would remain almost the same, the major ocean currents would switch from the Atlantic to the Pacific, changing the planet’s climate drastically.”
Undersea mountains stir up currents critical to Earth’s climate –Seafloor topography plays outsize role in circulation sequestering carbon and heat, reports Science.com. Extinct volcanoes like the Pao Pao seamount in the south Pacific Ocean may help deep waters rise, a function critical to ocean conveyor belts.Now, results from a campaign by the RRS Discovery, a U.K. research ship, seem to confirm a radical new view for how deep-ocean water rises.
Should we be scared of human-like androids? Alex Hughes spoke to the creator of Ameca, a humanoid robot that’s been going viral online for its uncanny facial expressions, reports BBC Science Focus.
Interplanetary Switchboard–NASA Adds Giant New Dish to Communicate With Deep Space Missions. “Called Deep Space Station 53, or DSS-53, the 111-foot (34-meter) antenna is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN). It’s now operational at the network’s facility outside Madrid, one of three such ground stations around the globe.”
The Unsolved Mystery of the Earth Blobs –-What could their existence mean for us back on Earth’s surface? explores Eos. “The blobs, as some scientists have taken to calling them, are the length of continents and stretch 100 times higher than Mount Everest. They sit at the bottom of Earth’s rocky mantle above the molten outer core, a place so deep that Earth’s elements are squeezed beyond recognition.”
Climate warming has dealt yet another blow to the Great Barrier Reef –Australia’s natural wonder has suffered its sixth massive bleaching event, raising concerns that it is nearing a tipping point, reports The Washington Post. “Reef managers confirmed Friday that aerial surveys detected catastrophic bleaching on 60 percent of the reef’s corals. The discovery is particularly disturbing, researchers said, because a cooling La Niña weather pattern in the ocean usually offsets warming that stresses coral and causes them to lose color.”
Superhabitable planets: Alien worlds that may be more habitable than Earth, reports Charles Q. Choi for Space.com. “Bigger, better, more suited for biology: let’s not overlook superhabitable planets with potential.”
4 ways to hack your memory, reports Big Think –“Self-testing is one good way to better remember information. Think of memory as a two-way street. If we only put information in, it is like traveling in only one direction. Recalling information requires us to go the other way.
NASA Researchers Track Slowly Splitting ‘Dent’ in Earth’s Magnetic Field –A small but evolving dent in Earth’s magnetic field can cause big headaches for satellites.
The jokes that have made people laugh for thousands of years, reports BBC Future –“The phrase “the old ones are the best ones” might not always be true. But some of the oldest jokes in history are still in use today. What makes a good joke? It’s worth going back a few thousand years to find out.”
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