Today’s stories range from RNA “evolution” breakthrough offers new clues on the origins of life to Elon Musk could spawn the first post-humans to a whales’ tale of climate change to the dreams of Earth’s species, 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.
RNA “evolution” breakthrough offers new clues on the origins of life, reports New Atlas–” Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created an RNA molecule that can not just replicate, but “evolve” into a diverse range of more complex molecules. This find could plug a major gap in the puzzle of how life on Earth began.”
Asteroids, Hubble rival and Moon base: China sets out space agenda –In the next five years, the nation hopes to launch a robotic craft to an asteroid and two lunar missions, reports Nature.com
How the Extinction of Ice Age Mammals May Have Forced Us to Invent Civilization –“For 95 percent of our species’ history, we didn’t farm, create large settlements, or form complex political hierarchies. We lived in small, nomadic bands, hunting and gathering. Then, something changed.”
Dreams of Earth’s Species–We’re not the only beings that dream. What visions might sleep bring to a cell, an insect, a mollusk, an ape? reports Aeon.com
Underwater Permafrost Is a Big, Gassy Wild Card for the Climate–-You’ve probably heard of permafrost, the frozen carbon-rich land. But it’s also thawing under the sea, burping up planet-warming gases.
The epic attempts to power planes with hydrogen –-“During the Cold War, both the US and USSR researched liquid hydrogen as a way to fuel aircraft. Could this cleaner fuel finally be around the corner?”
Martin Rees interview: Elon Musk could spawn the first post-humans –Astronomer Royal Martin Rees discusses the most extraordinary aspects of his distinguished career, from black holes to billionaires in space and the prospects of life beyond Earth, reports New Scientist.
Why Would an Alien Civilization Send Out Von Neumann Probes? Lots of Reasons, says a new Study, reports Universe Today. “The reasons and technical challenges of taking the self-replicating probe route are explored in a recent paper. In addition to exploring why an advanced species would opt to explore the galaxy using Von Neumann probes (which could include us someday), he explored possible methods for interstellar travel, strategies for exploration, and where these probes might be found.”
A New Tool for Finding Dark Matter Digs Up Nothing -Researchers recently searched for a kind for dark matter that would expand and contract the beam splitter at the heart of a gravitational wave detector, reports Thomas Lawton for Quanta.com– “
How Earth Went From Molten Hellscape to Habitable Planet, reports SciTechDaily –“A new research article titled “A wet heterogeneous mantle creates a habitable world in the Hadean” presents the team’s findings. “This period is the most enigmatic time in Earth history,” said Jun Korenaga, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Yale, in a press release. “We’re presenting the most complete theory, by far, for Earth’s first 500 million years.”
Tiny Flier ‘Swims’ through the Air at Superspeed –A speck-sized beetle overturns assumptions about flight mechanics, reports The New York Times.
Evolution ‘Landscapes’ Predict What’s Next for COVID Virus, reports Carrie Arnold for Quanta.com –“Studies that map the adaptive value of viral mutations hint at how the COVID-19 pandemic might progress next.”
The Real Impact of Meteorites on Earth –Life as we know it was seeded by rocks from outer space, reports Brian Gallagher for Nautilus.com
NASA opens vacuum-sealed moon rock container from 50 years ago –“Knowing that technology would advance in the future, NASA put some moon rock samples into storage without opening them. Now, they have,” reports Big Think.
How climate change is leading to bigger hailstones, reports BBC Future –“In the early evening of 21 July 2021, hailstones the size of golf balls pelted suddenly from the sky, smashing windows and battering cars. Gardens that were a few moments earlier filled with people soaking up the evening sun, were left badly damaged by the downpour of ice. Rising global temperatures might be causing hailstorms to become more violent, with larger chunks of ice and more intense downpours. But just how big can a hailstone get?”
A whale’s tale: The story hidden in their mouths reports the University of New South Wales. –“Baleen plates—the signature bristle-like apparatus toothless whales use to feed—reveal how these large aquatic mammals adapt to environmental changes over time.”
Antarctica’s only flowering plants have been growing more rapidly, likely due to warmer temperatures, reports Bob Yirka for Phys.org.
Is technology melting your memory? Or helping it? –Is social media changing your memory? Here’s what the science actually says, reports Big Think.
The Al Naslaa rock formation is Earth’s most bizarre geological feature –In the Saudi Arabian desert, the Al Naslaa rock formation looks completely unnatural. Its perfectly vertical split remains a mystery, reports Big Think.
Scientists Watch a Memory Form in a Living Brain –-While observing fearful memories take shape in the brains of fish, neuroscientists saw an unexpected level of synaptic rewiring, reports Wired.
How Putin’s War Is Sinking Climate Science. An American journalist leaves Russia as war breaks up the international collaboration key to climate research in the Arctic, reports Nautilus.com
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