Today’s stories range from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Metaverse to ‘Extraordinary’ W Boson Particle Finding Contradicts Understanding of How Universe Works to How Ancient, Recurring Climate Changes May Have Shaped Human Evolution, 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.
Homo sapiens Is #9. Who Were the 8 Other Human Species? asks Big Think –“There were at least eight other human species, some of whom existed for far longer than we have. Who were they? https://bigthink.com/the-
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Metaverse, reports Boson Protocol–“When the Boson Protocol team announced the launch of Portal, the world’s first virtual lifestyle and commerce playground connecting the metaverse with the universe, we realized the term ‘metaverse’ is hard to pin down for many people.”
Pentagon official confirms an interstellar meteor likely entered our solar system eight years ago, reports USA Today. “Dr. Joel Mozer, the Chief Scientist of Space Operations Command, reviewed a report, “Discovery of a Meteor of Interstellar Origin,” about the emergence of the 2014 meteor from “an unbound hyperbolic orbit,” or interstellar space. This means the rock was not one of many objects counted within our solar system – instead, it came from beyond our known galactic territory.”
China is hatching a plan to find Earth 2.0 –-A satellite will scour the Milky Way for exoplanets orbiting stars just like the Sun, reports Nature.com. “After sending robots to the Moon, landing them on Mars and building its own space station, China is now eyeing distant solar systems. This month, scientists will release detailed plans for the country’s first mission to discover exoplanets.”
Chinese AI turns commercial satellite into a spy tracker able to follow small objects with precision, reports South China Morning Post. “An advanced artificial intelligence system developed by Chinese military researchers could turn low-cost commercial satellites already orbiting the Earth into powerful spy platforms capable of tracking moving targets as small as a car with extreme precision.
4 Billion-Year-Old Oort-Cloud Comet 1000x Mass of the Impactor that Caused the Extinction of the Dinosaurs, reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “This enormous comet — approximately 80 miles across, more than twice the width of Rhode Island — is heading our way at 22,000 miles per hour from the edge of the solar system. Fortunately, it will never get closer than one billion miles from the sun, which is slightly farther from Earth than Saturn; and that will be in 2031.”
Diverse life forms may have evolved earlier than previously thought –Diverse microbial life existed on Earth at least 3.75 billion years ago, suggests a new study led by UCL (University College London) researchers that challenges the conventional view of when life began. “For the study, published in Science Advances, the research team analyzed a fist-sized rock from Quebec, Canada, estimated to be between 3.75 and 4.28 billion years old.
‘Extraordinary’ W boson particle finding contradicts understanding of how universe works –New measurement of fundamental particle of physics after decade-long study challenges theoretical rulebook in scientific ‘mystery’, reports The Guardian.
Physicists Are Closing In on the Next Breakthrough in Particle Physics – And the Search for Our Own Origins, reports SciTech Daily –“Physicists are closing in on the true nature of the neutrino — and might be closer to answering a fundamental question about our own existence.
How ancient, recurring climate changes may have shaped human evolution –Shifting habitats implicate a disputed ancestor in the rise of Homo sapiens and Neandertals, reports Science News. ” Based on how the timing of ancient climate variations matched up with the comings and goings of different fossil Homo species, researchers generated a novel — and controversial — outline of human evolution.”
Area 51: What is it and what goes on there? asks Robert Lea for Space.com–“Area 51 is synonymous with tales of UFOs, government cover-ups and potentially testing alien technology.”
Stolen Charles Darwin Notebooks Returned After 22 Years –Two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks, including one with his iconic sketch of the Tree of Life, were anonymously returned to the Cambridge University Library nearly 22 years after they were stolen.
What do aliens look like? –-We should not expect aliens to look anything like us. Creatures that resemble octopuses or birds or even robots are legitimate possibilities, reports Big Think. “Life is incredibly diverse, spanning from microscopic organisms to skyscraper-sized trees. Alien life would be just as diverse. There is little reason to believe that aliens would take on human-like forms. Perhaps an octopus- or bird-like creature is more likely. Because all lifeforms want to live as long as possible, the most advanced aliens might be fully mechanized robots.”
What if There’s an Earth-Like Planet at One of Our Closest Stars? Just over four light-years away, our Solar System’s closest neighboring stars can be found. There’s red dwarf Proxima Centauri, at a distance of 4.2 light-years; and, just a little farther, at 4.37 light-years, a binary system of Sun-like stars – Alpha Centauri AB, reports Science Alert,
Mongolian Wind Burial –-In this short film, the Mongolian-born, Montreal-based filmmaker Alisi Telengut uses hand-painted animation to illustrate the Mongolian postmortem ceremony known as a wind burial, in which the deceased’s body is carried on a cart until it falls off: wherever the body then lands becomes its burial ground. Telengut captures this ritual with a poetic touch, layering oil pastels in a dazzling display of ever-changing colors and textures as the form of a body ascends from the Earthly and into infinite, reports Aeon.