Today’s stories range from what are origins of two colossal geological anomalies deep inside our planet to The spark for the molecular evolution of life as we know it to the Most dangerous volcano on the Planet, 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.
NASA Is Bringing Rocks Back From Mars, But What If Those Samples Contain Alien Life? asks LAist. “NASA is planning its first-ever mission to bring dirt and rocks from Mars back to Earth — but before that momentous event happens, the space agency needs to figure out exactly how to protect our home planet from any alien microbes that might hitch a ride. This week, the agency is holding public meetings and looking for feedback on its plan to land a spacecraft carrying Martian specimens at a U.S. Air Force testing range in Utah in the early 2030s.
Scientists Use AI to Create an Enzyme That Breaks Down Plastic in a Week Instead of a Century, reports Singularity Hub. “your last toothbrush, the one you threw out a couple months ago and never thought of again, will still be slowly decomposing in a landfill in 100 years. Apply that same thought to all the plastic in your home, then all the plastic in the world, and… it’s a lot.”
Searching for What Connects Us, Carlo Rovelli Explores Beyond Physics –The physicist ranges widely — from black holes to Buddhism to climate change — in his new book, “There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness,” reports The New York Times.
Children’s lack of time in nature is ‘appalling’, says Jane Goodall –The award-winning primatologist tells New Scientist that education programs must address the disconnect between young people and nature.
Where Do Space, Time and Gravity Come From? –Einstein’s description of curved space-time doesn’t easily mesh with a universe made up of quantum wavefunctions. Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll discusses the quest for quantum gravity with host Steven Strogatz for Quanta.
What are the mysterious continent-sized lumps deep inside Earth? –For decades, planetary scientists have been trying to understand the origins of two colossal geological anomalies inside our planet. New insights suggest they could be leftovers from a cosmic collision, reports New Scientist.
Inside the homes of the ‘new naturalists’, reports The BBC. “How the eclectic collections that combine botanical know-how and creativity are bringing nature indoors. Dominic Lutyens takes a glimpse into the collectors’ intriguing worlds.
The Ocean’s Biggest Garbage Pile Is Full of Floating Life –Researchers found that small sea creatures exist in equal number with pieces of plastic in parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which could have implications for cleaning up ocean pollution, reports The New York Times.
Saturn’s moon Titan is so similar to Earth. Now we know why, reports Interesting Engineering. “Now, a new study from researchers at Stanford University delves into the enigmatic mysteries of the Moon.”
It Came from Outer Space –“The Spark for the Molecular Evolution of Life as We Know It?” reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “
Vast reservoir of water discovered under the ice in Antarctica –-Ice streams in Antarctica carry ice from the continent’s center to the ocean, and there appears to be a huge amount of water buried beneath one, which may affect its flow, reports New Scientist.
50 years on, the lessons of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study still reverberate –For 40 years, researchers deceived test subjects about the true purpose of the study, reports Ars Technica.
How Can Quantum Mechanics Help Researchers Understand the Deep Earth? For Earth Day, learn about how science at its smallest scale is applied to the depths of our planet. “Nature is quantum,” said Wentzcovitch, a professor at Columbia Engineering and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.
Fixing the Standard Model: The Discovery That Could Have Predicted Why the Universe Exists, reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. ““The Standard Model as it stands cannot possibly be right because it cannot predict why the universe exists,” said Gerald Gabrielse, the Board of Trustees Professor of Physics at Northwestern University.”
How Taipei discovered an active volcano on its doorstep, reports BBC Future. “When Taiwan’s capital discovered an active volcano on its doorstep, it found itself hastily setting up a system to monitor it for dangerous signs. This smouldering moonscape is Xiaoyoukeng, an impressive collection of steam vents in Yangmingshan National Park, an 11,000-hectare (42 sq-mile) expanse of hiking trails lying within Taipei’s city limits.
“Yellow Brick Road” Discovered In Pacific Ocean During First-Ever Exploration Of Underwater Volcanoes, reports IFLScience.” The natural brickwork was actually the result of volcanic geology which has fractured the rock in a curiously uniform way. E/V Nautilus pilots exploring the Ancient Seamounts of Liliʻuokalani Ridge as part of the Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu expedition were behind the discovery.
The world’s most polluted capital city, reports BBC Future. “In Northern India, a concoction of seven different fungi could help to thin the smog that pervades New Delhi with the worst air pollution in the world.”
This Is the Most Dangerous Volcano on the Planet, reports 24/7.Despite sometimes giving out warning signs, volcanic eruptions are unpredictable. Even relatively less explosive ones can cause significant damage and fatalities, like the Nevado del Ruiz eruption in Colombia in 1985. Perhaps the most well-known deadly eruption is Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It is estimated the catastrophe killed as many as 15,000 people. The volcano remains active. Currently, the most dangerous volcano on the planet is Aira in Japan.
World Food Prize goes to former farmer who answers climate change question: ‘So what?’ reports NPR. “For scientist – and former farmer – Cynthia Rosenzweig, her work on climate change has always revolved around one big question: “So what? Impacts of climate change are crucially important,” she says. “If the climate changes and nothing happened, why would we care?”
Americans are moving out of major cities and opting for southeastern states, data show –Places like Sarasota, Tampa Bay and Nashville are receiving an influx of newcomers, reports Changing America.
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