Your free twice-weekly fix of stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.
“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.
Contrary to science-fiction icon Arthur C. Clarke’s admonition never to attempt a landing on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, NASA announced on Friday that it had selected SpaceX to launch a planned voyage to the icy moon,with its 120-mile high plumes erupting from a global ocean that lies 15 miles below a chaotic, churning surface.
“As humans we should be proud of any AI systems we bring to existence, as if they were our children. In just the same way as we educate our kids, we could endow such systems with the blueprint for their future interaction with the world,” observes Harvard astrophysicist, Avi Loeb in an email to The Daily Galaxy. “This would include our preferred set of values, goals and guiding principles, which will enable them to learn from experience and cope with reality,” he adds. “Ultimately, we may launch our AI systems for interstellar travel towards distant destinations, such as habitable planets around other stars, where they could reproduce themselves with the help of accompanying 3D printers.
What if an alien civilization was a billion or more years older than ours and detected Earth in its early history? “For billions of years of Earth history, an alien astronomer may have even been sufficiently misled to conclude that Earth was sterile—despite the fact that life was flourishing in our ocean at the time,” says Stephanie Olson, an astrobiologist at the University of California, Riverside with NASA’s Astrobiology Institite.
Could one of Earth’s most intelligent species be an alien, ‘seeded’ on the planet by an interstellar genetic code? Scientists speculate that the clue might be found in the ancient precursor to life, RNA.