The first-ever discovery of an extraterrestrial radioactive isotope on Earth has scientists rethinking the origins of the elements on our planet. The tiny traces of plutonium-244 (Pu-244) were found in ocean crust alongside radioactive iron-60. The two isotopes are evidence of violent cosmic events in the vicinity of Earth millions of years ago.
“Liquid magma is actually quite runny,” said University of Chicago planetary scientist, Edwin Kite, about a new study by University of Chicago and Stanford University researchers suggesting a mechanism where planets could develop atmospheres full of water vapor similar to what makes life on Earth’s surface possible, regulating our climate and sheltering us from damaging cosmic rays.
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Welcome to this week’s fix of news 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 current epoch. The Galaxy Report is also available here as a twice-weekly newsletter that includes exclusive feature stories.