Planet Earth Report –“The Strange Microbe that Shaped Evolution to Australia’s Terrifying Fire Clouds”

Earth from the ISS

 

“Planet Earth Report” connects you to headline news on the science, technology, discoveries, people and events changing our planet and the future of the human species.

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Dark Matter Particles the Size of Planets? –“Yes” Say ‘Cold-Model’ Physicists

Cold Dark Matter Halo

 

“At first, we thought it was absurd. How else could you respond to the idea that black holes generate swirling clouds of planet-sized particles that could be the dark matter thought to hold galaxies together? We tend to think about particles as being tiny but, theoretically, there is no reason they can’t be as big as a galaxy,” said theoretical physicist Asimina Arvanitaki, at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics referring to the heated debate about the standard model for dark matter that proposes that it is ‘cold,’ meaning that the particles move slowly compared to the speed of light which is tied to the mass of dark matter particles. The lower the mass of the particle, the ‘warmer’ it is and the faster it will move.

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“It’s Out There” –Origin of Phosphorus Alien to Earth, Key to Life

Near Earth Asteroid

 

Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is one of the six main elements that make up the human body and an essential element for life as we know it. Unlike hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and calcium, phosphorus is rare. It is even more scarce in the rest of the Solar System. The source of its arrival on early Earth has long been up to debate.

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“A Lonely Star, Nu Indi” — Revealed that 11.5 Billion Years Ago a Galaxy Slammed Into the Milky Way

Milky Way Southern Sky

 

Gaia Mission scientists called it “hiding in plain sight” referring to their major breakthrough in unraveling the formation history of the Milky Way when our galaxy merged with another galaxy early in its life, littering evidence across the sky all around us. The merger — a collision, actually — reports astronomers at Yale University, happened 11.5 billion years ago when a small galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus slammed into what then existed of the Milky Way, Earth’s home galaxy, which is about 13.5 billion years old.

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‘Xenobots’ –Living Robots May Signal a New Evolutionary Epoch

Xenobots

 

Are we entering a new evolutionary epoch? “A book is made of wood. But it is not a tree. The dead cells have been repurposed to serve another need,” say researchers at the University of Vermont who have repurposed living cells—scraped from frog embryos—and assembled them into entirely new life-forms. These millimeter-wide “xenobots”, a 21st-century echo of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein,  can move toward a target, perhaps pick up a payload (like a medicine that needs to be carried to a specific place inside a patient)—and heal themselves after being cut.

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Ballooning Over Antarctica –“Searching for the Origins of Cosmic Rays”

Antarctica

 

“After three Antarctic seasons — with 19 launch attempts, two launches and one recovery of the payload from a crevasse field — it is wonderful to have SuperTIGER-2 finally reach float altitude and begin collecting scientific data,” said Brian Rauch, research assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University SuperTIGER –the balloon-borne scientific instrument that finished its first full revolution of Antarctica to measure the rare heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins outside of the solar system.

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