From the Farside –Red Planet CSI: “Who Will Solve Murders on Mars?”


Imagine a 2001-like scenario on the Red Planet, suggests astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz, the current chair of astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress, where, instead of HAL gone rogue, a camera-operated airlock or some other system—perhaps vital oxygen-supply gear that relies on facial-recognition algorithms—never turns on for a non-white settler. A person could be left, trapped outside her own home, unable to trigger the airlock or to obtain more oxygen, literally asphyxiating in the biases of someone else’s shoddy computer program. The effects would be both fatal and enraging.


“Dead Planets” –With Low Oxygen May Actually Be Teeming with Life


“Understanding how Earth regulates climate both in the modern era but also in the distant past is critical for our understanding of planetary habitability,” said Noah Planavsky, a biogeochemist at Yale University. “This will help guide our search for life beyond our solar system and is an example of how the evolution of complex life fundamentally changed our planet.”


Today’s Planet Earth Report –“China Sees ‘Fierce’ Struggle Underway for Antarctica and Outer Space”


An ice sheet with a mean depth of 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) has protected Antarctica’s resources from exploration. Below the surface is an estimated 500 billion tons of coal, as much as 100 billion barrels of oil, and 5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Despite a 1959 treaty which freezes all territorial claims, at least for now, China sees a “fierce” geopolitical struggle underway.


NASA’s InSight Spacecraft Halfway to the Red Planet –“The Next Picture We Take Will Be of the Surface of Mars”


As of Aug. 20, NASA’s InSight spacecraft had covered 172 million miles (277 million kilometers) since its launch 107 days ago. In another 98 days, it will travel another 129 million miles (208 million kilometers) and touch down in Mars’ Elysium Planitia region, where it will be the first mission to study the Red Planet’s deep interior. InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

“World Without Continents or Mountains” –Jupiter’s 3,000 Kilometer-Deep Jet Steams Reveal Secret of the Gas Giant’s Vivid Colored Bands


Today’s ‘Planet Earth Report’ –Black Hat Cyber Attacks: “Can Morph Satellite Antennas Into Microwave Oven-like Weapons

The satellite communications that ships, planes and the military use to connect to the internet are vulnerable to hackers that, in the worst-case scenario, could carry out “cyber-physical attacks”, turning satellite antennas into weapons that operate, essentially, like microwave ovens. (more…)

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