Microbial time capsules from ancient Earth to ‘consciousness’ in robots no longer a taboo? (Planet Earth Report)
This weekend’s stories include What’s on the Horizon for 2023, The Defining Problem in the Search for ET, A Strange ‘Mini Moon’ Asteroid Orbiting Earth, and much more.
Scientific events to watch out for in 2023–Moon landings, mRNA vaccines and climate finance are among the developments that will shape research next year, Nature reports.
What’s on the horizon for 2023–Scientific American editors share what scientific events they are paying attention to as 2023 begins. “In 2022 we cover news both inspiring and disturbing: exquisite images from space telescopes, massively reduced reproductive rights in the US, efforts to dismantle environmental regulation, a war that exposed our energetic codependencies, a Nobel Prize for our Neanderthal ancestry, and much more. This is something we are paying attention to as 2023 rolls around.
Will we know alien life when we see it? The defining problem in the search for extraterrestrials, reports Conor Feehly for Nautilus.com – “The stars themselves could meet the criteria to be considered life. A group of scientists, affiliated with NASA, SETI, and universities around the world, outlined a path forward in astrobiology research. They wrote ‘the probability that life in the universe shares a biochemical ancestry with life on Earth decreases rapidly the further from Earth we explore.’
Diving for Microbial Time Capsules from Ancient Earth–National Geographic explorer and researcher Rosa Vásquez Espinoza travels the depths of Lake Huron to understand how life on Earth evolved and what we can do to preserve it.
‘We have nothing’ that shows UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin, The defense official says, reports NextGov.com: “Until now, the data has not shown that the unidentified anomalous phenomena came from an extraterrestrial source, according to defense officials.”
Indigenous peoples may have created the ‘dark land’ of the Amazon on purpose.-“At archaeological sites along the Amazon River Basin, mysterious patches of unusually fertile soil dot the landscape. Scientists have long debated the origin of this “dark soil,” which is darker in color than surrounding soils and richer in carbon. Now, researchers have shown that the Kuikuro indigenous people in southeastern Brazil intentionally create similar soil around their villages,” reports Science News.
‘Consciousness in robots was once taboo. now is the last word.–The search for artificial consciousness may be humanity’s next trip to the moon. But it comes with a flurry of tough questions.
Scientists discovered a strange ‘mini moon’ asteroid orbiting Earth, reports MSN. “Has Earth ever had more than one moon? Well, it depends on how you define it, but Earth has definitely had other objects in orbit over the years. In fact, three have been confirmed in the 21st century alone. One of them was discovered in December 2022. It is an asteroid known as 2022 YG, according to CNET.
The promise of batteries that come from the trees, reports BBC Future. “As demand for electric vehicles increases, scientists are looking for materials to make sustainable batteries. Lignin, the material that makes trees woody, is shaping up to be a strong contender.”
The ozone layer was destroyed during the greatest mass extinction on Earth.-Fossils show that plants produced higher levels of sunscreen chemicals to protect against higher levels of ultraviolet light at the end of the Permian period, New Scientist reports.
How the war in Ukraine is killing marine mammals, reports BBC Future. “Dolphins and porpoises have been turning up dead on Black Sea shores in unusually high numbers: scientists investigating the strandings now point a finger at increased Russian naval activity due to the war in Ukraine.”
No alien life discovered on Earth, Pentagon says, but search deepens–A new office within the Department of Defense is evaluating recent reports of unexplained phenomena and is planning to look at accounts dating back decades, The Washington Post reports.
Homo sapiens and Neanderthals share a highly integrated cerebral cortex in adulthood, reports Nature.com–”Unlike our closest living relatives, Homo sapiens retains high levels of covariation between cortical areas into adulthood. “The brain in H. sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis evolved at clearly higher evolutionary rates than in any other primate, suggesting that natural selection favored highly integrated brains in both species.”
Galaxies strikingly similar to our own found near the beginning of the universe by NASA, reports The Independent. “These types of barred galaxies have been seen before, in our own Milky Way. But seeing them so early in the development of the cosmos will require a rewrite of how galaxies evolve in our galaxies.”
Scientists have just discovered a whole new layer of brain anatomy, reports ScienceAlert. “Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Rochester have identified a layer of tissue that helps protect our gray and white matter, one that has not been distinguished before.”
Half of Earth’s glaciers could melt even if key warming target is met According to a study: New research suggests that even with warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Earth will lose almost half of its glaciers, the Washington Post reports.
A new puzzle turns Earth into a Rubik’s cube, but more complex—Continental Drift is one of Henry Segerman’s latest efforts to make mathematics “real,” reports the New York Times.
Synchronize your calendar with the solar system.–Never miss an eclipse, meteor shower, rocket launch, or any other out-of-this-world space and astronomical event, re[orts The New York Times.
Has the Amazon Reached Its ‘Tipping Point’?–Some Brazilian scientists fear that the Amazon may become a grassy savanna — with profound effects on the climate worldwide, reports The New York Times.
65% of Antarctica’s plants and animals could disappear, scientists say. Its iconic penguins are most at risk, reports Rachel Ramirez for CNN. ““Antarctica is not really contributing to climate change; there’s not a large-scale number of people living there, so the greatest threat to the continent is coming from outside the continent,” Jasmine Lee, lead author of the study, told CNN.”
A Comet Not Seen in 50,000 Years Is Streaking by Earth Soon. Here’s When to Look Up, reports Science Alert. “The comet is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) after the Zwicky Transient Facility, which first spotted it passing Jupiter in March last year. After traveling from the icy reaches of our Solar System it will come closest to the Sun on January 12 and pass nearest to Earth on February 1.”
Inventor in Baja is testing a plan to cool the Earth by mimicking a volcanic eruption, reports CNBC–“Climate scientists who have been involved with solar geoengineering for a long time say the Make Sunsets balloon launches are not going to generate productive research and that the field needs to be governed by an international body.”
Curated by The Daily Galaxy Editorial Staff