Mar 15 at 5:05pm by Aileen
The National Research Council has identified and reported on Ten Questions that will shape 21st century earth science. Some may be a little surprised that these questions are still unanswered, having been told in no uncertain terms in science classes in the last century that science already had definitive answers to questions like how the earth and other planets in our solar system formed. Live and learn. Here’s a bare list of the identified questions…
1. How did earth and other planets form?
Scientists still do not know enough about how our planet got its elements to understand its evolution, or why other planets in our system are very different.
2. What happened during the first 500 million years?
Current scientific belief is that another planet collided with ours during the late formation stage, creating the moon and melting this planet all the way to its core. Yet unknown is how (and when) the Earth developed its atmosphere and oceans.
3. How did life begin?
Scientists hope to obtain evidence from rocks and minerals, as well as investigations of Mars and other members of our system.
Dec 31 at 5:05pm by Aileen
Earth scientists have managed to discover a lot of not-earth planets in the last couple of decades, though none of them look to be very much like Earth. Now Eric Ford, a University of Florida astronomer, has published a paper in the Astrophysical Journal that suggests To Curious Aliens, Earth Would Stand Out as Living Planet…
If they could measure our planet’s rotation, its atmospheric gases, the presence of abundant water, and calculate what our temperature range must be, our planet would definitely stand out as life-friendly. To intelligent life forms a lot like us, anyway. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it kind of neat to consider myself as ET. Even though I doubt we’d qualify as cute enough or friendly enough to other ETs for them to want to actually meet us.
Sep 14 at 6:06pm by Aileen
…plus a Blog Slam just for fun!
This week there’s lots of news from the fields of biology, medicine and psychology about people. What they want, what they do, and what makes them that way. But I’ll start with the famous extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs ~65 million years ago, making room for humans to evolve at all.
U.S. and Czech astrophysicists reported that a Large Asteroid Breakup May Have Caused Mass Extinction at that time. They created a clever simulation of the disintegration of a giant asteroid in the belt roughly 100 million years ago, which caused an asteroid bombardment of the earth and moon as fragments crossed our path.
Yet more evidence to add to the iridium layer that tells us what most likely happened to those gentle and not-so gentle reptilian giants who once dominated the planet.
Aug 17 at 9:09am by Aileen
The debates have been raging for years. Scientists square off and argue with each other about what is most likely to be true, and those of us on the sidelines have picked favorites and made our bets.
How – and where – did life originate? Are we alone in the universe? And if not, where are our brothers and sisters? Two recent reports have added some new evidence and analysis to the debates.
In the article, Physicists Discover Inorganic Dust With Lifelike Qualities, researchers report that particles of inorganic dust in plasmas can self-organize into helical structures in the electronically charged environment, resulting in microscopic strings of particles that assume the characteristic corkscrew shape of organic molecules like DNA and even “reproduce” – bifurcate to produce two copies of the original structure. According to computer models, these structures also evolve into more complex structures, and experience a form of natural selection so that only the ‘fittest’ structures survive.
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