Earth

Can NASA’s planetary system keep us safe from asteroids?

Can NASA’s planetary system keep us safe from asteroids?

While we’re struggling to get out of bed, deciding which pair of socks to wear to work, there is a group of people working hard to track asteroids that could literally end all life on Earth. No, it’s not the Avengers - they’re called the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), but they may just be Earth’s mightiest heroes.

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The Galactic origin of Earth’s gold

The Galactic origin of Earth’s gold

This week a research paper was released with information about the most likely origin of all of Earth's most notorious precious metal. Two neutron stars, 4.6-billion years ago, smashed their bodies together and splashed out waves of matter, a bit of which eventually came to rest in our still-forming solar system.

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Oil-eating bacteria has been discovered in the deepest part of the ocean

Oil-eating bacteria has been discovered in the deepest part of the ocean

Researchers with the University of East Anglia have reported a unique discovery: bacteria that eats oil in one of the most mysterious parts of our planet. The microscopic critters were discovered in the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench in the world. According to the study, the Mariana Trench has the highest proportion of oil-eating bacteria on Earth.

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Four-legged whale skeleton found in Peru is 43 million years old

Four-legged whale skeleton found in Peru is 43 million years old

Newly published research sheds light on the ancestors of modern day whales, describing creatures that lived millions of years ago and, oddly enough, swam through water using four legs. According to the study, paleontologists discovered the skeletal remains of one of these creatures in a Peruvian cave back in 2011. The fossil has enabled researchers to better understand the evolution of modern whales.

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North Dakota killing field offers snapshot of Earth’s last mass extinction

North Dakota killing field offers snapshot of Earth’s last mass extinction

For more than half a decade at a North Dakota site called Tanis in the Hell Creek Formation, paleontologist Robert DePalma has worked to unearth evidence of what is believed to be a 'killing field' established shortly after the impact of the asteroid that ushered in Earth's last mass extinction event. The site is home to the fossilized remains of many dead creatures ranging from fish to a dinosaur.

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Earth Day with Pokemon GO: A chat with Niantic about Civic & Social Impact

Earth Day with Pokemon GO: A chat with Niantic about Civic & Social Impact

In 2019, Niantic's got another Earth Day campaign planned. In a manner similar to 2018, Niantic and masses of gamers - Pokemon GO and Ingress included - will head out and clean up the planet. In 68 events and with "countless NGOs" taking part in the celebration, 6.5 tons of garbage were collected - and presumably put into landfills, mostly - but still, progress!* Here in 2019 we had a chat with Niantic's Civic & Social Impact Manager, Yennie Solheim Fuller, to see what the future holds.

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Philippines whale died after eating 88lbs of plastic garbage

Philippines whale died after eating 88lbs of plastic garbage

Earlier this month, workers with the D'Bone Collector Museum in the Philippines recovered the remains of a beaked whale that had appeared near Davao City. In its most recent update about the deceased animal, the museum revealed the whale's cause of death: the ingestion of approximately 88lbs of plastic. The materials were primarily composed of plastic bags, including shopping bags and rice sacks.

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Study finds some people can sense Earth’s magnetic field

Study finds some people can sense Earth’s magnetic field

Researchers with the University of Tokyo and Caltech have found evidence that humans may have the ability to sense magnetic fields. Many animals are known to possess magnetoreception, including birds and bees, but questions have remained over whether humans have the same ability. A newly published study potentially has the answer, detailing brain wave changes observed in isolated participants.

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Atmospheric methane is rocketing and the climate change implications are huge

Atmospheric methane is rocketing and the climate change implications are huge

A new study has revealed that atmospheric methane levels increased substantially over the last four years, raising questions over whether the Paris Agreement goals can be met. According to the research, the increase in atmospheric methane started in 2007, but accelerated 'very rapidly' starting in 2014, persisting at that clipped rate through 2017. The reasons for this surprise increase remain unclear.

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Giant Amazon spider caught dragging possum in rainforest

Giant Amazon spider caught dragging possum in rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is home to many terrifying creatures, not the least of which are gigantic tarantulas the size of dinner plates. A team of biologists led by the University of Michigan recently captured one of these giant spiders on video, and it highlights just how huge the critters are: it was seen dragging a possum through the rainforest in Peru.

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1970s Soviet Venus space probe may fall back to Earth this year

1970s Soviet Venus space probe may fall back to Earth this year

In late March 1972, the Soviet Union launched a space probe called Kosmos 482 that was intended to explore Venus, but was unable to escape low Earth orbit. The failed Venus probe has been circling Earth in the decades since, but will eventually fall back to the planet's surface. Past estimates put the probe's descent as late as 2025, but a new look at the spacecraft reveals it may arrive as soon as this year.

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NASA says an iceberg twice the size of NYC is about to break off

NASA says an iceberg twice the size of NYC is about to break off

NASA has revealed that an Antarctic ice shelf that has been observed for decades is about to have a large iceberg break free. This chunk of ice has about twice the area of New York City with a visible crack that scientists have monitored using aerial images. Human presence on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is where the cracks are located, was first established back in 1955, according to NASA.

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