This Week's "Planet Earth Report" --Stephen Hawking: 'AI is a New Form of Life' to the Black Swan Satellite Theory


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This week's link to 10 headline stories from around the world on the threats, opportunities, and dangers facing our fragile planet --along with an occasional dash of humor, popular culture, and an intriguing conspiracy theory or two.

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ESO's Journey to the Most Remote Galaxy in the Observable Universe (WATCH Today's 'Galaxy' Stream)

 
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An international team of astronomers using the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope high in the mountains of Chile measured the distance to the most remote galaxy so far. This is the first time that astronomers have been able to confirm that they are observing a galaxy as it was in the era of reionization — when the first generation of brilliant stars was making the young Universe transparent and ending the cosmic Dark Ages.

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Jupiter and Saturn's Rapid Early Growth Was the Source of Most of the Water on Earth

 

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"First of all, it's important to leave aside the idea that Earth received all its water via the impacts of comets from very distant regions. These 'deliveries' also occurred, but their contributions came later and were far less significant in percentage terms," said André Izidoro, with the School of Engineering of Sao Paulo State University, Brazil. "Most of our water came to the region currently occupied by Earth's orbit before the planet was formed."

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"GJ 273b, Come In Please!" --Astronomers Debate Wisdom of Messaging Potentially Advanced Alien Civilizations (WATCH Video)

 

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This October, scientists and artists beamed a message to GJ 273, a red dwarf also known as Luyten's star that lies 12.36 light-years from Earth and hosts two known planets, one of which, GJ 273b, may be capable of supporting life as we know it.

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NASA Scientists Debate Alien Planet 55 Cancri e --"Does It Have an Atmosphere Like Earth & Venus?"

 
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"If there is lava on this planet, it would need to cover the entire surface," said Renyu Hu, astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and co-author of a study published in The Astronomical Journal. "But the lava would be hidden from our view by the thick atmosphere. Understanding this planet will help us address larger questions about the evolution of rocky planets."

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"Hacking Einstein" --Viewing the Universe as the Output of a 13.7-Billion Year Computation (WATCH Video)

 
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Can a close look at the universe give us solutions to problems too difficult for a computer - even if we built a computer larger than a planet? Physicist Stephen Jordan reflects on this question in a new video by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with a new scientific paper that considers one particular tough problem the universe might answer.

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Scientists Solve 22 Million-Year-Old Climate Puzzle --"Paleoclimate Events Can Predict Earth's Future"

 

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The modern link between high carbon dioxide levels and climate change didn't appear to hold true for a time interval about 22 million years ago; but now a new study has found the link does indeed exist, settling a prehistoric puzzle, confirming the modern link

 

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The Alien Observatory: "NASA is Using Earth as an Exoplanet in Search for Alien Life"

 

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"An alien would spot three planets in our solar system in the habitable zone [Earth, Mars and Venus]," says research scientist Andrew Rushby, of NASA Ames Research Center, in Moffett Field, California. "Location alone isn't enough, but we know that 67 percent of those planets are not very habitable."

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"Attempt No Voyage Here!" Milky Way Harbors 100 Million Black Holes --'There are Tens of Millions of these Dark Enigmatic Objects Each the Size of 30 Suns' (Today's Most Popular)

 
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"The weirdness of the LIGO discovery" --The detection of gravitational waves created by the merger of two 30-solar-mass black holes (image below) had astronomers asking just how common are black holes of this size, and how often do they merge?

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Search for Elusive Dark Matter Side of the Universe Dims --"Its Nature Remains Completely Obscure" (VIDEO)

 
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"The results essentially send physicists back to the drawing board in our hunt for dark matter," said Philip Harris, head of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex.

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