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'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey' -- "Ancient Greenhouse Worlds" (Background for Tonights Episode)

 

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In tonight's episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, host Neil deGrasse Tyson takes us on a tour in the Spaceship of the Imagination of the hellish landscape of Venus and to Earth's ancient "Greenhouse World." If history's closest analog is any indication, the look of the oceans will change drastically in the future as the coming greenhouse world alters marine food webs and gives certain species advantages over others.

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"Supermassive Black Holes at the Center of Every Galaxy May be Wormholes Created in the Early Universe"

 

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The supermassive black hole candidates at the center of every normal galaxy might be wormholes created in the early Universe, connecting either two different regions of our Universe or two different universes in a Multiverse model, say Zilong Li and Cosimo Bambi with Fudan University in Shanghai in a fascinating new theory.

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"Why Did Life Begin During Early Earth's Heavy Impact Period?" New Research Shows a Strong Link

 

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“It’s interesting that 4.2 billion to 3.8 billion years ago, the early Earth experienced a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment where there were a lot of impacts, including large impacts, and this period also overlaps with the evidence of the earliest life on Earth,” said Haley Sapers, an astrobiologist at the Canadian Astrobiology Training Program at McGill University in Montreal. “One might ask why life arose during such an inhospitable part of Earth’s history. Maybe impact cratering had a role in the origin of life.”

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"Other Universes May Operate Under Vastly Different Physical Laws" (Today's Most Popular)

 

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Modern cosmology theory holds that our Universe may be just one in a vast collection of universes known as the multiverse. MIT physicist Alan Guth has suggested that new universes (known as “pocket universes”) are constantly being created, but they cannot be seen from our Universe.

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EcoAlert --Antarctica Ice Sheet Shrinkage Accelerated in 8 Episodes During Last Ice Age

 

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Today, the annual calving of icebergs from Antarctic represents more than half of the annual loss of mass of the Antarctic Ice Sheet – an estimated 1,300 to 2,000 gigatons (a gigaton is a billion tons). Some of these giant icebergs are longer than 18 kilometers. A new study has found that the Antarctic Ice Sheet began melting about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought coming out of the last ice age – and that shrinkage of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct episodes, causing rapid sea level rise.

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"DNA Could Have Predated Origins of Life on Earth" (Today's Most Popular)

 

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Scientists are close to demonstrating that the building blocks of DNA can form spontaneously from chemicals thought to be present on the early Earth. If they succeed, their research implies that DNA could have predated the birth of life. “The story makes more sense if DNA nucleotides were naturally present in the environment. Organisms could have taken up and used them, later developing the tools to make their own DNA once it became clear how advantageous the molecule was— and once natural supplies began to run low,” Christopher Switzer of the University of California, Riverside said.

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Atmosphere of Saturn's Titan is a Window to Alien Worlds Beyond Our Solar System

 

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Scientists working with data from NASA's Cassini mission have developed a new way to understand the atmospheres of exoplanets by using Saturn's smog-enshrouded moon Titan as a stand-in. The new technique shows the dramatic influence that hazy skies could have on our ability to learn about these alien worlds orbiting distant stars.

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"The Universe is Very Fecund" --Astronomers Star at Congressional Hearings on 'Astrobiology and the Search for Life'

 

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At one of most packed Congresional hearings in recent memory, House Science Committee session on "Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe," discussed the steps we've taken to search for life in outer space. In their remarks, witnesses Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI institute, and Dan Werthimer, director of the SETI Research Center at UC Berkeley, described the on-going search for extraterrestrial life.

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"Sunlight in Titan's Lower Atmosphere can Kick-Start Complex Organic Chemistry" --NASA JPL

 

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A laboratory experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., simulating the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan suggests complex organic chemistry that could eventually lead to the building blocks of life extends lower in the atmosphere than previously thought. The results now point out another region on the moon that could brew up prebiotic materials.

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