That means during the early chaotic days of the universe, stars were exploding and releasing key elements from their core into space. Then, those elements ended up on Earth and inside our bodies.
Space may seem cold, dark and alien, but it’s not as far removed from us as we may think.
If our future really is out there, at least we’ll have a way to spice up our food. And perhaps space isn’t so alien after all.
Across the universe
That’s the consensus of the highly anticipated Astro2020 decadal survey published this week, which acts as a road map for agencies like NASA when planning their missions.
Over the next decade, scientists will aim to unlock the secrets of the universe and identify Earth-like planets outside of our solar system to find other habitable worlds.
One mission that could help in this search is a large telescope, slated to launch in the 2040s and similar in scale to Hubble, that could seek signatures of life on about 25 potentially habitable exoplanets.
As for our home planet, all eyes have been on the COP26 climate summit in Scotland as world leaders try to avert a global climate catastrophe.
The gap is widening between the impacts of the climate crisis and the world’s effort to adapt to them, according to a new United Nations report that will publish during the conference.
We are family
Meet Leti, the small child of an ancient human relative that lived between 236,000 and 335,000 years ago.
The skull, from a child that was 4 to 6 years old at the time of death, is the first known to belong to Homo naledi.
The fragments of the child’s skull were found in an incredibly narrow passage of South Africa’s Rising Star cave, where Homo naledi fossils were initially unearthed in 2013.
Fossils and fireballs
In South America, intense heat turned the Atacama Desert’s sandy soil into vast areas of glass stretching for 46.6 miles (75 kilometers) about 12,000 years ago.
Researchers have attempted to figure out what caused this drastic change for years, even questioning if ancient wildfires were the culprit.
Within the dark green and black glass fragments scattered across the Chilean desert, scientists have found minerals with an extraterrestrial source.
This adjustment, known as being “vocally plastic,” is in response to factors that can otherwise drown out a seal’s voice. Clear communication is critical because it allows seals to escape from predators and find mates.
Scientists studied wild-born seal pups between 1 and 3 weeks old at a rehab and research center in the Netherlands and watched how they responded to recordings of sea noise.
Also, working with precious newborn seals sounds like a sweet dream come true.
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The search for another Earth across the galaxy heats up