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Tag: Earth

DNA project to decode 'all complex life' on Earth

DNA project to decode 'all complex life' on Earth

Science
A mission to sequence the genome of every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoan - a group of single-celled organisms - is underway. The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) has been described as a "moonshot for biology".A key aim is to use the information in efforts to conserve threatened species. Scientists say clues about how species adapt to environmental change could be hidden in their DNA code. As part of the project, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, which played a major part in the human genome project, has committed to sequencing the genomes of all 66,000 UK species. Dr Jim Smith, director of science at the Wellcome Trust described the mission as timely, adding that it was "incumbent upon human beings to raise awareness of biodiversity". ...
Iron-silica particles reveal early oxygen accumulation on Earth

Iron-silica particles reveal early oxygen accumulation on Earth

Science
Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Iron and silica particles played an important part in the early accumulation of oxygen in Earth's oceans, according to new research. Cyanobacteria's photosynthetic activity supplied Earth's ancient oceans with oxygen, but the blue-green algae couldn't have survived the sun's ultraviolet rays without the protection of iron and silica particles, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications. In the lab, scientists modeled the impact of UV rays on ancient sea water and cyanobacteria. The experiments showed elevated silica and iron concentrations enable the formation of iron-silica precipitates. These suspended particles shielded cyanobacteria from harmful radiation. "In effect, the iron-silica particles acted as an ancient 'sunscreen' for the cyanobacteria, pr...
Earth is '1C away from threatening humanity'

Earth is '1C away from threatening humanity'

Technology
The Earth's global temperature is 1C away from a climatic tipping point that threatens the future of humanity, scientists have warned. Experts added that the planet is just decades away from the event that would trigger runaway global warming.The threshold will be reached when average global temperatures are only around 2C higher than they were in pre-industrial times, research suggests.The findings show that the Earth's temperature is already half way there.If the tipping point is reached it would create a "Hothouse Earth" state of uncontrollable climate change.The event would pose "severe risks for health, economies, political stability, and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans", international scientists wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Ac...
'Impossible' to make Mars like Earth – NASA study

'Impossible' to make Mars like Earth – NASA study

Technology
Dreams of transforming Mars into a habitable long-term human colony are scientifically impossible with current technology, according to a NASA-sponsored study. Transforming planets as a pre-cursor to colonisation is a staple of science fiction, and an aspiration for individuals including Elon Musk, whose company SpaceX uses images of terraforming Mars in its promotional material.In the 1898 science fiction novel War of the Worlds, the invading Martian forces bring a red weed with them that begins to kill off Earth's plant life to make the planet habitable for the Martians.This process of colonising other planets is known as terraforming when it refers to shaping their environments so they are more like Earth. However, for planets which do not harbour any life - and certai...
Hubble snaps photos as Mars makes its closest approach to Earth

Hubble snaps photos as Mars makes its closest approach to Earth

Science
July 27 (UPI) -- Mars is the closest its been to Earth in 15 years, offering the Hubble Space Telescope especially clear views of the Red Planet. To celebrate the close approach, NASA and Hubble shared several new images of Mars and Saturn, which is also making its closest approach. When Earth, Mars and Saturn are in alignment, they're said to be in opposition. Mars is currently 36.9 million miles from Earth. "We're always looking for excuses to share Hubble's images," Bonnie Meinke, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute, told UPI. "But we can also use these images and observations for scientific purposes." The high resolution images offer scientists another opportunity to gauge the scope of the dust storm currently swirling on Mars. "We have all of these spacecraft on or...