By Ashley Strickland, CNN
I’ve always been a bit dazzled by the fact that, as humans, we truly are made of star stuff. This week, an element found in our teeth was detected for the first time in a galaxy 12 billion light-years away. 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.
Astronauts even hosted an out-of-this-world taco party on the International Space Station last week to celebrate and snack on the first chile peppers grown in space. How cool (or hot!) is that? 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
It’s time to find other planets like Earth and understand if we’re truly alone in 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.
There are over 4,000 known exoplanets across the galaxy, including the intriguing Earth-size planets of the Trappist system. But astronomers need more information to find actual signs of habitability and life. 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.
A historic breakthrough was reached at the summit when 20 countries agreed to end financing for fossil fuel projects abroad in a deal announced Thursday. Curtailing fossil fuels could limit long-term global warming. One way to cut back on emissions? Converting classic cars, like a six-seat Rolls-Royce Phantom and James Bond’s favorite Aston Martin DB5, into electric vehicles.
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