What was Planet V?

About 3.8 billion years ago, the inner planets were bombarded with a cataclysm of asteroids. Could Planet V have been the cause?

TIM BERTELINK via Wikimedia Commons
  • The Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) occurred about 3.8 billion years ago, during which time Earth, Venus, Mercury, and Mars were assaulted by asteroids.
  • Scientists are pretty sure the LHB occurred, but they're not certain what caused it.
  • It could be that a hypothetical fifth inner planet once existed in our solar system. As it left, it may have caused the LHB.
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No Planet B can 'ever' be made as comfortable as Earth, says British astronomer Martin Rees

The end of the world is the main focus of his new book.

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
  • Everybody from Elon Musk to Stephen Hawking has said we should colonize a 'Planet B' due to the threat to our existence. Martin Brees, the UK's Astronomer Royal, has another perspective on it.
  • "I think we have to accept that there's no planet B, which can ever be made as comfortable as the Earth," he recently told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
  • In a time of ever-worsening climate change that threatens the very existence of human beings, his focus is on maintaining and fixing the planet we now live on, but still with an eye toward the stars.
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Movie still from Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi film "The Fifth Element"
  • The first human colonists on Mars are expected to endure intense amounts of stress while adapting to the planet.
  • Their maintaining mental wellbeing is critical for successful colonization efforts.
  • In a 2018 study, participants perceived a 58 percent reduction in anxiety and stress following cannabis use.
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NASA releases first sounds ever captured on Mars

On Friday, NASA's InSight Mars lander captured and transmitted historic audio from the red planet.

NASA
  • The audio captured by the lander is of Martian winds blowing at an estimated 10 to 15 mph.
  • It was taken by the InSight Mars lander, which is designed to help scientists learn more about the formation of rocky planets, and possibly discover liquid water on Mars.
  • Microphones are essentially an "extra sense" that scientists can use during experiments on other planets.
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How introducing microbial life to Mars can make it livable for humans

In order to build a second Earth, we need to look at how the first one was made.

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  • Humanity dreams of becoming an interplanetary species, but no other planet in our solar system can currently support complex life.
  • In order to make a planet like Mars hospitable for us, we'll have to engage in a massive, decades-long terraforming effort.
  • Much of what makes Earth livable, such as breathable air, tolerable temperatures, and so on, are the result of microbial activity from Earth's early history. Can we use microbial life to make the same changes on Mars?
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