Below are all the articles covered on Episode 15 of Spaced Out.
You can tune in directly via the following:
The Birth of Seven Earths
Back in May, it was reported that ultra-cool dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, had three Earth-like planets in its orbit. Located 39.5 light-years from the Sun in the constellation Aquarius, it has now been reported that the Jupiter-sized star is being orbited by SEVEN Earth-sized planets. (If we really want to get down to the nitty gritty, TRAPPIST-1d and 1h are actually closer in size to Mars.) The discovery was made by the TRAPPIST (located in the Chilean mountains at ESO's La Silla Observatory) and Spitzer (located in space) telescopes. But wait, there’s more: Astronomers claim that all seven of TRAPPIST-1’s planets are in the habitable zone. There currently isn’t any proof that water exists on any of these planets, but because of their distances from their star, it’s certainly possible. Currently, scientists believe that 1e, 1f, and 1g are the most likely to habitable.
The Free Republic of CRISPR
Currently CRISPR is a patented technology controlled by three universities: UC Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard. Its inventors have exclusive licensing rights; they also have the power to determine who gets to use the technology. These licenses cover all 20,000-plus genes in the human genome…preventing anyone else from profiting from the tech. Berkeley allows nonexclusive licenses for colleges, universities, and non-profits, but for research only. The funny thing? Editas or Caribou or Crispr Therapeutics, the companies currently profiting from the tech, can’t possibly explore all of CRISPR’s applications. It’s exponentially impossible.
A new continent has been discovered. Called Zealandia, it’s approximately the size of the Indian sub-continent, around 4.9 million square kilometers. The continent has never before been recorded because 94% of it is hidden beneath the ocean! New Zealand, New Caledonia, and a few other small islands are all that can be seen of Zealandia. “If we could pull the plug on the world’s oceans, it would be quite clear that Zealandia stands out about 3,000 meters above the surrounding ocean crust,” says study coauthor Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Sources: Science News, Wired, Astronomy Magazine, Space.com