A disparate group of experts from around the world will meet for the first time on Thursday for talks on what must rank as one of the most momentous decisions in human history.
The question confronting the scientists and other specialists is straightforward enough, even if the solution is far from simple. Is it time to call an end to the epoch we live in and declare the dawn of a new time period: one defined by humanity's imprint on the planet?
The lake appears to be a normal one during fall, winter, and a small portion of spring; but during the summer, most of the lake becomes evaporated. Dozens upon dozens of crater-like mineral deposits rest at the bottom of the lake and become visible during the warm weather. The mineral deposits span about 25 feet on average and contain many different concentrations of magnesium sulfate, and calcium/sodium phosphates, which gives them a distinct yellow, orange, green, or blue color.
The diversity of life is one of the most striking aspects of our planet; hence knowing how many species inhabit Earth is among the most fundamental questions in science. Yet the answer to this question remains enigmatic, as efforts to sample the world's biodiversity to date have been limited and thus have precluded direct quantification of global species richness, and because indirect estimates rely on assumptions that have proven highly controversial.
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope recently discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star within the habitable zone of our galaxy. Kepler-186f is approximately 500 light-years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation.