The European Space Agency wants to build a Noah’s Ark on theMoon, in case the Earth is destroyed by an asteroid ornuclear holocaust. It could also save species destroyed byglobal warming.

In, Pallab Ghosh quotes the ESA?s Dr. BernardFoing as saying, “If there were a catastrophic collision onEarth or a nuclear war you could place some samples ofEarth’s biosphere, including humans, [on the Moon]. Youcould repopulate the Earth afterwards like a Noah’s Ark.” Hewants to collect DNA samples of every single species ofplant and animal.

One problem with extinction, no matter what causes it, canbe summed up by biologist Heather Proctor: “?With theextinction of a bird, or a mammal or a plant, you aren’tjust necessarily wiping out just one, single species. We’realso allowing all these unsung dependent species to be wipedout as well.” That means missing insects and plants thatrely on a particular species for life. She says, “What wewanted to learn was, if the host goes extinct, how manyother species will go with it.”

Her team calculated that extinction of the 6,279 plantslisted as threatened or endangered would also result in theloss of 4,672 species of beetles and 136 types ofbutterflies. Loss of the 1,194 threatened birds could alsomean the disappearance of 342 species of lice and 193 typesof mites. If the 114 endangered primates were to go extinct,there could also be the loss of 20 types of nematodes, 12lice and nine fungi that depend on the primates.

The problem isn?t only with insects disappearing?it?s thatthey?re appearing in strange places as well. Lately, Inuit(Eskimos) living in the Arctic have noticed yellowjacketsbuzzing around for the first time. “I didn’t know what thatwas at the time I saw it,” says Ikalukjuaq. “It didn’t lookscary to me, but I’ll know better next time I see one.”There is no word for them in the Inuit language.

Ikalukjuaq took a picture of the wasp, which was sent toscientists at the Nunavut Research Institute, who mailed itto entymologist Brian Brown in Los Angeles. He says, “I think it’s pretty interesting and it’s part of the reasonwhy we need to continue our surveillance of insects in thenorth and various other types of animals to find out what’shappening with our world.”

If you get the feeling something?s wrong with the weather,you?reprobably right.

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