Science News

Latest batch of images from New Horizons reveals more details about Pluto

Latest batch of images from New Horizons reveals more details about Pluto

Undoubtedly, Pluto is among the most fascinating and interesting celestial objects. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made a flyby of Pluto last year in July and since then, it has been beaming back data and images of the dwarf planet revealing what makes Pluto beautiful, bewitching space object.

Earlier, the probe sent another batch of images of Pluto portraying the Kuiper belt object as mysterious icy world. These snapshots show that surface of the dwarf world is incredibly diverse. New Horizons team released a set of five science papers this week in the journal Science, revealing interesting information about Pluto and its moons.

VLA sheds light on what could be the very earliest stages in formation of planets

VLA sheds light on what could be the very earliest stages in formation of planet

Astronomers using the Very Large Array (VLA) have come up with new images of a young star, revealing what scientists think could be the quite initial stages in the planets’ formation.

The VLA has been used by scientists to witness extraordinary details of the inside part of a dusty disk present around the star, at a distance of around 450 light-years from Earth.

In 2014, scientists used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study the star and its disk, and at that time, it produced what astronomers dubbed as the best photograph ever, depicting planet formation in progress.

Guantánamo Bay Naval Base could be transformed into marine conservation area and international peace park

Guantánamo Bay Naval Base could be transformed into marine conservation area

As part of a new proposal, Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, which includes the well known detention center, could be changed into a marine conservation area and an international peace park, once the inmates vacant it.

Appeared in the journal Science on Thursday, the proposal indicates that the fate of the base could depend on the decision taken by authorities. The relations between Cuba and the United States have improved recently. President Obama’s will soon make a historic visit to Cuba.

In a telephone interview with The Christian Science Monitor, co-author Joe Roman, a conservation biologist at the University of Vermont, said, the US embassy in Cuba is open, with which more business will knock, and tourists will step in, putting more pressure on coastal systems in the coming time.

Scientists believe they have solved mystery behind Tully monster

Scientists believe they have solved mystery behind Tully monster

Paleontologists have claimed that they have unearthed a prehistoric creature trapped in a stone. The ancient animal has a pincer-tipped nose, sharp needle-teeth and eyes on a slim stalk. It has been dubbed: Tully monster.

For nearly 60 years, the bizarre Tullimonstrum gregarium fossils have been troubling paleontologists. So far, the creature hasn’t fit into any known major animal group.

As per a new report published in the journal of Nature this week, scientists think they have solved the Tully monster mystery and its position on the tree of life.

The fossils have been found in a 300-million-year-old rock. They were discovered by the dozens in 1958 with in Illinois coalmines.

Ancient human race interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans on multiple occasions

Ancient human race interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans on multiple occasi

Modern human’s ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and another species of early humans on multiple occasions, as per a new study. It suggests our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and Denisova hominin on at least four separate occasions in the past.

Our improved immunity to pathogens is the result of that prehistoric mating, said the study authors. “This is yet another genetic nail in the coffin of our over-simplistic models of human evolution”, said Carles Lalueza-Fox of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology. Lalueza-Fox wasn’t part of the study.

New research papers reveal Pluto as more interesting than previously thought

New research papers reveal Pluto as more interesting than previously thought

Before New Horizons spacecraft’s close flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto, who had imagined that the Kuiper belt object will be one of the most interesting places in the solar system? Scientists studying data collected by the NASA probe have found that Pluto is becoming the most complex object in the observable universe.

On Thursday, New Horizons team published a set of five papers whose findings are based on data and images beamed back by the spacecraft. The new details have revealed a lot of information about what makes Pluto and its moons complex space objects. The papers have been published by journal Science.

Earth’s magnetosphere likely provided much-needed protection against stellar onslaught

Earth’s magnetosphere likely provided much-needed protection against stellar

For the initial life on Earth, the magnetosphere of our planet has probably provided important protection against the stellar attack, making possible the evolution of our flourishing biosphere.

Researchers have studied a nearby young sun-like star known as Kappa Ceti, and after analyzing it they have now realized how fortunate the inhabitants of Earth are to have such an efficient magnetic field.

Kappa Ceti is present just at a distance of 30 light-years in the constellation Cetus and as per astronomers estimations it is 400-600 million years old.

Chick’s genes can be manipulated to lengthen its legs to dinosaur-like proportions, say researchers

Chick’s genes can be manipulated to lengthen its legs to dinosaur-like proportio

In an interesting genetic modification project, researchers said the genes of a chick can be altered to lengthen its legs to dinosaur-like proportions. But, there is no need to worry about the ‘dawn of the dinosaurs’ as these ‘dino-chicks’ have so far failed to hatch.

According to a press release, the aim of the project wasn’t to come up with dinosaurs for commercial or non-scientific purposes, just like the case of 'Jurassic Park' series.

It could recall the work done by researchers who have grown human-like ears atop rats, but the motive behind this forced cross-species experiment is entirely different.

Weird bright spots on Ceres changing: Research

Weird bright spots on Ceres changing: Research

Ceres grabbed special attention of earthlings last year when NASA’s Dawn spacecraft beamed back images showing its strange, bright spots. These planetoid freckles gave rise to debate in scientific community while astronomers and general public started predicted what these weird things are.

Now, a study has found that the mysterious dots on the largest object in the asteroid belt are changing. It supports the idea that light coming from the sun is turning ice into vapor in the region where these dots are located. The new observations are based on data collected from earth-bound telescopes.

New study solves long-standing ‘fairy circles’ mystery

New study solves long-standing ‘fairy circles’ mystery

Until recently, mysterious circular patches known as ‘fairy circles’ had been spotted in Namib Desert in Namibia, Africa. But now, researchers have seen these strange circles scattered across the Australian outback as well.

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America has found the origin of these baffling structures. A research team led by Stephan Getzin of Department of Ecological Modelling at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) found that the fairly circles could be due to grass organizing itself in this pattern.

Researchers Claim to Have Solved Prehistoric puzzle Surrounding Tully monster

Researchers Claim to Have Solved Prehistoric puzzle Surrounding Tully monster

Fossil hunters digging the soil near a creek in north-central Illinois have come across a remarkable discovery — Tully monster. They have found the preserved remnants of a prehistoric creature, which appears to be having a long, arm-like appendage extending from below with a pincer-like mouth and its wide-set eyes pointed towards stalks.

Scott Lidgard, a paleontologist at Chicago’s Field Museum, said the Tully monster, which is Illinois’ official state fossil, beyond doubt was “very, very bizarre”.

Lidgard is responsible for handling of the museum’s collection of 1,800 Tully monster fossils, which is the largest collection across the globe.

February 2016 breaks past records for average temperature

February 2016 breaks past records for average temperature

February this year was the hottest February so far since the time record-keeping started. Climatologists have called global warming and an El Niño weather event in the Pacific, responsible for the rise in the temperature in February 2016.

As per NASA-released data, February’s average worldwide temperature was 1.35 degrees Celsius, or 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit, higher compared to normal for February. The margin has been recorded as the largest ever recorded one for any month opposite to a baseline of 1951 to 1980.

Scientists in Chile Create Chicken Embryo with dinosaur legs

Scientists in Chile Create Chicken Embryo with dinosaur legs

Scientists in Chile have come up with a chicken embryo that created dinosaur-like feet after genetic manipulation. It has highlighted the evolutionary relation between theropod dinosaurs and birds.

Alexander Vargas, one of the six researchers at the University of Chile, said that the study, that appeared last week in the journal Evolution, has shown that by stopping early maturation of a leg of the chicken embryo, the leg takes the shape similar as that of dinosaurs' legs used to have.

On Tuesday, while speaking to AFP, Vargas said that the outcome was a chicken embryo with dinosaur legs. He explained what amounts to reverse evolution.

Flock of 10 pigeons flying around London to make people more environmentally aware

Flock of 10 pigeons flying around London to make people more environmentally

A flock of 10 pigeons is flying over London with an aim to make city residents aware of air pollution. The flock, dubbed as the Pigeon Air Patrol, is revealing pollution levels throughout London on Twitter.

The idea is to raise awareness among London residents regarding environment. The idea was conceived by DigitasLBi, a global marketing and technology company. Last year, it also won #PoweredByTweets challenge at social network Twitter.

The pigeons selected for the initiative have small backpacks fixed on them to analyze the level of air pollution in an area. Plume Labs, a company headquartered in Paris, designed the lightweight backpacks for the pigeon flock. Sensors in those backpacks measure levels of nitrogen dioxide and ozone in the environment.

Scientists find origin of strange ‘fairy circles’ spotted in Australia

Scientists find origin of strange ‘fairy circles’ spotted in Australia

‘Fairy circles’ have been baffling researchers since a long time. Until now, researchers were trying to understand the scattering and patterns of Africa’s puzzling circles, but now Australia's outback has revealed some of these strange and barren patches.

The mysterious fairy circles were first spotted by scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). They noticed the dots on earth’s surface in pictures taken near Newman, Australia. The regularly-patterned circles were similar to barren patches previously spotted in Africa.

The surprising and interesting thing about the dots was that they were spread over a vast area with great regularity, said Stephan Getzin, an expert at the UFZ and lead researcher of the new findings.

Scientists Claim they’ve found ‘pregnant’ T. rex that died in Montana 68 million years ago

Scientists Claim they’ve found ‘pregnant’ T. rex that died in Montana 68 million

The remains of a pregnant Tyrannosaurus rex that had died in ancient Montana about 68 million years ago may provide hints into how to identify male and female theropods, or bipedal meat-eating dinosaurs.

In a new study, researchers said they looked at the organic components in the dinosaur’s bone structure and after verify details of the fossil, reached at the conclusion that the T. rex was pregnant. The bone structure had survived for tens of millions of years since the predator’s death.

Mary Schweitzer, an evolutionary biologist at North Carolina State University and study lead researcher, said the T. rex was discovered in 2000 by Bob Harmon, a paleontologist at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana, Hell Creek Formation.

Warm ocean water undermining West Antarctica from below may also be weakening its ice shelves: Research

Warm ocean water undermining West Antarctica from below may also be weakening

A couple of years back, two scientific studies mentioned that the West Antarctica glaciers, holding back more than 3 meters of likely sea level rise, have been melting and diminishing from below.

The reason behind the same was apparently that these glaciers are floating on the seafloor deep underneath the ocean surface, and have been lapped at due to the flows of hot ocean currents.

Since then, the main focus of researchers has been more and more on West Antarctica, and now a latest research appeared in Nature Geoscience on Monday has revealed yet another outcome of this warm water intrusion. The latest revelation has further highlighted the areas’ susceptibility.

Even low exposure to pesticides disrupts foraging behavior in bees

Even low exposure to pesticides disrupts foraging behavior in bees

Habitat loss is not the only problem bee populations around the globe is facing. Some diseases and deadly parasites are also behind the dwindling numbers of bees. Now, a new study has revealed that even low pesticide exposure can upset the insect’s foraging behavior.

Exposure to pesticides can push bees to change their flower choices, learning and remembering abilities and skills to collect pollen and nectar, as per the study. During the study, bumblebees exposed to neonicotinoid insecticide took longer time than unaffected bees to collect pollen.

NASA successfully test-fires updated RS-25 main engine for the first time

NASA successfully test-fires updated RS-25 main engine for the first time

A team of scientists at NASA has been working hard in testing and developing Space Launch System (SLS). Things seem to be sorting out for the next-generation manned launch vehicle of NASA, the Space Launch System (SLS).

The US space agency has now for the first time test-fired the updated RS-25 main engine, which went off successfully without any delay, burning at 109% thrust for 500 seconds.
The space agency has been dependent on Russian Soyuz capsules for reaching low-Earth orbit since the retirement of the Space Shuttle some years back.

Sweetwater World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup faces criticism

Sweetwater World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup faces criticism

Sweetwater, a small rural town in Texas, has less than 11,000 residents, but thousands of tourists visit the place each year to witness an interesting event: World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup. This year’s event ended on Sunday where more than 30,000 visitors came to see thousands of rattlesnakes.

People not only watch rattlesnakes during the event, but also take part by skinning them. Many participants made handprints on a wall with the rattlesnakes’ blood. Jaycees, Sweetwater’s Junior Chamber of Commerce, said the annual roundup is a necessary way to protect humans, curb overpopulation and keep city’s other animals safe.




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