Science news 12 Feb, 2021
What happens when you replace a human gene with its Neanderthal version? - Ars TechnicaArs Technica
Neural stem cells with the Neanderthal version of a key gene behave differently.
'Farfarout' is officially the most distant object in our solar system - Space.comSpace.com
Farfarout now has an official designation: 2018 AG37.
Millie Hughes-Fulford, NASA Shuttle Scientist, Dies at 75 - The New York TimesNew York Times
As the space agency’s first female payload specialist, she conducted experiments about the impact of weightlessness on astronauts’ immune systems and loss of bone mass.
NASA in talks to buy Russian Soyuz seat through U.S.-based Axiom - The VergeThe Verge
NASA is planning to buy an astronaut seat on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft through Texas-based aerospace firm Axiom Space, according two people familiar with the plans. The seat is a backup for NASA in case its upcoming ride with SpaceX runs into technical probl…
Striking NASA animation reveals the harrowing descent to Mars that the Perseverance rover is about to attempt - Business InsiderBusiness Insider
A supersonic parachute and a jetpack will help Perseverance land on Mars. A NASA video offers a sense of the footage the rover will record.
Teaching an old spacecraft new tricks to continue exploring the moon - Phys.orgPhys.Org
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has far exceeded its planned mission duration, revealing that the Moon holds surprises: ice deposits that could be used to support future lunar exploration, the coldest places in the solar system in permane…
Astronomers Found a 'Benjamin Button' Galaxy - GizmodoGizmodo.com
At 1.2 billion years young, the galaxy ALESS 073.1 should have the chaotic look of a youthful galaxy—a fledging, diffuse group of stars and gas suspended in the early universe. Instead, this primordial starburst galaxy has a central bulge and rotating belt th…
Possible Super-Earth in the Habitable Zone at Alpha Centauri - Universe TodayUniverse Today
Scientists using the Breakthrough Initiative's NEAR instrument have directly-imaged an Earth-like planet in the potentially habitable zone.
It's Starting to Look Like Super-Earths Really are Just Great big Terrestrial Planets - Universe TodayUniverse Today
New research shows there is a divide between how gas planets and rocky worlds form.
Whale Songs Could Reveal Deep Secrets Beneath the Oceans - The New York TimesNew York Times
The aquatic mammals’ sound waves penetrate into the rocks under the waves, which could assist seismologists’ surveys.
Hubble goes looking for a rare black hole, finds something even weirder - SlashGearSlashGear
Today, NASA shared a rather interesting update about the goings-on of the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers with the Paris Institute of Astrophysics (IAP) were using the telescope to study globul…
The Mind-Boggling Theory That We Could Be Descended from Martians - VICEVice News
Amir Siraj, a student studying astrophysics at Harvard University, talks about the potential spread of life throughout the Milky Way in a VICE News interview
Huge Trove of Roman Silver Coins Unearthed in Turkey | Archaeology - Sci-News.comSci-News.com
Hundreds of silver coins dating to the first century BCE have been unearthed by archaeologists from Pamukkale University.
NYC crooks threaten Telemundo news crew, swipe camera gear - New York Daily NewsNew York Daily News
The Spanish-language news crew was setting up their shot on Southern Blvd. and E. 174th St. in Crotona at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday when the woman stormed over and knocked over their camera, cops said.
Europa Clipper: Nasa's ocean world mission gets launch date - BBC NewsBBC News
A mission to study a moon that could be home to extra-terrestrial life has been given a launch date.
Vaporised crusts of Earth-like planets found in dying stars - Phys.orgPhys.Org
Remnants of planets with Earth-like crusts have been discovered in the atmospheres of four nearby white dwarf stars by University of Warwick astronomers, offering a glimpse of the planets that may have once orbited them up to billions of years ago.
NASA SLS computer development branching to support first flight, future upgrades - NASASpaceFlight.com - NASASpaceflight.comNASASpaceflight.com
Following completion of certification testing in October 2020 of the computer system for the first…
Capturing free-space optical light for high-speed Wi-Fi - Phys.orgPhys.Org
Visible and infrared light can carry more data than radio waves, but has always been confined to a hard-wired, fiber-optic cable. Working with Facebook's Connectivity Lab, a Duke research team has now made a major advance toward the dream of ditching the fibe…
Never-before seen halogen gas discovered on Mars - The IndependentIndependent
'It is like we only had a 2D view before, now we can explore the atmosphere in 3D,' one scientist said
HUGE 'potentially hazardous' asteroid to skim past Earth in March - Daily MailDaily Mail
The asteroid, named 231937 (2001 FO32), is unlikely to hit the Earth as it will be 1.2 million miles from the planet - five times further out than the Moon.
Today in science: A spacecraft obliterated a sundog - EarthSkyEarthSky
On February 11, 2010, a solar observatory launched into space ripped apart a sundog and created a new ice halo that amazed scientists.
SpaceX rolls last Starship off the assembly line ahead of “major upgrades” - TeslaratiTeslarati
SpaceX has installed Starship serial number 11’s (SN11) steel nosecone, effectively completing the rocket and marking the end of production for a series of four virtually identical prototypes. SpaceX has soared through a limited production run of four full-he…
Sequence African genomes for Africa and the world: scientist - Medical XpressMedical Xpress
A $4.5 billion initiative to sequence the genomes of three million Africans would not only benefit a continent long neglected in gene-based healthcare, but advance understanding of genetic disease worldwide, the project leader told AFP Wednesday.
New Video Shows Movement of Earth's Tectonic Plates over Past Billion Years | Geophysics, Geoscience - Sci-News.comSci-News.com
An international team of geoscientists has created the first continuous full-plate model with evolving plate boundaries spanning one billion year ago to the present-day.
Coelacanths Are Not 'Living Fossils,' New Study Shows | Biology, Genetics - Sci-News.comSci-News.com
The primitive-looking coelacanth has long been regarded as a ‘living fossil,’ with extant specimens looking very similar to fossils dating back to the Cretaceous period.
Fish had the genes to adapt to life on land—while they were still swimming the seas - Science MagazineScience Magazine
Genome studies and CRISPR experiments in fish have tracked down when DNA important to terrestrial life evolved
Ancient graves and mysterious enclosure discovered at Stonehenge ahead of tunnel construction - Livescience.comLive Science
Scientists create liquid crystals that look a lot like their solid counterparts - Phys.orgPhys.Org
A team at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed new kinds of liquid crystals that mirror the complex structures of some solid crystals—a major step forward in building flowing materials that can match the colorful diversity of forms seen in minerals…
Let’s reel in this talk of a ‘fifth dimension’ for a second - BGRBGR
Researchers attempting to solve the problem of dark matter have proposed a particle that can travel to an unseen fifth dimension. The work is entirely hypothetical, as it attempts to explain a type of matter that nobody has ever seen using a particle that ha…
On the origin of our species - EurekAlertEurekAlert
New research suggests that genetic and fossil records will not reveal a single point where modern humans originated
Macrophages provide a transient muscle stem cell niche via NAMPT secretion - Nature.comNature.com
Specific macrophage populations provide a transient niche that activates muscle stem cells after muscle injury and supply proliferation-inducing cues that govern the repair process mediated by these cells in both zebrafish and mouse injury models.
China joins UAE in successful mission to Mars - Seeking AlphaSeeking Alpha
China has successfully put its Tianwen-1 mission in orbit around Mars, joining the United Arab Emirates, which accomplished the same feat on Tuesday
UK Covid variant: How many Covid variants come from the UK? - ExpressExpress
COVID variants 'of concern' have started spreading through the UK, with authorities noting hundreds of cases of genetically distinct offshoots of the original strain. How many Covid variants come from the UK?
A quantum enhanced search for dark matter axions - Nature.comNature.com
A quantum enhanced search for dark matter that uses vacuum squeezing to overcome the quantum noise limit finds no evidence of dark matter axions in a well motivated mass range.
Smaller, more powerful devices possible with new technique - Phys.orgPhys.Org
Shrinking semiconductors even further would enable a whole new silicon revolution. But because that's impossible, the next best hope is integrating semiconductors with 2-D atomically-thin materials, such as graphene, upon which circuits can be created on an i…
Spider legs build webs without the brain's help – providing a model for future robot limbs - The Conversation UKThe Conversation Africa
Unsettlingly, it appears that spiders' legs really do have minds of their own.
NASA seeks seat on April Soyuz mission to ISS - SpaceNewsSpaceNews
NASA announced Feb. 9 it wants to obtain a seat on the next Soyuz mission to the space station in April to ensure a U.S. presence on the station.
Nuclear-powered rocket could get astronauts to Mars faster - CNNCNN
This rocket engine design, combined with a special fuel, could get humans from Earth to Mars in just three months.
Is it a planet? Astronomers spy promising potential world around Alpha Centauri - Deccan HeraldDeccan Herald
For the first time ever, astronomers may have glimpsed light from a world in a life-friendly orbit around another star.
Lesson of the Day: ‘Watch This Billion-Year Journey of Earth’s Tectonic Plates’ - The New York TimesNew York Times
In this lesson students will learn about how scientists believe Earth’s surface came to be as it is today. Then they will imagine Earth in another billion years.