Scientists kicked off the summer with incredible research results that keep us wanting for more. Her are the science highlights we covered in the last days.
Summer is here in many parts of the world. While most of us a thinking about a vacation, scientists amaze us with incredible research results published over the first days of July. As Science news turned out to become a major topic for I4U News, we have launched a dedicated Science News section featuring the latest in science around the world.
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One of the science papers that got the most attention in the last days is about the revelation that spiders know how to sail. Spiders can use their legs as sails to travel vast distances. To stop they use their silk as anchor. We have known for long time that spiders can fly long distances with a technique called ballooning.
Now we also know that they can sail to travel even further distances. Lead author Morito Hayashi from the Natural History Museum, London, UK, said: "We've now found that spiders actively adopt postures that allow them to use the wind direction to control their journey on water. They even drop silk and stop on the water surface when they want. This ability compensates for the risks of landing on water after the uncontrolled spider flights."
Another research from nature made a splash in this hot summer days. Researchers found out why the Seahorse opted for a square tail and not for a round one like most tailed animals. The seahorse is on to something that could change the future of robotics.
"Almost all animal tails have circular or oval cross-sections--but not the seahorse's. We wondered why," said Michael Porter, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Clemson University and the lead investigator on the study, who earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego, in 2014. "We found that the squared-shaped tails are better when both grasping and armor are needed."
There is actually a big wave of discoveries that stem from researching nature lately. Humans are far from knowing all secrets of nature. This is also one of the big reasons to protect nature in all its form to not lose any of these secrets that could help humankind to survive in the future.
Researchers are also still finding droves of information in fossils. A new study reveals the detailed DNA of the wooly mammoth in a new level of detail. "This is by far the most comprehensive study to look at the genetic changes that make a woolly mammoth a woolly mammoth," said study author Vincent Lynch, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago. "They are an excellent model to understand how morphological evolution works, because mammoths are so closely related to living elephants, which have none of the traits they had."
Space research is going to have a historic moment in about one week. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will get close to Pluto and its moons on July 14. The mission had a brief scare on the weekend when NASA lost contact to New Horizons. The spacecraft is back to normal, but the course needs to be adjusted to get the mission back to its planned schedule.
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