Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Nov 26 2016, 10:54pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 27 2016, 3:11am CST , in Latest Science News


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Top Science Stories This Week
Schiaparelli lander. Credit: NASA

Huge Ice Deposit Found on Mars Surface

A huge deposit of ice on Mars holds as much as water as Lake Superior does. Using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance radar system, researchers scanned some parts of Utopia Planitia, a mid-northern latitude region on the Mars. Ground penetrating radar revealed a massive ice deposit beneath the surface ranging in thickness from 260 to about 560 feet. The ice deposit is primarily made of water with the traces of dust or large rocky particles.

Finding a water ice deposit especially in the latitudes of Red Planet is surprising as water cannot persist on the surface of Mars today and turns into vapor due to its thick and dry atmosphere. The Utopia deposit probably remained preserved due to the thick soil covering.

Faintest Satellite Galaxy Orbiting Milky Way Discovered

Astronomers may have discovered the faintest satellite galaxy orbiting Milky Way. The satellite galaxy, named Virgo I, lies in the constellation of Virgo and is located 280,000 light years away from our solar system. The satellite has been detected during ongoing Subaru Strategic Survey with Subaru Telescope.

The discovery of such a faint galaxy suggests that there are many more small satellite galaxies lurking in the halo of the Milky Way. If detected, they could provide more clues on the formation of our galaxy and how dark matter contributed to it.

Coconut Crab’s Pinching Force is Stronger than the Bite of Most Land Predators

Coconut crab, largest land-dwelling crustacean, has a remarkably strong pinching force. However, the force of the crab has not been precisely measured before.

To find out, researchers collected 29 wild coconut crabs from Japan’s Okinawa Island varying in weight and size. Then, they used sensors to measure their squeezing strength.

Researchers found that strength of the crab’s claws was strongly correlated with their body mass. Since the pinching force increases with body mass, researchers estimate that largest of the crab involved in the study could exert as much as 3,300 newtons of force. The force is not only greater than any crustacean but also exceeds the bite force of most land predators.

Europe’s Mars Lander was Crashed due to a Computer Glitch

The European Space Agency (ESA) has confirmed that the Schiaparelli crash landing on Mars was caused by a computer glitch. With the malfunction of onboard sensor, it was assumed that the lander was much closer to the Mars’ surface. In reality, the vehicle was still approximately 3.7 km above the planet.

This is turn triggered a premature release of the parachute, a brief firing of the thrusters and eventually a crash landing. However, the next phase of the mission will start in 2018 when the Trace Gas Orbiter will attempt to sniff out methane on Mars.

NASA Develops High Calorie Bars for Deep Space Missions

Supplying food to astronauts during deep space missions is one of the biggest challenges for NASA.

To solve the problem, the space agency is developing a variety of food bars that astronauts will eat during long term space missions. Not only does those high calorie bars will provide astronauts the required energy but they will also occupy a relatively limited space.

Astronauts on Orion spacecraft will likely feast on those food bars. The spacecraft is designed to take humans to the destinations they have never gone before. The first Orion mission is expected to launch in 2021.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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