Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Dec 10 2016, 10:48pm CST | by , Updated: Dec 10 2016, 10:53pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Top Science Stories This Week
Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's intriguing feature hexagon. Credit: NASA
 

Tiny Robot Salto is the Most Agile Jumping Robot Ever

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley have created a robot with remarkable jumping ability. The robot, dubbed Salto, can leap more than three feet into the air from a standing position. It can perform multiple vertical jumps one after another and can even spring off a wall.

The robot is inspired by a super jumper African primate galago. So, it replicates the same mechanism and has achieved the 78 percent of the vertical jumping ability of a galago. Salto and other agile robots can explore venues of locomotion and can assist search and rescue missions in the future.

Cassini Spacecraft sends Back First Images of Saturn from a New Orbit

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has just begun new phase of its mission called Ring Grazing-Orbits and sent back first views of the planet from the new orbit. The new images focus on Saturn’s northern hemisphere, including the planet's intriguing hexagon-shaped jet stream.

Started on November 30, the new phase of the mission involves a total of 20 close flybys of Saturn above its poles and close to outer edges of planet’s rings. The phase will continue until April 22 next year. 

Future passes will include some of the closest-ever views of the outer rings and small moons that orbit there.

Giraffes Facing Extinction after Devastating Decline

Giraffe, the largest land animal, is now in danger of becoming extinct in the wild. 

According to a latest report, giraffe populations have declined by up to 40% over the last 30 years and this is happening largely unnoticed. 

Their numbers have dropped from as many as 163,000 in 1985 to just over 97,000 last year. Still, the animal is not getting much attention from governments and conservation groups. The decline in population is largely driven by habitat loss and illegal hunting as with so many other species. Based on the latest studies, researchers suggest that giraffe number is even fewer than African elephant today which is another endangered species.

Dark Matter is not as Clumpy as Previously Thought 

Universe is mostly made up of dark matter or the elusive material that is not directly observed so far. But researchers are unsure how the dark matter is distributed. 

Previous theories suggest that the dark matter is not uniform and it has lumped together over time through gravitational effect. The latest research, however, contradicts this notion.

In the latest study, researchers looked at the processed images of total area of sky containing around 15 million galaxies and made the precise ever measurements of a phenomenon known as cosmic shear. 

Researchers found that the dark matter is more evenly distributed throughout the cosmos than previously thought. 

Dinosaur Tail Discovered Trapped in Amber 

In a groundbreaking find, researchers have discovered the tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur trapped inside amber.

It is highly unlikely to find a feather from a dinosaur’s body trapped in amber and it adds weight to arguments that dinosaurs had no scales. Instead, their bodies were covered with feathers like birds that they have descended from.

The amber, which weighs 6.5 grams, was obtained from an amber market in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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