Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Jan 22 2017, 6:06am CST | by , Updated: Jan 22 2017, 6:13am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Top Science Stories This Week
Eugene Cernan , last man to walk on moon, holding U.S. flag on the lunar surface. Credit: NASA
 

More than Half of World Primates are Threatened with Extinction

A world without primates is unimaginable right now but a new report suggests that this could happen in the future.

An extensive study of primates such as apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises reveals a dramatic decline in their population and says that about 60 percent of 504 species of primates are threatened with extinction.

The biggest threat is the destruction of forests which are inhabited by these animals. The combination of habitat loss, hunting and man-made climate will drive our closest living biological relatives towards extinction within the next 25 to 50 years unless something has done to save them.

The Last Man to Walk on Moon Dies

Eugene Cernan, the US astronaut who was the commander of final 1972 Apollo mission, dies on Monday last week. He was 82. 

Eugene Cernan earned several distinctions during his 13-year career with NASA. He was one of the only three astronauts to flown twice to the moon and was the 11th person to walk on moon. Above all, he was the last man to leave his footprints on moon’s surface. 

Cernan was the commander of 1972 lunar mission which was the sixth and final flight of the NASA’s Apollo mission to the moon. It was also the last time when humans landed on lunar surface. The mission broke several records including the longest moon landing, longest moonwalks and longest time in lunar orbit.

New Moth Species Named after Donald Trump

A newly discovered moth species has been named after the new US president. The species has yellow-white scales atop its head which resemble the distinct hairdo of Trump, earning it the name Neopalpa donaldtrumpi. 

The new tiny moth species is found across the state of California, US and Baja California, Mexico and was discovered while analyzing few moth specimens stored in Bohart Museum of Entomology in California. However, the new insect is at the risk of extinction due to extensive habitat loss. Drawing attention of the public and authorities toward the need of conservation of its fragile habitat was one of reasons behind the species' name.

Curiosity Rover Finds New Type of Meteorite on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has stumbled across a new type of meteorite on Mars. The meteorite has a gray-metallic luster and is predominantly made of iron. The texture of the meteorite rock hints of regmaglypts - a thumbprint-like impression observed on those meteorites that are being deprived of their soft outer layer due to intense heat and pressure while entering an atmosphere.   

It is not the first meteorite found by a rover on Mars. Since landing on Martian surface nearly four and a half years ago, Curiosity has discovered at least three different meteorites on Mars surface. The last time that happened in November 2016, when an egg-shaped meteorite was spotted by the rover.

Australian Megafauna was Killed Off by Humans, Not Climate Change

The continent of Australia was once abundant with giant kangaroos, rhino-sized wombats and tortoises weighing hundreds of pounds but almost 85 percent of Australian megafauna went extinct around 45,000 years ago. 

There are two main theories as to why the megafauna became extinct. It was either caused by climate change or through disruption of ecosystems by humans. Now, a research also supports the claim that Australian megafauna became extinct due to human overhunting, not climate change. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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