Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Jan 29 2017, 4:05am CST | by , Updated: Jan 29 2017, 4:09am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Top Science Stories This Week
A full image of Earth taken by NOAA's GOES-16 satellite. Credit: NOAA/NASA
 

466 Million-Year-Old Space Collision is Still Sending Meteorites on Earth

Majority of the meteorites that are found on Earth today are produced by a giant asteroid collision in outer space taking place some 466 million years ago. But scientists have long wanted to know what type of meteorites fall on Earth before that collision. When they analyzed millions of years old micrometeorites, they found that most of meteorites we see today are different from the ones that have fallen in the Earth’s early history. 34% of pre-collision meteorites belong to a meteorite type called primitive achondrites, only 0.45 percent of such meteorites fall on Earth today.

By studying different types of meteorites that have made their way to Earth, scientists can learn about their compositional properties and parent body. This information can also help them develop a better understanding of how our Solar System formed and evolved. 

NOAA’s New Weather Satellite Returns its First Views of Earth

NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite has sent back its first images of Earth this week and they are absolutely amazing.

The next generation satellite was launched into the space on November 19 and it is intended to take most detailed and clear of Earth to date, which will enable meteorologists to provide more accurate and timely weather forecast and to pinpoint the exact location of cyclones and thunderstorms with more precision. 

The new weather satellite is far superior than any existing GOES satellite. To put this in perspective, GOES-16 has four times better resolution and five times faster coverage than satellites ever orbited the Earth. It captures a high-definition images of the continental United States every 5 minutes and the full Earth every 15 minutes.

China Plans to Launch New Lunar Probe in November 

China has announced its plans to send a lunar mission before the end of 2017.

The mission, known as Chang’s-5, is aiming to dig the moon’s surface and bring back samples of rocks from there. This would be the China’s first ever automated moon surface sampling probe and would also be the first retrieval mission in more than 40 years. The last time such probe was launched in 1976 by Soviet Union.

Next year, China is also planning to send a lunar probe to the far side of the moon. If successful, China will become the first country to achieve soft landing on that part of the moon.

Astronaut Tim Peake will Return to Space Station for Second Mission

Tim Peake became first official Britain astronaut when he was launched into International Space Station on December 2015 and spent six months there.

Now, Peake has unveiled his plans to return to ISS for a second mission with the European Space Agency. The announcement was made at the London Science Museum during the display of Soyuz capsule that brought him and two companions back to Earth.

Peak’s next mission is not scheduled yet and is not expected to take place before 2019. 

New Test for Detecting Life on Other Planets

Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created a simple chemistry that can search for signs of life on planets beyond Earth. 

The method focuses on amino acids which are building blocks of life on Earth. The test is 10,000 times more sensitive than current methods employed by NASA’s rovers.

When researchers tested the technique on salt-rich waters of Mono Lake in California, they were able to identify 17 different types of amino acids, which are the "the Signature 17 standard.” These amino acids are expected to be found in the salty ocean worlds of Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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