Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Mar 26 2017, 6:16am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Top Science Stories This Week
Groundbreaking research shakes up dinosuar family tree. Credit: University of Cambridge

First US Bumblebee Listed as Endangered Species

The rusty patched bumblebee on Tuesday became the first bee species in the continental United States to be listed as endangered. The bee was declared endangered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year but it could not officially join the list until now.

Rusty patched bumblebee was once widespread across 28 states in US but its population continued to drop dramatically over the years. The rusty patched has disappeared from about 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. Like many other bee species, the population of native American bee species is affected by an array of factors like habitat loss, diseases, pesticides and climate change. However, its listing as an endangered species means that the bee will receive federal protection and the stable recovery of this bee population could be made possible.

Dinosaur Family Tree may need to be Rewritten

The 130-year-old roots of dinosaur family tree have been turned upside down following the publication of new groundbreaking research.

Since 1888, paleontologists have been working with a classification system in which dinosaurs have been placed in to two distinct categories: Ornithischia and Saurischia. But now, after extensive analysis of dozens of fossil skeletons and their shared characteristics and ancestry, researchers have concluded that these widely accepted groupings may, in fact, be incorrect and need to be completely altered, rearranged or renamed.

New study also casts doubts on the longstanding theory of dinosaur’s origin and suggests that dinosaurs may have originated in the Northern Hemisphere, rather than in the Southern supercontinent of Gondwana.

Geologists Discover Parts of Earth’s Original Crust in Canadian Rocks

Parts of the Earth’s oldest crust that existed 4.2 billion years ago have been recovered from the rocks of Canada’s Hudson Bay. These rocks are mostly made up of granite and they themselves are not more than 2.7 years old. But the analysis of radio isotopes collected from the rocks suggests that they contain remnants of very old Earth’s crust that survived at Earth's surface for at least 1.5 billion years before later being re-melted into the rocks of northeastern Canada.

Earth’s original crust isn't around any longer to be studied directly. It has been either driven underground due to the action of tectonic plates or recycled to create the new one. Therefore, the finding is remarkable and could provide more insight into the origin and evolution of our planet.

Mars Curiosity Rover is Falling Apart

The wheels of Mars’ Curiosity rover are starting to crack and break apart. The deterioration was observed during the routine inspection of the rover by using a camera attached to its robotic arm.

The March 19 image shows two small breaks on the rover's left middle wheel that were not present when the wheels were last checked on January 27. But researchers say that these breaks are not bad enough to affect the rover’s ability to traverse Martian surface and to force NASA to change Curiosity’s travel plans.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has accumulated quite a lot of wheel damage since touching down Martian surface in 2012. But the wear and tear worsened significantly during 2013 when the rover crossed a terrain studded with sharp rocks. Currently, Curiosity is approaching toward the higher layers of Mount Sharp and is exploring its hard surface.

Scientists Test World’s Largest Artificial Sun

For the first time, German researchers have switched on a huge light structure which is made up of 149 spotlights and looks like an artificial Sun.

The structure stands 50 feet tall and can create 320 kWor 10,000 times the normal solar radiation experienced on Earth's surface at maximum setting. The aim of this artificial sun is to improve the production processes for solar fuels, including hydrogen, which could be an important renewable energy source in the future.

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