Top Science Stories Of The Week

Posted: Apr 9 2017, 3:49am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 9 2017, 3:57am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Top Science Stories of the Week
Credit: NASA

Octopuses, Squids and Cuttlefish can Edit their RNA

Octopuses and other cephalopod are known for their exceptional intelligence. They can open jars, slip out of tanks and squeeze their body through narrow pipes. Now, researchers have discovered another weird thing about this group of marine animals. Octopuses, along with some squid and cuttlefish species do not follow the genetic instructions in their DNA. Instead, they edit and rewrite their RNA to adapt to their environment.

Researchers have found that these three cephalopods display an extraordinarily high rate of editing in coding regions of their RNA, particularly in nervous system cells. However, the process appears to slow the normal DNA-based evolution.

Earth-Sized Telescope is set to Capture First-ever Image of Black Hole

On April 5, researchers have turned the Earth into one giant telescope by coordinating observations from eight telescopes installed in different parts of the world. These telescopes are collectively known as Event Horizon Telescope. Researchers will continue directing these radio telescopes for the next 10 days at the center of the Milky Way where a massive black hole is lying and use this data to stitch together the first real image of a black hole. The black hole, named Sagittarius A* is approximately 26,000 light-years from Earth – closest such object to Earth - and is believed to be four million times more massive than our sun.

Black holes are extremely dark objects that have not been observed and photographed directly. So, researches are hoping to use radio waves to create the eagerly awaited first real images of black hole.

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft is preparing for its Grand Finale

After exploring Saturn’s system for more than ten years, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is about to begin the final chapter of its remarkable story.

On April 25, Cassini will make one of the first dives through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings before destroying itself into the planet’s atmosphere in September 15. During the grand finale, the spacecraft will dive as close as 1,012 miles above the Saturn and will take the best and closest images of planet ever made.

The bus-sized Cassini spacecraft is the first to enter the Saturn’s orbit. The spacecraft is designed to get powerful insights into Saturn's atmosphere, the origins of its rings as well as to obtain the first ever sample of particles from its main rings. During its last act, Cassini will get closer and closer to Saturn and got shredded by its gravitational power.

The Original Brexit Occurred 450,000 years ago

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) is colloquially known as Brexit and this event has grabbed headlines in recent months. However, researchers suggest that this is not the first time when Britian has separated from the European mainland. The original Brexit took place thousands of years ago.

Nearly 450,000 years age, Britain was connected with the rest of the Europe until a proglacial lake over spilled and triggered giant waterfalls. The enormous waterfalls slowly cut the chalk ridge in the Dover Strait that was acting as the bridge between the Britain and the mainland Europe and demolished their connection. The process is evident through the huge holes and a valley system located on the seafloor.

Europe’s First Cave Fish Discovered

Researchers have discovered the first European cave fish in Germany. The previously unknown cave fish species dwells a hard-to-reach, underground water system in South Germany and was first spotted by a hobby cave diver. Like many other cave fishes, the eyes of the fish are smaller, almost curved inwards and their color has disappeared. The fish seems well adapted to the cave’s conditions despite experiencing strong currents and cold temperatures. No more than dozens of divers have ever reached the place where the fish have been found.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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