The Most Interesting Science Stories Of The Week

Posted: Apr 16 2017, 8:06am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 16 2017, 1:24pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
The Most Interesting Science Stories of the Week
A nighttime view of Asia (top left) and Australia (bottom right). Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA Offers New Insight into Oceans Beyond Earth

The question for whether life exists beyond Earth is one of most intriguing ones in human history. And for the first time we have the tools and technology to answer this question in a proper manner.

Recently, NASA has presented new details about ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn and provided further evidences of their ability to support life. Researchers have found a form of chemical energy that can harbor life appears to exist on Saturn's moon Enceladus while Hubble has detected additional evidence of water plumes erupting from Jupiter's moon Europa. This is the closest researchers have been able to find some of the ingredients needed for a habitable environment in other places of solar system besides Earth.

Japanese Scientists Plan to Drill into Earth’s Mantle

Nobody has been able to reach the Earth’s mantle - a layer just beneath the outer crust - because of very extreme conditions, both very high temperatures and very intense pressures. It just appears impossible to dig a hole so deep and to send a probe there. However, Japanese researchers plan to be the first group in history to drill successfully into the Earth's mantle and to study more about how our planet was formed and what the mantle is made of.

Japanese researchers say they will drill through the ocean floor to reach the mantle because the crust is much thinner there. For this purpose, three drilling sites are under consideration, all of them in the Pacific Ocean. To access the mantle, researchers will use one of the most advanced drilling vessels currently available, Chikyu.

Astronomers Capture the First-Ever Image of Black Hole

After switching on radio telescopes from around the word for six nights, researchers believe they have finally collected sufficient data to stitch together the first-ever image of a black hole.

Black holes have never been observed or photographed directly because of their extremely dark appearance and their inability to interact with light. To solve this problem, researchers have decided to use radio waves and created a planet-sized telescope by coordinating different telescopes around the world from Hawaii to Antarctica to Spain.

Researchers then pointed these telescopes in the direction of center of Milky Way galaxy where a supermassive black hole lies. It can take months to process and release the image, but if succeeded results could help test many theories about mysterious, never-before-seen black holes.

Dinosaur Ancestors were More Like Crocodiles

Researchers have discovered a new species of ancient reptile that could provide a missing link in the evolutionary history of dinosaurs. The long-necked, meat-eating reptile, Teleocrater rhadinus, could grow up to 10 feet long and tend to walk on four legs like crocodile. The creature roamed across what is now African country Tanzania during the Triassic Period some 245 million years ago – millions of years before the first dinosaurs emerged.

The discovery points to a momentous split in which ancestor of dinosaurs diverged from the ancestor of crocodiles and fundamentally challenges our perception of what the close relatives of dinosaurs would have looked like.

Stunning Global Maps of Earth at Night Revealed

NASA has released stunning global maps that provide unprecedented new look at our planet at night and reveal the pattern of human settlement across the planet in greater detail than ever before.

The maps were produced using data taken from NASA-NOAA Suomi satellite. The satellite was launched in 2011 and can detect light in 22 different wavelengths throughout the day. The diversity allow researchers to distinguish the intensity, types and the sources of night lights such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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