The Most Interesting Science Stories Of The Week

Posted: May 7 2017, 2:28pm CDT | by , Updated: May 7 2017, 2:35pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

The Most Interesting Science Stories of the Week
Artist's illustration of nearby planetary system that is similar to our own. Credit: NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook

Larsen C Crack Just Sprouted a New Branch

A new crack has opened in the Antarctic’s Larsen C ice shelf. The crack is actually the offshoot of the established rift that is spreading across the ice shelf since 2014 and is on the verge of producing a massive iceberg. If this happens, it would be one of the largest breaks of its kind.

While a new branch has been observed in Larsen C, the original crack has not spread further. Nevertheless, it has grown in size dramatically over the past few months. Now, only 10 miles of ice is holding the ice shelf together. Once splits, the iceberg will significantly change the landscape of the continent.

World’s Biggest X-ray Laser Switched on for the First Time

World’s biggest and most powerful X-ray laser has produced its first-ever flash. The initial flash lasted on pulse per second, which will increase up to 27 000 per second once fully operational. The 3.4 km long facility will begin its operation in September, so it has reached the last major milestone before its official opening.

The X-ray laser light of the European XFEL is extremely intense and a billion times brighter than that of conventional radiation sources. To keep it in perspective, a standard x-ray laser could produce a maximum of 120 flashes per second. The European XFEL will open up completely new research opportunities for scientists and will broaden their view of how nature works on the atomic level and on ultrafast timescales.

Christopher Columbus’ Anchor Believed to be Discovered

A team of researchers has found a centuries old anchor at a shipwreck site in the Caribbean. And the anchor is believed to have belonged to Christopher Columbus’ fleet. The anchor dates back to 1550s and weighs between 1200 and 1500 pounds, indicates that it was from a 300-ton vessel, the typical size of a Columbus-era ship. Moreover, the anchor is of Spanish origin, adding more weight to the theory. Spanish sailor Vicente Yanez Pinzon along with his brother Martin Alonso Pinzon was part of the Columbus expeditions in 1500. During their epic voyage, the fleet was caught in a hurricane and two of the ships wrecked near the Turks and Caicos islands.

The discovery was maed using ‘space treasure map.’

NASA is Reviewing Destinations for Future Solar System Mission

NASA has received 12 proposals for the next mission to explore a solar system world. The mission will be the part of NASA’s New Frontier program which has already launched three missions: New Horizons mission to Pluto, Juno mission to Jupiter and the OSIRIS-REx probe to asteroid Bennu which is expected to return to Earth in 2023.

The proposals will undergo scientific and technical review over the next seven months, while the mission is expected to launch somewhere in the mid 2020s.

NASA Finds a Solar System Remarkably Similar to our Own

NASA’s flying observatory SOFIA has recently studied a nearby planetary system located 10 light-years away in the southern hemisphere of the constellation Eridanus. And the observations show that this planetary system has a structure remarkably similar to that of our solar system.

The system is surrounding a star that looks like a younger version of the sun. It also has a Jupiter-sized planet with almost similar orbit and a disk of rock and dirt resembling to our asteroid belt. The planetary system could be an ideal candidate to understand how planets and solar system are formed.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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