Archive for the Nature Category
NASA says its Mars rover Spirit has discovered “the best evidence yet” of a past habitable environment on the planet’s surface. Spirit found a patch of silica-rich soil earlier this year, which scientists believe is a promising sign that Mars hosted at least niche environments that could have potentially harbored life. Spirit has been exploring a plateau called Home Plate, where it discovered silica-rich soil in May.
Researchers are now trying to determine what produced the patch of nearly pure silica. So far, they believe that the deposits must have come from an ancient hot-spring environment or a fumarole, in which acidic steam rises through cracks. On Earth, these types of environments are teeming with microbial life, said rover chief scientist Steve Squyres.
Read more here: Mars Rover Finds “Best Sign Yet” of Microbial Life
The icy feature has been spotted in images from the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Mars Express spacecraft.
Ancient glaciers, many millions of years old, have been seen before on the Red Planet, but this one may only be several thousand years old.
The young glacier appears in the Deuteronilus Mensae region between Mars’ rugged southern highlands and the flat northern lowlands.
“If it was an image of Earth, I would say ‘glacier’ right away,” Dr Gerhard Neukum, chief scientist on the spacecraft’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) told BBC News.
“We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice.”
This is found in very few places on the Red Planet because as soon ice is exposed to the Martian environment, it sublimates – or turns from a solid state directly into gas.
Read more here: ‘Active glacier found’ on Mars
The a lemon-yellow bamboo coral tree and a giant sponge were discovered last month in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument by the Pisces V submersible operated by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL).
So right after they figure out how to pronounce the name of the area in which they found the new species, they can figure out exactly which pollutant will kill it off the fastest. After that, the researchers hope to finish construction of their latest undersea vessels, the BARF (Biological Aquatic Reef Finder) and the VOMIT (Variable Omnidirectional Marine Individual Transporter).
more here: Researchers find new deep water coral
An “extraordinary” desert creature has been caught on camera for what scientists believe is the first time.
The long-eared jerboa, a tiny nocturnal mammal that is dwarfed by its enormous ears, can be found in deserts in Mongolia and China.
Zoological Society of London (ZSL) scientist Jonathan Baillie said the footage was helping researchers to learn more about the mysterious animal.
more here: Mysterious mammal caught on film