Connect with us

Science

Perfectly preserved cave lion cub found in Siberian permafrost – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Scientists have unveiled an extraordinary find — a lion cub found in the Arctic that may be the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found.

The female cub, nicknamed Sparta, was found by a local resident named Boris Berezhnev in 2018 along Russia’s Semyuelyakh River. Berezhnev had been searching for mammoth tusks, which he had a licence to collect.

“Sparta is probably the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found, and is more or less undamaged, apart from the fur being a bit ruffled,” said Love Dalén, co-author of a new study on the find, in a news release from Stockholm University Friday. “She even had the whiskers preserved.”

Sparta, estimated to have died 28,000 years ago, was one of two lion cubs described in the study, published this week in the journal Quarternary

The other was a male cub found by Berezhnev in 2017, just 15 metres from Sparta. At first, the researchers who recovered the cubs in Siberian permafrost thought they were siblings, but the male cub, named Boris, turned out to be much older — having died 43,000 years ago, radiocarbon dating showed.

“Boris is a bit more damaged, but still pretty good,” said Dalén, professor of evolutionary genetics at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm.

 

The researchers estimated based on the development of the cubs’ teeth that they were both between one and two months old when they died. But they were small compared to African lion cubs with a similar level of tooth development, suggesting their teeth developed faster.

“This may be due to the short periods of warm weather [and] harsher winters in the northern latitudes, meaning cubs had to develop faster and be able to eat meat at a younger age,” the researchers wrote.

Sparta’s fur was greyish to light brown and Boris’s was greyish yellow, without the spots that African lion cubs have. The researchers suggested the light colour was adapted for snow-covered landscapes. They also had a thick undercoat that African lion cubs don’t have, which appeared to be adapted to a cold climate.

Their preservation suggested they must have been buried quickly, possibly in a mudslide, Dalén suggested.

The study was led by Gennady Boeskorov from the Diamond and Precious Metals Geology Institute at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and included other researchers from Russia, France, Sweden, the U.K. and Japan.

During the last Ice Age, cave lions were a common predator throughout northern Eurasia and North America, including Canada. In fact, the first cave lion genome came from a bone from Yukon. The species went extinct about 14,000 years ago.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Joe Biden Wants to Put a Japanese Astronaut on the Moon – Gizmodo

Published

 on


Gateway, illustrated here, will serve as a crucial part of the upcoming Artemis missions.
Illustration: NASA

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida further solidified their plans to send a Japanese astronaut to the upcoming lunar space station, while also affirming the possibility of having a Japanese astronaut walk on the Moon during future Artemis missions.

Biden and Kishida met in Tokyo on Monday to continue discussions around an Implementing Agreement that will potentially place a Japanese astronaut on the Gateway space station. The leaders also reaffirmed each country’s commitment to share data on climate change. The discussion around Gateway personnel is a part of ongoing conversations between the U.S. and Japan regarding NASA’s upcoming missions to the Moon.

Gateway is an integral component of NASA’s larger effort to return to the Moon, a series of upcoming missions known as the Artemis program. Once built, Gateway will serve as a Moon-orbiting outpost offering lunar-bound astronauts support for their visit. The lunar space station, in addition to serving as critical infrastructure for the Artemis missions, will also serve as a staging point for future crewed missions to Mars. The first pieces of the upcoming lunar station are set to launch no earlier than November 2024.

“In recent years, the alliance between Japan and the United States has grown stronger, deeper, and more capable as we work together to take on new challenges—just as important as the opportunities—of a rapidly changing world,” said President Biden in a NASA press release.

Japan and the U.S. are also interested in placing a Japanese astronaut on the surface of the Moon during a yet-to-be-determined Artemis mission, according to a White House fact sheet. NASA is looking to land astronauts on the lunar south pole by 2025, and Artemis will involve the first crewed Moon missions since Apollo 17 in 1972. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in the release: “Our shared ambition to see Japanese and American astronauts walk on the Moon together reflects our nations’ shared values to explore space responsibly and transparently for the benefit of humanity here on Earth.”

While the first pieces of Gateway are still a few years away from launch, having the U.S. and Japan team up is an opportunity to get more nations involved. The Artemis missions will be a global effort, and getting back to the Moon represents an exciting next step in space exploration and engineering.

More: This Tiny Moon-Bound Satellite Could Carve a Path For a Lunar Space Station.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Crumbling comet could create meteor shower May 30 – Toronto Sun

Published

 on


Article content

A crumbling comet could create a meteor shower on May 30.

Article content

The ‘tau Herculids’ meteor display might be one of the most dramatic observed in over two decades, according to Space.com.

Meteor showers occur when dust or particles from asteroids or comets enter Earth’s atmosphere at a very high speed, the U.K. Sun explained.

This one is expected to be the product of a comet named 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, also known as SW3.

SW3 was first discovered in 1930 but did not reappear again until the 1970s, Republic World reported.

In 1995, astronomers noticed that the comet’s nucleus split into four smaller chunks, according to CNET.

It has continued to disintegrate more in the ensuing years.

The display is expected to be very visible in the Northern Hemisphere as it is occurring on a Moon-less night.

A consensus of experts predicts that the shower will be visible starting from 1 a.m. EST on May 31.

It is suggested viewers will want to be outside at least an hour before this so your eyes have a chance to adjust to the dark.

“The southwestern USA and Mexico are favored locations as the radiant, the area of the sky where these meteors come from, will be located highest in a dark sky,” Robert Lunsford wrote for AMS.

“The outburst may be seen from southeastern Canada and the remainder of the (eastern) USA, but at a lower altitude.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Boeing capsule returns from space station after test flight with no crew – CBC News

Published

 on


Boeing’s crew taxi returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Wednesday, completing a repeat test flight before NASA astronauts climb aboard.

It was a quick trip back: the Starliner capsule parachuted into the New Mexico desert just four hours after leaving the orbiting lab, with airbags attached to cushion the landing. Only a mannequin was buckled in.

Aside from thruster failures and cooling system snags, Starliner appeared to clinch its high-stakes shakedown cruise, 2½ years after its botched first try. Flight controllers in Houston applauded and cheered the bull’s-eye touchdown.

NASA astronauts will strap in next for a trip to the space station. The space agency has long wanted two competing U.S. companies ferrying astronauts, giving it added insurance as it drastically reduced its reliance on Russia for rides to and from the space station.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is already the established leader, launching astronauts since 2020 and even tourists. Its crew capsules splash down off the Florida coast; Boeing’s Starliner returns to the U.S. Army’s expansive White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

This image from NASA TV shows the Boeing Starliner approaching the International Space Station last Friday. (NASA/The Associated Press)

Boeing scrapped its first attempt to reach the space station in 2019, after software errors left the capsule in the wrong orbit and nearly doomed it. The company fixed the flaws and tried again last summer, but corroded valves halted the countdown. Following more repairs, Starliner finally lifted off from Cape Canaveral last Thursday and docked to the space station Friday.

Station astronauts tested Starliner’s communication and computer systems during its five days at the space station. They also unloaded hundreds of kilograms of groceries and other supplies that flew up in the Boeing capsule, then filled it with empty air tanks and other discarded gear.

A folded U.S. flag sent up by Boeing stayed behind, to be retrieved by the first Starliner crew.

“We’re a little sad to see her go,” station astronaut Bob Hines radioed as the capsule flew away.

Along for the ride was Starliner’s test dummy — Rosie the Rocketeer, a takeoff on the Second World War’s Rosie the Riveter.

The repairs and do-over cost Boeing nearly $600 million US.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending