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UAE reschedules Mars mission launch to between July 20 and July 22

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DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates has rescheduled the launch of its mission to Mars to a preliminary window between July 20 and July 22, depending on weather conditions at the launch site in Japan, the government’s communications office said on Thursday.

The launch of the UAE’s Hope Probe from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center has been delayed twice due to unsettled weather. The probe is set to make a seven-month journey to the red planet before orbiting it and sending back data about the atmosphere.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Source: – SaltWire Network

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'The blob': Scientists confirm discovery of a completely new undersea species – Owen Sound Sun Times

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Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed

Meet Duobrachium sparksae – a strange, gelatinous species of ctenophore, encountered during a dive off the coast of Puerto Rico.

NOAA fisheries

Deep in the dark, murky waters of our oceans, a gelatinous blob, shaped like a dislodged human molar, floats along the seabed.

Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed, until a team of scientists accidentally discovered it during a deep-sea dive off the coast of Puerto Rico in 2015, with help from an underwater, remotely-operated vehicle called ‘Deep Discover.’

Five years on, in a paper published this month, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that the blob is an entirely new species of undersea creature, Duobrachium sparksae – a never-before-seen species of jelly-like ctenophore. It’s also the first time that researchers have discovered a species using high-definition video footage only.

“It’s unique because we were able to describe a new species based entirely on high-definition video,” explained NOAA marine biologist Allen Collins in a release.

“We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects.”

Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, have bulbous, balloon-like bodies, from which protrude two tentacle-like strings, known as cilia. There are between 100 and 150 species of comb jellies, according to the NOAA, and despite their name, they are not at all related to jellyfish. Ctenophores, the group explains, are carnivorous, and many are highly efficient predators that eat small arthropods and many kinds of larvae.

[embedded content]

Three different specimens were filmed by the vehicle at depths around 3,900 metres, in an underwater area called the Arecibo Amphitheater, which lies within a trench known as the Guajataca Canyon, off Puerto Rico. One of the animals appeared to use its tentacles to touch the seabed, scientists said. 

“It was a beautiful and unique organism,” oceanographer Mike Ford was quoted as saying in a release.

“It moved like a hot air balloon attached to the seafloor on two lines, maintaining a specific altitude above the seafloor. Whether it’s attached to the seabed, we’re not sure. We did not observe direct attachment during the dive, but it seems like the organism touches the seafloor.”

Identifying a new species solely via photographic and video evidence has often yielded contentious results, the scientists explained in their paper, as natural classification “relies heavily” on the physical specimen samples preserved in museums “to serve as references to which other material can be compared.”

“Indeed, the idea of using photographic evidence to establish new species has been highly contentious in recent decades.”

In this case, however, the team was able to avoid any pushback due to the high-definition quality of the footage they recorded of the three observed specimens. The team hopes to collect real-life specimens on future dives, but fears it may be decades before they run into the species again.

“Even if we had the equipment, there would have been very little time to process the animal because gelatinous animals don’t preserve very well,” Collins said.

“Ctenophores are even worse than jellyfish in this regard.”

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'The blob': Scientists confirm discovery of a completely new undersea species – Brockville Recorder and Times

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Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed

Meet Duobrachium sparksae – a strange, gelatinous species of ctenophore, encountered during a dive off the coast of Puerto Rico.

NOAA fisheries

Deep in the dark, murky waters of our oceans, a gelatinous blob, shaped like a dislodged human molar, floats along the seabed.

Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed, until a team of scientists accidentally discovered it during a deep-sea dive off the coast of Puerto Rico in 2015, with help from an underwater, remotely-operated vehicle called ‘Deep Discover.’

Five years on, in a paper published this month, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that the blob is an entirely new species of undersea creature, Duobrachium sparksae – a never-before-seen species of jelly-like ctenophore. It’s also the first time that researchers have discovered a species using high-definition video footage only.

“It’s unique because we were able to describe a new species based entirely on high-definition video,” explained NOAA marine biologist Allen Collins in a release.

“We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects.”

Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, have bulbous, balloon-like bodies, from which protrude two tentacle-like strings, known as cilia. There are between 100 and 150 species of comb jellies, according to the NOAA, and despite their name, they are not at all related to jellyfish. Ctenophores, the group explains, are carnivorous, and many are highly efficient predators that eat small arthropods and many kinds of larvae.

[embedded content]

Three different specimens were filmed by the vehicle at depths around 3,900 metres, in an underwater area called the Arecibo Amphitheater, which lies within a trench known as the Guajataca Canyon, off Puerto Rico. One of the animals appeared to use its tentacles to touch the seabed, scientists said. 

“It was a beautiful and unique organism,” oceanographer Mike Ford was quoted as saying in a release.

“It moved like a hot air balloon attached to the seafloor on two lines, maintaining a specific altitude above the seafloor. Whether it’s attached to the seabed, we’re not sure. We did not observe direct attachment during the dive, but it seems like the organism touches the seafloor.”

Identifying a new species solely via photographic and video evidence has often yielded contentious results, the scientists explained in their paper, as natural classification “relies heavily” on the physical specimen samples preserved in museums “to serve as references to which other material can be compared.”

“Indeed, the idea of using photographic evidence to establish new species has been highly contentious in recent decades.”

In this case, however, the team was able to avoid any pushback due to the high-definition quality of the footage they recorded of the three observed specimens. The team hopes to collect real-life specimens on future dives, but fears it may be decades before they run into the species again.

“Even if we had the equipment, there would have been very little time to process the animal because gelatinous animals don’t preserve very well,” Collins said.

“Ctenophores are even worse than jellyfish in this regard.”

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The iconic Arezipo laboratory radio telescope collapses after the cable breaks – haveeruonline

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A large radio telescope in Puerto Rico played a key role in astronomical discoveries Tuesday, officials said. The Arecibo Laboratory, Is popular as the backdrop for a major show in James Bond “Golden Eye” and other Hollywood hits closed after a sub cable was broken and shut down since August 100-foot cash On the reflection dish.

A major cable broke in early November, and the National Science Foundation announced plans to shut down the radio telescope a few weeks later because the damage was so severe.

Many scientists and Puerto Ricans mourned the news, some tearing up during interviews. Puerto Rico-based meteorologist Deborah Marterell tweeted early Tuesday morning: “Friends, it is with deep sadness that I inform you that the Arecibo monitoring site has now collapsed.”

It was the world’s second largest radio telescope and had been in operation for more than half a century.

Powered by the National Science Foundation through the University of Central Florida, the iconic lab is made up of a fixed dish antenna 1,000 feet wide, which is built on a bowl-like depression 450 feet above the radio from three support towers suspended from three support towers.

111920-arecibo1.jpg
The 1,000-foot-wide Arecibo Laboratory in Puerto Rico led to its collapse before the damage.

University of Central Florida

For 57 years, the laboratory has played a key role in observing the composition and behavior of the Earth’s upper atmosphere using deep space targets, bodies in the solar system, and powerful light rays.

Prior to its collapse, the laboratory had withstood hurricanes and earthquakes and played central roles in films such as “Golden Eye” and “Contact”.

111920-arecibo-damage.jpg
On August 10, 2020, a sub-cable was released from a support tower and crashed into a dish below, tearing a 100-foot-long tear.

University of Central Florida

Bill Harwood contributed to this report.

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