Science News

  1. European Mars probe destroyed after plunging to surface

    A full-size model of the European ExoMars entry, descent and landing module, Schiaparell is seen during a press conference at the European Space Agency (ESA) Headquarters in DarmstadtImages taken by a NASA Mars orbiter indicate that a missing European space probe fell to the Red Planet's surface from a height of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.2 to 2.5 miles) and was destroyed on impact, the European Space Agency said on Friday. The disc-shaped 577-kg (1,272 lb) Schiaparelli probe, part of the Russian-European ExoMars program to search for evidence of life on Mars, descended on Wednesday to test technologies for a rover that scientists hope to send to the surface of the planet in 2020. The U.S. space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling Mars for about 10 years, took low-resolution pictures that show a bright spot that ESA believes is the 12-metre parachute that Schiaparelli used to slow down.

  2. Spaceship carrying three-man crew docks with ISS, NASA TV reports

    The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying the crew of Shane Kimbrough of the U.S., Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Russia blasts off to the ISS from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome(Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts docked with the International Space Station on Friday, NASA TV reported, two days after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spaceship with NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko on board completed the docking maneuver at 0952 GMT....

  3. Smart mouth: Chinese fish fossil sheds light on jaw evolution

    An illustration shows the fish called Qilinyu that lived 423 million years ago during the Silurian PeriodBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bottom-dwelling, mud-grubbing, armored fish that swam in tropical seas 423 million years ago is fundamentally changing the understanding of the evolution of an indisputably indispensable anatomical feature: the jaw. "Now we know that one branch of placoderms evolved into modern jawed vertebrates," said study co-leader Zhu Min, a paleontologist at Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

  4. Spiders can 'tune' webs for good vibrations, researchers say

    Dr. Beth Mortimer from the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford tests the web of the garden cross spiderSpiders can control the tension and stiffness of their webs to optimize their sensory powers, helping them locate and identify prey as well as partners, according to researchers at Oxford University. "Spiders use vibrations not only from prey which is caught in their web, where obviously it's important that they know...where it is and what it might be," researcher Beth Mortimer told Reuters. "But vibrations are also important in courtship... A lot of males will actually generate a very specific kind of musical pattern which the females can use to determine not only that they're a male but they're the right species and whether she might want to mate with them as well." Spiders can also use the information to assess their web's condition, she said.

  5. NASA spacecraft loses computer before close encounter with Jupiter

    File photo of artist's rendering depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft above Jupiter's north pole in this undated handout imageBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA's Juno spacecraft lost its main computer and science instruments shortly before it was due to make an orbital pass near Jupiter on Wednesday, scuttling highly anticipated close-up observations of the largest planet in the solar system. The U.S. space agency said the glitch followed an unrelated problem last week that prompted it to skip firing Juno’s braking engine, to steer the probe into a tighter regular orbit around Jupiter. Juno's computer restarted after Wednesday's shutdown and the spacecraft was "healthy," NASA said in a statement.


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