NASA Spacecraft sends first photos of Jupiter after five year trip is completed

Pasadena, CA – NASA has released the first photos sent by its Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter on Saturday.

The said photos were taken by the spacecraft at its time of arrival at Jupiter, but the space association released them to the public just yesterday.

Furthermore, despite the spacecraft being three million miles away from Jupiter, the planet’s Great Red Spot, which is a centuries-old atmospheric storm, and three of its four largest moons were visible.

Juno managed to enter Jupiter’s orbit last week, dispelling fears of high-speed impact with debris in the planet’s tenuous ring, or potential radiation damage.

The spacecraft shut down its primary engine for thirty-five minutes straight, thus adequately slowing down before entering the planned polar orbit.

NASA did it again! That says it all to me,” Juno’s principal investigator, Scott Bolton, mentioned at a press conference, which took place after the good news came in. “And I am so happy to be part of the team that did that. This team has worked so hard, and we have just such great people. It’s almost like a dream coming true right here. … And now the fun begins. The science!

Furthermore, due to Jupiter’s massive distance from Earth, 540 million miles, NASA’s flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were not able to follow the spacecraft’s location and status at real time, as they had to wait forty-five minutes for radio signals to cross the space in between the two planets.

By the time they received the last update, Juno had already entered the designated orbit.

It took the spacecraft five years to reach its destination, while it will be staying on the planet for a twenty-month mission, during which Juno will be studying various aspects of the planet, including its atmosphere, interior and poles.

NASA’s department in charge of the mission stated that close-up photos of Jupiter are expected to come in their hands sometime next month.

Via: Science Daily

Climate change: US Republicans alarm China over talks

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama agreed to help China stop her greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in order to combat climate change and global warming, but Republicans in the US Senate rose up against Obama’s pledge toward China quitting gas emissions at the said date.
And so in view of talks coming up in Lima, Peru next week, Chinese climate change negotiators are afraid that the US Republicans attitude could disrupt the purpose of the deal.

Xie Zhenhua, vice director of the national planning agency and the chief negotiator on climate change said that “Because of internal politics in the US the Kyoto protocol was not ratified, so we are worried that we might face the same problem in the 2015 pact.” The Lima meeting is supposed to pave a way for another meeting in Paris next year where international climate agreements will be sealed.

And Frederic Mion, who is helping organise the Paris summit states that “There is a feeling that the announcement by Xi Jinping and Mr Obama changed the picture, The Chinese are now much more willing, less obstructive than we could have believed six months ago.”

Meanwhile, since the Chinese appear to be targeting 2030 to cut carbon emissions, Mr. Xie is of the view that “In 16 years there is lot of uncertainty, and trying to pin down a very accurate time or number down to two decimal places is actually not scientific.”

The Chinese government appears careful not to ally themselves with any global climate accord for now, most especially since the former premier Wen Jiabao’s negotiations of 2009 in Copenhagen was regarded as undermining Chinese diplomacy. He couldn’t commit on behalf of a Chinese political system that was torn by strong interest groups.

Black Seadevil captured in trending video 2,000 feet in ocean depths

Coming across the female angler fish, better known as, Black Seadevil, in the dark depths is not what many underwater researchers have ever witnessed, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) researchers have only come across three within 25 years of researching underwater canyon off the California coast.

The female angler fish is a freakishly ugly and scary little marine animal, hence its given name Black seadevil. Inhabiting almost 2,000 feet below the surface in Monterey Canyon, the Black seadevil is a denizen of the deep that inspires fear and awe at the same time. But Bruce Robison, a senior scientist at MBARI states that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think it’s beautiful. It’s perfectly adapted to the habitat that it lives in and the kind of life it leads.”

The female angler dwells in sea depths with little to no light, and it lives almost in perpetual darkness at such depths. But then, it is equipped with a bioluminescent fishing pole that lures food into its wide, cavernous, and jagged-toothed mouth. A marine biologist at MBARI, Steve Haddock, states that “when you see one, they really are more bizarre than science fiction could come up with,” and this is largely because the blinking blue and green lights of the Black seadevil gives it an appearance that is more like a spaceship than an animal.

At the depths of pitch darkness where such sea creatures live, they have a way of developing bioluminescent lights of their own, and in the case of the hideous female angler, it is the blue-green light that produces long wavelength colors in water.

The researchers at MBARI were able to capture a video of this rare creature using remotely operated vehicles, called the Doc Ricketts, operated from aboard a MBARI vessel known as the R/V Western Flyer – an oceanographic research vessel designed and constructed for this kind of service.

Experimental data confirms the existence of two new particles at CERN

Scientists at the CERN particle collider near Geneva have discovered two new particles that offer insight into the composition of our universe, and this appears to be the next big thing after the Higgs Boson confirmation in 2013. Scientists only had mathematical proofs that these particles existed, but now they can confirm that they actually do exist – being part of the baryon family.

Researchers now have evidence that the two subatomic particles exist, and its discovery is creating some sort of excitement among particle physicists at CERN and everywhere else. It provides clues and guidance on how the universe operates at a micro level.

The Large Hadron Collider is a machine that smashes particles, and it is located 100 meters below the border of France and Switzerland. Dr. Bruce Yabsley, a particle physicist at the University of Sidney in Australia has witnessed the machine operating up close, and he advises that it is really not too healthy staying up close when the machine is turned on – simply because spent particles that are thrown off when it is working can be quite hazardous. “They produce some short-lived radiation that rattles around in the tunnel, and that’s not healthy for you if you’re standing there,” he said.

While speaking about the Collider machine, Dr. Yabsley says that even though the two newly discovered particles might not be as groundbreaking as the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle in 2012, the confirmation of the particles is still a big deal. This will widen scientists’ scope at better understanding our world and making projections into the unknown.

Comet lander’s team will meet and publish report findings on Monday

The European Space Agency’s authorities will be having a crucial meeting on Monday where data sent back by the lander Philae will be analyzed for discussions before the final findings are published for public consumption. The German aeronautics and space research center revealed this recently when the teams were ready to go forward on the results of the scientific data downloaded from Philae on comet 67P.

Before going totally silent in its present idle mode, due to its inability to recharge its solar battery panels from direct sunlight, the comet lander had transmitted back some very important scientific data to Earth, and ESA scientists as well as people all over the world are eager to know what the data contains and how it adds value to our understanding of the Earth or our solar system.

According to a spokesman, Andreas Schuetz, the research center will publish the scientists total findings after they rise from their meeting on Monday, where they will have discussed a data analyses of what information the Philae transmitted.

The Philae had taken and sent back photo images of the comet, and it had also been commanded to drill a 10-inch hole into the ground of comet’s surface and excavate some soil samples for analysis in its onboard laboratory. Scientists are eager to know the analysis of the lab-tested comet’s soil samples and see how this affects organic matter and water back on Earth.

The layers of materials under comet’s soil have remained unchanged and intact for 4.5 billion years, and its samples would be a time capsule that researchers would like to study. The comet had been instructed to move its position by 1.5 inches and rotate to about 35 degrees in order to achieve direct sunlight upon its solar batteries, but it did not complete the performance before its batteries went down and it slipped into an idle sleep mode.

Philae goes in idle mode due to battery power loss

The initial fears of scientists controlling the comet-lander Philae have been confirmed: the robotic probe has gone into “idle mode” due to its inability to receive direct sunlight to recharge its solar battery panels. And it could potentially remain in the sleep mode for as long as August 2015, when the orbit of the comet will have allowed it to move closer to the sun at an angle that will provide direct sunlight to the Philae’s solar panels.

Although European Space Agency’s researchers were initially skeptical about the potential of the Philae to land safely on the surface of comet 67P without tumbling over or landing in a steep ravine, they were most relieved when the robot bounced twice and then landed upright on its feet – but their spirits were dampened when it became evident that the lander had landed in the shadows of a cliff where direct sunlight was uncertain, and that the battery of the probe was running out due to lack of solar power.

Before finally falling into sleep mode – awaiting an auspicious moment when the comet will orbit the sun and cast direct sunlight to charge its solar batteries – the Philae had sent down a few scientific data and photo images that were publicized by the ESA team. The handlers are glad that the probe was able to get to some work done and transmit salient data through radio downlink before its batteries went flat.

The controllers managed to command the probe to shift positions from the cliff shadows and reorietate it toward direct sunlight, but it appears the solar batteries went dead before the lander could accomplish the positioning commands. According to Paolo Ferri, the ESA’s head of mission operations, “we don’t know if the charge will ever be high enough to operate the lander again.”

This opinion remains a bad news for many despite the fact that the probe is said to have sent about 80% of its required data back to Earth. Meanwhile, $1.62 billion has been spent on the Rosetta mission in order to understudy celestial bodies and understand how life began on Earth, but all hope is not completely lost, the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko takes 6.6 years to orbit the sun, and the comet lander might come alive once more.

Image of Planet Formation Captured Which was Least Expected by Scientists

By using the Atacama Millimeter/submillimeter Array’s (ALMA) new most powerful mode, astronomers have been able to capture some of the rare and surprising activity taking place in the space which was beyond the expectation of the scientists. It is the image of the formation of a new planet around the youthful star HL Tauri and the process of the planet formation is so swift and clear through the image that scientists have remained surprised to view such a change!

Catherine Vlahakis, ALMA deputy programme scientist said, “When we first saw this image we were astounded at the spectacular level of detail. HL Tauri has been no more than a million years old, yet already its disc appears to be full of forming planets. This one image alone will revolutionize theories of planet formation.”

According to the image of the planet formation process, a a disc of material left over from star birth can be identified swirling around the star in concentric circles. However, there are gaps between the materials. Astronomers have been able to shoot such a sharp and clear image of the star and the planet birth due to its international collaboration only.

As stated by the ALMA deputy director, Stuart Corder, “These features are almost certainly the result of young planet-like bodies that are being formed on the disc. This is surprising since such young stars are not expected to have large planetary bodies capable of producing the structures we see in this image.”

In context to the formation of the new planet, it is also essential to mention what the HL Tauri is. It is a Sunlike-star which is based around 450 million light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. This star appears to possess much more developed disc than what was expected by the researchers. So, now with this incident, one thing is proven that a planet can be formed aster than what the scientist speculate.

NASA’s Orion mars-bound spacecraft is ready for test flight

Spaceship Orion gets its final touches by NASA engineers and specialists on Thursday. The spaceship has been engineered to transport the cosmonauts into deep space has been recognized as the ‘first one’ to take humans past the moon.

With the completion of the Orion on Thursday, it is anticipated that the spaceship will be able to carry spacepersons to an asteroid and Mars. Perhaps, the first flight test is scheduled to take place on December 4 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

However, the detail about the final work done on Orion was not specified by NASA.
Orion was installed with a tetrad fairing by NASA technicians past few weeks – panels fabricated to streamline the air passage over the pyramid-shaped spaceship to restrict sound and vibration, lending astronauts and cosmonauts a hassle-free ride. And at the starting of this month, the center introduced the spaceship’s Launch Abort System, crafted to respond within milliseconds to pull the spaceship and its team away from a vessel in problem.

Orion will be shifted from its present location at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Miami to a launch pad in the month of November. Afterwards, it will be ascended onto a Delta IV Heavy rocket so as to prepare it for its primary flight test.

The very-first flight test will release Orion without an astronauts’ team aboard, 3,600 miles beyond Earth on high-pace, a dual-orbit journey focused on testing the spaceship’s heat shield and other connected processes.

The four-and-a-half hour flight test will consist of the spaceship coming back to Earth at a speed of 20,000 miles per hour and producing temperature of about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The spaceship, Orion is anticipated to make a quicker re-entry than any preceding NASA vessel capable of accommodating humans.

Bill Hill, who is working as a deputy associate administrator at the department of Exploration Systems Development said, “This is just the first of what will be a long line of exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit, and in a few years we will be sending our astronauts to destinations humans have never experienced”. He added, “It’s thrilling to be a part of the journey now, at the beginning.”

Orion is expected to make its pioneer flight with cosmonauts aboard in the year 2021.

Saturn’s Moon Mimas May Have a Liquid Ocean Inside

Scientists, after careful observation and much speculation of Saturn’s moon Mimas, have come to this conclusion that the wobbling content inside the planet is either a core shaped like a football or a liquid ocean.

The report of this study, as published on this Friday in Science journal, has stated the views of the researchers. On examining the movement of Mimas through the images captured by NASA’s Cassini satellite, the scientists could see the existence of a wobbling material inside the planet.

Radwan Tajeddine, Cornell University astrophysicist and lead author of the study, while speaking to Popular Mechanics, said, “It’s a bit like how you can figure out if an egg is hardboiled or raw just by spinning it. By watching the rotation, you can gain information on what’s inside.”

According to the scientists, the existence of either of the substances inside the wobbling planet will be good news for them. If it is a core then it may be a sort of fossilized remnant of the planet’s original shape, i.e., oblong with the outer layers surrounding it over the past 4 billion years or so. Speaking about the other speculation, it may be a liquid ocean based in some 15 miles under the surface. Although things are not yet clear but it will be amazing if it actually exists inside cold and barren Mimas.

There are contradictory points as well to prove the opinions of the scientists wrong. According to one such premise, Mimas is too cold to support liquid water inside it and there is lack of ice geysers in the planet. So, one cannot be so sure that the Mimas contains liquid ocean under its hard icy rocky surface.

New Study Says Magnet Attracts Dolphin

A new study on dolphins has established that they get attracted to a magnet. Although this attraction between the dolphins and magnets is platonic, yet it seems that on being properly scrutinized some more revolutionary findings may be unveiled.

It was a French study on the dolphins which released its findings only on this Monday searching for results whether the dolphins are magnetosensitive. As it has already been proved by another study on the pigeons that the bird is magnetosenstive, the attention this time is diverted to the dolphins.

For conducting the study, six bottleneck dolphins were taken into consideration in order to examine their behavior on being brought into contact with magnets. The six dolphins were let to swim freely in water, keeping two barrels at a distance from them. One of the barrels was magnetized and the other demagnetized keeping them identical in form and density so that the dolphins do not get attracted to any of these basing on its size or shape. The result showed that the dolphins approached the barrel with neodymium magnet block rather than the other barrel. This could establish this fact that the dolphins are able to discriminate the two stimuli on the basis of their magnetic properties.

This also points to another side of the dolphin’s capability of navigating well in water, as it has magnetoreception-based navigation capacity. Similar to dolphins, pigeons too are said to have a good navigating quality and this is why, perhaps pigeons too are found to have magnetosensitive GPS cells in their brains.

A New Species of Poison Dart Frog – Andinobates geminisae discovered

They are one of the most brilliantly and beautifully colored living beings on earth, but the sad part is that they are poisonous. The poison dart frogs which are found in several vivid colors, are now found in other species as well by the scientists and according to this new discovery. The new specie of frogs is bright orange in color.

The National Geographic Society has maintained a good record on the colors and availability of the poison dart frogs according to which these are found in the tropical forests of Costa Rica to Brazil. The colors these are available in ranges from yellow, gold, copper, red, green, and blue to black. But now, this record of the poison dart frogs will have to be added with another name which has lately been discovered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The researchers say that they have discovered a new species of poison dart frog and it is found in a bright orange color in Donoso, Panama.

As published in Zootaxa this week, this new frog is named Andinobates geminisae for Geminis Vargas, who is “the beloved wife of [co-author] Marcos Ponce, for her unconditional support of his studies of Panamanian herpetology.”

Cesar Jaramillo, a Smithsonian herpetologist says, “Abel Batista and Marcos Ponce were the first to note the presence of this species. They have known it was there for several years. However, they were not sure if it was only a variety of another poison dart frog species, Oophaga pumilio, which exhibits tremendous color variation. Based on morphological characteristics of the adult and the tadpole, I thought it might be a new species of Andinobates.”

The specimen for this newly discovered poison dart frog was collected in February 21, 2011 only by Samuel Valdés, the MWH Global Inc. environment office director with his field assistant, Carlos de la Cruz in the headwaters of the Rio Caño, in the district of Donoso, Panama. However, this newly discovered species of frog live in a very small area which may get extinct too due to loss of its habitat or collected for the pet trade.

Natural Changes might have Caused Warming Pacific Ocean Waters

A new study revealed on last Monday that the warming of the Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of North America may have close links with the natural changes in the wind that has taken place over the last century. The researchers have established a relation between the natural changes in the wind with the Pacific Ocean water warming up rather than with the increases in greenhouse gases due to global warming.

For reaching at this conclusion, the researchers did extensive study on the matter during which they compared to the ocean surface temperatures from 1900 to 2012 also keeping in mind the surface air pressure and the outcome was that they found a close match between the two.

The lead author of the study, Jim Johnstone, who conducted the study while being a climatologist at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, states, “What we found was the somewhat surprising degree to which the winds can explain all the wiggles in the temperature curve. So clearly, there are other factors stronger than the greenhouse forcing that is affecting those temperatures.”

The study, however, has nothing to do with global warming and do not relate it with ocean water warming. They have stated through the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that local winds play more crucial role in ocean warming than greenhouse gases.

However, the study results have faced criticism from several mainstream climate scientists, according to whom on what grounds the author of the study could claim that the changes in wind direction and velocity were natural and unrelated to climate change. They also point that the changes in the wind cannot be claimed as natural basing on the analysis done in the study. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology, says, “This may say more about the state of climate modeling than it says about causes of warming in the Pacific Northwest. The authors . . . have not established the causes of these atmospheric pressure variations. Thus, claims that the observed temperature increases are due primarily to ‘natural’ processes are suspect and premature, at best.”

Not One but Eight Distinct Diseases make Schizophrenia

It might be a new thing to learn for most of the people but the actual thing is that schizophrenia is not a single disease; however, it is a combination of eight different disorders. As established by a new research conducted on schizophrenia, each of these eight diseases takes place due to changes in clusters of genes.

With the finding of these eight distinct disorders which together causes schizophrenia, hopes of treating the disease have been bright and better healing is possible to be secured by the scientists now. As it is known to all, schizophrenia is a mental disease which can be devastating and kill a person if not being properly treated, so, perhaps now a faster and better cure can be expected by the patients. C. Robert Cloninger, co-author of the study and a prof. at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, also expresses the same hope while speaking to the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Cloninger stated, “We are really opening a new era of psychiatric diagnosis. It allow for the development of a personalized diagnosis, opening the door to treating the cause, rather than just the symptoms, of schizophrenia.”

As stated by Cloninger and colleagues, the schizophrenics use to have different symptoms for their disease. Some of them start hearing voices while some use to have odd and disorganized speech who mixes up the words in a sentence. It depends on the genetic profile of the patient, says the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Also stated by the study and the lead author, an average person has less than 1% risk of developing such symptoms.

Stephen Marder, a psychiatrist finds new hope of schizophrenia treatment through the study. He says, speaking about the present method of schizophrenia diagnosis, “It underlines that the way we diagnose schizophrenia is relatively primitive.”

Robert Freedman, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry and chair of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, basing on the new study says that the genes work together like a winning or losing combination of cards in poker.

Changing Climate is to Affect Hundreds of Birds’ Species

Change in the climate is not only affecting the mankind, but the nature and other living beings are also hugely affected by it. The environment has a direct and indispensable role to play in the life of animals and birds and it is due to this intact relation, the change in climate is to leave abrupt effect on the birds.

According to a study conducted by the National Audubon Society (NAS), the birds’ are to be greatly affected and killed by the changing climate. The study has particularly mentioned about the 588 species of North American birds who will have to pay for the unwanted change in the climate.

The study elaborates that the climate will first affect the habitats of the birds. The climate is drastically changing and by the mid of 21st century it is going to show its adversities on the birds. With the forests decreasing in number, the trees being cut and the increasing population, the adversities of the climate like exorbitant heat or cold is going to affect the birds. The habitats of the birds are going to be smaller, and narrower leading them to look out for other options and shift to other places. This lack of space may one day lead them to decrease in number and they may thus extinct too.

The Baltimore oriole is mentioned to be extinct in the near future. Similarly, another species like the common loon will disappear from its habitat in Minnesota and northern hawk owl, three-toed woodpecker and the trumpeter swan may change its habitat to other open spaces.

In fact, as stated by the president of NAS, David Yarnorld, the threat to life is not only to those species of birds with fewer population but even the ones with many numbers too are within the danger zone.

New Research Finds Light Detectors for Multiple Useful Results

Researchers at the University of Maryland have come up with a new finding through which light detectors can be generated for multiple benefits in future. One of such light detectors can work tremendously in scanning objects below the surface of bodies, walls and other objects.

The researchers have used special properties of grapheme which is a two-dimensional form of carbon and is only one atom thick and by using it a prototype detector can be created for an extraordinary view of a broad band of wavelengths. This light detector can identify a range of light wavelengths which are generally pretty difficult to be detected. Such wavelengths include the ones like terahertz waves which cannot be seen by the human eyes and have exceptional potentialities in several applications.

The University of Maryland Physics Professor Dennis Drew stating the concept behind the detector says, “Light is absorbed by the electrons in graphene, which heat up but don’t lose their energy easily. So they remain hot while the carbon atomic lattice remains cold.” Further, he states that these heated electrons escape the graphene through electrical leads and the detector they have made use of two electrical leads made of different metals that produce an electrical signal. It is this electrical signal that detects the presence of terahertz waves by even testing beneath the surface of opaque materials. The use of this room temperature detector with its great result seeking speed and sensitivity is considered to be the potential instrument for future discoveries.

The lead author of the study is Xinghan Cai, a University of Maryland physics graduate student. Speaking about the detector he says, such researchers’ prototype “could find applications in emerging terahertz fields such as mobile communications, medical imaging, chemical sensing, night vision, and security.”

The Terahertz light waves’ are even difficult to be detected through x-rays as well because its long wavelengths and low frequencies fall between microwaves and infrared waves. Detecting it through the detector will, therefore, be an innovation on its own.

Scientists Finding a New Cosmic Map Bordering the Supercluster of Galaxies

A group of scientists who have lately prepared a 3D map of the galaxy have come to a conclusion that a new cosmic map is created at the boundaries for the giant supercluster. It is this supercluster which is also the home to Earth’s own Milky Way galaxy and many others. So, with this new discovery now, the scientists are finding scope for some more research and findings.

This new cosmic map containing the colossal galactic group is named as Laniakea by the scientists which denotes “immeasurable heaven.” However, the scientists are still not sure as to is this the only supercluster of galaxies or there are even more to this.

The lead researcher of the study Brent Tully says, “We live in something called ‘the cosmic web,’ where galaxies are connected in tendrils separated by giant voids. We have a new way of defining large-scale structures from the velocities of galaxies rather than just looking at their distribution in the sky.” Tully is an astronomer at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

The galaxies in the space are found in a clump in groups and even there are dozens of galaxies in it. Ultimately, all such groups together create a massive cluster and there may be hundreds of galaxies in such clusters. All those galaxies interconnected to one another like pearls in a necklace.

Now, according to the new 3D map of the cosmic web as developed by Tully and colleagues, the Milky Way galaxy resides in the outskirts of the Laniakea Supercluster and this distance is about 520 million light-years wide.

With this new finding now, scientists will also be able to find out the role played by the Virgo cluster and Norma-Hydra-Centaurus which are together known as the Great Attractor. The Great Attractor is included in this supercluster only and astronomers were busy for 30 years looking for the role played by these.

Absence of Passenger Pigeon Completes a Centenary

The passenger pigeon, the last one of which died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914, completes hundred years of its absence from this world today. Hence, the coming Monday is the centenary of the beautiful bird’s extinction.

The passenger pigeon, a bird that was known for its elegance and sweet chirpiness is not found anywhere today. A bird which was once witnessed by the giants of the yesteryears like John James Audubon, John Muir, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, etc., is a legend today.

Stating the beauty of the passenger pigeon birds, Philip Bruce wrote in the 17th century, “The number of these birds … was far beyond the power of human calculation. For hours they darkened the sky like a pall of thunder clouds; and that they broke down, by their weight, the limbs of the forest whenever a entire flock lighted in search of food.”

Unbelievable but true that once upon a time, i.e., in the 18th century, the passenger pigeon was the most abundant bird on earth. This is painful that a bird that was found in such huge numbers at a time is extinct from this earth today. Commemorating this beautiful little bird the Harvard Museum of Natural History opened an exhibition recently.

One adequate reason that can be cited in context to the extinction of the passenger pigeons is that the colonial Americans used to shoot and net the birds for the purpose of consumption and this was practiced in a huge number. Moreover, they used to cut down the trees and destroy the forests in large number making it tough for the birds to find food and shelter.

An African Fish That Can Walk Shows Hope of Evolution

Facts about an African fish brought into light by an Ottawa biologist have left all wondered as it can walk on land and can also survive on a surface without water!

Unlike other fish, this particular little Polypterus fish can live without water and amazing fact is that it can last up to two years on the ground. The Biologist Emily Standen’s team has proved this capacity of the little fish by keeping it on land with the air kept moist. It is in the journal named Nature that Standen and his fellow biologists Hans Larsson and Trina Du of McGill University published the latest report on their study.

Standen said, “From the fossil record, it’s very difficult to glean behavior. How did they do it? We know what the bones looked like, but we don’t know how they may have moved.” And the way to find out “is by looking at living animals and comparing them.”

With this unique capacity of this fish, it has now opened a door into some new studies on fish, including testing the age when sea life had moved onto land. Moreover, this is the one kind of fish which is seen after 400 million years that represents the species of fish capable of surviving without water. Such particular kinds of fish are nicknamed as fishapods.

Another record found by the biologists while conducting the study is that the Polypterus fish of Africa have undergone changes during its eight months of stay on the ground. The changes include – its pectoral skeleton (the chest) grew stronger and also it adapted a style of walking for which it holds its front fins closer to the center of the body and raises its head up.

Stating its physical change, Standen said, “We’re interested in the fin-to-limb transition. These guys use one (front) fin after another in a kind of side-to-side gait. We looked at the skeleton and behavior: how they changed their gait. They didn’t slip as much as the fish that were raised in water. It appears to be more effective walking, what you expect of something that walks well or is improving the walking ability.”

John Hutchinson of the UK’s Royal Veterinary College who posted a commentary in Nature said that the Polypterus has no descendant on land.

Iceland poised for potential volcanic eruption: Flights cancelled

After experiencing an intense earthquake deep beneath Bárðarbunga on Saturday which is the biggest volcano complex of Iceland, the danger now prevails in the region from a sudden eruption of a volcano. For already being familiar with the volcanoes and their destructive moves, Iceland is prepared to face this situation with adequate emergency steps for safety.

As safety and precautionary measures, Icelandic Met Office raised its aviation color code to orange which is to signify a “heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.” Although there is no evidence yet showing the magma moving toward the surface but that will not do to settle the emergency situation as the volcano may explode just at anytime without any news.

The ferocity of the volcanic explosion may be of any level dispensing ash and pumice in any big or small quantity in an unknown force. The flood of lava coming out of the volcano may be of any force and quality, but it is supposed that it will flow through the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum in the northeast of Iceland.

To take an account of the precautions and the safety measures adopted by the defense officials, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson met them on Monday. The roads that fall near the remote volcano are being closed, a Civil Protection Uncertainty Phase has been declared by the National Commissioner of Police, surveillance of the volcano is increased, additional seismic monitors are being deployed through helicopters by the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service has placed webcam to constantly monitor the activities taking place in the volcano.

The reasons for giving the matter so much of weight is that it is this Bárðarbunga volcano which has erupted more lava in the past 10,000 years than any other volcano on the planet. It was more than 100 years ago when this volcano erupted last time.

Scientists develop ways for 1,000 robots to work together

Robotic researchers from Harvard University are currently developing 1,000 tiny robots to work together as humans do to achieve a common goal and purpose. The robots would work as a team to carry out common tasks like moving shapes and carrying objects and also arranging them according to specified instructions.

The ultimate aim for the robots would be to use them to find human victims under earthquake rubbles and also access other areas difficult for humans to access.

Each robot is made at the cost of $14, and they each have three legs; they are also called Kilobots and each weight about three combined nickels. Scientists are trying to make as many as possible to form swarms so that they can work as pretty much as ants would work with precision, and researchers further hope that they would be able to communicate with one another while carrying out tasks so as to achieve common understanding toward set goals and tasks.

According to the research article published by the researchers in Science magazine, each robot would be programmed with communication software that enables them to utilize information from one another so that there won’t be any conflict as they work together.

They would also be able to have a marker from amongst them to serve as team leader, and they would all be able to measure their distance from the marker and follow instructions.

The research scientists however face a problem: building such large swarms of robots to intelligently work together as a team without conflicts. And according to the director of Multi-Robot Systems Lab in Rice University, James McLurkin, “building 1,000 robots is hard. Getting 1,000 robots to work together is…wicked hard.” The researchers are however forging ahead with their goals, and they even plan on making them smaller for before performances.