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When the Perseverance rover landed on Mars in February 2021, she wasn’t alone.
In addition to the Ingenuity helicopter, the spacecraft carried a suite of scientific instruments designed to search for signs of ancient life.
Tucked into its hull, Percy also had MOXIE – the Mars Oxygen Resources Utilization Experiment on site.
The instrument successfully generated oxygen for more than two years from Mars’ carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.
The first experiment of its kind has ended, after exceeding NASA’s expectations. The instrument’s capabilities showed that oxygen for life support systems and rocket fuel could be created on Mars rather than transported from Earth.
The device is another tool that will enable humans to eventually explore Mars. But astronauts will need more Logistical support before contact with the red planet.
EMM/EXI/Dimitra Atri/NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences
This map of Mars, created by researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi, uses color images of the entire planet.
It’s a good idea to check the map and weather forecast for your destination before any long trip, especially if it’s another planet.
This is what researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi aim to do with the Mars Atlas.
The project collected thousands of images taken by the UAE’s Hope Probe to create a detailed colorful mosaic of the entire planet. The spacecraft has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2021.
The Mars Atlas can be used to determine weather patterns, resources, and safe landing sites for future explorers.
“It may seem ridiculous, but perhaps in the future it will be very common for people to go to Mars and even live there,” said Dimitra Atri, head of the university’s Mars research group.
A fossil of an unusually long-legged bird-like dinosaur has been discovered in southeastern China.
The creature is called FujianVenator Prodigy, which means “strange hunter from Fujian” in Latin, lived between 148 million and 150 million years ago.
Fujianvenator was about the size of a pheasant, and its legs were twice as long as its thighs, a remarkable trait considering the opposite was true of most dinosaurs.
Courtesy Christopher Owen Hunt
Shanidar Cave in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq is the place where Neanderthal remains were found as well as ancient pollen.
When archaeologist Ralph Solecki discovered a 65,000-year-old Neanderthal burial site in northern Iraq in 1960, the remains were surrounded by clumps of pollen.
He and fellow archaeologist Arlette Leroy-Gourhan proposed the idea of deliberately placing flowers on the grave in Shanidar Cave in Kurdistan.
This burial of flowers gave rise to a new school of thought that the ancient relatives of humans were intelligent and caring, not stupid and brutal.
But new research suggests that the various traces of pollen found throughout the site were carried by another cave dweller: bees.
However, the nature of the graves in the cave still indicates that the “raqqa” was part of the Neanderthal burial process, said Chris Hunt, an emeritus professor at Liverpool John Morris University in the United Kingdom, who led the latest study.
Separately, a team of scientists has pinpointed the time when the population of ancient humanity dwindled and was nearly wiped out about 900,000 years ago.
After nearly two weeks of studying the Moon, India’s Chandrayaan 3 lander will take a well-deserved nap.
Mission controllers put the lander and its six-wheeled rover to sleep for a 14-day lunar night while the landing site is in Earth’s shadow. The team will attempt to wake the spacecraft on September 22.
Since its historic landing on August 23, Chandrayaan-3 has analyzed lunar soil, measured seismic activity and detected the presence of sulfur. The lander also made a small hop using its thrusters and came to rest a short distance from its landing site.
Meanwhile, Japan successfully launched the Moon Sniper lunar lander this week, along with a new X-ray satellite. The probe is supposed to reach the moon within three to four months.
Nicolas Reussens’ photo of a bright green tanager in the Maspi Amagusa Reserve in Ecuador won the Best Portrait award.
Doting penguin parents, a moon-drawn blackbird and a bright green tanager perched on a heart-shaped leaf are some of the stunning images submitted to this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year competition.
Wildlife photography is a study in patience, and some of the images submitted have been years in the making.
The winning photo shows a female peregrine falcon striking a pelican more than twice its size that has flown close to the peregrine falcon’s nest, and photographer Jack Chee waited four years to capture the image. “The procedure was quick, and it was over in the blink of an eye,” Qi said. “But I will remember that moment forever.”
Take a closer look at these engaging stories:
– Archaeologists have discovered four 1,900-year-old Roman swords and other well-preserved artifacts in a cave near the shore of the Dead Sea in Israel.
Scientists have been able to grow kidneys made up mostly of human cells inside pig embryos for the first time, taking “pioneering steps” towards growing organs that can be used in transplants.
– The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will soon deliver a sample of the long-awaited asteroid to Earth. Get a sneak peek at NASA’s preparations ahead of the capsule’s expected arrival on September 24.
– The newly discovered Comet Nishimura appears in the sky before dawn as it approaches the Earth and the Sun, but it may pose a challenge to sky observers. Here’s how to spot the tricky celestial body.
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