Following the discovery of methane in rock and soil on Mars earlier this month it would seem that the solar system’s previous most likely seat of life, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, wasn’t quite ready to relinquish its title so soon. Spectral analysis from NASA’s Cassini probe has revealed the presence of complex organic molecules ejected from the moon’s icy surface, it was announced in a press release today. And in the fashion of true one-upmanship, the molecules found on Enceladus are over ten times greater in mass than methane.
One of the most pressing potential ecological disasters faced in the near-future is the decline in the population of various species of bees. New research has indicated that this decline may be a result of a multitude of hitherto undiscovered viruses affecting the bee. Despite the fact that bees are considered vitally important to our ecosystems due to their role as pollinators, up until now scientists have known relatively little about the viruses that affect them.
The story “Ditch pills to beat heart disease” was published on the front page of Daily Express this week. It builds on the statements of doctor Aseem Malhotra and his controversial book, the Pioppi Diet and seems to have no basis in science what-so-ever. The article not only offers health advice that runs contrary to medical consensus, it actively encourages sufferers of cardiovascular disease to stop taking their medication.
The science dispatches for the second week in June 2018. Martian dust storms have halted the progress of NASA’s Opportunity rover. Researchers find a new way of detecting exoplanets around young stars. Work begins on an upgrade to the Large Hadron Collider. And President Trump’s pick for the head of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, shows a positive change in attitude towards climate change.
The consumption of stars by supermassive black holes which lie at the centre of most galaxies is believed to be a fairly common event in the Universe, but astronomers have been unable to observe such proceedings unfold. That was until recently. It was revealed today that scientists at Astrophysical Institute of Andalusia in Granada, Spain have used two specialised telescopes to observe the violent event in its full glory.
According to a landmark study published in Nature on 13/065/18, Antartica has lost an incredible 2.7 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992. The study further suggests that if climate change continues unchecked such ice-loss could begin to reshape Earth’s coastlines.
In a week mostly dominated by NASA’s announcement of the discovery of organic molecules on Mars, some other important science stories may have slipped under the radar. In the Science Dispatches for the first week of June 2018; a possible breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, the self-consuming rocket and counting bees.
This week sees the release of the fifth entry in the highly successful Jurassic Park film franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. A film-series once credited for its accurate depiction of dinosaurs still resists depicting some dinosaurs as feathered rather than scaled. Is it time that the series presented a more accurate representation of these prehistoric species rather than the generic reptilian movie monsters audiences are more comfortable with?