It’s time for another Fast Friday Farrago, where we break down the latest news in science for this week.
Well it seems as though the last few weeks have been important for the discovery of dinosaurs! This week at least one new species was uncovered in Utah’s Arches National Park that is similar to the velociraptor portrayed (inaccurately) in the film classic Jurassic Park. This new species was given the affectionate name of Yurgovuchia doellingi, but is only one of a possible 6 new species found in ‘America’s richest site’ for dinosaur discovery.
And while one dinosaur has been found, another has been auctioned off for a cool $1.05 million in New York. The fossil comes from Mongolia – the only place where Tarbosaur fossils have ever been found. The only problem is that the specimen sold (Tarbosaurus bataar – similar to a T-Rex) is legally not allowed to leave Mongolia, along with any other dinosaur fossil found there, as it has been illegal to export them from the country for 50 years. Palaeontologists and even the Mongolian President had pleaded for the auction to be cancelled, but to no avail!
A solar eclipse recently occurred that was visible in parts of North America and Asia, and was the first Solar eclipse in 173 years to be viewable from Tokyo. It was a very pretty one, being described as a ‘Ring of Fire’, and you can see why from the picture.
But we at The Other Side of Science are hanging out for the transit of Venus coming up on the 6th of June. This has only happened 52 times since 2000 BC, but we have only been noticing since 1639 (although the Aztec leader Montezuma may have seen the previous passing in 1520). Anyway, more to come on this soon!
In HUGE news for space exploration, the first private space enterprise has successfully launched, achieved earth orbit and is on the way to docking with the International Space Station, which should happen today! This represents a big step in the post-US launch vehicle space age, where NASA (and other organisations) will begin to rely solely on private companies to get their equipment into space.
Update: The docking with the ISS was successful!
And in news that is welcomed by everyone around the world, the doses from the fallout of the Fukushima reactor accident has been tallied and found to have had minimal health risks on the surrounding Japanese population. Independent studies have verified that few people will contract cancer from the accident, and those who do may not directly tie it to the accident. Good news!
Finally, in what can only be described as an amazing development, researchers have managed to turn DNA into rewritable memory. What does this mean? Well, someday we could sell our DNA as information storage. Maybe not, but it’s a strange thought. It may actually make synthetic digital cells a possibility. Amazing? Yes. Slightly scary? Yes, also.
For more news in science, make sure to read in next week!