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It is a distinctly human trait to believe that the impossible is an enigma waiting to be solved.
We are determined to determine if “the truth is out there”. If we just had all the pieces, they could fit together and form the bridge to better understanding.
On Thursday, NASA announced that the agency is setting up a team to study unidentified aerial phenomena, otherwise known as UFOs.
The team will gather evidence and analyze data from unexplained events in the sky from a scientific perspective to determine if they are natural or require another explanation. The nine-month study will begin in the fall and the results will be shared with the public.
“I spent most of my career as a cosmologist. I can tell you that we don’t know what makes up 95% of the universe,” said astrophysicist David Spergel, who will lead the team.
To help you out, here are some other unusual things we learned this week.
Mysterious fast radio bursts have long puzzled astronomers because they don’t understand what causes the bright, millisecond flashes in space.
Now a burst of pulsed radio waves has been detected in a galaxy about 3 billion light-years away – and it’s even weirder than the rest.
The celestial object constantly released weaker radio waves between repeated bursts. There is only one other fast radio burst known to do this, leading astronomers to wonder if there is more than one type of these unexplained phenomena.
It’s a living thing.
For the first time ever, scientists have learned how to grow human-like skin on a robotic finger.
According to the researchers, this breakthrough is one more step towards making robots look and feel like living creatures.
The same cells that serve as the building blocks for human skin were used in the tests. Human skin was even able to repel water.
Researchers are interested in the addition of a vascular system that could help skin maintain itself, grow nails and even sweat. Having human hands could one day allow robots to help us with a surprising range of tasks.
Meet Fernando. She’s pretty well known in the Galápagos Islands, and we won’t blame you if you sing a version of ABBA’s “Fernando” in her honor.
The small, lonely female tortoise was found alive on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos archipelago in 2019. Her discovery shocked scientists as they believed Fernandina tortoises were extinct, especially given the island’s highly active volcano .
A new genetic study has revealed that Fernanda is indeed a species native to her island, particularly when compared to DNA from a male turtle specimen taken from the island in 1906.
And Fernanda may not be the last of her kind. Recent evidence suggests there are more like her on the island – but all future expeditions, and the turtles themselves, face formidable volcanic challenges.
The Ingenuity helicopter battles against a foggy winter shadow on Mars.
The arrival of cyclical dust storms caused the NASA team to lose contact with Ingenuity for two days in May. The little chopper now faces freezing nights without its heater and has less solar power due to a lack of sunlight. But the helicopter team has a plan that could help Ingenuity survive and keep flying high on Mars.
Reports say the Perseverance rover has adopted a pet rock in the meantime (and we’re not kidding).
Meanwhile, NASA’s DAVINCI spacecraft will face the opposite conditions as it orbits and then attempts to land on the hellish surface of Venus in 2031, descending through immense pressure and scorching temperatures to capture never-before-seen images of the planet.
Ancient bones recently unearthed on the Isle of Wight once belonged to one of Europe’s top predators. The spinosaurid, a two-legged dinosaur with the face of a crocodile, was larger than a double-decker bus.
It is possible that the bones of an animal that lived 125 million years ago instead belonged to a newly discovered species. But scientists need more information to make a decision.
Thanks to a number of fossils recovered from the island, the Isle of Wight is known as the Britain’s dinosaur capital. And if you fancy more dinos, “Jurassic World: Dominion” has been released this week.
Dive into these stories:
– The giant golden mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope was hit by a micrometeoroid. Don’t worry: the observatory is still preparing to share its first high-resolution color images on July 12.
– Abu Dhabi is full of ancient wonders. Explore some of the treasures of the Arabian Desert that tell the story of the Emirati people’s connection to the land and sea.
– We promise this is not a Dr. Seuss riddle, even if it looks like one. A California court has ruled that bees can legally be considered fish under specific circumstances, including to protect them.
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