Sci/Tech briefs

Dinosaur prints found in France

Footprints belonging to the sauropod dinosaur were discovered near Lyon in France. These are the largest dinosaur prints to be found to date.

The tracks spread over hundreds of meters and researchers plan to carry out more investigation in the nearby area to find out whether it could be the largest space inhabited by dinosaurs.

The footprints are circular depressions surrounded by a layer of limestone and are around 1.5 meters in diameter. This suggests that the dinosaurs were probably 25 meters in length and may have weighed more than 40 tons.

Source: ScienceDaily

NASA carries out moon crash

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission, was carried out successfully on Friday and generated a good amount of data for NASA to analyze. The main objective of this mission was to check whether there is any water on the moon.

NASA spent nearly $79 million on the mission. Two spacecraft were sent down into a crater on the moon, and the scientists wanted to test whether the impact with the inside of the crater would expel any water. Scientists said that after Friday, all of LCROSS’s controls were working fine.
The spacecraft also hit a shadowed area in the crater like the researchers had expected.


Scientists find clue to ear evolution

Paleontologists believe that studying the fossil of an ancient mammal, Maotherium asiaticus, may help us understand how the middle ear in humans and other mammals evolved.

An article on this subject was published in the journal Science.

In reptiles, a piece of cartilage called Meckel’s cartilage hardens after birth and connects the jaw and ear. In mammals, this structure is present in fetuses, but disappears later in life.

Maotherium shows the presence of this structure, indicating that it lies in the middle stage of development between reptiles and mammals.

Other characteristics of Maotherium, however, indicate that it is a mammal and shows features distinct to mammals.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Scientists see new ring around Saturn

Scientists from the University of Virginia have discovered a huge new ring around Saturn. The results, published in the journal Nature, indicate that this ring is the largest to be seen in the solar system.

The ring marks out the orbit of one of Saturn’s moons, Phoebe. Phoebe has an orbit with a radius of around 8 million miles. Scientists believe that objects colliding with Phoebe caused the formation of a large amount of dust. This dust could have caused the formation of this ring.

The scientists believe that this ring is most similar to Jupiter’s rings, found in the orbits of two of Jupiter’s moons: Thebe and Amalthea.

The team used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to see the ring, which is tilted at an angle of 27 degrees to the plane of the other rings of Saturn.

Source: Reuters