News in Brief
PASADENA, Calif. — Jupiter’s clouds have deep roots. The multicolored bands that wrap around the planet reach hundreds of kilometers down into the atmosphere, NASA’s Juno spacecraft reveals, providing an unprecedented peek into the giant planet’s interior.
“Whatever’s making those colors and stripes still exists pretty far down,” planetary scientist Scott Bolton, head of the Juno mission...
Most of us spend our careers trying to meet — and hopefully exceed — expectations. Scientists do too. But the requirements for success in a job in academic science don’t always line up with the best scientific methods. The net result? Bad science doesn’t just happen — it gets selected for.
What does it mean to be successful in science? A scientist gets a job and funding by publishing a...
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Maps have long been used to show the animal kingdom’s range, regional mix, populations at risk and more. Now a new set of maps reveals the global distribution of genetic diversity.
“Without genetic diversity, species can’t evolve into new species,” says Andreia Miraldo, a population geneticist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. “It...
Spring brings blooms, and not just on land. Warmer waters spur growth of a tiny ocean-dwelling bacteria. More than 10 years of data collected at an unusually high-tech ocean observatory reveal that the speedy growth of the phytoplankton Synechococcus is driven by an uptick in temperature. As spring’s warmth comes earlier, so does the phytoplankton’s annual growth spurt, resulting in a shift in...
A titanic volcano stopped a mega-sized earthquake in its tracks.
In April, pent-up stress along the Futagawa-Hinagu Fault Zone in Japan began to unleash a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. The rupture traveled about 30 kilometers along the fault until it reached Mount Aso, one of Earth’s largest active volcanoes. That’s where the quake met its demise, geophysicist Aiming Lin of Kyoto University...
A freaky fish with a head like a dolphin and a body like a tank may be to thank for human jaws.
The discovery of a 423-million-year-old armored fish from China suggests that the jaws of all modern land vertebrates and bony fish originated in a bizarre group of animals called placoderms, researchers report in the Oct. 21 Science.
Along with a different placoderm fossil from 2013,...
50 Years Ago
New hope for control of staph infections
Staphylococcal infections — especially rampant in hospitals and responsible for … some fatal disorders — may be virtually stamped out. Researchers … have extracted teichoic acid from the bacteria’s cell wall and used it to protect groups of mice from subsequent massive doses of virulent staph organisms. — Science News, October 29, 1966UPDATE ...
The Schiaparelli Mars lander remains silent since its attempted landing October 19 on the Red Planet. All data transmitted by the lander during its descent have been relayed to Earth, and mission scientists are now in the thick of trying to figure out what went wrong.
“I am extremely confident that we'll be able to fully understand what happened,” ESA spacecraft operations manager Andrea...
PASADENA, Calif. — Saturn’s rings have maintained a youthful look, while still possibly being almost as old as the solar system itself. The dazzling belts of ice continue to keep their age a secret, but researchers hope to get answers from a spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet.
Data from the Cassini spacecraft, in orbit since 2004, may help resolve a decades-long debate over the age of...
PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Juno spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter since July 4, is lying low after entering an unexpected “safe mode” early on October 19. A misbehaving valve in the fuel system, not necessarily related to the safe mode, has also led to a delay in a planned engine burn that would have shortened the probe’s orbit.
Juno turned off its science instruments and some other...