A 40,000-year-old severed wolf’s head, preserved by permafrost complete with teeth and fur, has been discovered in eastern Siberia. Albert Protopopov, director of the department, told CNN that while frozen wolf cubs had been unearthed in the past, the discovery of an adult wolf’s head was novel. Scientists are now building a digital model of the brain and the skull’s interior for further study, Protopopov said. A team in Stockholm is analyzing the wolf’s DNA.
In the hope of finding a new way to fight malaria, scientists have used a spider gene to genetically engineer a fungus to produce a venom that can quickly kill mosquitoes. The modified fungus was a highly effective mosquito killer in the first tests mimicking conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria remains a major public health problem, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science. Other researchers who are not involved in the research praised the advance. But others worry the approach may be unsafe.
The head of NASA has warned that it is time to take the threat of an Earth-destroying asteroid seriously. Jim Bridenstine spoke as the space agency began its planetary defense conference exercises, based around the hypothetical scenario of an asteroid impact. NASA’s administrator expressed concern that similar warnings have historically prompted amusement and said that asteroid collisions were more common than people believed. Planetary defense and astronomical experts have warned against humanity destroying large asteroids with nuclear weapons out of the concern that they would simply shatter into smaller dangerous pieces.
NASA’s robotic probe InSight has detected and measured what scientists believe to be a “marsquake,” marking the first time a likely seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California reported on Tuesday. The breakthrough came nearly five months after InSight, the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its two-year seismological mission on the red planet.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered an anomaly in one of its Crew Dragon capsules while conducting engine tests at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday, the company said. The issue was earlier reported by Florida Today, which said orange smoke was seen rising above SpaceX’s facilities, and that the anomaly was contained with no injuries. SpaceX said its teams are investigating and are working closely with U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners.
Four hours after a pig’s death, Yale scientists restored circulation and revived cellular activity within the dead animal’s brain. The cells of the brain remained viable six hours later, compared with other brains not preserved using the newly developed process, the researchers reported. Although its cells were kept alive, the brain itself never displayed the sort of organized electrical activity associated with consciousness, said senior researcher Dr. Nenad Sestan.
Astronomers have taken the first ever image of a black hole, which is located in a distant galaxy. It measures 40 billion km across – three million times the size of the Earth – and has been described by scientists as “a monster”. The black hole is 500 million trillion km away and was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world. Prof Heino Falcke, of Radboud University in the Netherlands, who proposed the experiment, told BBC News that the black hole was found in a galaxy called M87.
Plans for the first all-female spacewalk in history have been scrapped for lack of a second space suit, the US space agency Nasa says. Christina Koch and Anne McClain had been scheduled to step outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday to install batteries. But it turned out they both needed a medium-size spacesuit and only one was ready for use. Koch will now exit the ISS with male colleague Nick Hague instead.
A “mindblowing” haul of fossils that captures the riot of evolution that kickstarted the diversity of life on Earth more than half a billion years ago has been discovered by researchers in China. Paleontologists found thousands of fossils in rocks on the bank of the Danshui river in Hubei province in southern China, where primitive forms of jellyfish, sponges, algae, anemones, worms and arthropods with thin whip-like feelers were entombed in an ancient underwater mudslide. The fossilized organisms date back to 518m years ago when life on Earth experienced a massive burst in diversity known as the Cambrian explosion.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft separated from the International Space Station early Friday, setting the stage for a fiery unpiloted plunge to splashdown off the coast of Florida later Friday morning. A successful return to Earth would help clear the way for launch of the first piloted test flight of the new ferry ship in the mid-summer timeframe. For the trip back to Earth, the Crew Dragon will carry about 300 pounds of cargo, including a failed spacesuit component and two cold bags loaded with experiment samples.