Beetle saved in amber had helicopter wings

Uma carocha conservada em âmbar datada do período Eocénico (cerca de 10 milhões de anos após a extinção dos dinossauros até há cerca de 37 milhões de anos) e encontrada na Alemanha tinha asas com configuração nunca vista: em helicóptero !

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Carocha conservada em âmbas tinha asas de helicóptero

See on Scoop.itMilhares de milhões de anos… a mesma Terra !


These Stunning Satellite Images Turn Earth Into Art

“The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled some of the more stunning examples into a traveling art exhibition called Earth as Art 4, the fourth in a series of shows since 2002. The collection, which can be viewed in full online, debuted at USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia.”


Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, images, art, landscape.


Gene behind ‘evolution in action’ in Darwin’s finches identified

Scientists from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Sweden have identified a specific gene that within a year helped spur a permanent physical change in a finch species in response to a drought-induced food shortage. The findings provide a genetic basis for natural selection that, when combined with observational data, could serve as a comprehensive model of evolution.


PHD Comics: Microbiomes Explained

Link to Piled Higher and Deeper

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À nossa volta, existem minúsculos organismos com um potencial que ainda mal começámos a entender….
um poderão fazer a diferença entre colonizar um planeta ou talvez mesmo salvar vidas…!

See on Scoop.itBioinformática

An abandoned probe just discovered something weird about the atmosphere of Venus

The fiery hellscape that keeps on giving.

Just when we’d all forgotten about the second-closest planet to the Sun – what with Planet Nine taking up all our attention – an old, abandoned probe has come through with some weird data from the atmosphere of Venus.

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express probe spent eight years collecting information on Venus before plunging down to the surface and out of range back in November 2014. But now we finally have the last batch of data it transmitted back to Earth before going offline, and there are some big surprises in all those recordings.

Turns out, the polar atmosphere of Venus is a whole lot colder and a lot less dense than we previously thought, and these regions are dominated by strong atmospheric waves that have never been measured on Venus before.

Maddie Stone from Gizmodo reports that the Venus Express probe found polar areas of Venus to have an average temperature of -157 degrees Celsius, which is colder than any spot on Earth, and about 70 degrees lower than was previously thought.

This is rather surprising, considering Venus’s position as the hottest planet in the Solar System overall.

Not only is Venus much closer to the Sun than we are, it also has a thick, dense cloud layer that traps heat. However, Venus Express also found that the planet’s atmosphere was 22 to 40 percent less dense than expected at the polar regions.

“The existing model paints an overly simplistic picture of Venus’s upper atmosphere,” said lead researcher, Ingo Müller-Wodarg, from the Imperial College London. “These lower densities could be at least partly due to Venus’ polar vortices, which are strong wind systems sitting near the planet’s poles. Atmospheric winds may be making the density structure both more complicated and more interesting!”

There’s more too: the probe found these same regions to be dominated by strong atmospheric waves, which behave like ripples in a pond, except they travel vertically instead of horizontally.

These waves are thought to be key in influencing a planet’s atmosphere, including the one we have here on Earth, but they’ve never been measured on Venus before.

What makes the discoveries even more interesting is that they were obtained using instruments that weren’t intended for in-situ atmosphere observations: it was only after the launch of the Venus Express that scientists realised they could use accelerometer measurements to assess atmosphere density.

Finally, in its last moments, Venus Express proved that aerobraking – using atmospheric drag to slow down – is an effective way of making a controlled descent, and that’s going to be very useful indeed when the ESA’s Mars probe arrives at its destination.

“For Mars, the aerobraking phase would last longer than on Venus, for about a year, so we’d get a full dataset of Mars’ atmospheric densities and how they vary with season and distance from the Sun,” said Håkan Svedhem, a researcher for both the ExoMars 2016 and Venus Express missions. “This information isn’t just relevant to scientists; it’s crucial for engineering purposes as well.”

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What a surprise ! Who would say that there is cold regions in Venus !?

See on Scoop.itAnother Earths in the Universe

Bird genome contains ‘fossils’ of parasites

In rare instances, DNA is known to have jumped from one species to another. If a parasite’s DNA jumps to its host’s genome, it could leave evidence of that parasitic interaction that could be found millions of years later – a DNA ‘fossil’ of sorts. An international research team led from Uppsala University has discovered a new type of so-called transposable element that occurred in the genomes of certain birds and nematodes.

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Trechos de DNA chamados transposões saltaram do DNA de nemátodes como a lombriga para os seus hospedeiros na altura.
Encontram-se certos transposões provenientes de nemátodes no genoma de mamíferos mas essa “infecção” apenas se deu mais recentemente. O que parece provar que os nemátodes apenas foram capazes de parasitar mamíferos mais recentemente do que as aves.

See on Scoop.itBioinformática