New Delhi: Researchers first discovered a centipede with more than 1,000 legs, setting a new record. The greatest number of legs on any centipede found before this was 750.
The centipede with more than 1,000 legs was found 60 meters underground in a borehole created for mineral exploration in Australia.
It has 1,306 legs and belongs to a new species which was named Eumillipes persephone by a team of researchers from the United States and Australia. The name of the centipede derives from the Greek word ‘EU‘- which means true – and the Latin words’thousand‘, which means thousand, and’pes’ which means foot. The last part is a reference to the Greek goddess of the underworld, Persephone.
The study authors measured four limbs of the new species and found that they had long, thread-like bodies, made up of up to 330 segments, and measured up to 0.95mm wide and 95.7mm long. They are eyeless, have short legs, and a conical head with antennae and a beak.
Analysis of relationships between species suggests that E. persephone is a long way from the previous record holder for the most legs, the California centipede species.
The authors suggest that the large number of segments and legs that have evolved in both species may allow them to generate pushing forces that allow them to move through narrow openings in the soil habitats in which they live. To find out more, click here.
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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover finds traces of water
Data from NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover mission showed that rocks at Jezero Crater have interacted with water several times in the past, and some even contain organic molecules.
The rover discovered that the bedrock it had been driving on since it landed in February was likely formed from red-hot magma.
These findings have implications for understanding and accurately dating critical events in the history of the Red Planet.
Using a drill attached to its robotic arm, the rover took samples from the planet. X-ray fluorescence was then used to map the elemental composition of rocks. The researchers found the rock samples composed of an unusual abundance of large olivine crystals engulfed in pyroxene crystals.
This indicates that the rock formed when the crystals grew and settled in a slowly cooling puddle. The rock was then repeatedly weathered by water, making it a treasure that will allow future scientists to date events in the crater, better understand the period when water was more common on its surface, and to reveal the ancient history of the planet. Read more here.
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Earth noise used to map rocks under the Greenland ice cap
An international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Australia, Portugal, Spain and Italy used the noise created by the movements of the Earth to paint a detailed picture of the geological conditions under the Greenland ice sheet and impact on ice flow.
The team studied Rayleigh waves – seismic waves generated by movements such as earthquakes – to produce high-resolution images of rocks beneath the ice cap.
The research has identified the areas most sensitive to faster ice flow.
The Greenland ice cap is the second largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth. However, the rate of mass loss of ice from the sheet has increased six-fold since 1991, which is about 10% of the recent global sea level rise.
The geological conditions of the ground beneath an ice cap or glacier play a key role in determining ice flow. The composition of the rock layers, the temperature of the underlying earth’s crust and the amount of water present in liquid form between the rock and the ice are all factors that can accelerate the melting of the ice cap.
The problem, however, is how to assess what’s going on at depth, given Greenland’s remoteness and the fact that the ground is covered with ice about 2.5 kilometers thick.
The team was able to map what happens up to 3 miles away by measuring Rayleigh waves extracted from Earth noise. Read more.
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Mystery Behind Vast Forms Of Nitrogen Ice On Pluto Solved
A team of scientists from France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) has unraveled the mystery behind the formation of the vast ice that was formed in one of Pluto’s largest craters, Sputnik Planitia.
Sputnik Planitia is an impact crater, made up of a luminous plain, slightly larger than France, and filled with nitrogen ice.
For the new study, the researchers used sophisticated modeling techniques to show that these forms of ice are formed by the sublimation of ice – a phenomenon where solid ice is able to turn into gas without going through a liquid state.
The research team shows that this sublimation of nitrogen ice feeds convection in the Sputnik Planitia ice sheet by cooling its surface.
Such a dynamic of a climate-fueled solid layer could also occur on the surface of other bodies such as Triton (one of Neptune’s moons) or Eris and Makemake (of the Kuiper Belt). Read more.
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Antarctic Critical Glacier is retreating rapidly as the ocean warms
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the United States have found that Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is retreating rapidly as a warming ocean slowly clears its ice from below.
This causes faster flow, more fracturing and a threat of collapse, the researchers said. The glacier currently contributes 4% of the annual rise in global sea level. If it collapses, global sea level will rise by more than 60 cm, putting millions of people living in coastal areas at risk. danger of extreme flooding.
The glacier has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. The speed at which it flows into the ocean has doubled.
Critically, the glacier is currently held back by an Ice Shelf, a floating extension of the glacier held in place by an undersea mountain.
Recent research has shown that this pack ice is being attacked from all sides. It is melted by the warm waters of the ocean, causing it to lose its grip on the undersea mountain. At the same time, massive fractures form and develop on the surface of the ice floe.
Research suggests that at the current rate of change, this critical ice shelf will begin to break over the next two decades, with serious consequences for the stability of the Thwaites Glacier. Read more.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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