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Tiny Mars helicopter set for first flight Sunday

Tiny Mars helicopter set for first flight Sunday

Science
April 9 (UPI) -- NASA's plan to fly a helicopter on Mars comes to fruition Sunday with an attempted 40-second climb to just 10 feet, but agency officials say they hope to make bolder efforts in the next few weeks. "We'll be going higher and further," MiMi Aung, the space agency's project manager on the helicopter, Ingenuity, said Friday. "By the fifth flight, if we get that far, we are going to take very bold flights and ... it would be unlikely to land safely because we'll start going into unsurveyed areas." Advertisement NASA plans to fly Ingenuity at 10:54 p.m. EDT Sunday, but results won't be available until 4:15 a.m. Monday due to transmission delays between the helicopter, the rover and Earth. A live broadcast of the mission control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,...
Ocean noise: Study to measure the oceans’ ‘year of quiet’

Ocean noise: Study to measure the oceans’ ‘year of quiet’

Science
AlamyOcean scientists around the world are studying the "unique moment" of quiet created by the pandemic. The researchers have called their vast listening experiment: The year of the quiet ocean. "Lockdown slowed global shipping on a scale that would otherwise be impossible," explained Prof Peter Tyack from the University of St Andrews. The scientists plan to listen to the ocean soundscape before, during and after lockdown. They have identified 200 ocean hydrophones - underwater microphones that are already in place around the global ocean. "So the idea is to use those to measure the changes in noise and how they affect marine life - like calling whales or fish choruses," Prof Tyack said. "Just like people and cities may have noticed that, with much less traffic noise and human activity, ...
Shepherds were tending sheep in Central Asia at least 8,000 years ago

Shepherds were tending sheep in Central Asia at least 8,000 years ago

Science
April 8 (UPI) -- Neolithic herders were tending flocks of sheep and goats as early as 8,000 years ago on the slopes of Central Asia's mountains. The earliest crops and domesticated livestock originated around 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia and the mountains of Western Asia. Advertisement During the millennia that followed, the so-called Neolithic Revolution spread north in Europe and south into Africa and South Asia. However, most researchers estimated it took a few thousand more years for sheep, cattle and goats to make their way to Central Asia. The latest research, published Thursday in the journal Nature Human Behavior, suggests livestock were moving along the trade pathways that would come to form the Silk Road much earlier than previously thought. The retur...
Survey finds 82% of dead eagles with rat poison in their systems

Survey finds 82% of dead eagles with rat poison in their systems

Science
April 7 (UPI) -- Scientists found rat poison in the systems of 82% of the few hundred dead eagles examined for a multiyear survey between 2014 and 2018. The survey results, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, are a reminder of the lurking threats that face even the most well-protected animals. Advertisement "Generally, bald eagle populations have been thriving in the United States. This is great news and a conservation success story," corresponding author Mark Ruder told UPI in an email. "However, as wildlife health researchers, we are always concerned about the health of wildlife, including eagles. We live in a changing world and the human population puts a lot of pressure on our natural resources," said Ruder, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia's College of Vet...
Muons: ‘Strong’ evidence found for a new force of nature

Muons: ‘Strong’ evidence found for a new force of nature

Science
Reidar Hahn / FermiLabFrom sticking a magnet on a fridge door to throwing a ball into a basketball hoop, the forces of physics are at play in every moment of our lives.All of the forces we experience every day can be reduced to just four categories: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force.Now, physicists say they have found possible signs of a fifth fundamental force of nature.The findings come from research carried out at a laboratory near Chicago.The four fundamental forces govern how all the objects and particles in the Universe interact with each other.For example, gravity makes objects fall to the ground, and heavy objects behave as if they are glued to the floor.The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said the result "provides strong evidence ...