NEWS DIGEST 08.08.2021: NASA’s Perseverance fails first Martian sample collection, other science stories

Good morning. Today’s news is from NewsNow’s Science bulletin board.

NASA says that its Perseverance rover failed its first attempt to drill rock samples on Mars, an unexpected and disappointing outcome. NASA indicates that it believes future attempts will be successful with the team behind the rover suspecting the issue is due to the rock itself, not Perseverance’s hardware. The first drilling attempt was intended to kick off this effort. Perseverance used a drill to bore a hole through Martian rock, then it was to place the drilled sample into one of its titanium tubes. Based on a measurement of the tube after the drilling attempt was finished, the Perseverance team concluded that the tube was empty, making the first attempt a disappointment. This wouldn’t be the first time that a Mars rock proved difficult to sample – NASA Perseverance rover fails first Mars rock sample drilling attempt (Slash Gear)

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While people who are apt to fly into rages face one set of problems, those who rarely express their anger – including those who don’t even acknowledge that they feel anger – can face negative consequences as well. One recent study of 23,000 older men found that those who outwardly expressed their anger from time to time had a significantly decreased risk of stroke and heart disease than men who rarely expressed anger. Innocent parties are often the targets of repressed anger. Another outlet for anger comes when we find roundabout ways of venting our anger and frustration against the people we’re mad at. The trick is finding healthy, constructive ways both to express anger and to work toward changing the situations and thought processes that provoke it – Repressed Anger (HealthDay)

Through a process known as RNA interference, scientists have been able to modify the genetic make-up of the daddy long-legs arachnid so that its distinctive spindly limbs become twice as short. The result is effectively a daddy short-legs instead of a daddy long-legs. Turning off or silencing the genes in other embryos produced daddy long-legs that were different: two or more of their legs were shorter than normal and had transformed into pedipalps, which are limbs used specifically for handling food. The team then turned off the third gene thought to be linked to building legs in embryos. Not all daddy long-legs have legs that can wrap around twigs and other objects like these bugs can, for example – Scientists Shorten Daddy Long-Legs’ Iconic Limbs to Figure Out How They Got So Gangly (Science Alert)

Burning through parched fuel like matchsticks, the Dixie Fire in Northern California has mushroomed in size this week to become the largest single wildfire in the state’s history, according to news reports. The fire, which covers large parts of Butte and Plumas Counties, ignited around midnight on July 14 and has been raging ever since, fostered by the low humidity, high winds and already dried-up foliage, The Washington Post reported. Overnight Thursday, the fire grew by about 70,000 acres and as of Saturday morning, it covers an area of 446,723 acres, or more than half the size of Rhode Island. Currently, 21% of the fire is contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to CalFire. CalFire says about 13,871 structures are threatened by the fire – Dixie Fire becomes largest in California history (Live Science)

A team of researchers led by Russian scientists recently revealed two near-pristine prehistoric lion cubs discovered frozen in the banks of a Siberian river, preserved for tens of thousands of years. Berezhnev found the first cub, a male specimen nicknamed Boris, in 2017; he discovered the second cub, a female specimen nicknamed Sparta, in 2018, just 15 meters from the first cub, EcoWatch reported. Researchers initially believed that the cubs might be siblings, but radiocarbon dating indicated that Sparta was around 28,000 years old while Boris was over 43,000 years old. The cubs were around the same age when they died, roughly 1-2 months old, according to a study released in the journal Quarternary on Wednesday – Scientists reveal near-pristine prehistoric lion cubs discovered in Russia: ‘She even had whiskers’ (Fox News – Wild Nature)

Summarised by SMMRY.


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