Week in Science (4 – 10 Apr 2021)

Science News related to Solar Variability - La Nina Events, Raindrops on Exoplanets, Atom-Based Radio Communications, Double Quasars in Merging Galaxies, New Window into Dark Energy, Undiscovered Particles or Forces in Muon G-2 Experiment, Clues About Martian Crater, Eco-Friendly Pollen Sponge, Cooling the Earth’s Ecosystem, The Drying Up of Mars, Pulp Mill – Land Fill, Ocean Currents Beneath The 'Doomsday Glacier'


Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.


*Cover Picture Credit: NASA*

1. Study Ties Solar Variability to The Onset of Decadal La Nina Events


Source: NCAR/UCAR 5 Apr 2021


A new study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth. If the connection holds up, it could significantly improve the predictability of the largest El Nino and La Nina events, which have a number of seasonal climate effects over land.


Original written by: Laura Snider

2. Raindrops Also Keep Fallin’ on Exoplanets


Source: Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences 5 Apr 2021


In a recent paper, researchers found that raindrops are remarkably similar across different planetary environments, even planets as drastically different as Earth and Jupiter. Understanding the behavior of raindrops on other planets is key to not only revealing the ancient climate on planets like Mars but identifying potentially habitable planets outside our solar system.


Original written by: Leah Burrows

3. Atom-Based Radio Communications


Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 5 Apr 2021


Researchers have demonstrated an atom-based sensor that can determine the direction of an incoming radio signal, another key part for a potential atomic communications system that could be smaller and work better in noisy environments than conventional technology.

4. Hubble Spots Double Quasars in Merging Galaxies


Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center 6 Apr 2021


Peering back 10 billion years into the universe's past, Hubble astronomers found a pair of quasars that are so close to each other they look like a single object in ground-based telescopic photos, but not in Hubble’s crisp view. The researchers believe the quasars are very close to each other because they reside in the cores of two merging galaxies. The team went on to win the "daily double" by finding yet another quasar pair in another colliding galaxy duo.

5. Dark Energy Survey Physicists Open New Window into Dark Energy


Source: DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory 6 Apr 2021


An analysis by Dark Energy Survey researchers yields more precise estimates of the average density of matter as well as its propensity to clump together – two key parameters that help physicists probe the nature of dark matter and dark energy, the mysterious substances that make up the vast majority of the universe.


Original written by: Nathan Collins

6. Evidence of Undiscovered Particles or Forces in Muon G-2 Experiment


Source: DOE/Argonne National Laboratory 7 Apr 2021


Scientists are conducting an experiment to put our current understanding of the universe to the test. The first result points to the existence of undiscovered particles or forces. This new physics could help explain long-standing scientific mysteries, and the new insight adds to a storehouse of information that scientists can tap into when modeling our universe and developing new technologies.


Original written by: Savannah Mitchem

7. Asteroid Crater on Earth Provides Clues About Martian Craters


Source: University of Göttingen 7 Apr 2021


A research team has discovered a volcanic ash layer in the almost 15-million-year-old Nördlinger Ries asteroid crater. In addition, the team was able to show that the ground under the crater is sinking in the long term, which provides important insights for the exploration of craters on Mars, such as the ancient Gale and Jezero crater basin lakes, currently being explored by the NASA Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers.

8. Scientists Develop Eco-Friendly Pollen Sponge to Tackle Water Contaminants


Source: Nanyang Technological University 7 Apr 2021


A team of scientists has created a reusable, biodegradable sponge that can readily soak up oil and other organic solvents from contaminated water sources, making it a promising alternative for tackling marine oil spills. The sponges measure 5 cm in diameter. The research team believes that these sponges, when scaled up, could be an eco-friendly alternative to tackle marine oil spills.

9. Reflecting Sunlight Could Cool the Earth’s Ecosystem


Source: University of Minnesota 7 Apr 2021


Researchers explored the effect of solar climate interventions on ecology. The team found that more research is needed to understand the ecological impacts of solar radiation modification (SRM) technologies that reflect small amounts of sunlight back into space. The team focused on a specific proposed SRM strategy - referred to as stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI)) - to create a sulfate aerosol cloud in the stratosphere to reduce a portion of incoming sunlight and radiation. In theory, this cloud could be controlled in size and location.

10. Mars Didn’t Dry Up in One Go


Source: CNRS 8 Apr 2021


A research team has discovered that the Martian climate recorded at Mount Sharp alternated between dry and wetter periods, before drying up completely about 3 billion years ago. Spacecraft in orbit around Mars had already provided clues about the mineral composition of the slopes of Mount Sharp. But now, ChemCam has successfully made detailed observations of the sedimentary beds from the planet’s surface, revealing the conditions under which they formed.

11. Pulp Mill Waste Hits the Road Instead of The Landfill


Source: University of British Columbia Okanagan campus 8 Apr 2021


Waste materials from the pulp and paper industry have long been seen as possible fillers for building products like cement, but for years these materials have ended up in the landfill. Now, researchers are developing guidelines to use this waste for road construction in an environmentally friendly manner.

12. Exploration of Ocean Currents Beneath The 'Doomsday Glacier'


Source: University of Gothenburg 9 Apr 2021


For the first time, researchers have been able to obtain data from underneath Thwaites Glacier, also known as the "Doomsday Glacier". They found that the supply of warm water to the glacier is larger than previously thought, triggering concerns of faster melting and accelerating ice flow.


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