The Most Interesting Science Stories This Week
More than two years ago, aerospace company SpaceX announced its plan to put a constellation of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit and to provide high-speed and affordable internet service to consumers in the U.S. and around the world. Now it has been unveiled that SpaceX will launch two prototype satellites by the end of this year and next year and test them out. Then, it will send a network of more than 4000 satellites to the near-Earth orbit between 2019 and 2024. Once these broadband satellites reached the orbit, they will provide 1 gigabit-per-second broadband to customers across the globe, which is around 100 times faster than regular broadband.
Researchers have carried out a detailed study of a ‘Warm Neptune’ – an exoplanet that is similar in size to Neptune, but orbits the sun more closely the than planet – and found that its atmosphere is almost entirely composed of hydrogen and helium and has very less clouds. The exoplanet, dubbed HAT-P-26b, is 430 light years from Earth and was originally discovered in 2011. But the recent detailed study shows that it is different from other ice giants in our solar system such as Neptune and Uranus and it could help researchers understand the diversity and formation of worlds beyond Earth.
Ancient rocks in Western Australia possibly contain the oldest evidence of life on Earth. Recently, researchers have discovered very old deposits of hot spring in the Dresser Formation of Pilbara. These deposits are estimated to 3.48 billion year old, pushing back the date of world’s oldest microbial life evidence by 580 million years. The previous oldest deposits were discovered in South Africa and they were around 2.7- 2.9 billion-year-old. The discovery lends weight to a land-based origin of life and that the life emerged on Earth much earlier than originally thought.
Two astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer performed the historic 200th spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday despite a minor setback when water leaked through the equipment that supplies power and oxygen to the astronauts’ spacesuits. The landmark spacewalk lasted four hours and 13 minutes. Astronauts completed all the major tasks scheduled during the spacewalk. They replaced a faulty avionics box and installed a connector that routes data to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer – an instrument that maintains cosmic rays. The first spacewalk ever at the International Space Station was conducted on December 7, 1998.
Egyptian archeologists have unearthed an ancient human burial site with at least 17 intact mummies near the Nile Valley city of Minya. The site has yielded many birds and animals necropolises before but it’s the first human necropolis to be found there. The necropolis is located 8 meters below ground level and dates back to 332 BC – a period lasted almost 300 years and ended on the Alexander the Great’s conquest of Egypt.
- ^ SpaceX Plans to Launch High-Speed Internet Satellites in 2019 (www.i4u.com)
- ^ Today’s Best Deals on Amazon.com (amzn.to)
- ^ Astronomers Discover a Neptune-Sized Planet with Signs of Water Vapor and Clouds (www.i4u.com)
- ^ Oldest Known Evidence of Life on Earth found in Australia Rocks (www.i4u.com)
- ^ NASA Astronauts Complete 200th Spacewalk at ISS (www.i4u.com)
- ^ Ancient Burial Site with 17 Mummies Discovered in Egypt (www.i4u.com)