Europe's new satellite, Sentinel-2A, uses a multispectral camera to monitor agriculture in places such as Saudi Arabia as well as to chart changing lands, such as forests to track wildfires and rates of deforestation. The hope is to sustainably manage natural resources and water quality. "Its imagery enables us to improve the quality of life of our citizens and protect our environment," said Mauro Facchini, Head of the Copernicus Unit at the European Commission in a press release
Frost Gullies On Mars
An image captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows frozen gullies in a crater on the planet’s northern plains. The ground material as well as the shadows and slopes cause the carbon dioxide ice to form into different alcoves, making the gullies look like giant frosty feathers.
The Ensatina Salamander
A recently discovered fungus has been decimating salamander populations in Europe. Researchers believe that the fungus originated in Asia, and since millions of salamanders have been imported to the U.S. from there, they worry the fungus may spread to other parts of the world. The fungus is deadly, with a 96 percent fatality rate amongst the European salamanders. “There is a lot at stake here if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t stop imports now to prevent the introduction of this devastating pathogen to North America,” said co-author of the study Michelle Koo in a press release.
A Dying Star’s Final Moments
Hubble Space Telescope captured the final moments of a dying star that developed into a spectacular planetary nebula. Strong stellar winds pushed away the star’s outer layers into an extending cloud of gas. This revealed a bright core that excited the gas around it to different degrees with its ultraviolet radiation, causing an array of stunning colors.
The Bowing Patterns Of The Viola
Photographer Stephen Orlando placed LED lights on the bows of violin and viola players and used a long exposure to capture waves of light as they played. It is as if the notes spring to life in the form of rippled neon streams emanating from the musicians.
Google’s Project Loon
Google’s Project Loon plans to bring “affordable high-speed” internet coverage to the entire country of Sri Lanka via a giant balloon. The balloon, dubbed Nighthawk, will float in the atmosphere for 100 days and beam internet down using LTE antennas to mobile phones and telecommunication stations.
Nano-sized machines are now possible by manipulating graphene like paper using kirigami principles. The structures were as thin as an atom, ultra-strong, and a great electron conductor. The researchers told Popular Science that they were surprised at how much the graphene acted like their paper models. Co-author of the study, Melina Blees says she felt “materials intuition” when working with the graphene, as if it were a very natural medium to work with. Watch a video of the graphene kirigami behaving like a soft spring.
Bright Basin On Tethys
The giant impact basin, Odysseus, on Saturn’s icy moon Tethys is illuminated by the expanded range of color made visible to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Other enhanced-color images have also showed long red streaks on Tethys’ surface as if a giant had drawn them with a crimson crayon.
In a study published in Plos One, researchers have found what nervous system cells are the first to fail during aging, thanks to marine snails. The researchers did electric shock reflex experiments on the snails’ tails, which slow as the animal ages. The findings could help researchers better understand memory loss in humans.
Explorable Panoramic Of The International Space Station
Photographs taken by European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of the International Space Station have been stitched together intoan explorable panorama. You can take a tour of the space station here.