UCSF researchers have developed a brain machine interface for people with neurological conditions who have lost the ability to speak. This implant turns brain signals into recognizable synthesized speech by picking up on individual nerve commands and translating them to a virtual vocal tract. The system isn’t perfect just yet, as while it can accurately capture the distinctive sound of someone’s voice, the are times it produces garbled words. Read more for a video and additional information.
China’s Yutu-2 has captured stunning new images of the Moon’s far side using the lunar rover’ panoramic camera as it makes its way west from its landing site in the South Pole-Aitken basin. This impact crater is of interest to scientists because they believe an ancient lunar impact may have exposed the Moon’s mantle in this area, and by studying the region, they hope to learn more about the early solar system and Earth. Read more for additional pictures and information.
NASA’s InSight lander has just detected and recorded what scientists believe to be a “Marsquake,” marking the first time a seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet. The faint rumble is equal to roughly a 2.5 magnitude earthquake, and was measured on April 6 – the lander’s 128th Martian day, by InSight’s seismometer, an instrument sensitive enough to measure a seismic wave just one-half the radius of a hydrogen atom. “The high frequency level and broad band is very similar to what we get from a rupture process. So we are very confident that this is a marsquake,” said Philippe Lognonné, a geophysics and planetary science professor at University Paris Diderot in France and lead researcher for InSight’s seismometer.Read more to hear the actual recorded Marsquake and for additonal information.
Mars Base 1, also known as ‘Mars Camp’, has opened in China’s Gobi desert, and the first visitors were a group of students who even got to try on space suits. China’s space agency wants to make the camp a center for researchers and adventure-seekers to experience challenges that could face astronauts on Mars in the future. “I am very excited to be here. We saw the monolith, a crater, and a cave. It’s better than the Mars that I had imagined,” said a 13-year-old student. Read more for another video and additional information.
It’s not everyday that you hear about a rare blood type, much less one that only 43 people are confirmed to have worldwide, with 9 of them being donors. It’s called Rh-null, or “Golden Blood”, and is highly prized for blood transfusions. What makes it so special? Well, humans all have red blood cells with 342 antigens, which produce antibodies, and theirblood type is determined on the basis of the presence or absence of these antigens. Approximately 160 of 342 blood group antigens are prevalent and your blood type is considered rare if you lack antigens that 99% of the people are positive for. The 342 known antigens belong to 35 blood group systems, and Rh, or ‘Rhesus’, is the largest, with 61 antigens. What if you’re missing all of the 61 Rh antigens? This means that it can be accepted by anyone with a rare blood type within the Rh blood system. Read more for a video and additional information.
The annual Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks overnight on April 22-23, and this event typically produces around 20 shooting stars per hour. Meteor experts normally say to catch them in the early predawn hours, but this year, the best time to see the Lyrids is expected to be in the early evening hours before midnight. “So try — this year — watching in the early part of the night. There will be a brief window between the time the radiant rises in mid-evening and moonrise around midnight,” according to Earth Sky. Read more for a video explaining the science behind the Lyrids Meteor Shower and additional information.
Photo credit: Matter Design via Designboom
Matter Design, in collaboration with construction-research company CEMEX global R&D, researchers to devise a method of moving massive stones without the use of heavy machinery. They drew inspiration from the Moai statues on Easter Island, and came up with Massive Masonry Units (MMU’s), which uses variable density concrete, so the center of mass is calibrated precisely to control their stability to ensure that one can move them successfully into place for assembly. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) announced that 360 reports from some 12 states detailing alleged meteor activity was received Wednesday, with the majority of them coming from Virginia; Washington, DC; and Marylanda at around 11 p.m. The exploding meteoroid was so bright that it triggered the lightning detector on NASA / NOAA’s GOES-16 weather satellite. According to the AMS preliminary 3D trajectory, the fireball ended its journey in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Bethany Beach in Delaware. Read more for two additional videos.
Photo credit: Indira Chugh
Diphylleia grayi is a type of flower that looks normal at first glance, or in dry conditions, but once they touch water, the petals turn translucent, which fits its nickname of “Skeleton Flower”. They’re found in Japan’s colder wooded mountainsides and bloom from mid-spring to early-summer. Once the rain stops, the petals go back to normal as they dry. Read more for two videos of the phenomenon and additional information,
These days, you can find just about anything on eBay, including this fossil of an infant Tyrannosaurus rex, which as a “buy it now” price of $2.95-million. It’s estimated to be 68-million years old, and was first discovered in 2013, on private land in Montana. It became the property of Alan Detrich, a professional fossil hunter who found it. In 2017, the fossil was lent to the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, where it was still on display when Detrich decided to put it up for auction. “Most Likely the Only BABY T-Rex in the World! It has a 15 FOOT long Body and a 21” SKULL with Serrated Teeth! This Rex was very a very dangerous meat eater. It’s a RARE opportunity indeed to ever see a baby REX,” according to the listing. Read more for additional pictures and information.