Welcome to a “Discover Magazine” update from Hawaii Science Digest. Views expressed in this science and technology news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents. Content provided by “Discover Magazine.” Accessed on 27 April 2019, 1605 UTC.
Please click link or scroll down to read your selections.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
What is Rewilding? Scientists’ New Roadmap For Restoring Ecosystems
The human imprint on Earth is undeniable. Everywhere you look, you can find traces of our species’ short time on our roughly 4.5 billion-year-old planet. Often, those stamps are visible, like roads cutting through a forest or a patchwork of farmland covering what was once prairie. These marks can hinder the natural biodiversity of ecosystems, suffocating plant and animal species that once had a happy niche.
One way to undo some of this damage is to follow a conservation practice called …
CITIZEN SCIENCE SALON
Survivors in the Forest: Help Scientists by Identifying Resilient Trees
Calling all tree lovers! This Arbor Day, help scientists study trees near you with TreeSnap, an easy-to-use app.
Are you a tree lover with a smartphone? If so, you can help out scientists who are trying to breed stronger trees. Like all living beings, trees face a variety of challenges and illnesses. In addition to threats like climate change, pollution, and loss of habitat, they also can be attacked by bugs or fall ill. Luckily, many scientists and community members are working together …
Humanity’s Early Ancestors Were Upright Walking Apes
Roughly 8 million years ago, some apes stood up and started human evolution.
Okay, that’s not really what happened. But it is a fair characterization of the way scientists identify the oldest fossils likely to be human ancestors. Upright walking apes mark the start of the study of human evolution in many texts and classes.
That’s because bipedalism, or two-legged locomotion, was the first major evolutionary change in human ancestors, which is evident from bones. Other distinguishin …
LIGO Spots Two Gravitational Waves in Two Days
It took astronomers a century to make the first-ever gravitational wave detection, confirming a core prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. But this month, the floodgates have opened.
On Friday, scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced they’ve likely detected a second gravitational wave event in as many days. Detectors at three locations around the world caught the arrival of a probable ripple in space-time around …
Robot Astrobees Honey and Bumble Report for Duty on the ISS
On April 19, the Cygnus spacecraft docked at the International Space Station. Among plenty of other cargo, it carried special passengers: two small robots named Honey and Bumble. These “Astrobees” will soon become part of the station’s working crew, helping with such tasks as checking inventory, recording astronauts and experiments and running their own research projects.
Bees in Space
Terry Fong, Chief Roboticist at NASA Ames, expects that the robots might start work as early as ne …
Breaking: LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves From Another Neutron Star Merger
For just the second time, physicists working on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have caught the gravitational waves of two neutron stars colliding to likely form a black hole.
The ripples in space time traveled some 500 million light-years and reached the detectors at LIGO, as well as its Italian sister observatory, Virgo, at around 4 a.m. E.T. on Thursday, April 25. Team members say there’s a more than 99 percent chance that the gravitational waves were …
Japan’s Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Shoots Asteroid, Returns to Crime Scene
Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped an explosive onto its asteroid home, Ryugu, back on April 5, blasting a new crater into its rocky surface so it could investigate what lies beneath. Since then, the spacecraft has been in hiding around the asteroid’s far side, waiting for the dust to settle. Yesterday, it ventured out to survey the damage.
The pictures Hayabusa2 returned reveal a crater roughly 66 feet across, larger than even scientists’ most generous expectations. They had wor …
Hubble Hints Today’s Universe Expands Faster Than it Did in the Past
For a while now, astronomers have been confronting a conundrum. Studies of the early universe, looking at the era just after the Big Bang, tell us that the cosmos should be expanding at one speed. But when astronomers actually measure today’s universe, they find a faster rate of expansion.
Scientists have known that the universe is expanding for around a century. Astronomers like Edwin Hubble first noticed that every distant galaxy they could measure seemed to be moving away from Ea …
Winds and Waves on the Oceans Are Getting (Slightly) Stronger Every Year
In the world of climate science — and science in general — data is king. The more of it you have, and the higher its quality, the better. And while such trends as the rise in temperatures and sea levels have impeccable data behind them, not every measure of a changing climate has been so lucky.
Take the global wind and wave climate, for example, which measures trends in wind speed and wave height in oceans around the globe. Both of these factors affect the interplay between the atmosp …
‘It’s a Haunting Thing’: Space Artists on the First Black Hole Image
When researchers with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) unveiled the first true picture of a black hole on April 10, they finally succeeded in imaging the invisible. The bright ring of the accretion disk and the dark shadow of the event horizon stood out clearly, validating scientists’ theories as to what a singularity looked like.
The event was a momentous one for the space artists who have spent decades drawing black holes in the absence of actual confirmation of what they look like. …