New Research Indicates the Origin of Tamu Massif

New Research Indicates the Origin of Tamu Massif

Tamu Massif is a different breed of volcanic mountains according to a new study while shedding light on the origin of the massive volcano. The new findings published in Nature Geoscience this week reported that Tamu Massif is a different breed of volcanic mountains contradicting the earlier assumption that it is the largest single volcano documented on earth.

William Sager, the senior author of the study and a geophysicist at the University of Houston stated that discovery led the researchers to conclude that Tamu Massif is formed by mid-ocean ridge ‘spreading’ rather than as a shield volcano. The research paper published in 2013 by the current research team concluded Tamu Massif as the enormous shield volcano. He said that the findings were significant because it demonstrates that Tamu Massif and other oceanic plateaus are formed by a different process than previously thought.

Researchers from Texas, China and Japan were determined to find the origin of the massive Tamu Massif volcano which locates about 1,000 miles east of Japan. The research team analyzed the magnetic field data over the volcanic mountain after finding that magnetic anomalies resemble those formed at mid-ocean ridge plate boundaries. Mid-ocean ridges, which are large volcanoes themselves, record distinctive linear magnetic anomalies while they form new crust.

The study used the magnetic anomaly map over Tamu Massif with the magnetic field readings collected over the years. And the data were collected by the research team by using the Schmidt Ocean Institute Ship Falkor. It was found from the map that the linear magnetic anomalies blend into linear anomalies over the mountains itself.

Linear magnetic anomalies had previously been found around Tamu Massif, but the research team could not ensure that it is formed within the mountains itself. Mid-ocean ridge system is the largest volcano in the world which stretches about 65,000 kilometers around the world.

Researchers Argue that Plants Are Not Conscious

Researchers Argue that Plants Are Not Conscious

There has been a dispute among scientists on whether plants are indeed conscious. This was based upon the fact that plants have the ability to respond according to the changes in the environment. Now, however, some researchers are trying to argue that plants are definitely not conscious. A recently-published paper by these researchers says that plants “neither possess nor require consciousness” as the core thesis.

The new paper does not refute the claim that plants have intelligence. In fact, the researchers believe that the presence of intelligence can account to many of the adaptation actions of the plants. However, they are completely against the concept of ‘consciousness’ being applied in the case of plants. This is what the group has tried to refute through the aforesaid paper.

“Since the ‘plant neurobiology’ group emerged back in 2006, claiming that plants have their own nervous systems and many of the same features of consciousness and volition as animals, it has been the subject of a veritable feeding frenzy in the media not seen since the publication of Secret Life of Plants in the early ‘70s,” the lead author of the study, Lincoln Taiz, was quoted saying by Gizmodo.

As said earlier, plants can show certain changes in their behavior according to the environment that they are living in. Computation, Communication and Mobilizing Defenses are some of the most important aspects of these exhibitions and all these indicate the intelligence of the plants as well. These changes are what lead scientists into believing that plants are indeed conscious and that consciousness plays an important role.

As Taiz himself said, this paper represents the science community’s tradition of not simply refuting a claim, but instead producing sufficient proof to deny the same. In this case, the researchers have found enough evidence to throw away the concept of consciousness.

Rapidly Melting Sea Ice Causes Antarctica to Shrink to Record New Levels

Rapidly Melting Sea Ice Causes Antarctica to Shrink to Record New Levels

Antarctica is rapidly losing its sea ice, says a new study. The study looked at the satellite data that was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study highlighted the fact that the ice on the south pole was expanding for decades until a few years ago when it started to lose its sea ice.

Between the year 1979 and 2014, the sea ice at Antarctica was expanding following a previous melt down in the same decade. However, since 2014, the continent has lost 2.1 million square kilometers of ice in just three years. The ice again expanded for a brief time between 2018 to 2019 but eventually started melting again. Since then, Antarctica has seen the record amount of melting sea ice.

The scientists are unsure if the fluctuating patterns at Antarctica are caused by climate change. They are even unsure if the sea ice will expand or continue to melt in the years to come. Scientists are however trying to understand what might have triggered the rapid melting.

This recent melting session has brought Antarctica in par with the Arctic in terms of the amount of ice melted. In fact, according to a statement by the Guardian, Antarctica has lost as much ice in just four years that the Arctic has lost in 34 years. The loss of sea ice at both the hemispheres shall harm the wildlife inhabiting the region.

Claire Parkinson, the author of the study, told CNN, “Sea ice also affects the polar ecosystem, including penguins and whales and seals, petrels and albatrosses, krill, and a whole range of additional animals and marine plant life.” Parkinson is a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center climatologist. This change, however, cannot be simply discarded since the shrinking record hints at the potential threats as well.

NASA is Planning 12 Projects Ahead of 2024 Lunar Mission

NASA is Planning 12 Projects Ahead of 2024 Lunar Mission

It is doubtless to say that the 2024 lunar mission is the next big thing that NASA is working on. However, it’s now being shown that the Artemis mission would not be the first to reach the moon. According to the latest reports, NASA is working on 12 projects that would be reaching the moon before Artemis, which is scheduled to take off in 2024 only. All these 12 projects are, as it can be guessed, for investigation purposes.

It was a few weeks back that NASA selected three commercial moon landing service providers. Now, an official blog post from the agency says that another 12 science and technology projects have also been chosen. All these investigative missions will look at the various aspects of the moon so that Artemis will have a better idea even before it takes off from the Earth.

“The selected investigations will go to the Moon on future flights through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project. The CLPS project allows rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services for payloads like these that advance capabilities for science, exploration, or commercial development of the Moon. Many of the new selections incorporate existing hardware, such as parts or models designed for missions that have already flown,” reads the official blog post from NASA.

Names of some of these lunar investigative missions are also interesting when compared to the seemingly-technical names of the others. For instance, Heimdall is a camera system that would be providing the best view of the satellite, even from these miles apart. It’s a pretty complicated system that brings both photo and video feeds from the other side.

Similarly, there is something called MoonRanger, which is a rover that has the ability to move around the lunar surface and collect samples for analysis. It would also map the terrain that it travels on top and this data will be useful for further exploration as well.

Supermassive Black Holes May have Emerged without Imploding a Massive Star; a New Study Reveals

Supermassive Black Holes May have Emerged without Imploding a Massive Star; a New Study Reveals

Formation of black holes may not have emerged from a star remnant. A recent study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that supermassive black holes may have formed directly without imploding a massive star. The research study ‘The Mass Function of Supermassive Black Holes in the Direct-collapse Scenario’ provides indirect evidence for the possibility of the direct formation of black holes. The discovery is based on the simple assumption that some supermassive black holes began to grow very fast within a short time span and suddenly stopped growing.

The mathematical model developed by researchers Shantanu Basu and Arpan Das of the University of Western Ontario provides an explanation for scientists on how black holes formed during the very early stages of our universe. The model was developed by calculating the mass function of supermassive black holes.

The findings also contradict with the earlier notion that the stellar mass black holes emerge when the center of a massive star collapses in upon itself. Shantanu Basu in a news release stated that the findings provide the indirect observational evidence that black holes originate from direct-collapses and not from stellar remnants.

Supermassive black holes were able to grow within a very short time span. But the production came to a halt at some point of time due to the radiation in the universe created by other black holes and stars. And this is the scenario of direct collapse, explained Basu.

Many supermassive black holes that are a billion times more massive than the sun have been discovered at high redshifts in the past ten years. This suggests the existence of such supermassive black holes in our universe within 800 million years after the big bang. The new findings which provide evidence for the presence of black holes formed by the direct collision in our early universe can be used in further research about supermassive black holes.

Some Ancient Relatives of Present-day Crocodiles Have Been Found to be Herbivores

Some Ancient Relatives of Present-day Crocodiles Have Been Found to be Herbivores

Some of the crocodiles that lived 200 million years ago were vegetarian, says a recent study. The study shows that multiple groups of crocodyliforms around this time were herbivores. The study was published on Thursday in the scientific journal, Current Biology.

Keegan Melstrom, a co-author of the study was cited by the Science News saying, “Our study indicates that complexly-shaped teeth, which we infer to indicate herbivory, appear in the extinct relatives of crocodiles at least three times and maybe as many as six.” Melstrom is a doctoral student at the University of Utah. Most of the living relatives of these ancient crocodiles are carnivorous in nature. Due to their food habits, all of them have simple conical teeth structure. The extinct species which the researchers examined had a much complex pattern of teeth.

The researchers examined the teeth of the ancient species to understand their eating habits and their diet. Melstrom, along with his graduate advisor Randall Irmis, examined 16 different species of crocodyliforms that have gone extinct. Their team was able to study 146 teeth from these species. Considering the morphological characteristic along with their study of teeth from the species, they were able to infer what these crocodyliforms could possibly have eaten while alive.

The research proved that these herbivorous species appeared somewhere around the end-Triassic mass extinction. They had much complex teeth-pattern and diet compared to the present relatives. These species went extinct along with the dinosaurs around the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. The researchers are optimistic about reconstructing more such patterns related to diet in future studies. They are now looking at the species which are available only as toothless fossils. The study shows that the various herbivorous species thrived across the globe and at different points in time. It also hints at there being a few omnivorous species of the reptile.

RoboBee X-Wing, the Insectile Flying Robot Takes Flight

RoboBee X-Wing, the Insectile Flying Robot Takes Flight

A new flying robot has been developed that weighs less than a milligram. The self-powered robot is called as RoboBee X-Wing. Noah Jafferis and some of the colleagues at Harvard University have developed this new upgraded version.

The flying robot has six miniscule solar-powered cells. Each of the cells weighs 10 milligrams. The solar panel in the robot has been placed on the top, far removed from the rest of the body. This is done so that other parts do not interfere with its efficiency and the panel, in turn, doesn’t interfere with the air flow that the wings generate. The rest of the electronic part is placed on the bottom.

The developer says that the flying robot is still lighter for its size. It is 6.5cm in height and the wingspan is of 3.5cm. “If you needed to land on a leaf, you could, whereas a commercial quadcopter would be too heavy to do that,” said Jafferis, the lead author on the study. The four wings that come with this robot allow them to generate a 40% increase in the boost in the lift.

The wings are designed to start flapping under exposure to light. The robot has however been tested only under artificial lighting. It needs three times the intensity of natural sunlight, hence cannot be flown outside yet. The usual flight time for it in the lab last for about half a second.

The robot uses electrohydrodynamic thrust to move up in the air. It carries its power source and power circuitry along with it, making it the smallest ever flying robot to do that. The flying robot can produce nearly four times the lift of its size. The authors are looking towards increasing the size of the robot in the future. An increased area for the solar panels will provide more power for the robot to fly. The robot, however, has got a lot of room for improvement which future versions will hopefully be able to fill.

Non-organic Milk Contains Residue of Pesticides, Growth Hormones and Antibiotics, Suggests Study

Non-organic Milk Contains Residue of Pesticides, Growth Hormones and Antibiotics, Suggests Study

In the past decade, the world has witnessed an increasing demand for organic milk, among other products that are made organically. Adding points to that argument, a recent study has discovered that non-organic milk mostly contains the residue of pesticides, antibiotics and growth-hormones that were used at different levels of the milk production process. Organic milk, however, does not show this problem.

“To our knowledge, the present study is the first study to compare levels of pesticide in the U.S. milk supply by production method – conventional vs. organic. It is also the first in a decade to measure antibiotic and hormone levels and compare them by milk production type,” the researchers have noted in their opinion of the results of the study. That having said, experts believe that the results should be interpreted with caution.

The research was conducted by a group of researchers at Emory University, Atlanta but the funding involved contributions from a non-profit research organization, which goes by the name of The Organic Center. Public Health Nutrition is the name of the journal that published the study. The study was based on 69 non-organic milk samples the team had collected from retail stores across the United States.

The study says that while 60% of non-organic milk products were found to have residue content of the sorts mentioned above, the researchers could not detect their presence in organic milk products. The researchers noted that sulfamethazine and sulfathiazole were two of the major antibiotics, whose residue were found in the milk products.

It is clear that the study is quite limited from many aspects and that it needs further scientific justification. At this point, this cannot be generalized; nor can it be used to state that non-organic milk products cause a lot of problem to the consumers. However, as the researchers themselves believe, it’s a good place to start.