NASA expert identifies mystery object once thought an asteroid

The jig may be up for an “asteroid” that’s expected to get nabbed by Earth’s gravity and become a mini moon next month. Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that’s finally making its way back home, according to NASA’s leading asteroid expert. Observations should help nail its identity.

“I’m pretty jazzed about this,” Paul Chodas told The Associated Press. “It’s been a hobby of mine to find one of these and draw such a link, and I’ve been doing it for decades now.”

Chodas speculates that asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually the Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA’s Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. The lander ended up crashing into the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite

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How Andrea Ghez Won the Nobel for an Experiment Nobody Thought Would Work

Standing in my office 25 years ago was an unknown, newly minted astronomer with a half-smile on her face. She had come with an outrageous request—really a demand—that my team modify our exhaustively tested software to make one of our most important and in-demand scientific instruments do something it had never been designed for, and risk breaking it. All to carry out an experiment that was basically a waste of time and couldn’t be done—to prove that a massive black hole lurked at the center of our Milky Way.

My initial “no way” (perhaps I used a stronger expression) gradually gave way in the face of her cheerful but unwavering determination. It was my first encounter with a force of nature, Andrea Ghez, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, for her work on providing the conclusive experimental evidence of a supermassive black hole with the

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A Major Bitcoin Exchange Is In Even Worse Trouble Than Thought

The bitcoin and cryptocurrency world was rocked last week by news U.S. authorities had levied charges against major bitcoin and crypto exchange BitMEX and its leadership team.

BitMEX executives Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo and Samuel Reed were indicted by the U.S. government on October 1, accused of flouting U.S. banking laws while serving American customers.

Now, in a further blow to the controversial Seychelles-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, the influential blockchain data company Chainalysis has branded BitMEX a “high-risk” exchange—with external data showing investors have removed almost 50,000 bitcoin tokens from BitMEX since last week.

MORE FROM FORBESCoronavirus Has Made Akon’s $6 Billion Crypto-Powered, ‘Real-Life Wakanda’ In Senegal ‘More Necessary’

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Larger part of the Amazon at risk of crossing tipping point than previously thought — ScienceDaily

A larger part of the Amazon rainforest is at risk of crossing a tipping point where it could become a savanna-type ecosystem than previously thought, according to new research. The research, based on computer models and data analysis, is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Rainforests are very sensitive to changes that affect rainfall for extended periods. If rainfall drops below a certain threshold, areas may shift into a savanna state.

“In around 40 percent of the Amazon, the rainfall is now at a level where the forest could exist in either state — rainforest or savanna, according to our findings,” says lead author Arie Staal, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University.

The conclusions are concerning because parts of the Amazon region are currently receiving less rain than previously and this trend is expected to worsen as the region

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First burial of its kind in mid-Thames region suggests it was more important than previously thought — ScienceDaily

Archaeologists have uncovered a warrior burial in Berkshire that could change historians’ understanding of southern Britain in the early Anglo-Saxon era.

The burial, on a hilltop site near with commanding views over the surrounding Thames valley, must be of a high-status warlord from the 6th century AD, archaeologists from the University of Reading believe.

The ‘Marlow Warlord’ was a commanding, six-foot-tall man, buried alongside an array of expensive luxuries and weapons, including a sword in a decorated scabbard, spears, bronze and glass vessels, and other personal accoutrements.

The pagan burial had remained undiscovered and undisturbed for more than 1,400 years until two metal detectorists, Sue and Mick Washington came across the site in 2018.

Sue said: “On two earlier visits I had received a large signal from this area which appeared to be deep iron and most likely not to be of interest. However, the uncertainty preyed on my mind

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Lidar study suggests carbon storage losses greater than thought in Amazon due to losses at edge of forests

LiDAR study suggests carbon storage losses greater than thought in Amazon due to losses at edge of forests
Graphic summary of the main results found in the work. Credit: Celso H. L. Silva Junior

An international team of researchers has found that carbon sequestering losses in the Amazon basin have been undermeasured due to omission of data representing losses at the edges of forests. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes using lidar to estimate the carbon sequestering abilities of trees along the edges of Amazon forests.


Prior research has shown that when part of a forest in the Amazon basin is cut down, the trees that remain at the edges of the forest are not as robust as those that are situated farther in. This is because they are more exposed to pollution, pesticides, herbicides, etc. In this new effort, the researchers noticed that the reduced sequestering abilities of such trees are not included in studies of carbon sequestering losses in

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Recent findings suggest the repeated evolution of similar traits in island lizards was not channelled by developmental responses to the environment, as commonly thought — ScienceDaily

Scientists have challenged a popular theory behind the evolution of similar traits in island lizards, in a study published recently in eLife.

The findings in Greater Antillean Anolis lizards provide insights on why creatures often evolve similar physical features independently when living in similar habitats. They suggest that the role of developmental plasticity in shaping adaptive evolution may be less important than commonly thought.

Developmental plasticity refers to how development responds to the environment, in particular the way that an organism’s genetic constitution (or genotype) interacts with its environment during development to produce a particular set of characteristics (or phenotype).

“Anolis lizards that live on all four of the Greater Antillean islands have independently and repeatedly evolved six different body types for maneuvering through their given habitat,” says lead author Nathalie Feiner, Researcher at the Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden. “As a result, they make a great model

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Tree rings show scale of Arctic pollution is worse than previously thought — ScienceDaily

The largest-ever study of tree rings from Norilsk in the Russian Arctic has shown that the direct and indirect effects of industrial pollution in the region and beyond are far worse than previously thought.

An international team of researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, has combined ring width and wood chemistry measurements from living and dead trees with soil characteristics and computer modelling to show that the damage done by decades of nickel and copper mining has not only devastated local environments, but also affected the global carbon cycle.

The extent of damage done to the boreal forest, the largest land biome on Earth, can be seen in the annual growth rings of trees near Norilsk where die off has spread up to 100 kilometres. The results are reported in the journal Ecology Letters.

Norilsk, in northern Siberia, is the world’s northernmost city with more than 100,000 people,

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The male Y chromosome does more than we thought — ScienceDaily

New light is being shed on a little-known role of Y chromosome genes, specific to males, that could explain why men suffer differently than women from various diseases, including Covid-19.

The findings were published this month in Scientific Reports by Université de Montréal professor Christian Deschepper, director of the Experimental Cardiovascular Biology research unit of the Montreal Clinical Research Institute.

“Our discovery provides a better understanding of how male genes on the Y chromosome allow male cells to function differently from female cells,” said Deschepper, the study’s lead author, who is also an associate professor at McGill University.

“In the future, these results could help to shed some light on why some diseases occur differently in men and women.”

Genes that females lack

Humans each have 23 pairs of chromosomes, including one pair of sex chromosomes. While females carry two X sex chromosomes, males carry one X and one Y

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Evolution of radio-resistance is more complicated than previously thought

Evolution of radio-resistance is more complicated than previously thought
Induced radio-resistant E. coli, evolve complex mutation profiles as experimental evolution continues and the level of radio-resistance increases. Credit: Michael M. Cox and coauthors

The toughest organisms on Earth, called extremophiles, can survive extreme conditions like extreme dryness (desiccation), extreme cold, space vacuum, acid, or even high-level radiation. So far, the toughest of all seems to be the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans—able to survive doses of radiation a thousand times greater than those fatal to humans. But to this date, scientists remained puzzled by how radio-resistance could have evolved in several organisms on our planet, naturally protected from solar radiation by its magnetic field. While some scientists suggest that radio-resistance in extremophile organisms could have evolved along with other kinds of resistance, such as resistance to desiccation, a question remained: which genes are specifically involved in radio-resistance?


To address this question, the team of Dr. Cox, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,

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