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Mars had a salt lake several billion years ago

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New research focuses on the existence of water in the past of Mars. According to a new study created by researchers at the Faculty of Earth Sciences at Texas A & M University, the red planet was able to rely on a number of salt lakes that were very similar to what was once found on Earth. A new study was published in Nature Geoscience.

Researchers used the analysis conducted in the Gale Crater, a rocky basin more than 150 km wide, thanks to the geological survey conducted by NASA’s exploration curiosity. Researchers concluded that the basin was once filled with salt water at least 3 billion years ago. Drying took place in connection with the same global drying process that took place on Mars, which became the desolate dry planet we see today.

This watershed should have been formed 3.6 billion years ago after the meteor hit the red planet. The crater is then filled with liquid water. However, for hundreds of millions of years, there have been many rainy and dry seasons, and many salty ponds have been formed, as confirmed by Marion Nation, one of the researchers involved.

In any case, this large crater seems to have been filled with water for a very long period, perhaps thousands of years. When the magnetic field was lost, Mars was essentially “dry” and as a result, the atmosphere was unrecoverably exposed to solar radiation. The same atmosphere fades and then disappears almost completely. This is a state in which the liquid water on the surface has almost completely evaporated.

Mars’ salty ponds had to be very similar to those found on Earth, especially in the dry highland Altiplano region located between Peru and Bolivia. In this region, the river does not reach the sea and is in a closed basin. This is similar to what probably happened to the Mars crater gale.

This type of lake is very sensitive to climate, especially humidity levels. During the driest period, the Altiplano lakes also become shallow due to evaporation and some of them dry out.


Related articles & sources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0458-8

Image Souce:

https://mars.nasa.gov/system/downloadable_items/44525_PIA23374-16.jpg

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139 other trans-Neptunian objects discovered, periphery of the increasingly crowded solar system

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The neighborhood of the solar system beyond Neptune is full of surprises. Analyzing data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES), a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has in fact confirmed the presence of more than 300 additional Transneptunian objects (TNO), of which center 139 new discoveries, several of them considered as minor planets or dwarf planets, in these remote areas of the solar system.

The study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, also describes what can be defined as a new approach to find objects of this kind, something useful also for future research, and above all to find the much coveted Planet Nine, also called Planet X, a hypothetical planet (and not a dwarf or minor planet) that would circulate undisturbed in the most remote areas of the solar system.

The DES survey was not initially conducted to discover new objects beyond Neptune but to understand the nature of dark energy by analyzing, through high-precision images, the area of the southern sky everything that can be observed from that position, primarily galaxies and supernovae. However, the succulent data have made the astronomers’ hearts beat faster, including graduate student Pedro Bernardinelli and professors Gary Bernstein and Masao Sako from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bernardinelli explains that to find TNO all you need to do is find a way to see the object move in the background, which makes it easier to find them.

The researcher, with the help of the two professors, started a first phase in which he had to work on as many as 7 billion possible objects detected by the software, interesting movements of transient objects on a fixed background, which indicated the proximity of these same objects to galaxies, supernovae or other distant objects.
As this list of candidates was skimmed, through a new method developed by Bernardinelli himself, and after many months of work, the result was 316 confirmed trans-Neptunian objects, of which 139 are new discoveries as never previously published.

Since there are only 3000 TNOs in total, this new catalogue represents 10% of all known TNOs. These are objects that are 30 to 90 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. In addition, some of these objects have extremely long orbits due to which at some point they will be very far away, well beyond Pluto and far beyond the distances that now separate them from the Sun.
The method used by Bernardinelli could be used in the future to make similar discoveries, as the researcher himself explains: “Many of the programs we have developed can be easily applied to any other large data set, such as the one that the Rubin Observatory will produce”.

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Getting rid of objects is more difficult for those who suffer from loneliness

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Getting rid of old things, and thus keeping the house tidier, is more difficult for those who suffer from loneliness. This is the conclusion of a study taken from HealthDay and carried out by researcher Catherine Cole of the University of Iowa.

According to the researcher, it is those people who feel the most lonely who are most attached to objects, such as a dress or a childhood toy. This makes it more difficult for them to separate from those same objects.

And, as the researcher herself reveals, feeling lonely is not a feeling that is limited only to those people who are actually socially isolated but can also affect those people who have normal social contacts. Even the latter can feel literally disconnected from society and this can happen even temporarily.

Of course, the inability to get rid of objects can lead to several annoying consequences including the accumulation of the same objects in the home, which is increasingly linked to a real syndrome defined as “accumulation syndrome,” resulting in chronic disorder that for some people can reach alarming and even dangerous levels for their health.

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Neanderthal’s were also skilled divers to collect bivalves and shells

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When we think of Neanderthals our thoughts usually go to hunter-gatherers but these hominids were most likely also skilled swimmers and were also able to dive underwater to collect seafood. This is the result of a study conducted by a team of researchers led by Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Boulder who analyzed several findings found in the Grotta dei Moscerini, a cave located near a beach in Lazio.

Already several decades ago archaeologists had collected several interesting artifacts and remains of animal planets, mostly shells, from this area but the team of researchers revealed new secrets in a new study that appeared on PLOS ONE. The Neanderthals not only collected shells and any edible marine animals that lay on the beach but also dived several meters to better meet their dietary needs.

These clues show that the Neanderthals actually had a much deeper relationship with the sea than previously thought, something that many paleoanthropologists did not pay much attention to. Villa, together with his colleagues, analyzed the tools that the Neanderthals used to work the shells in order to transform them into useful cutting tools.

Many of the shells found showed dull and slightly abraded exteriors, as if they had been polished over time, indicating that they had been taken from a sandy beach. However, several other shells, at least a quarter of the total, show that they were torn directly from their natural habitat at the bottom of the sea.

According to the researcher, the Neanderthals used to submerge to a depth of up to four meters to collect live seafood and bivalves, naturally without any diving equipment, which indicates a certain degree of skill, probably equal to that of Homo sapiens, at least as far as obtaining food from the deep water.

This study will help to change the idea of Neanderthals seen as hunters of large mammals.

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