The Week in Science (1/19/2017)

Highlights from science news from the week of January the 19th, 2017.

Iceburg in Greenland. Getty.

Record High Temperatures Recorded in 2017. Photo: Getty.

New species of moth names for Donald Trump’s hair:

How do local peoples experience climate change? Arctic warming has real impacts, today.

Asteroid mining, one of the ways that the private sector space industry might see a boost, gets its first real target asteroid.

SpaceX Achieves Rocket Launch/Landing Success

SpaceX breaks out of its rocket-exploding-slump by successfully launching and landing the company’s Falcon-9 rocket. This success keeps SpaceX on track for its manned missions next year, but the pressure remains high as the stakes increase. Will SpaceX be able to provide a reliable space transport vehicle for the United States? We’ll be tracking this story as it progresses.

Scientific Expertise in Politics (or lack thereof)

This is a great example of where we need more people with scientific expertise in politics. Unfortunately, we have to rely on elected officials that have little to no understanding of the science, and so can’t really make effective policy decisions (given they are more likely to ignore input from the scientific community than someone with a science background).

Primate Mass Extinction

60% of primates face extinction, mostly due to habitat loss. Climate change is one of the number one contributing factors to habitat loss, behind human development. The sooner politicians on both sides accept the reality of this, the sooner we can prevent the loss of humanity’s closest relatives on Earth.

Curiosity Rover Finds “Mud Cracks”

“Mud cracks” on Mars suggest liquid water present more recently than thought, or more to be understood about the surface erosion processes of the Martian surface. Either way, it’s exciting news from the Curiosity Rover.

NASA Preps for 8 Month Isolation Experiment

NASA prepares for its Mars mission by creating an isolation dome on a remote Hawaiian volcano. The participants will spend 8 months in isolation to simulate living on Mars (including a realistic 20 minute communications delay). The team will be resupplied using robots and entertainment will include a virtual reality system to simulate familiar and comfortable settings. Bets of luck!

Antarctic Prepares to Shed 100 km+ Long Iceburg

A piece of ice in the Antarctic is poised to separate from the mainland – creating an iceburg 1/4th the size of Wales. That’s about a 100 km x 50 km rectangular chunk of ice for people that don’t know how big Wales is (I didn’t either).

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