NASA’s Perseverance rover, which successfully landed on Mars on February 18, has obtained the first ever audio recording of wind on the red planet.
In a video shared by CBS news on Friday, NASA engineer Elizabeth Duffy describes the recording as “awesome,” and said the new audio will allow scientists to discover a “whole complete story of Mars.”
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
“Hearing the wind is just so awesome. When you think about it, we are hearing something that is so far away on another planet, and now we know what that wind actually sounds like,” Duffy told CBS News.
“It’s going to be able to tell us a whole complete story of Mars, which is what we’re after.”
Along with 25 onboard cameras, the rover also carries two microphones. Though one failed to work during the rover’s descent, the other captured the sounds of wind blowing past, as well as the noise of the spacecraft itself, CBS reported.
The audio tape was first released on February 22, and marks the first time noise has ever been recorded on another planet. NASA released two separate clips of the same recording, one that filters out the noise of Perseverance and one that includes it.
“I think of the microphones on the rover as adding another sense for us,” Duffy told CBS. “It just is going to give us this whole picture of what it’s like to be on Mars.”
Mission team members have said that they hope to hear many more sounds from Mars, including storms, falling rocks and the sound of the rover’s wheels as it moves across the planet’s surface.
“Imagine yourself sitting on the surface of Mars and listening to the surroundings,” Dave Gruel, lead engineer for the rover’s camera and microphone subsystem, said during a February 22 news briefing. “It’s cool. Really neat. Overwhelming, if you will.”
In addition to audio, the rover has captured some of the most stunning images of the planet to date.
Color photos have been captured using the rover’s Mastcam-Z camera system, which can zero in on the planet with extraordinary detail.
Images so far have shown the arid landscape of the rover’s landing site—the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater. Researchers believe this area was once home to a river delta billions of years ago, making it a promising spot to search for signs of ancient microbial life.
The agency says the rover’s cameras can zoom in, focus, and take 3D pictures and video at high speed, enabling the detailed examination of distant objects.
Environmental conservation is one of the biggest issues of the current times, bringing together representatives from every country to discuss what needs to be done to preserve our planet and its wildlife.
But thanks to one woman’s extraordinary expertise and her new position with the United Nations, we are improving worldwide efforts to help our planet.
Attorney and Army veteran, Monica Medina has been an advocate and a key player for sustainability and conservation efforts throughout her entire career.
She has worked as legal counsel on behalf of environmentalist organizations such as NOAA and the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, oversaw the Justice Department’s Environmental Division under President Clinton, led conservation efforts as the Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission under President Obama and has worked with various other environmentalist and ecological organizations.
Now, Medina’s expertise will be utilized in a whole new way: as the United States’ first ever Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources; a position designed to confront the environmental crises that directly affect our planet’s wildlife and water supply. In tandem with her position as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the state department, Medina’s position makes her one of the biggest power plays in environmental conservation among world leaders.
“I am really honored to have this role and this title,” she told ShareAmerica. “We’re in a world where the loss of nature is overwhelming and a real potential threat to the health of the planet and the health of people.”
In her new role, Medina will be working to support two of the most important ecological crises that effect humanity: the protection of biodiversity and increasing water security.
Decades of evidence shows that water security is essential to global efforts to increase equity and economic growth, build inclusive and resilient societies, bolster health and food security, decrease the risk of conflict or instability and tackle the climate crisis. Meanwhile, environmental stressors, like the climate crisis, nature crimes — including illegal logging, mining, land conversion — and wildlife trafficking, have deep and detrimental impacts on the biodiversity of our planet and the availability of clean and safe water for human use. The two crises are inextricably linked, and the state department and Special Envoy Medina are committed to addressing the crises holistically.
“These have deep and detrimental and lasting impacts on biodiversity, and on the availability of resources like clean and safe water,” Medina stated. “We are committed as we can be to try to address all of these crises at the same time.”
As part of Medina’s position, she has attended and will continue to attend discussions and negotiation that will foster new conservation efforts to support biodiversity and water preservation. These conferences include the 2022 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), the December meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP15) and the Intergovernmental Conference. She will also be in charge of forming partnerships with other countries to find climate solutions.
“I am really honored to have this role and this title. We’re in a world where the loss of nature is overwhelming and a real potential threat to the health of the planet and the health of people.” – Monica Medina
Additionally, Medina’s position will require her to implement a first-of-its-kind initiative dedicated to advancing water security in the U.S. and abroad. The White House Water Security Action Plan and the Global Water Strategy, both of which Medina will be leading, will identify the direct links between water and U.S. national security, and harness the resources of the U.S. government — from leveraging science and technology to informing our diplomacy, defense and development efforts — to advance global water security and foreign policy goals. Securing water safety is additionally believed to prevent conflict and promote global peace and stability.
“We see water scarcity as a growing threat to peace and security in so many parts of the world, so we made it a priority,” Medina said.
Though climate change has been one of the top growing concerns for people of differing citizenships, political beliefs and cultures, Medina has faith that these new partnerships and programs will have a positive impact on the future of ecological conservation. “We are working to advance our climate ambition, to strengthen resilience to climate change and to really get as strong an outcome as possible from COP27. We as the U.S., are bringing an awful lot to the table there.”
Sources: ShareAmerica, U.S. Department of State, whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia
Top Photo: Monica Medina, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the United States, poses for a picture during an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the UN’s first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-1) to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution on November 28, 2022. (RICARDO FIGUEREDO/AFP via Getty Images)
Just about every career in the STEM field requires some form of university-level education. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend every penny you own and then some to pursue your dream job.
Whether it’s through federal funding, non-profit organizations or individual donations, there are tons of scholarship and grant opportunities for students wanting to pursue the world of STEM.
Here are just a few of the scholarships that you can apply for:
The Society of Women Engineers Scholarship
Since World War II, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has been doing all they can to support the needs of women engineers across the country. One of the ways they do this is through the SWE Scholarship Program, which provides varying fund amounts to those identifying as women and studying in undergraduate or graduate programs in the STEM field. While the specific amount you can receive varies, the program gave away over $1,220,000 in scholarships in 2021 alone. All students, from incoming freshman to graduate students, may apply but freshman must fill out a separate application form.
Number of Scholarships Given: Varies
Application Dates: Applications usually often in December for upperclassman and the following March for freshman
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts Scholarships
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts (AAIA) is an organization dedicated to supporting the future generation of people interested in the aerospace field. One of the ways they do this is through their scholarship program, where undergraduates and graduates alike can fill out a single application and be eligible for consideration for up to three scholarships from their program. To apply, you must be at least a sophomore in college and a member of AAIA.
The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between USDA and the 1890 historically Black land-grant colleges and universities. The program provides full tuition, employment, employee benefits, fees, books and room and board each year for up to four years for selected students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food science, natural resource science or a related academic discipline at one of 19 designated 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. The scholarship may be renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and normal progress toward the bachelor’s degree. Scholars accepted into the program will be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a permanent appointment with USDA upon successful completion of their degree requirements by the end of the agreement period.
Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART)
In a collaboration with American Society for Engineering Education and the Department of Defense, the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) program is for students wanting to go into engineering, biosciences, chemical engineering, civil engineering, chemistry and cognitive, neural and behavioral sciences. In addition to full tuition coverage, SMART students will receive health insurance, mentoring, internship opportunities and a guaranteed job offer from the Department of Defense. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, be available for summer internships and are expected to accept the job position offered to them upon completing their education.
NOAA Office of Education’s student scholarship programs provide opportunities for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience while pursuing research and educational training in NOAA-mission sciences. The Hollings and EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship share a common application and students who are eligible for both programs are encouraged to apply to both. To be eligible, you must be a sophomore at a four-year university program, a junior at a five-year university program or a community college student transferring to a university.
Amount: $9,500 per academic year plus paid summer internship opportunities
Number of Scholarships Given: Varies
Application Dates: Opens October 2022/Closes January 2023
Recognizing that financial aid alone cannot increase retention and graduation in STEM, the National Science Foundation (NSF) founded the S-STEM Program, a fund that provides awards to institutions of higher education (IHEs) to fund scholarships and to adapt, implement and study evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities that have been shown to be effective in supporting recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways and graduation in STEM. While most of the students who receive this award are studying an area of the STEM field, proposals can be made for funds to be given to students who meet the same qualifications, but are studying a high-demand industry. The amounts distributed depend on the institution.
IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships and internship opportunities. IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.
Statistically speaking, minorities tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. That’s why corporations often create internship opportunities for minorities entering the industry.
“As the job market is becoming more competitive in addition to GPA and personal achievements, employers want to see applicants who have completed one or more internships,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the many internships for minorities in STEM fields
Facebook Software Engineer Internship
The Software Engineer Internship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Interns will help build the next generation of systems behind Facebook’s products, create web applications that reach millions of people, build high volume servers, and be a part of a team that’s working to help people connect with each other around the globe.
Microsoft Internship Program
For Women and Minorities this program is specifically designed for undergraduate minority college freshmen and sophomores interested in a paid summer internship in software engineering. Students must major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related disciplines.
Minority Access Internship
TheMinority Access Internship Program has internships on offered in the spring, summer and fall to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and professionals. Interns receive pre-employment training and counseling on career choices as well as professional development, with the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.
Google offers rich learning experiences for college students that include pay. As a technical intern, you are excited about tackling the hard problems in technology. With internships across the globe, ranging from Software Engineering to User Experience, Google offers many opportunities to grow with them.
The majority of the scholarships and internships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.
The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.
Learn With Mochi gives kids the basics of computer programming in a playful, hands-on way.
Everyone wants the best education possible for their kids. But it’s hard to find enriching activities that don’t involve setting them in front of yet another screen. And teaching them the fundamentals of STEM seems nearly impossible when you’re limiting screen time. And according to data from Engineering For Kids, STEM workers earn 26-percent more than people without a STEM background. So if you want to give your young children a competitive edge without adding more screen time, you need to know about Learn With Mochi, an award-winning screen-free game that teaches coding for kids ages three-to-nine.
With Learn With Mochi, kids learn the basics of computer programming in a playful, hands-on way as they explore STEM subjects without the use of addictive screen time. That’s because Mochi is your child’s first screenless computer. It takes computer-programming commands, executes functions, and gives audio feedback in a low-pressure, fun way.
Every Mochi Aventure Kit includes these basic components: the Mochi Computer (where kids place the coding commands or blocks), coding blocks, Mochi Bear (a stuffed animal), Lego-compatible Rover, and the play mat (the environment that Mochi is exploring). Together these parts allow your child to absorb the fundamentals of coding without exposing them to more screen time than necessary.
Mochi has three Adventure Packs to choose from. The starter pack, Mochi Basic 1 Book Adventure Pack, covers everything your child will need to grasp the fundamentals of STEM education. This includes Mochi bear, Lego-compatible Rover, Programming board with 12 coding blocks, and Mochi’s Planets Story set (includes story map). Plus, every Mochi kit comes with a SD card that provides unique songs, music, and even audio of the Mochi books.
However, if you’re little one needs a more in-depth kit to help further their STEM education, try the Mochi Starter 4 Book Adventure Pack. The 4 Book Adventure Pack has everything the 1 Book Adventure Pack does, but also incorporates Mochi’s 4 Story Adventure Sets (Planets, Animals, Earth and Biology). This 4-book instructional pack will guide your children on adventures in a variety of STEM subjects, not only educating them, but also stimulating their natural curiosity.
Tendrils of galaxies up to hundreds of millions of light-years long may be the largest spinning objects in the universe, a new study finds. Celestial bodies often spin, from planets to stars to galaxies. However, giant clusters of galaxies often spin very slowly, if at all, and so many researchers thought that is where spinning might end on cosmic scales, study co-author Noam Libeskind, a cosmologist at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam in Germany, told Space.com.
But in the new research, Libeskind and his colleagues found that cosmic filaments, or gigantic tubes made of galaxies, apparently spin. “There are structures so vast that entire galaxies are just specks of dust,” Libeskind said. “These huge filaments are much, much bigger than clusters.”
Previous research suggested that after the universe was born in the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago, much of the gas that makes up most of the known matter of the cosmos collapsed to form colossal sheets. These sheets then broke apart to form the filaments of a vast cosmic web.
Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the scientists examined more than 17,000 filaments, analyzing the velocity at which the galaxies making up these giant tubes moved within each tendril. The researchers found that the way in which these galaxies moved suggested they were rotating around the central axis of each filament.
The fastest the researchers saw galaxies whirl around the hollow centers of these tendrils was about 223,700 mph (360,000 kph). The scientists noted they do not suggest that every single filament in the universe spins, but that spinning filaments do seem to exist.
The big question is, “Why do they spin?” Libeskind said. The Big Bang would not have endowed the universe with any primordial spin. As such, whatever caused these filaments to spin must have originated later in history as the structures formed, he said.
When astronauts venture outside of the International Space Station to go on spacewalks, the most important thing they have to do is focus. This may sound simple, but imagine trying to focus on a memorized set of tasks while stepping out of an airlock and wearing a 300-pound spacesuit — with the glow of planet Earth and the sun and the dark void of the universe all around you. A tether connects you to the space station, and the absence of gravity keeps you from falling.
“There’s a lot of things that you really need to do, one of which is just keep your focus, even though it’s amazing out there,” said NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. “It’s really truly breathtaking. The only thing between you and the rest of the universe, seeing the whole cosmos of creation, is the glass faceplate of your visor on your helmet, and it’s just awe-inspiring.”
Astronaut Mike Fincke conducted a spacewalk on August 3, 2004, while wearing the Russian Orlan spacesuit. You can see Earth behind him.
Depending on the orientation of the space station, which completes 16 orbits of the Earth each day while moving at 17,500 miles per hour, our planet can appear above or below the astronauts.
Fincke is a veteran of spaceflight. He’s spent 382 days in space, and he’s gone on nine spacewalks in Russian and American spacesuits. Fincke is training in Texas for his fourth spaceflight and will launch to the space station later this year on the first crewed experimental test flight of Boeing’s Starliner.
More than 550 people have been to space and about half of them have been on a spacewalk, Fincke said. Spacewalks are often referred to as EVAs, or extravehicular activities.
The first spacewalk by an American astronaut was conducted by NASA astronaut Ed White on June 3, 1965. He left the Gemini 4 capsule at 3:45 p.m. ET and remained outside of it for 23 minutes. (Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov completed the world’s first spacewalk on March 18 of that year.)
Gemini 4 circled the Earth 66 times in four days. During the spacewalk, White began over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and went back inside the capsule as they flew over the Gulf of Mexico.
He exited the spacecraft using a hand-held oxygen-jet gun to push himself out, attached to a 25-foot safety tether. NASA astronaut James McDivitt, on the mission with White, took photos of White in space from inside the capsule.
White later said the spacewalk was the most comfortable part of the mission, and said the order to end it was the “saddest moment” of his life, according to NASA.
CYBERCRIMINALS, LIKE VIRUSES, adapt to their environment. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, cybersecurity complaints to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center have quadrupled.
Not only are governments and businesses more exposed, but individuals—stressed from remote work, unemployment, and/or homeschooling—are more susceptible to scams on everything from government assistance checks to online shopping. I’ve been deluged with emails purportedly from Netflix asking me to update my billing information; the sender clearly thinks cabin fever-infected recipients will be so desperate not to lose access to streaming they’ll click without a second thought.
The surge is no accident: Bad actors go where access is easy or where rewards outweigh risks, and the pandemic is ripe for exploitation. But cybercrime was with us long before and it will be with us long after we finally throw away our masks. This is particularly true of cybercrime targeting women and children.
This brings us back to access. Let’s look at the internet of things, for instance. It was developed largely without the input of women in leadership positions. Among the major US tech firms, none have more than 32 percent of women in leadership roles: Amazon 27 percent, Facebook 32 percent, Apple 29 percent, Google 26 percent, and Microsoft 19 percent.
Climate change is an issue that affects everyone on the planet but women and girls are the ones suffering its effects the most. Why? Because women and girls have less access to quality education and later, job opportunities. These structural disadvantages keep them in poverty. In fact, women make up 70% of the world’s poor. In a nutshell, climate change impacts the poor the most and the poor are mostly women.
Poverty driven by and made worse by climate change also makes girls more susceptible to child marriage, because it drives hunger and girls getting married often means one less mouth to feed for their parents. Climate change also leads to geopolitical instability which, in turn, results in greater instances of violence — which we know disproportionately impacts women and girls.
Ironically, saving the planet has been made to seem a “women’s job”. This phenomenon, dubbed the “eco gender gap”, sees the burden of climate responsibility placed squarely on women’s shoulders through “green” campaigns and products that are overwhelmingly marketed to women.
There are several hypotheses for why this is. Firstly, women are the more powerful consumers (they drive 70-80% of all purchasing decisions). Secondly, they are disproportionately responsible, still, for the domestic sphere. And finally, going green is seen as a women’s job because women’s personalities are supposedly more nurturing and socially responsible.
Women should be involved in fighting the climate crisis at every level — from the kitchen to the science lab to the boardroom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained it best when she said: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” However, women are underrepresented in the science field (including climate science), with just 30% of research positions held by women and fewer still holding senior positions. The Reuters Hot List of 1,000 scientists features just 122 women.
Having more women climate scientists could allow for an increased emphasis on understanding and providing solutions for some of the most far-reaching implications of climate change. Diversity in background and experiences allows for different perspectives. More perspectives allow for different research questions to arise or even a different approach to the same question.
There are, however, women all over the world in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that have made some incredible strides in the fight against the climate crisis, from fire-resistant coating to protect places prone to wildfires, to a water-storing park for a region usually overwhelmed by floods. Here are just some of the world’s incredible women scientists leading the way on tackling the climate crisis.
Click here to read the full article on Global Citizen.
All evidence points to the fact that Mars once had flowing water, but numerous flybys, orbiters, landers and rovers have confirmed one undeniable fact — any liquid water that was once on its surface is now long gone.
A study out of Washington University in St. Louis might have found the reason: Mars, which is about half the size of Earth, and just over one-tenth the mass of our own watery world, might just be too small.
One idea, the Mars Ocean Hypothesis, suggests that Mars not only had some liquid water, but a lot of it. But the new study’s co-author Kun Wang says his team’s finding, which was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pours cold water on that notion.
“Mars’ fate was decided from the beginning,” Wang, an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, said in a statement. “There is likely a threshold on the size requirements of rocky planets to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.”
That’s because the lower mass and gravity of Mars makes it easier for volatile elements and compounds such as water to escape from its surface into space.
Led by Zhen Tian, a graduate student in Wang’s laboratory, the researchers looked at 20 Martian meteorites ranging in age from about 200 million years old to 4 billion years, dating to a time when the solar system was still in the chaos of formation.
The researchers analyzed a somewhat volatile element — potassium — to help understand how water would have behaved on the surface of Mars.
Speaking to NPR, Wang said the team measured the ratio of two isotopes of potassium — potassium-39 and potassium-41 — in the meteorites. In lower gravity environments, such as Mars, the potassium-39 is more easily lost to space, leaving behind a higher ratio of the heavier isotope, potassium-41. Water behaves in much the same way, indicating that most of it would have been lost to space during the formation of Mars.
It’s something Wang and his colleagues saw even in the oldest meteorites, suggesting that this was an issue for Martian water right from the beginning.
The team also looked at samples from the moon and from an asteroid, both much smaller and drier than either Earth or Mars, to study the potassium isotopes in them. They found a direct correlation between mass and the volatiles — or lack thereof — in the samples.
The liquid water that did remain on the Martian surface carved out the now-desiccated canyons, riverbeds and other formations that we see there today, Wang says. But that water, too, would likely have disappeared had it not been trapped as ice at the Martian poles as the climate on the planet became colder, he notes.
Defined by their disappearance dinosaurs might appear to be evolutionary failures. Not so.
Dinosaurs survived and thrived for 165 million years — far longer than the roughly 300,000 years modern humans have so far roamed the planet.
They lived on every continent, munched on plants, snapped their jaws at insects, itched from fleas, suffered from disease, got into fights, snoozed, performed elaborate courtship rituals and looked after their young. The creatures were much more diverse — and downright bizarre — than what we might recall from childhood books.
Were it not for an asteroid strike 66 million years ago, the ancient creatures still might have dominated our world. And they still are here, in the form of birds we see around us today.
Scientists have discovered more in the past two decades than they had in the prior 200 years about how dinosaurs behaved and evolved. Here’s what’s new and different about what is known of dinosaurs.
How many dinosaurs were there?
The short answer: Lots.
Take T. Rex, the predator with banana-sized teeth that is perhaps the best studied dinosaur. Scientists believe that each T. rex generation was 20,000 individuals, and this adds up to a total of 2.5 billion during the 2.4 million years they are thought to have lived.
While it’s only an estimate and relies on lots of assumptions, it’s a good reminder that the fossil record only captures a tiny fraction of ancient life. The same team of researchers purports that for every 80 million adult T. rexs, there is only one clearly identifiable specimen in a museum.
Scientists have definitively identified around 900 dinosaur species — although there are plenty more potential species for which paleontologists don’t quite have enough bones or the fossils aren’t well preserved enough to truly designate them as such. And there are about 50 new dinosaurs discovered each year, inspiring many scientists to think we’re experiencing a golden age of paleontology.
Many, many more species existed — one estimate suggests that there were between 50,000 and 500,000, but we might never find their fossil remains.
So many species could exist because they were highly specialized, meaning different types of dinosaurs had different sources of food and could live in the same habitats without competing. For example, with unusually large eyes and hair-trigger hearing, Shuuvia deserti, a tiny desert-dwelling dinosaur evolved to hunt at night, while Mononykus had perplexingly stunted forelimbs, each of which had only one functional finger and claw — perhaps to eat ants or termites.
It’s worth pointing out, of course, that many of the dinosaurs you might be familiar with did not live together as one community. Stegosaurus and T. rex never co-existed, separated by 80 million years of evolution. In fact, the time separating Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus is greater than the time separating T. rex and you.
What did they look like?
The first dinosaur discoveries, the earliest more than 150 years ago, focused on the sensational: The big bones and skulls we know from museum atriums.
But dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes. In fact, some of the most exciting finds in recent years have been tiny. In 2016, a tail belonging to a sparrow-sized creature could have danced in the palm of your hand was found preserved in three dimensions in a chunk of amber.