Science News Roundup: NASA astronauts replace faulty space station antenna during spacewalk; That radio DJ you hear might already be a robot and more
Two U.S. astronauts were originally due to venture outside the space station on Tuesday morning to begin their work, despite what NASA officials acknowledged was a slightly elevated risk level from debris scattered in low-Earth orbit by a Russian anti-satellite missile test this month. Brain problems found in 1% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients; real-world data shows Moderna vaccine highly effective The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19.
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Armored dinosaur wielded a tail resembling an Aztec war club
More than half a millennium ago, Aztec warriors brandished a weapon called a macuahuitl, a wooden club with jagged obsidian blades embedded on its sides, to inflict gruesome wounds on enemies in close combat. A newly identified armored dinosaur that inhabited the Patagonian region of Chile did much the same thing to ward off predators about 74 million years ago with a tail resembling a macuahuitl, scientists said on Wednesday.
NASA astronauts replace faulty space station antenna during spacewalk
Two NASA astronauts completed a 6-1/2 hour spacewalk on Thursday to replace a faulty antenna on the International Space Station, a mission NASA said carried slightly higher risk posed by orbital debris left from a Russian missile test weeks ago. Astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron exited an airlock of the orbiting research lab some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth to begin their work at 6:15 a.m. Eastern time (1115 GMT), an hour ahead of schedule.
That radio DJ you hear might already be a robot
Andy Chanley, the afternoon drive host at Southern California's public radio station 88.5 KCSN, has been a radio DJ for over 32 years. And now, thanks to artificial intelligence technology, his voice will live on simultaneously in many places. "I may be a robot, but I still love to rock," says the robot DJ named ANDY, derived from Artificial Neural Disk-JockeY, in Chanley's voice, during a demonstration for Reuters where the voice was hard to distinguish from a human DJ.
Tanzania footprints offer clues on origin of human upright walking
Five fossil footprints left in volcanic ash 3.66 million years ago in Tanzania are giving scientists new insight on a landmark in human evolution - upright walking - while showing that its origins are more complicated than previously known. Researchers said on Wednesday a thorough new examination of the tracks, nearly half a century after their initial discovery, has shown that they were made not by a bear, as once believed, but by a hominin - in other words, a species in the human lineage - and possibly a previously unknown one.
Madagascar food crisis caused more by poverty, natural weather than climate change - study
Poverty, poor infrastructure and natural weather variability are bigger contributors to Madagascar's food crisis than climate change, according to a study released on Thursday by international research collective World Weather Attribution.
But the crisis still highlights vulnerabilities that will only worsen as global temperatures continue to rise, scientists for the organization said.
NASA resets spacewalk after ruling out immediate threat from orbital debris
A spacewalk planned for Tuesday to replace a faulty antenna on the International Space Station has been postponed for 48 hours, after mission control concluded that the position of orbital debris cited for the delay posed no risk to the repair operation, NASA said. Two U.S. astronauts were originally due to venture outside the space station on Tuesday morning to begin their work, despite what NASA officials acknowledged was a slightly elevated risk level from debris scattered in low-Earth orbit by a Russian anti-satellite missile test this month.
Brain problems found in 1% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients; real-world data shows Moderna vaccine highly effective
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Brain problems seen in 1% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients
Singapore tests out 'smart bandage' for remote recovery
Researchers in Singapore have developed a smart bandage to enable patients to have chronic wounds monitored remotely via an app on a mobile device, potentially saving them visits to the doctor. A research team at the National University of Singapore has created a wearable sensor attached to a transparent bandage to track progress in healing, using information like temperature, bacteria type, and levels of pH and inflammation.
Hot little planet as dense as iron zips around red dwarf star
Scientists have spotted one of the smallest planets ever discovered outside our solar system, a scorching-hot world a bit larger than Mars and just about as dense as pure iron zooming around its home star every eight hours. The researchers said on Thursday they managed to detect the planet, located a relatively close 31 light years from Earth, and discern some of its important traits, illustrating the improvements in recent years in the ability to characterize smaller-sized planets beyond our solar system.
U.S. seeks norms for outer space after 'irresponsible' Russia test
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday criticized an "irresponsible" Russian test that endangered the International Space Station with debris, and the Biden administration laid out a new strategy for responsible use of space. Harris convened the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council and asked members of the government body to promote responsible civil, commercial and national security-related behavior in space, where there are growing commercial interests and concerns about Chinese and Russian competition.
(With inputs from agencies.)