Moon probe preparing to return rock samples to Earth

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‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’ rock art discovered in remote Amazon forest

One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest.

Hailed as “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients”, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.

Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.

These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilisation. Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study.

The

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Helicopter Pilots Spot Sci-Fi-Looking Object In Utah’s Red Rock Country : NPR

This monolith was discovered in rural Utah, but officials do not know its source or reason for being installed.

Utah Department of Public Safety


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Utah Department of Public Safety

This monolith was discovered in rural Utah, but officials do not know its source or reason for being installed.

Utah Department of Public Safety

State officials were flying over southeastern Utah looking for sheep as part of a routine task. Instead they found something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

From a helicopter, officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety spotted a large metal monolith — a single block of metal — last week. It was sitting in Utah’s Red Rock Country in the southeast. Officials have no idea how or when it got there — or who might have placed it.

“That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all

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Pinwheel Cave rock art in California may depict hallucinogenic ‘trance flower’

Just before going into a hallucinogenic trance, Indigenous Californians who had gathered in a cave likely looked up toward the rocky ceiling, where a pinwheel and big-eyed moth were painted in red. 



a close up of a painted wall: A digitally enhanced image of the Indigenous pinwheel drawing that researchers made with a technique called D-Stretch.


© Provided by Live Science
A digitally enhanced image of the Indigenous pinwheel drawing that researchers made with a technique called D-Stretch.

This mysterious “pinwheel,” is likely a depiction of the delicate, white flower of Datura wrightii, a powerful hallucinogen that the Chumash people took not only for ceremonial purposes but also for medicinal and supernatural ones, according to a new study. The moth is likely a species of hawk moth, known for its “loopy” intoxicated flight after slurping up Datura‘s nectar, the researchers said.

Chewed globs that humans stuck to the cave’s ceiling provided more evidence of these ancient trips; these up to 400-year-old lumps, known as quids, contained the mind-altering drugs scopolamine and atropine,

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China to launch moon probe, seeking first lunar rock retrieval since 1970s

BEIJING (Reuters) – China plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s.

FILE PHOTO: The moon is seen during a lunar eclipse over Shanghai, China July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File photo

The Chang’e-5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, will seek to collect material that can help scientists understand more about the moon’s origins and formation. The mission will test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions.

If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the United States and the Soviet Union decades ago.

Since the Soviet Union crash-landed the Luna 2 on the moon in 1959, the first human-made object to reach another celestial body,

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China to Launch Moon Probe, Seeking First Lunar Rock Retrieval Since 1970s | World News

BEIJING (Reuters) – China plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s.

The Chang’e-5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, will seek to collect material that can help scientists understand more about the moon’s origins and formation. The mission will test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions.

If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the United States and the Soviet Union decades ago.

Since the Soviet Union crash-landed the Luna 2 on the moon in 1959, the first human-made object to reach another celestial body, a handful of other countries including Japan and India have launched moon missions.

In the Apollo programme, which first

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Asteroid Ryugu: The spinning space rock visited by Hayabusa2

Asteroid 162173 Ryugu is a diamond-shaped space rock visited by the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2, which took a sample from the asteroid’s surface to return to Earth. This material will help scientists better understand the origins of the solar system and, possibly, life on our planet. 

Ryugu was discovered in 1999 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project, a collaborative, U.S.-based project to catalogue and track space rocks. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, estimates the asteroid to be about 2,952 feet (900 meters) in diameter (other scientists have calculated the asteroid to be slightly smaller). Ryugu is orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars and occasionally crosses Earth’s orbit, which means the space rock is classified as “potentially hazardous,” though the body poses no imminent danger to our world. As it soars through space, the asteroid spins around like a top, rotating every 7.6 hours, according to JAXA. 

The asteroid’s

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On this hellscape lava planet, it rains rock and the winds are supersonic

Exoplanet K2-141b lives in a close orbit to its star, making it a wild and inhospitable place.


Julie Roussy/Getty Images

If you ever need to feel more grateful for Earth, just take a moment to contemplate some of the truly horrifying exoplanets that lurk outside our solar system. Take, for example, K2-141b, a nightmare “lava planet” where it rains rock.

A team of researchers led by York University doctoral student Tue Giang Nguyen ran computer simulations to predict the conditions and weather on the extreme planet. K2-141b has the misfortune of being located close to its host star. It’s also oriented so that two-thirds of the planet is locked into blazing-hot perpetual light while the dark side remains frigid.

The scientists published a study on K2-141b in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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This bizarre planet could have supersonic winds in an atmosphere of vaporized rock

Scientists think they have identified a lava world so dramatic that it might boast a thin regional atmosphere of vaporized rock where it is closest to its star.



a star in the dark: An artist's depiction of K2-141b, showing molten rock evaporating into a thin atmosphere in the region closest to the exoplanet's star.


© Provided by Space
An artist’s depiction of K2-141b, showing molten rock evaporating into a thin atmosphere in the region closest to the exoplanet’s star.

That exoplanet is called K2-141b and was originally discovered in 2017. The world is about half again as big as Earth but orbits so close to its star, which is one class smaller than our own, that it completes several loops each Earth-day with the same surface permanently facing the star. Now, scientists predict those factors mean that two-thirds of the surface of K2-141b is permanently sunlit — so much so that not only is part of the world covered in a lava ocean, but some of that rock may even evaporate away into the atmosphere.

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NASA’s moon-exploring Viper will be the first rover to rock headlights

The Viper team tested prototype LED headlight arrays on a simulated lunar landscape.


NASA/Dominic Hart

With a name like “Viper,” you know NASA is serious about doing some hard-core rover exploration on the moon. The space agency’s in-development four-wheeled lunar vehicle has already booked a ride to space for 2023, but it’s in need of some serious candlepower to light up its destination on the moon’s south pole.

NASA shared a behind-the-scenes look last week at how it’s developing “the first-ever lighting system on a rover.” The Viper team put some car-like prototype headlights through their paces at a testing site designed to simulate the lunar landscape at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.

The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, aka Viper, will be looking for water ice and taking soil samples, but it’ll

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