DAILY DOSE: The International Space Station springs a leak; First sound of a Martian dust devil recorded.


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Close call earlier today aboard the International Space Station. As Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin were about to venture outside the station on a planned spacewalk Thursday, ground specialists saw a stream of fluid and particles on a live video feed from space, along with a pressure drop on instruments, emanating from the Soyuz capsule. According to the Associated Press,

A coolant leak from a Russian space capsule attached to the International Space Station was likely caused by a micrometeorite strike, a Russian space official said Thursday.

Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos and NASA both have said that the incident hasn’t posed any danger to the station’s crew. However, the leak prompted a pair of Russian cosmonauts to abort a planned spacewalk earlier in the day.

Sergei Krikalev, a veteran cosmonaut who serves as the director of crewed space flight programs at Roscosmos, said a meteorite striking one of the radiators of the Soyuz MS-22 capsule could have caused the coolant to escape.

The malfunction could affect the performance of the capsule’s coolant system and the temperature in the equipment section of the capsule but doesn’t endanger the crew, Krikalev said in a statement.

How long until a larger projectile makes contact with the space station? https://bit.ly/3WqdDt7

The sitting president of Stanford University is in trouble for fudging results in a handful of his published papers. Per STAT,

The leading journals Science and Cell on Thursday issued “expressions of concern” on papers co-authored by Stanford University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who is under investigation over allegations of research misconduct.

Tessier-Lavigne, a neuroscientist, is facing scrutiny over allegations of altered images in at least five papers he worked on going back two decades, including two papers published in Science and one in Cell. The story has grown more complicated, however, because Tessier-Lavigne notified the journals years ago with concerns about the images in the studies as published.

Tessier-Lavigne reported to Science in 2015 the issues with the images and prepared “Errata,” Holden Thorp, the journal’s editor-in-chief, said last month. The journal never published them “due to an error on our part,” Thorp said as he issued an apology.

How’s that for setting a bad example? Naughty. https://bit.ly/3HFSuXB

Bats are amazing and a recent study in Frontiers In highlights how the furry, flying creatures pimped evolution. According to the Frontiers In blog,

In a new study, scientists show that the wing shape and the echolocation frequency of bats are tightly linked across species. This pattern could only be identified because of the large dataset in the present study, which allowed the authors to look beyond the effect of bat family on these traits. The results mean that wing shape and echolocation frequency have jointly evolved in response to foraging ecology, yielding an optimal combination of traits or ‘foraging syndrome’ in each habitat.

Bats are an evolutionary success story. With approximately 1,400 species living today, they thrive in every environment except the polar regions. They come in a remarkable range of sizes, from the golden-crowned flying fox with a mass of 1.2 kg and a wingspan of 171 cm, to Kitti’s hog-nosed ‘bumblebee’ bat with a mass of 2 g and a wingspan of 33 cm. The frequencies that bats emit during echolocation are also highly variable, ranging from 11 kHz to 212 kHz. But what has driven the evolution of this extraordinary diversity?

“Here we show with that among bat species, there is a close correspondence between wing shape and the frequency of their echolocation vocalizations. This pattern wasn’t found in earlier studies because it’s hidden among the variation due to family,” said Dr Bo Luo, a researcher at China West Normal University and a corresponding author on the study, which is published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

“And importantly, both are tightly linked to foraging ecology – the preferred habitat type of a species and how it catches prey there.

Big Data ftw! https://bit.ly/3VZWmXz

What’s a dust devil sound like on Mars? A NASA rover by chance had its microphone on when a whirling tower of red dust passed directly overhead, recording the racket. Per the AP,

It’s about 10 seconds of not only rumbling gusts of up to 25 mph (40 kph), but the pinging of hundreds of dust particles against the rover Perseverance. Scientists released the first-of-its-kind audio Tuesday.

It sounds strikingly similar to dust devils on Earth, although quieter since Mars’ thin atmosphere makes for more muted sounds and less forceful wind, according to the researchers.

The dust devil came and went over Perseverance quickly last year, thus the short length of the audio, said the University of Toulouse’s Naomi Murdoch, lead author of the study appearing in Nature Communications. At the same time, the navigation camera on the parked rover captured images, while its weather-monitoring instrument collected data.

To be fair, it sounds like what it is. Wind. https://bit.ly/3uWRAOV

Here’s a link to the sound with accompanying images.


Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


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