These newly-described miniature frogs are the smallest of their kind in the world, and they also have very appropriate names.
The genus of frogs has been dubbed Mini, and it contains three species: Mini mum, Mini scule, and Mini ature. Pretty clever. The trio has been described in a new study by evolutionary biologist Mark Scherz and a team of scientists.
Two other new species, Rhombophryne proportionalis and Anodonthyla eximia, measuring 11–12 millimetres (around 0.45 inches), were also described in the study.
As noted by Scherz on his blog, two species of Mini are within the top 50 smallest frogs in the world, while the Mini scule — which only gets as large as 10.8 millimetres (0.43 inches) — is within the top 20 smallest frogs. Read more…
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View More These new species of miniature frogs clearly have the best names
Rocket Lab, the Kiwi operation working on breaking into the launch industry with small but frequent launches, has its first launch of the year today, due to take off in just a few minutes. Tune in here!
View More Watch Rocket Lab’s first launch of 2019 lift a DARPA experiment into orbit
The Mars 2020 mission is on track for launch next year, and nesting inside the high-tech new rover heading that direction is a high-tech helicopter designed to fly in the planet’s nearly non-existent atmosphere. The actual aircraft that will fly on the Martian surface just took its first flight and its engineers are over the moon.
View More Mars helicopter bound for the Red Planet takes to the air for the first time
After Charles Darwin boarded the H.M.S. Beagle in 1831, the 90-foot ship visited 15 disparate lands — the likes of Brazil, the Canary Islands, and Chile — before eventually anchoring in the Galápagos Islands, four years later.
For 500 years, in fact, ships from thousands of miles away landed in Galápagos, unwittingly carrying along seeds, insects, and critters picked up from around the globe. It’s little surprise, then, that the famous volcanic land teems with foreign animals and plants. But new research, published Thursday in the journal Aquatic Invasions, shows that off the shore, the Galápagos waters are also alive with non-native, invasive species. By scouring just two areas off of two islands (there are 13 major islands), researchers discovered 48 non-native marine species — 10 times more than previously known. Read more…
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View More Bummer: Scientists find Galápagos Islands swarm with marine invaders
What lies beneath the murky depths? SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive wants to help you and the scientific community find out. He’s just led a $7 million Series A for SoFar Ocean Technologies, a new startup formed from a merger he orchestrated between underwater drone maker OpenROV and sea sensor developer Spoondrift. Together, they’re teaming up […]
View More Ocean drone startup merger spawns SoFar, the DJI of the sea
Developments in the self-driving car world can sometimes be a bit dry: a million miles without an accident, a 10 percent increase in pedestrian detection range, and so on. But this research has both an interesting idea behind it and a surprisingly hands-on method of testing: pitting the vehicle against a real racing driver on a course.
View More This self-driving AI faced off against an champion racer (kind of)
You’re just going to have to wait a little longer for an all-female spacewalk.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were scheduled to walk together in the historic moment, but NASA has pulled the event due to suit availability on the International Space Station.
Fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague completed the first of the series of spacewalks last Friday with McClain, who found out that a particular suit size fit her best. Unfortunately, there’ll only be one suit available in this size — and it also fits Koch. Read more…
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View More NASA pulls all-female spacewalk due to suit fitting issues
In Nebraska and Iowa there’s a brown sea where there should be homes, roads, gas stations, and open country.
Historic floods have deluged vast swaths of the Midwest — even flooding a third of the U.S. Air Force base that houses the nation’s critical U.S. Strategic Command. But the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the floods aren’t nearly over. The agency’s 2019 Spring Outlook found that nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states are at risk for flooding in the coming months.
“The extensive flooding we’ve seen in the past two weeks will continue through May and become more dire and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream,” Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center, said in a statement. Read more…
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View More Wow: U.S. gov’t warns there’s a spring flood risk for two-thirds of the Lower 48
Some of us Earthlings may see dancing, green lights in the sky on Saturday night.
The sun blasted out a flare of energized particles into space on March 20, and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Prediction Center forecasts that a strip of the northern U.S. may experience a visible effect of this event: an aurora, or eerie dancing greenish light, created when the sun’s particles interact with Earth’s atmosphere.
Such an atmospheric event is stoked by a disturbance called a geomagnetic storm, where energized solar particles propel changes in Earth’s magnetosphere — a sprawling zone of space around Earth where the planet’s magnetic field changes and evolves in reaction to the sun. Read more…
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View More If you live in the northern U.S., you could see a radiant celestial treat Saturday night
A radiant fireball exploded over the remote Bering Sea in Dec. 2018, though it wasn’t until some three months later that scientists, scouring satellite images, discovered the dramatic event. NASA’s Terra satellite — an Earth-observing satellite the size of a small school bus — also unwittingly documented the fiery explosion, and the space agency released photos of the meteor’s violent passage through Earth’s atmosphere on Friday.
Fireballs — which are bright meteors breaking apart in the atmosphere — are common events, though this December explosion was quite potent, as the most powerful known fireball since 2013. Read more…
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View More NASA posts image of a powerful fireball exploding over Earth
Pretty much every self-driving car on the road, not to mention many a robot and drone, uses lidar to sense its surroundings. But useful as lidar is, it also involves physical compromises that limit its capabilities. Lumotive is a new company with funding from Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures that uses metamaterials to exceed those limits, perhaps setting a new standard for the industry.
View More Gates-backed Lumotive upends lidar conventions using metamaterials
It’s easy to take the fresh, cold water that gurgles out of your tap each morning for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury.
View More 7 ways you can improve the world’s access to fresh water
Today is World Water Day, and this year, the theme is “Leaving no one behind.” With the goal of ensuring acces…