Los Angeles, June 22 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A new impact crater discovered on Mars reveals darker material beneath reddish dust, according to a latest photograph released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
The crater on the surface of Mars formed at most between September 2016 and February 2019, JPL said Wednesday.
The material beneath the reddish dust looks blue, but is a false colored image, which combines several color filters to enhance differences between material compositions, JPL said.
The light blue indicates an absence of brighter, redder dust where the impact blast scoured the surface, revealing bedrock below. The very bright blue could be ejecta with a different composition that was thrown by the impact, according to JPL.
The picture was taken by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, a camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Los Angeles, June 22 (Xinhua/UNB) -- NASA's Juno spacecraft captured a stunning compilation image of Jupiter's stormy northern hemisphere as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet, according to a picture released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Thursday.
Juno took four images used to produce this color-enhanced view on May 29, 2019, as the spacecraft performed its 20th science pass of Jupiter, said JPL.
At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was between 18,600 km and 8,600 km above Jupiter's cloud tops, above a northern latitude spanning from about 59 to 34 degrees, according to JPL.
Juno was launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the southern U.S. state of Florida, and arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
Juno's principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, look for a solid planetary core, map magnetic fields, measure water and ammonia, and observe the planet's auroras.
London, June 22 (AP/UNB) — Researchers in Scotland say gray seals can copy the sounds of human words and songs including "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
The study by University of St. Andrews researchers showed that three trained seals were able to imitate parts of popular tunes.
The research team's findings were published Thursday, including video footage of the seals. The study gave the researchers a better understanding of the evolution of vocal learning and human language development.
It also suggested that gray seals could be a new model to study speech disorders since they use their vocal tracts the same way as humans.
London, June 22 (AP/UNB) — The Bank of England is open to letting new payment services such as Facebook’s upcoming Libra hold funds overnight with the central bank, something historically limited to commercial banks.
In prepared remarks to bankers in London, the bank’s governor, Mark Carney, said it “makes sense to consider” extending access to new payment providers, as they “can improve the transmission of monetary policy and increase competition.”
He said Libra, in particular, could lower costs for money transfers.
There are several reasons why financial institutions hold money in reserve at the central bank but perhaps the most important is that it helps facilitate payments between banks and businesses. Being part of the plumbing of the financial system could be a benefit to upstarts like Libra.
Though Carney was broadly supportive of the future of new payment systems and their role in the financial system, he warned that the bank “approaches Libra with an open mind but not an open door.”
As such, he said, “it would have to meet the highest standards of prudential regulation and consumer protection.”
Carney’s remarks, provided by the bank ahead of their delivery later Thursday, echoed concerns raised by other regulators around the world.
Facebook, along with such partners as Uber, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, unveiled Libra earlier this week. The new currency, set to launch next year, could open online purchasing to millions of people who do not have access to bank accounts and could reduce the cost of sending money across borders. Libra could also prove attractive to people in countries beset with hyperinflation such as Venezuela.
But French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Facebook must ensure that Libra won’t hurt consumers or be used for illegal activities.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who heads the House Financial Services Committee, called on Facebook to suspend plans for the new currency until Congress and regulators are able to study it more closely.
Facebook said it will comply with all existing financial regulations, though it has not offered many details. The company said its wallet app for using Libra will walk people through a verification process to ensure they are who they say they are.
To get the access, Carney said Libra will have to address issues ranging from anti-money laundering to data protection to operational resilience. And Libra, he added, must be a “pro-competitive, open platform that new users can join on equal terms.”
“Whatever the fate of Libra, its creation underscores the imperative of transforming payments,” Carney said in his wide-ranging speech.
Carney said the bank needs to move with the times, as the nature of commerce changes. He said one-fifth of all sales in the U.K. were online last year and will grow to a quarter next year. And cash now makes up just a quarter of all payments, down from two-thirds a decade ago.
Libra has an additional challenge to confront. Facebook has faced a mountain of criticism over the past year or so over its poor record on privacy and its dominance in social media, messaging and related businesses.
Carney also said the bank will stress test the resilience of the British financial system to extreme weather. According to the bank, severe weather events such as flooding and heatwaves could mean higher insurance claims and economic losses such as reductions in home value. The design of the test will start in the fall, he said, and be completed in 2021.
The bank said the shift toward a greener economy also poses financial risks, including to banks and insurance companies that invest in energy companies.
“The path to a carbon-neutral economy will affect every institution in this country — very much including the Bank of England,” Carney said. “We need to do more than just cutting out cups and bringing up bees. We must lead by example.”
Washington, June 21 (AP/UNB) — Despite the name of Pink Floyd’s best-selling album, the side of the moon you can’t see isn’t always dark. But it is far.
So scientists call the area where a Chinese spacecraft just landed the far side, not the dark side.
“The other side sees the sun sometimes. The other side is not dark, it’s just far,” said Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb. “It’s a mistake.”
The moon is what scientists call ”tidally locked ” which means the same side always faces us, while another side always faces away, Loeb said. When Earth views a darkened new moon, the far side is lit. When there’s a full moon in our sky, the far side is dark.
Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth. But students still get it wrong on the midterm, calling it the dark side.
Melosh traces the myth back to a Walt Disney television special in 1955 that talked about it always being dark on the other side of the moon and futuristic astronauts dropping flares.
The term dark side really took off in 1973 with the Pink Floyd’s mesmerizing album “The Dark Side of the Moon.”
China has landed a probe on the mysterious "dark" side of the moon. The far side of the moon is called the "dark side" in popular culture because it's always unseen from Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight. (Jan. 3)
While China is the first to land a spacecraft on the far side, there have been plenty of detailed photographs taken by orbiting spacecraft. The first grainy pictures came from a former Soviet Union craft in 1959. NASA’s Apollo 8 astronauts saw it first when they orbited the moon 50 years ago.