Science & Technology

Science News Roundup: NASA to make second attempt at debut moon rocket launch on Saturday; Fossilized tusk from giant ancient elephant found in Israel and more

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

NASA to make second attempt at debut moon rocket launch on Saturday

NASA aims to make a second attempt to launch its giant next-generation moon rocket on Saturday, Sept. 3, five days after a pair of technical issues foiled an initial try at getting the spacecraft off the ground for the first time, agency officials said on Tuesday. But prospects for success on Saturday appeared clouded by weather reports predicting just a 40% chance of favorable conditions that day, while the U.S. space agency acknowledged some outstanding technical issues remain to be solved.

Fossilized tusk from giant ancient elephant found in Israel

A fossilized tusk from a giant prehistoric elephant that once roamed around the Mediterranean has emerged from an excavation site in southern Israel, offering what archaeologists said was a rare insight into the life of early inhabitants of the area. The 2.5 meter-long tusk from the ancient straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) is estimated to be around half a million years old and was found in an area where stone and flint tools and other animal remains have been recovered.

NASA delays debut Artemis flight of new moon rocket after engine cooling issue

An engine-cooling problem forced NASA on Monday to postpone for at least four days the debut test launch of the colossal new rocketship it plans to use for future astronaut flights back to the moon, more than 50 years after Apollo’s last lunar mission. The space agency declined to set a precise time frame for retrying a launch of the mission, dubbed Artemis I. But a second attempt was still possible as early as Friday, depending on the outcome of further data analysis, senior NASA officials told a news briefing hours after the aborted countdown.

Remains of large dinosaur skeleton unearthed in Portugal

Paleontologists have been working away in a Portuguese backyard to unearth the remains of what could be the largest dinosaur ever found in Europe, University of Lisbon researchers said. Fossilized fragments from the dinosaur were first discovered in 2017 by a property owner in the city of Pombal in central Portugal while doing construction work.

Nicole Mann says she is proud to be first Native American woman in space

Nicole Aunapu Mann has waited nine long years for her chance to go into space. And if all goes according to plan, that wait will end on Oct. 03, when she will lead NASA’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station.

Scientists find clues to what makes ‘immortal jellyfish’ immortal

Scientists in Spain have unlocked the genetic code of the immortal jellyfish – a creature capable of repeatedly reverting into a juvenile state – in hopes of unearthing the secret to their unique longevity, and find new clues to human aging. In their study, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Maria Pascual-Torner, Victor Quesada and colleagues at the University of Oviedo mapped the genetic sequence of Turritopsis dohrnii, the only known species of jellyfish able to repeatedly revert back into a larval stage after sexual reproduction.

Analysis: Scientists look to solve ozone threat to Africa’s food security

Plant scientist Felicity Hayes checks on her crops inside one of eight tiny domed greenhouses set against the Welsh hills. The potted pigeon pea and papaya planted in spring are leafy and green, soon to bear fruit. In a neighbouring greenhouse, those same plants look sickly and stunted. The pigeon pea is an aged yellow with pockmarked leaves; the papaya trees reach only half as tall.

Parched UAE turns to science to squeeze more rainfall from clouds

As a twin-turboprop aircraft takes off under the burning desert sun with dozens of salt canisters attached to its wings, United Arab Emirates meteorological official Abullah al-Hammadi scans weather maps on computers screens for cloud formations. At 9,000 feet above sea level, the plane releases salt flares into the most promising white clouds, hoping to trigger rainfall.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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