This week: A new species of human, the moon shattered, a glass for space whiskey, early warning for “the big one”, and the California drought gets worse.
New Hominid Species Discovered
An international team of scientists has discovered a new species of a new species of hominin in South Africa that may have existed alongside modern humans. This small creature with a tiny brain opens the door to a new way of thinking about our ancient ancestors.
The discovery of 15 individuals, consisting of 1,550 bones, represents the largest fossil hominin find on the African continent.
Asteroid Bombardment May Have Shattered The Moon
Using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, astronomers mapped the gravity field in and around more than 1,200 craters on the far side of the moon and detailed the production and saturation of porosity in the lunar highlands from impact cratering.
Scientists believe that about 4 billion years ago, during a period called the Late Heavy Bombardment, the moon took a severe beating, as an army of asteroids pelted its surface, carving out craters and opening deep fissures in its crust. Such sustained impacts increased the moon’s porosity, opening up a network of large seams beneath the lunar surface.
Engineered Glass Lets You Enjoy Whiskey in Zero G
When space tourism eventually takes off, you can guarantee the first travelers to shell out the money to get there will also want to partake in the finer things in life – like a good whiskey — while enjoying their place on top of the world.
But pouring a nicely aged whiskey is basically impossible without gravity there to lend a hand. Fortunately Ballantine’s, a maker of blended Scotch whiskey, has a solution: On Friday the company unveiled its Space Glass, which is the first vessel engineered specifically to deliver a distilled beverage to your lips while enjoying the weightlessness of space.
Researchers Working On Early Warning System For Pacific NW Earthquake
University of Washington researchers are testing an earthquake alert system as the Pacific Northwest prepares for the day when a 600-mile-long fault line looming off the coast unleashes a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.
Sierra Nevada Snowpack at Lowest Level in 500 Years
With record-setting temperatures and the first ever mandatory state-wide water restriction, it’s not as if Californians need another reminder of just how serious the current drought is. Unfortunately, a study published today in Nature Climate Change does just that. And the news is ominous. As of April 1st, 2015, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains–which provides 30 percent of the state’s spring and summer water–is at its lowest level in 500 years. This has grave implications for both human and natural water systems in the state.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!