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This is how it sounds on Mars

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The American space agency Nasa today announced the sound of the wind on Mars. The sound was recorded with super sensitive sensors in Marsverkenner InSight, which  landed successfully on the red planet at the end of November  . 

According to Nasa, the low, rustling sound – which can only be heard with headphones or a good bass subwoofer – is captured with an advanced seismometer that can record the smallest vibrations. With the device Nasa hopes to be able to measure earthquakes in the soil of Mars, but it also appears to be able to absorb vibrations caused by airflows. The Marswind was also observed by an air pressure gauge on board.

The wind blows over the outside and the unfolded solar panels from InSight, causing hardly any audible vibrations in the explorer. According to Nasa, the recorded ultrasonic vibrations can hardly be heard with our ears. For that reason, the sound that can be heard in a YouTube-advertised YouTub film is amplified and the frequency raised a hundred times.

InSight landed successfully on Mars on 26 November at 20:54 am Dutch time. This brought an end to its 482 million-kilometer-long and seven-month space travel. The Marverkenner will drill into the soil of Mars for the next two years to examine the inside of the planet.

The landing itself was a true thriller. An hour before the grand finale, the control center on earth sent the final instructions to InSight and then had to wait tense if everything would go well. The device – which cost more than a billion dollars – entered the atmosphere of Mars at a speed of some 20,000 kilometers per hour and had less than seven minutes to slow down to almost zero. During the descent a heat shield protected the probe against the enormous heat. The angle of entry was also important. It had to be exactly 12 degrees, the minimal boundary between bouncing into space or friction with the atmosphere in flames.

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Boyband bat and pancake catfish: these are the most remarkable newly discovered animals

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A Skywalker gibbon, a bat with bleached spiny hair, a path with elven horns and a catfish that resembles a failed pancake: these are the most remarkable animals discovered in Southeast Asia last year.

In Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, the countries through which the Mekong flows, scientists discovered no fewer than 157 new animal and plant species in 2017. There were fascinating creatures, like the Skywalker Hoolock gibbon. 

That species is actually discovered in the lab, says spokesman Dylan de Gruijl of the World Wildlife Fund, which bundled the discoveries in a report that is published today. “Scientists compared the physical and genetic properties with other gibbons, and found out that this is a new species. He is named after the character Luke Skywalker from Starwars because the researchers are fans of that film and because the scientific name in Chinese means ‘heavenly moment’. Moreover, gibbons so gracefully float from branch to branch, that it looks as if they are walking through the air. ”

In Northern Myanmar a striking bat species has been discovered with blond spiky hair. That little animal was unofficially baptized Lance Bass bat, to the singer from the 90s boyband * NSYNC (which also included Justin Timberlake) with the comparable coup. 

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The Lance Bass bat and the same name singer from * NSYNC
The Lance Bass bat and the eponymous singer from * NSYNC © WNF

Failed pancake

In Vietnam, researchers encountered a new type of catfish that, according to them, is a bit like a failed pancake. In a misty and moss-covered cloud forest in the same country they discovered a small path with horns on his body. His appearance and habitat – cloud forests are also called elven forests – earned him the name ‘path from Middle-earth’; a reference to the fairy world in Lord of the Rings .

In Vietnam, a new species of catfish has been discovered that resembles a - failed - pancake
In Vietnam, a new species of catfish has been discovered that looks a bit like a – failed – pancake © XIAO YONGCHEN

The New Species on the Block report describes  3 new mammals, 23 fish, 13 amphibians, 26 reptiles and 91 new plants. That is an average of three types per week. According to the WWF, it indicates how rich the Mekon region is in biodiversity. “Between 1997 and 2017, more than 2,600 new species have been discovered in total. The area is also home to iconic species such as the Asian elephant, tiger, leopard and freshwater dolphin. ”

Threatened

However, many newly discovered species – including the Skywalker gibbon – are unfortunately already threatened in their pre-existence. In the Mekon region, one third of the forest areas have disappeared since the 1970s. If deforestation continues at the current rate, another third will disappear between 2010 and 2030. Animals and plants therefore come to live in ever smaller, isolated pieces of nature. That makes it difficult for them to survive. 

The WWF is therefore very concerned about the construction of dams in the Mekong and a new road that is being constructed through the densely forested Tanintharyi forest, where elephants and tigers live. 

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ISS crew outside to inspect mysterious hole

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Two Russian cosmonauts are pulling their space suit today for a six-hour spacewalk. The reason for their trip is a mysterious hole in the hull of a Soyuz capsule that is attached to the international space station ISS. 

The hole, which caused a little pressure loss in the space station, was discovered at the end of August and quickly sealed. According to the NASA experts, the ISS was saved, but whoever caused the leak remains a mystery for the space shooters. 

The Russian spacewalkers are now going to try to find out how big the damage is on the outside of the Soyuz. Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Prokopjev will inspect the shell of the capsule and remove a part of the thermal insulation on the spot that has been patched from the inside. 

Hole has been drilled

The Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko can once again wear his suit for a spacewalk of about six hours.
The Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko can once again wear his suit for a spacewalk of about six hours. © AFP

The head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitri Rogozin, said earlier that the hole may have been drilled during the construction of the Soyuz capsule. The person who has drilled the hole in the hull may have damaged more than just the inside. 

Press agency TASS reports that crew, after the discovery of the leak, inspected the inside of the hull with an endoscope. In addition, damage was also discovered to the meteorite shield, which protects the capsule against flying space noise. The question now is how far has been drilled through.

Possible sabotage

There may be sabotage. Rogozin does not even exclude that someone in space has consciously sabotaged the station. If the hole had not been discovered and sealed in time, the space station would have been without oxygen within 18 days. With the death of the crew as a result. 

Rogozin says, based on the photos from space, that the hole seems to have been made by someone with a ‘trembling hand’. Very neatly the hole is not applied, witness the scratches next to it. It is possible that an employee of manufacturer Energia was shot during the construction of the capsule.

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A pat on the globe dogs and cats do not like as much as you think

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The dog starts wagging, the cat starts spinning: stroking. How did that happen?

Cats mustache if they are scratched behind their ears. Dogs are happily rubbing their breasts. And people also like to fondle each other. But why do animals like to be stroked?

“Petting causes endorphins to be released, both in humans and animals,” explains behavioral biologist and professor of veterinary medicine Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University. ,, That is a body-like opiate that gives a nice feeling. Caressing a soft fur causes a high in a sense. “

Endorphin

In addition to endorphins, oxytocin is also produced during the stroking. This hormone lowers stress and therefore blood pressure and heart rate. This works soothingly and creates a feeling of connection between the owner and the beast.

Yet not every animal is waiting for a tickling hand. Animals that are not used to people generally find it uncomfortable to be petted. Receiving human attention and affection must therefore be taught at an early age.

“For a puppy, the socialization phase is between three and twelve weeks,” says Vinke. “Within that period it is important that the animal meets many people and is often touched. If that does not happen, you will get a dog who does not have much to do with being edited and scraped by human hands. ”

Socialize

Kittens have a tighter socialization phase: from two and a half weeks to seven weeks. According to Vinke that is not a problem, as long as the breeder only pays attention to them. “If not, you can achieve something with a lot of effort, but the cat is often unkind and not very keen on contact.”

And what about other pets? Do reptiles or birds also like to be petted? “I do not know about reptiles,” says Vinke. “But a domesticated bird like the chicken would be best to transform into a stuffed animal after an intensive socialization process. That means that you have to take a chick in the house. ”

What is the best way to pet an animal? It’s better not to pet a dog or cat, says Vinke. ,, They experience that as threatening. Dogs and cats find it more comfortable to be approached less directly. For example, with a tickle under the chin or across the chest. “

© Thinkstock

Decide yourself

It is even better to let an animal determine whether it wants to be stroked. Vinke: ,, A dog that wants to be cited, shows a broad, relaxed waggon. A dog that does not want it, puts its tail down, puts the ears in the neck and looks away. “

Smaller pets such as ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters can save you a lot of stress by not petting them. Vinke: ,, They are mostly prey animals. Large hands that grasp in a cage, appear from below on a descending bird of prey. Many small rodents are therefore better suited as watching animals, just like fish in an aquarium. You also do not. “

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