вторник, 21 мая 2019 г.

Staffa | #Geology #GeologyPage #Scotland Staffa from the Old…


Staffa | #Geology #GeologyPage #Scotland


Staffa from the Old Norse for stave or pillar island, is an island of the Inner Hebrides in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The Vikings gave it this name as its columnar basalt reminded them of their houses, which were built from vertically placed tree-logs.


Staffa lies about 10 kilometres (6 mi) west of the Isle of Mull. The area is 33 hectares (82 acres) and the highest point is 42 metres (138 ft) above sea level.


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2019 May 21 Deep Field: Nebulae of Sagittarius Image Credit…


2019 May 21


Deep Field: Nebulae of Sagittarius
Image Credit & Copyright: Emilio Rivero Padilla


Explanation: These three bright nebulae are often featured on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula just left of center, and colorful M20 on the top left. The third emission region includes NGC 6559 and can be found to the right of M8. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. Over a hundred light-years across, the expansive M8 is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20’s popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red color of the emission nebulae. In striking contrast, blue hues in the Trifid are due to dust reflected starlight. Recently formed bright blue stars are visible nearby. The colorful composite skyscape was recorded in 2018 in Teide National Park in the Canary Islands, Spain.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190521.html


Byzantine-era structure discovered in northwestern Turkey

A historical structure believed to belong to the Byzantine era has been unearthed from beneath a restaurant in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne.











Byzantine-era structure discovered in northwestern Turkey
Credit: AA

The discovery was made by units from the Edirne Regional Directorate of Protection of Cultural Assets in the Zindanaltı neighbourhood of Kaleiçi.


A preliminary examination revealed that the vaulted structure is made out of Khorasan mortar (mortars containing brick or tile powder and lime) and the height of its entrance through controlled doorways points to it most likely being a dungeon.


The purpose of the structure and the exact period in which it was built will be determined at the end of a full-scale examination.


Further research will also reveal whether the structure, which is located near the historic walls of the city, has any connection with other Byzantine buildings via tunnels.


Originally called Orestias, the city was renamed Hadrianapolis after the Roman Emperor Hadrian and served as the capital of the Roman province of Thrace. Following it capture by the Ottomans in around 1369, the city was renamed Erdine and served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1369 to the sack of Constantinople in 1453.


Source: Daily Sabah [May 16, 2019]



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Museum volunteers discover new species of extinct heron at North…


Museum volunteers discover new species of extinct heron at North Florida fossil site http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/museum-volunteers-discover-new-species-of-extinct-heron-at-north-florida-fossil-site.html


A high-heeled dinosaur?…


A high-heeled dinosaur? http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/a-high-heeled-dinosaur.html


How Earth’s mantle is like a Jackson Pollock painting…


How Earth’s mantle is like a Jackson Pollock painting http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/how-earths-mantle-is-like-a-jackson-pollock-painting.html


Colorful Obsidian : What is Obsidian? What are Obsidian Colors?…


Colorful Obsidian : What is Obsidian? What are Obsidian Colors? http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/colorful-obsidian.html


NASA’s Juno Finds Changes in Jupiter’s Magnetic Field


NASA — JUNO Mission logo.


May 20, 2019


NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter made the first definitive detection beyond our world of an internal magnetic field that changes over time, a phenomenon called secular variation. Juno determined the gas giant’s secular variation is most likely driven by the planet’s deep atmospheric winds.



Image above: This still from an animation illustrates Jupiter’s magnetic field at a single moment in time. The Great Blue Spot, an-invisible-to-the-eye concentration of magnetic field near the equator, stands out as a particularly strong feature. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard/Moore et al.


The discovery will help scientists further understand Jupiter’s interior structure — including atmospheric dynamics — as well as changes in Earth’s magnetic field. A paper on the discovery was published today in the journal Nature Astronomy.


«Secular variation has been on the wish list of planetary scientists for decades,» said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. «This discovery could only take place due to Juno’s extremely accurate science instruments and the unique nature of Juno’s orbit, which carries it low over the planet as it travels from pole to pole.»


Characterizing the magnetic field of a planet requires close-up measurements. Juno scientists compared data from NASA’s past missions to Jupiter (Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and Ulysses) to a new model of Jupiter’s magnetic field (called JRM09). The new model was based on data collected during Juno’s first eight science passes of Jupiter using its magnetometer, an instrument capable of generating a detailed three-dimensional map of the magnetic field.



Image above: This striking view of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and turbulent southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill.


What scientists found is that from the first Jupiter magnetic field data provided by the Pioneer spacecraft through to the latest data provided by Juno, there were small but distinct changes to the field.


«Finding something as minute as these changes in something so immense as Jupiter’s magnetic field was a challenge,» said Kimee Moore, a Juno scientist from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. «Having a baseline of close-up observations over four decades long provided us with just enough data to confirm that Jupiter’s magnetic field does indeed change over time.»


Once the Juno team proved secular variation did occur, they sought to explain how such a change might come about. The operation of Jupiter’s atmospheric (or zonal) winds best explained the changes in its magnetic field. These winds extend from the planet’s surface to over 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers) deep, where the planet’s interior begins changing from gas to highly conductive liquid metal. They are believed to shear the magnetic fields, stretching them and carrying them around the planet.


Nowhere was Jupiter’s secular variation as large as at the planet’s Great Blue Spot, an intense patch of magnetic field near Jupiter’s equator. The combination of the Great Blue Spot, with its strong localized magnetic fields, and strong zonal winds at this latitude result in the largest secular variations in the field on the Jovian world.



Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. Animation Credit: NASA

«It is incredible that one narrow magnetic hot spot, the Great Blue Spot, could be responsible for almost all of Jupiter’s secular variation, but the numbers bear it out,» said Moore. «With this new understanding of magnetic fields, during future science passes we will begin to create a planetwide map of Jupiter’s secular variation. It may also have applications for scientists studying Earth’s magnetic field, which still contains many mysteries to be solved.»


NASA’s JPL manages and operates the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. The Italian Space Agency (ASI) contributed two instruments, a Ka-band frequency translator (KaT) and the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM). Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built and operates the spacecraft.


More information about Juno is available at:


https://www.nasa.gov/juno and https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu


More information on Jupiter is at: https://www.nasa.gov/jupiter


The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:


https://www.facebook.com/NASAJuno and https://www.twitter.com/NASAJuno


Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/JPL/DC Agle.


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Go green — in space!Good things come in mini-fridge-sized…


Go green — in space!


Good things come in mini-fridge-sized packages. This small spacecraft is our Green Propellant Infusion Mission and will test a low toxicity propellant. This technology could lengthen mission durations by using less propellant.


Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.


Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet

The islet of Sa Galera is 170 meters off the coast of Palma de Mallorca, in Spain’s Balearic Islands. It is around 1,800 square meters – smaller than a soccer field – and has never been inhabited by humans, although it has been visited by people from many different cultures.











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Aerial the island of Sa Galera, at the center of which lie the remains of a Carthaginian temple
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

But while the islet may seem insignificant, it holds mysteries that Spanish archaeologists Ramón Martín and José Argüello have been puzzling over since 2012. Together with 80 volunteers, the researchers have spent nearly seven years excavating the site.
Some of the island’s mysteries have been solved but others remain – like who was responsible for the violent death of 10 people on the island 2,000 years ago, and why were the latter left inside various cavities on the island? Why were two pregnant women killed? And what is the story behind the body of the rich man?











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Aerial view of the Punic temple with the three circular tanks
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]










Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Walls of the Phoenician temple that occupied the center of the island of Sa Galera, built in the 3rd century BC
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

Now, the Sa Galera research team is working with the universities of Cranfield, Uppsala, Stockholm and Oxford as well as Madrid’s Complutense University to look for answers in genetics. The research project is set to continue until 2024.


The first findings from the islet were discovered by archaeologist Lluis Plantalamor in 1967. But it was not until 2012, when researchers began to conduct a proper investigation, that remains were found of a small Chalcolithic funeral structure, dating back between 2,000 and 2,200 years, as well as 56 ceramic pieces from the time period.











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Remains of a man thrown into a cistern of the island, in the first century during the Roman occupation
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]










Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Reconstruction of the man whose body was found in the cistern
on the islet of Sa Galera [Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

The Carthaginians arrived on Sa Galera between the 4th and 3rd century BC and excavated a system of ritual cisterns and pipes, and a sacred temple measuring five by five meters. For the building, they used large dimension stones, up to 120 centimeters long and 70 centimeters wide, which were extracted from the islet: the quarry is still visible today. The building was four meters tall and could be seen from any point on the Bay of Palma.
Before the Second Punic War between the Carthaginians and the Romans (218-201), the temple was surrounded by an even larger structure measuring 10 by 10 meters. It was destroyed by a fire but was later rebuilt, only to be torn down again by the Romans.











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Remains of a woman found at the bottom of a cistern on the island of Sa Galera
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]










Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Reconstruction of the face of one of the two women whose remains
were found on the island [Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

From this period, archaeologists have discovered a large number of Punic, Iberian, North African and Italic ceramic pieces that were left as temple offerings: eight coins, fish dishes, bowls and jugs. Almost all the pieces date back to the second century BC, including a well-conserved skeleton.


Researchers have been able to determine that the skeleton belonged to a well-fed and possibly rich man, who was 1.65 meters tall and between 35 and 40 years old. Specialists have been able to reconstruct a bust of the man using this information.











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Funerary vessels found on the island of Sa Galera
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]










Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Punic ebusitan bowl with 8 petals stamp of the time of the Second Punic War
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

The temple was in use until the Roman consul Cecilio Metelo conquered Mallorca in 123 BC. In the first century, when Hispania had been conquered by Rome, someone left 10 bodies, including that of a 22-year-old woman who was either nine months pregnant or the mother of a newborn baby.
According to an anthropological study, the woman may have been mestiza (of mixed Sub-Saharan and Caucasian origin), a hypothesis that will be validated with a DNA test. Her face has been reconstructed thanks to the work of anthropologists and visual artists.











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
Ebusitan Punic coin with the god Bes (225-217 BC)
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]










Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
North African pitcher from the last quarter of the 3rd century BC
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

“It’s clear that they died in strange circumstances because their bodies were left haphazardly,” says Argüello. “The question is why? There is little possibility that their deaths were the result of a ritual and the investigation continues.”


So far, researchers have recovered and restored more than 200 metallic and ceramic pieces from the time period. No one else would step foot on the islet for more than 1,000 years until the Middle Ages. In the Modern Age, the islet remained unoccupied, largely due to its proximity to a slaughterhouse.











Researchers probe 2,000-year-old killings on uninhabited Spanish islet
‘Scorpio’ bolt launched from a Roman ship against the island
[Credit: Amics De Na Galera]

And in the 20th century, it was only used as a shooting field by military troops, who did not realize they were shooting at a 4,000-year-old archaeological site. On the upside, the islet escaped the Mediterranean housing boom of the 1960s and 70s, and today remains almost intact. It even has a few mysteries it is yet to share.


Author: Vicente G. Olaya (trsl. Melissa Kitson) | Source: El Pais [May 16, 2019]



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Archaeologist to German Ambassador: Nefertiti belongs to Egypt

Hussein Bassir, director of the Antiquities Museum at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, stated that Nefertiti bust belongs to Egypt and officials are demanding its return to the country.











Archaeologist to German Ambassador: Nefertiti belongs to Egypt
Credit: See News

This was a reply to the German Ambassador in Cairo, Julius Georg Loew, who said the bust, that currently exists in Germany, is an example of a Middle East lady living in the German capital.


Loew’s speech was during a conference held yesterday in Cairo before ending his work and returning back to his country.


The German Ambassador also said that, “Nefertiti is glad to live in Germany beside the chancellor Angela Merkel. Both are the most powerful women living in the same street”.


On the other hand, Bassir stressed that Nefertiti should have been in Egypt setting around the great Egyptian artifacts. He demonstrated that the bust was taken illegally outside Egypt since more than 100 years ago.


However, Ludwig Borchardt, the German archaeologist who uncovered the bust, did this intentional disguise to steal it. Borchardt knew that the bust is made of limestone, there’s a note written between Egypt and Germany in 1913 and described Nefertiti bust as if it’s a statue made of gypsum.


This means that Borchardt wrote this fake description in order to pilfer the bust. Furthermore, he hid it for 10 years inside Germany and showed it up in the 1920’s.


Author: Ali Abu Dashish | Source: SeeNews [May 17, 2019]



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More on Earliest evidence of the cooking and eating of starch found in South Africa

New discoveries made at the Klasies River Cave in South Africa’s southern Cape, where charred food remains from hearths were found, provide the first archaeological evidence that anatomically modern humans were roasting and eating plant starches, such as those from tubers and rhizomes, as early as 120,000 years ago.











More on Earliest evidence of the cooking and eating of starch found in South Africa
The Klasies River cave in the southern Cape of South Africa
[Credit: Wits University]

The new research by an international team of archaeologists, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, provides archaeological evidence that has previously been lacking to support the hypothesis that the duplication of the starch digestion genes is an adaptive response to an increased starch diet.
«This is very exciting. The genetic and biological evidence previously suggested that early humans would have been eating starches, but this research had not been done before,» says Lead author Cynthia Larbey of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. The work is part of a systemic multidisciplinary investigation into the role that plants and fire played in the lives of Middle Stone Age communities.


The interdisciplinary team searched for and analysed undisturbed hearths at the Klasies River archaeological site.











More on Earliest evidence of the cooking and eating of starch found in South Africa
The Klasies River cave in the southern Cape of South Africa
[Credit: Wits University]

«Our results showed that these small ashy hearths were used for cooking food and starchy roots and tubers were clearly part of their diet, from the earliest levels at around 120,000 years ago through to 65,000 years ago,» says Larbey. «Despite changes in hunting strategies and stone tool technologies, they were still cooking roots and tubers.»
Professor Sarah Wurz from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa (Wits University) and principal investigator of the site says the research shows that «early human beings followed a balanced diet and that they were ecological geniuses, able to exploit their environments intelligently for suitable foods and perhaps medicines».


By combining cooked roots and tubers as a staple with protein and fats from shellfish, fish, small and large fauna, these communities were able to optimally adapt to their environment, indicating great ecological intelligence as early as 120 000 years ago.











More on Earliest evidence of the cooking and eating of starch found in South Africa
Cynthia Larbey points to an area where parenchyma were found
in 65,000 year old hearths at Klasies River Cave
[Credit: Wits University]

«Starch diet isn’t something that happens when we started farming, but rather, is as old as humans themselves,» says Larbey. Farming in Africa only started in the last 10 000 years of human existence.


Humans living in South Africa 120 000 years ago formed and lived in small bands.


«Evidence from Klasies River, where several human skull fragments and two maxillary fragments dating 120 000 years ago occur, show that humans living in that time period looked like modern humans of today. However, they were somewhat more robust,» says Wurz.


Klasies River is a very famous early human occupation site on the Cape coast of South Africa excavated by Wurz, who, along with Susan Mentzer of the Senckenberg Institute and Eberhard Karls Universit?t Tübingen, investigated the small (c. 30cm in diameter) hearths.


Source: University of the Witwatersrand [May 17, 2019]



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Recently discovered Wari ceramics reveal origin of first Peruvian empire

A set of ceramic pieces unearthed at Wari archaeological complex in Ayacucho reveals valuable information about the origin of Wari civilization, the first imperial State of Peru that served as the basis for the Inca Empire development.











Recently discovered Wari ceramics reveal origin of first Peruvian empire
Credit: Andina

The archaeological site, considered the capital of this complex and well-organized pre-Hispanic civilization (600 AD-1,200 AD), is located 25 km northeast of Andean Ayacucho City.
According to Jose Ochatoma, archaeologist at San Cristobal de Huamanga University and lead researcher at Wari complex, the images on the 45 restored ceramics reveal the origin of Wari is linked to Nazca and Huarpa cultures.











Recently discovered Wari ceramics reveal origin of first Peruvian empire
Credit: Andina

The decorative elements include representations of coastal animals and marine products (seaweed, fish, octopus), similar to those found in the iconography of Nazca culture— indicate that such civilization influenced the origin of Wari. The ceramics belong to diverse stages of Wari’s cultural development.
«Research shows that Wari is not the result of simultaneous influences of Nazca and Tiahuanaco cultures, as previously thought. Nazca’s decisive influence came first and Tiahuanaco’s followed, when Wari experienced its greatest development,» he noted.











Recently discovered Wari ceramics reveal origin of first Peruvian empire
Credit: Andina

Ochatoma explained the restoration of these recently uncovered artifacts, part of the conservation and enhancement process of Wari’s cultural heritage, demands plenty of time and dedication since there are pieces of different sizes.
«The studies conducted reveal that ceramics used to be destroyed as part of Wari rituals. In some cases, archaeologists found the stones used to break the pots and other ceramic pieces. Therefore, it is very difficult to restore the ceramics to their original state,» he pointed out.











Recently discovered Wari ceramics reveal origin of first Peruvian empire
Credit: Andina

Ochatoma said that, in addition to pottery, several stages of cultural development are present in the sequence and superposition of the constructions found at the excavations.


Very little is known about the Huarpa culture, which preceded the Wari, added the archaeologist.


«New research has shown that there is evidence of a very dense Huarpa occupation before the Wari urban occupation,» he said.


Source: Andina [May 17, 2019]



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Millennia-old Hittite construction found in central Turkey

Nine layers of millenia-old ruins dating back to the ancient Hittite civilization were discovered in central Turkey, an archeologist said on Thursday.











Millennia-old Hittite construction found in central Turkey
Credit: AA

«We have identified nine layers of construction belonging to the Hittite period,» Kimiyoshi Matsumura told Anadolu Agency in Kirikkale, where the dig site is located.
Matsumura said he and his team unearthed a city wall dating back to 600-700 BC, adding that the team had found a layer underneath dating back to 14th century BC.











Millennia-old Hittite construction found in central Turkey
Credit: AA

The excavation area covers a huge city, Matsumura said adding that the team would continue work even if it took more than 100 years to unearth the entire area.
Matsumura said the archeologists discovered clay tablets dating back to the Hittites that are suspected of being diplomatic letters between two countries.











Millennia-old Hittite construction found in central Turkey
Credit: AA

«It was also written in this letter that a messenger was sent who did not return,» Matsumura added.
Matsumura said they had also discovered a bone seal belonging to the Hittite capital of Bogazkoy (Hattusha) currently located in Turkey’s central Corum province, further evidence that the city was related to the Hittites.











Millennia-old Hittite construction found in central Turkey
Credit: AA

Matsumura said a glass bottle dating back to around 1700 BC was also discovered in the excavation site.
«This is one of the oldest glass bottles in the world, a similar one was discovered in Bogazkoy,» he said.











Millennia-old Hittite construction found in central Turkey
Credit: AA

Matsumura added that the bottle’s presence «offered new ideas about the production of glass bottles.»


Author: Erdogan Cagatay Zontur | Source: Anadolu Agency [May 17, 2019]



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Rare Roman coin found during A14 roadworks in England

An «incredibly rare» Roman coin minted for an ill-fated emperor has been found during work to upgrade an A road.











Rare Roman coin found during A14 roadworks in England
Only one other Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus coin has been discovered in England,
archaeologists said [Credit: Highways England]

It depicts Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus, who reigned for about two months in AD269 before he was killed.


The discovery was made during a dig as part of Highways England’s £1.5bn scheme to improve the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.


Archaeologist Steve Sherlock said the «significant’ find was only the second of its kind to be unearthed in England.


The coin shows Laelianus wearing a radiant crown and was found in a ditch at a small Roman farmstead by archaeologists.


Coin expert Julian Bowsher, of MOLA Headland Infrastructure, said: «Roman emperors were very keen to mint coins — Laelianus reigned for just two months which is barely enough time to do so.


«The fact that one of these coins ever reached the shores of Britain demonstrates remarkable efficiency and there’s every chance that Laelianus had been killed by the time this coin arrived in Cambridgeshire.»


The ill-fated emperor usurped the throne and ruled a breakaway empire in what is now Germany and France before being killed, probably by his own soldiers.


Dr Sherlock, who is the lead archaeologist for the A14 project, said «discoveries of this kind are incredibly rare».


Another unusual coin discovered during the dig was a Gallic War Uniface coin, minted in 57BC by the Ambiani tribe in the Somme area of modern-day France.


Experts believe it was exported to help fund the British Celtic resistance to Julius Caesar.


The A14 roadworks have also uncovered the remains of an Ice Age woolly mammoth and evidence of beer brewing dating to about 400BC.


It has also unearthed prehistoric henges, Iron Age settlements, Roman kilns, three Anglo-Saxon villages and a medieval hamlet.


The work includes creating a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon and upgrading 21 miles of road.


Source: BBC News Website [May 18, 2019]



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Biology and Physics on Station Today Promote Moon Mission Success in 2024


ISS — Expedition 59 Mission patch.


May 20, 2019


The six residents aboard the International Space Station kicked off the workweek today exploring microgravity’s long-term impacts on biology and physics. The Expedition 59 crew is also ramping up for a fourth spacewalk at the orbital lab this year.


NASA is planning to send men and women to the Moon in 2024 and life science on the station will help flight surgeons keep lunar astronauts healthy. The space physics research will also provide critical insights to engineers designing future spacecraft and habitats for exploration missions.



Image above: A moonrise from 2016 is photographed from the space station with the Earth’s limb, the atmospheric glow and the aurora below. Image Credit: NASA.


Several dozen mice and their immune systems, which are similar to humans, are being continuously observed in specialized habitats. Flight Engineer Anne McClain tended to the mice today cleaning cages and restocking food in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Doctors are testing the hypothesis the immune response decreases in space and exploring advanced vaccines and therapies benefiting both astronauts and Earthlings.


NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague also researched a variety of space biological phenomena. Koch wrapped up a pathogen study today seeking to understand why virulence increases in microgravity. Hague cleaned up Veggie Ponds botany hardware in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module where small crops of edible plants are grown. He then photographed protein crystal samples in the afternoon for a student-designed investigation as Koch assisted him.



Image above: The well-lit United States east coast from Virginia to Rhode Island is pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited above the Atlantic Ocean. Image Credit: NASA.


David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency recorded a video demonstrating Isaac Newton’s Second and Third Laws. The video will help young students understand how force and acceleration influence air and space missions. He also transferred data captured from tiny internal satellites exploring space debris cleanup technology.


Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin are getting ready for a spacewalk planned for May 29. The cosmonauts are resizing their spacesuits, inspecting the components and checking for leaks today. The duo will remove experiments, sample station surfaces and jettison obsolete hardware during their six-hour excursion.


Related links:


Expedition 59: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition59/index.html


Spacewalk: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/spacewalks/


Mice and their immune systems: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7868


Kibo laboratory module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/japan-kibo-laboratory


Pathogen study: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biographies/tyler-nick-hague


Veggie Ponds: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7581


Columbus laboratory module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/europe-columbus-laboratory


Protein crystal samples: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7809


Space debris cleanup technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=848


Moon in 2024: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/moon2mars/


Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html


International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html


Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.


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Findings in Cova Foradada change map of Iberian Neanderthal cultures

Before the Neanderthals disappeared, about 30,000 years ago, the Chatelperronian culture was created, featured by the creation of knives and spear tips. Chatelperrionian was the transition from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic, and coincided with the moment the Neanderthals were in contact with Homo sapiens sapiens, who were spreading around Europe from the Middle East. So far in the Iberian Peninsula, only remains from Chatelperronian cultures had been found in the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian coast.











Findings in Cova Foradada change map of Iberian Neanderthal cultures
Lithics found in Cova Foradada [Credit: Morales et al. 2019]

In fact, the Iberian area was considered to be a shelter for the Neanderthals, who lived there for thousands of years without any contact with the Homo sapiens sapiens, keeping the material traditions of the Middle Paleolithic.


However, experts from the Prehistoric Studies and Research Seminar (SERP) of the UB have found in Cova Foradada (Calafell) remains from about 40,000 and 41,000 years ago that are samples from Chatelperronian cultures –found in the southernmost area of Europe so far.


In an article published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers note the relevance of these findings and how the cave becomes now an “important geographical and chronological reference to understand the disappearance of Neanderthals and expansion of the modern humans”.


“The findings mean there was a significant expansion towards the south of Europe regarding the Chatelperronian, beyond the area researchers had established”, says the first author of the article and supervisor of the excavation, Juan Ignacio Morales, researcher from the program Juan de la Cierva, adjunct to SERP.











Findings in Cova Foradada change map of Iberian Neanderthal cultures
Examples of human (midshaft bone cylinders) and carnivore bone modifications on rabbit bones from Cova
Foradada. The white arrows point to notches, probably produced by human bites, (b) indicate burned bones,
(c-m) indicate cut-marked bones, * indicate carnivore tooth marks, (dig) indicate digested bones
[Credit: Morales et al. 2019]

The article notes the cave is near the Ebro Depression, which some researchers regarded as a barrier of the population and cultural flows during the first expansion of Homo sapiens sapiens in the Peninsula. It also explains there were no other remains from transition cultures like the Chatelperronian beyond the Ebro.


In short, Morales concludes that with these findings “we can expand the area where the change from Middle Paleolithic to the Upper Paleolithic occurred 40,000 years ago and probably the interaction between both human species, the Neanderthals and the Homo sapiens sapiens”.


Morales highlights that “Cova Foradada was probably one of the last sites where the direct contact took place, or at least mutual influence between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens sapiens”.


The remains of Cova Foradada include eight layers of flint -typical from the Chatelperronian, known as Chatelperronian stone tools, which can be used as projectile points and as knives to cut too.











Findings in Cova Foradada change map of Iberian Neanderthal cultures
View of the different parts of Cova Foradada: a) General view of the Lower Entrance of the cave
and external terrace prior to its excavation in 2014; b) interior of the cave from the Lower Entrance
 during the excavation of Layer I in 2006, the excavation hall; c) view of the Upper Entrance
of the cave [Credit: Morales et al. 2019]

In the site, they found stone and horn tools belonging to Homo sapiens sapiens from 38,000 years ago, corresponding to the early Aurignacian, and from 31,000 years ago, from the Gravettian period.
The remains of the site show that the last Nanderthals and the first Homo sapiens sapiens used the Cova Foradada as a place for hunt-related activities. They made short stays in the cave and repaired the tools, and those they left there were useless already.


The excavations in Cova Foradada started in 1997. At the moment, the supervision of the excavation is conducted by Juan Ignacio Morales and Artur Cebrià. The archaeological study of the site is included in the SERP project funded by the Department of Culture of Generalitat de Catalunya and the subsidized project by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, headed by the UB professor and director of SERP Josep Maria Fullola.


Source: Universitat de Barcelona [May 18, 2019]



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