Aerospace engineering students from a Texas school district this week are planning to showcase a two-seat Vans RV-12 airplane that they built. The 24 students involved are enrolled in a dual-credit program the school launched with a nonprofit group, its city and Project Lead the Way.
Forty-one of the 51 metro areas that contain more than 1 million people became less dense between 2010 and 2016, data show. Seattle saw the greatest gain in density, while San Antonio and Austin, Texas, saw the largest losses in density.
The extent of the casualties associated with a tornado is more closely related to the intensity of the storm than it is to the number of people who live in the area, researchers have found. The study, led by Florida State University geographer Tyler Fricker, analyzed 872 casualty-causing tornadoes that occurred between 2007 and 2015.
Improved computer models of rocky planet formation have detected a brief new phase in a young planet's life called synestia, in which the planet and disk take on the shape of a giant red blood cell. "We discovered that there's a different class of objects where the system is rotating so quickly, and it's so hot, that there's no actual boundary between what we used to call the planet and the disk," said study leader Sarah Stewart.
The Schiaparelli spacecraft that crashed while trying to land on Mars last year was not properly prepared for the landing attempt, according to the Schiaparelli Anomaly Inquiry by the European Space Agency. The report cites a number of reasons behind the failure and offers recommendations to avoid such problems when another landing is attempted in 2020.
The spread of the Zika virus began more than a year earlier than thought and the virus moved out from Brazil into nearby countries and South Florida several times undetected, according to a series of new studies published in Nature. Genetic analyses show Zika was present in Brazil as early as late 2013.
Baleen whales evolved into such huge creatures only within the last three million years, according to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Their growth coincides with an abundance of prey concentrated in prime feeding zones due to favorable climate conditions.
A rare hybrid fish found in Portugal's Ocreza River has reproduced in the wild without a female partner, according to findings published in Royal Society Open Science. Androgenesis has been found in some non-vertebrates, but the discovery of a male Squalius alburnoides and his offspring, an exact genomic match, is the first such occurrence in vertebrates, researchers say.
Small drone-sized robotic turtles could be a cost-effective way to search for landmines in war zones, according to researchers at Arizona State University. The turtle robots can be assembled quickly and at a cost of about $80 each, the researchers say.
Researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet created synthetic surfactant by copying the method spiders use to keep proteins soluble for use in silk, and the team found the compound they made to be as effective as biologic drugs currently in use for treatment of premature babies, according to a study published in Nature Communications. The method based on spider silk is more efficient and economical than current methods, which use swine proteins.
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