Category: science

From: GeekWire - Scientists are wowed by claim that humans lived in North America 130,000 years ago

Evidence of ancient humans in San Diego
Scientists say the patterns of breakage in mastodon bones found 25 years ago near a San Diego highway suggest that humans battered the beast 130,000 years ago. That’s a shocker, because before now, the oldest widely accepted evidence of human habitation in North America goes back only about 16,000 years. If the scientists are right, that makes the place they studied, known as the Cerutti Mastodon site, the oldest archaeological site in North America. “It’s somewhat mind-boggling to have 130,000 years proposed,” said University of Oregon archaeologist Dennis Jenkins. He has found previous evidence for human habitation in 14,000-year-old preserved poop but wasn’t… Read More

From: BGR - NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has one final mission, which ends with destruction

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been delivering fantastic views of Saturn and its moons for many years now, and this year it will meet its ultimate fate: incineration in Saturn’s atmosphere. The satellite just completed its final flyby of the moon Titan and, thanks to the gravity boost provided by slinging around the moon it is now headed on what is essentially a months-long path that will end with Cassini’s complete and utter annihilation.

Now, Cassini will perform its most daring task to date: diving between Saturn’s rings a remarkable 22 times between April 26th and September 15th. The craft will grace Saturn’s upper atmosphere a handful of times during these passes, and will achieve a truly insane top speed of over 76,800 miles per hour in relation to the planet.

Unfortunately for NASA, Cassini will give them a whole lot of stress as it’s performing its never-before-attempted ring dives. The craft is slated to repeatedly lose radio contact with its handlers for many hours at a time as it performs its various readings and snaps gnarly photos close to Saturn, and scientists here on Earth will just have to wait until it regains a signal and can finally communicate again.

Ultimately, Cassini’s life will end on September 15th when its final dive ends and the satellite cruises straight into Saturn’s atmosphere. The friction is expected to tear the craft to pieces, incinerating it even as it sends back its very last messages to Earth. It’ll be a sad day, but with how well Cassini has performed during its stint in space, it will have earned its place in history.

From: GeekWire - Waymo opens self-driving car trial in Phoenix – and scores in Uber legal battle

Waymo family
It’s been a good day on the streets and in the courts for Waymo, the driverless-car company that was spun out from Google as another Alphabet subsidiary last year. First off, Waymo opened up its closed trial for autonomous driving in the Phoenix metropolitan area for public signup. This means Arizonans can apply to become “early riders” in the self-driving minivans and SUVs that Waymo is testing. In a blog post, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the rider pool will be expanded from a handful to hundreds over the course of the trial. “The goal of this program is to give… Read More