Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of scales from the wing of a peacock butterfly, Inachis io. These scales have an intricate design and overlap like the tiles on the roof of a building. They allow heat and light to enter, and also insulate the insect. They may also be highly coloured. The metallic appearance of the scales is due to ridges along their length.
When you think of dinosaurs, you might think of those found in the movie Jurassic Park, but there were many other prehistoric animals that are still around today. And some lived even before dinosaurs first appeared: dragonflies and damselflies!
Damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) are insects in the order Odonata. Damselflies are similar to dragonflies, but the adults can be distinguished by the fact that the wings of most damselflies are held along, and parallel to, the body when at rest. Furthermore, the hindwing of the damselfly is essentially similar to the forewing, while the hindwing of the dragonfly broadens near the base. Damselflies are also usually smaller than dragonflies and weaker fliers in comparison, and their eyes are separated.
Although, the Damselfly is talented enough to tuck their wings onto their back, they are not skilled enough to be able to walk. That’s right, this particular insect has no problem landing but they are incapable of walking due to the position of their legs.
Happy 1 (Martian) Year Anniversary Mars Curiosity!
Today NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will complete a Martian year — 687 Earth days on the Red Planet. Below are some of Curiosity’s accomplishments in Year 1 as compiled by NASA.
In August 2012, Curiosity discovered an ancient riverbed at its landing site. Nearby, at an area known as Yellowknife Bay, the mission met its main goal of determining whether the Martian Gale Crater ever was habitable for simple life forms. The answer, a historic “yes,” came from two mudstone slabs that the rover sampled with its drill. Analysis of these samples revealed the site was once a lakebed with mild water, the essential elemental ingredients for life, and a type of chemical energy source used by some microbes on Earth. If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them.
Assessed natural radiation levels both during the flight to Mars and on the Martian surface provides guidance for designing the protection needed for human missions to Mars.
Measured heavy-versus-light variants of elements in the Martian atmosphere indicate that much of Mars’ early atmosphere disappeared by processes favoring loss of lighter atoms, such as from the top of the atmosphere. Other measurements found that the atmosphere holds very little, if any, methane, a gas that can be produced biologically.
Made first determinations of the age of a rock on Mars and how long a rock has been exposed to harmful radiation provide prospects for learning when water flowed and for assessing degradation rates of organic compounds in rocks and soils.
“History’s Shadow comprises my series of re-photographed x-rays of art objects from antiquity. I have culled these x-rays from museum archives, which utilize them for conservation purposes. Through the x-ray process, the artworks of origin become de-familiarized and de-contextualized, yet acutely alive and renewed.”