Eureka! Science News: March 17, 2022

This is a drawing of a boy.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Spanish University of Cantabria have discovered the origins of rock art in Spain.

Cave paintings usually evoke some arrogance in us: “Heh, a child can do that too.” It turned out that the child was drawing. We are talking about stone art, which is found here and there in the Spanish caves: silhouettes of palm trees that are about 20 thousand years old. As you know, children circle their palms with a pencil, it’s about the same in the caves. For demarcation only, the artist took a hollow reed or bone and blew the pigment out of the wall.

Archaeologists believe that about a quarter of the contours of all hands are children’s. Judging by the size, the artists were between 2 and 12 years old. And sometimes their parents definitely helped them: young children simply could not blow with the necessary force.

Do not walk barefoot on the moon

… because the moon’s land is quite dangerous to humans, assure researchers from Sechenov University and the South Russian Polytechnic University.

Chemists have analyzed samples of lunar soil and report that its composition is based on regolith, which also contains chromium, beryllium, nickel and cobalt. Just what you need to disgustingly affect your respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive systems. Interaction with these substances can lead to skin irritation, damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. In general, the moon surface is not something you want to fall on and kiss happily. Experts stressed that these problems must be taken into account when colonizing the moon.

Deep defrost

The Arctic has lost 1/3 of its ice in 18 years, according to researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington in Seattle (USA).

It was 18 years ago that the satellite monitoring system ICESat-2 started working, and then also CryoSat-2. As it turns out, the Arctic has since lost about 6,000 cubic kilometers of its winter ice (a third of its volume) due to the reduction of perennial ice cover. For example, from October 2018 to April 2021, the average snow depth decreased by 2.5 cm and the ice thickness decreased by 0.28 m. This corresponds to a volume loss of 12.5%. In addition, perennial ice thinned out faster than annual ice.

Examine the ionosphere

Russia has created the fastest vertical probe to diagnose processes in the ionosphere.

The ionosphere is a layer of the atmosphere that is strongly ionized due to exposure to cosmic radiation. There are about 200 ionosodes in the world, and only a few in Russia: not enough for such a large territory. Radiophysicists from Nizhny Novgorod State University have developed an ion probe that records traces of radio signals reflected from the ionosphere in just 0.9 seconds. It takes seconds for world analogues. The probe is now being prepared for operation at the university’s experimental bases, including the SURA hotspot, which explores the Earth’s proximity and outer space.

In addition to basic research, the probe will be useful for improving the quality of shortwave radio communications and the rapid transmission of information over thousands of kilometers – as an alternative to satellite communications.

Large and offset

There are anomalous regions in the mantle of the earth, say researchers from Arizona State University.

These are clots of magma with a different density than in other parts of the mantle. The lumps were called “Large Low Shear Regions”, or LLSVPs. “Large” – to put it mildly: the first of those discovered, under the Pacific Ocean, a hundred times higher than Everest. The second is below Africa, it is 1000 km higher than the first.

Scientists believe that both spots have different compositions and origins, and believe that these areas may affect the Earth’s topography, gravity, the movement of tectonic plates and volcanic activity.

Better than mussels

American chemists have created the basis for strong cement – an example was taken from shellfish.

To repeat what nature brilliantly succeeds at, we still have a small intestine. Spider silk, for example, is much stronger than steel. But we do not despair. And now researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston (USA) have developed a simple polymer analogue of gunpowder, the protein glue in molluscs. We analyzed the three-dimensional structure of the byssus filaments and identified their main part – a short repeating fragment that is only ten amino acids long. Polymer threads were synthesized (look like dish brushes) and longer fibers were “woven” from them.

“When we created this polymer, we were just trying to copy the structure and properties of shellfish glue.”researchers comment. But the very first checks of the new material showed that it noticeably exceeds the mollusk’s protein substance in strength and stickiness! The invention can be used as a base for heavy cement, as well as for the development of medicinal adhesive compositions for gluing wounds and connecting fragments of damaged bones.

According to, TASS

The material was published in the journal “Saint Petersburg Vedomosti” No. 47 (7130) dated March 17, 2022 under the heading “Eureka! Science News: March 17, 2022”.

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