Ay caramba! Scientists think they’ve found Bart (and hidden ice) on asteroid

ceres bart landslide ceres3
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have discovered a variety of landslides on the Texas-sized asteroid Ceres thanks to images captured by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Among the geological flow features was a familiar face.

Led by Dawn researcher Britney Schmidt, the study has categorized three types of landslides, each with unique characteristics. Large and round landslides fall into Type I, identifiable by thick trunks and toe-like formations at the end. The most common landslides, Type II, are thinner, shallower, and longer than Type I, resembling avalanches found on Earth and Mars. Finally, Type III landslides occur at low latitudes and in the asteroid’s impact craters, seeming to take shape due to melting ice.

“When we first started seeing all the landslides, it was well before we had crater names and good maps for everything,” Schmidt told Digital Trends. “So Heather Chilton, my Ph.D. student, gave all the big ones nicknames so that we could discuss them a bit more easily among the team.”

ceres bart landslide ceres2
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Chilton noticed that one of the landslides was adorned by two impact craters side by side and jagged edges at the top. A rough outline revealed a familiar character: Bart Simpson. “[The name] stuck,” said Schmidt.

Ceres contained more landslides than researchers expected. Landslides were detected in 20 to 30 percent of craters wider than six miles. These features of mixed rock and ice have previously only been seen on Earth and Mars. By analyzing the formation and distribution of these landslides, Schmidt and her team estimate that the asteroid’s upper layer may contain as much as 50 percent ice by volume.

“By looking at their shapes, we can learn something about how the landslides move, which helps us understand what the materials inside the landslide are made out of, and in this case, suggests that ice is involved in how the landslides are moving,” Schmidt said. “While they don’t directly tell us anything about Earth landslides, it gives us one more place to look to try to understand how this fundamental geologic process occurs across the solar system.”

Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Here’s where to watch this week’s SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.