It’s instinctual to crave the freedom of having our own space to thrive.
The same is true for animals, which are critical to the survival of delicate, diverse ecosystems around the world. But we’re not doing so well on that score.
Scientists, however, need to be closer to these creatures to understand how we can help them. Fortunately, we have technology on our side — and robotic proxies may be able to go where humans can’t tread, all in the name of science and saving species.
A bright yellow robot stands out among a sea of 20,000 emperor penguins living in a colony in Atka Bay in Antarctica.
Emperor penguins reign supreme on land, where they have no predators, but their survival depends on the presence of sea ice, where they raise their chicks. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, 98% of the penguin population could virtually disappear by 2100 as warming temperatures melt the ice, according to a recent study.
By using a penguin-approved robot to conduct long-term monitoring, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution hope to lessen the human footprint in an already vulnerable place.
We’ve never seen anything like this on Mars.
The little chopper has a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the debris field. In the eerie images, which resemble a vista from “Mad Max,” the stripes of the parachute can be seen beneath a layer of red Martian dust.
Engineers are studying what happened to the protective backshell and parachute as they work on the ambitious multimission effort to return samples from Mars to Earth by the 2030s.
A long time ago
This is the last thing you’d expect to find while farming.
Anat is the goddess of love, beauty and war, according to the pagan mythology of the Canaanites, an ancient people who lived in Jerusalem and surrounding area. The sculpture is “a symbol for the oldest human civilization that lived in Gaza City,” said Jamal Abu Rida, director general of antiquities at Gaza’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The statue will go on display at the Pasha’s Palace Museum in Gaza.
Once upon a planet
The Swiss Alps are lauded by tourists who love to take scenic trips, go hiking and watch winter sports.
The towering peaks are also apparently home to fossils of giant extinct marine reptiles the size of whales that roamed the ocean 250 million years ago.
Paleontologists found the fossils of three ichthyosaurs, or “fish lizards,” at an altitude of 9,186 feet (2,800 meters) in the scenic mountains. The remains ended up there after tectonic plates collided and formed rocky folds that pushed the ancient seafloor high up within the Alps.
Adorably fluffy Patagonian sheepdogs are kind of a national dog in parts of South America, helping to herd sheep between the Chilean coast and the Patagonian mountains. And you’ve probably never heard of them.
That’s too far to dog paddle, so how did they end up half a world away? In the 19th century, South American officials saw sheep farming as a promising industry, so they looked to the United Kingdom and its successful practices.
The farmers came — and they brought their dogs with them. Now, thanks to the isolation these sheepdogs have experienced, they act like a “missing link” scientists can use to understand canine evolution.
These may catch you by surprise: