NASA Research Suggests Possible Life on Saturn’s Moon
NASA has found large amounts of methane wafting within plumes from Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, suggesting that life may exist within its “subsurface sea.” This evidence was discovered thanks to the Cassini spacecraft, which also discovered dihydrogen and carbon dioxide molecules there. Scientists believe the methane is produced biologically, rather than through a geochemical process. Thus, Régis Ferrière, an associate professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, wonders: “Could Earth-like microbes that ‘eat’ the dihydrogen and produce methane explain the surprisingly large amount of methane detected by Cassini?” Read more about the evidence at Space.
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
New-York Historical Society To Expand with NYC’s First LGBTQ+ History Museum
NYC’s oldest museum, the New-York Historical Society, will expand to include the forthcoming American LGBTQ+ Museum, the city’s first institution dedicated to queer history and culture. It will populate the top floor of a five-story addition to be developed on a lot the museum purchased for the purpose of expansion in 1937. Ideation for the museum began back in 2017 and since then, it has accumulated leadership that has surveyed roughly 40,000 LGBTQ+ people across the US. “We need a museum that tells the untold stories of regular lived lives, activists’ lives, lives that were lost in queer New York and queer America,” Richard Burns, the museum’s board chair, says to The New York Times. Read more about the expansion and what it will entail there.
Image courtesy of Alden Studios for Robert A.M. Stern Architects
National Park Nature Walks Podcast Takes Listeners on Aural Journeys
National Park Nature Walks podcast provides sonic escape with sounds from places like Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, Yellowstone, Voyageurs and beyond. Hosted by conservationist, scientist and audiophile Jacob Job, the podcast includes minimal narration, and relies on Job’s field recordings—bringing listeners “inches away from a multitude of creatures, great and small, amid the sonic grandeur of nature.” From songbirds to crickets and frogs, thunderstorms, rustling leaves and waves lapping at the shore, each episode is a sonic adventure. Find them all at Scientific American.
Image courtesy of Jacob Job
Brickit App’s AI Camera Scans LEGO Piles For Specific Blocks
Anybody who has owned LEGO sets knows the arduous task of digging through a pile of bricks to find the right piece for the job. The new, free Brickit app uses an AI camera to scan your batch of bricks for specific pieces and to suggest projects based on your collection. “When the app is done taking inventory of your collection, it’ll output a list of ideas for you of what you could possibly create with the bricks at your fingertips,” writes Michael Zhnag at PetaPixel. The app—which has been created by LEGO fans, rather than the brand itself—even pinpoints where each piece is located. Currently available for Apple iOS, Brickit is expected to rollout for Android users later this year. Read more, and see a video demo, at PetaPixel.
Image courtesy of Brickit
New Evidence Suggests Neanderthals Might Have Made Art
It’s a long-held belief that Neanderthals (archaic humans who existed some 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) were “unable to express symbolism through art,” but a group of researchers have just found what they believe is art that dates back 51,000 years ago. The object—found in Germany’s “Unicorn Cave”—is a prehistoric deer’s toe bone that has lines carved into it. The purpose or meaning is unclear, as it’s (so far) a unique finding. Researchers believe the carving could represent a woman, landscape, or any number of things. The study’s co-author Thomas Terberger says, “It’s clearly a decoration with a kind of symbolic character…You might even call it the initial start of art, something which was not done by accident, but with a clear plan in mind.” Read more, and see a rendering of the bone, at The Week.