Latest research news

January 7, 2004

Jet-lagged scientists live on Martian time
The successful landing on Mars by the Nasa rover, Spirit, will play havoc with the body clocks of the scientists behind the mission, who will spend the next three months on Martian time. To ensure that not a minute on the Red Planet is wasted, the team will live not by the 24-hour clock, but by Mars days that are 39 minutes 35 seconds longer than those on Earth. The scientists working on Spirit and her sister rover Opportunity will start and finish work 40 minutes later each successive day. The lag will prevent acclimatisation to any one shift, with day shifts turning into night and back again.
(The Times)

Museum urges reburial of skeletons in its closet
Most of a Museum of London collection of 20,000 skeletons should be reburied after being properly studied, the museum director said yesterday. The skeletons' fate has prompted debate among academics, many of whom have previously said they should be held back for research into human origins and history.
(The Guardian)

Poisoning threatens return of red kite to Scotland
An ambitious programme to reintroduce the red kite to Scotland more than a century after it died out there is being seriously undermined by illegal poisoning on sporting estates. RSPB Scotland yesterday revealed that about one-third of the 300 red kites introduced to Scotland from Sweden and Germany since the programme began in 1989 have been killed by poisoned bait.
(The Guardian)

American football blows are like car crashes
American football players are routinely suffering blows to the head similar to those inflicted in car crashes. Sensors in players' helmets recorded 30 to 50 blows per game and measured their strength relative to the force of gravity. Half of the hits recorded were greater than 30 Gs and the most severe knock registered more than 130 Gs. Stefan Duma, a researcher at the Virginia Technical College, said: "An impact of 120 Gs would be like a severe car accident, which you could survive if you were wearing a seat belt."
(Daily Telegraph)

Spanish police on meteor alert after huge balls of fire light up sky
As police scoured a remote mountainous district of the northern León province yesterday for remnants of a large, brilliant, burning object that fell to earth on Sunday, the most likely explanation was that it was part of a meteor. Police expected to find a crater caused by a meteor of up to 100 tonnes that may have broken up as it shot across the skies. Experts said it might have been the size of a small house.
(The Guardian)

Former soccer star has designs on prize
Craig Johnson, the former Liverpool footballer, has made it on to the shortlist for a major design prize. Instead of pursuing a post-playing career as a television pundit like his former teammates Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson, the Australian set out on a completely different path and became head of innovation at Adidas.
(Daily Telegraph)

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