Emperor penguins have an unlikely robot ally as they face threats on the edge of the world

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It is instinctive to crave the freedom to have our own space to thrive.

The same goes for animals, which are essential to the survival of delicate and diverse ecosystems around the world. But we’re not doing very well there.

Scientists, however, need to get closer to these creatures to understand how we can help them. Luckily, we have technology on our side – and robotic proxies may be able to go where humans can’t, all in the name of science and saving species.

mission critical

A bright yellow robot stands out among a sea of ​​20,000 emperor penguins living in a colony in Antarctica’s Atka Bay.

But the penguins don’t really notice the robot rolling with them on the ice. Called ECHO, it is part of a larger program to monitor the health of penguins and their fragile ecosystem, both of which are threatened by global warming caused by the climate crisis.

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 all but disappear by 2100 as warming temperatures melt the ice, according to a recent study.

By using a penguin-approved robot to perform long-term monitoring, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution hope to reduce the human footprint in an already vulnerable location.

Other worlds

We have never seen anything like it on Mars.

The Ingenuity helicopter has captured new images that show what happened to the Perseverance rover’s landing gear and parachute after it landed on February 18, 2021.

The small chopper has a unique bird’s eye view of the debris field. In the eerie footage, which looks like a view from “Mad Max”, the scratches of the parachute can be seen beneath a layer of red Martian dust.

Engineers are investigating what happened to the protective rear shell and parachute as they work on the ambitious multi-mission effort to return samples from Mars to Earth by the 2030s.

A long time ago

This 4,500 year old stone sculpture depicts the Canaanite goddess Anat.

It’s the last thing you expect to find while farming.

A Palestinian farmer discovered the head of a 4,500-year-old statue of the goddess Anat while working on his land in Gaza.

Anat is the goddess of love, beauty and war, according to the pagan mythology of the Canaanites, an ancient people who lived in and around Jerusalem. The sculpture is “a symbol of 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 be exhibited at the Pasha Palace Museum in Gaza.

Once upon a planet

The Swiss Alps are praised by tourists who enjoy taking scenic trips, hiking, and watching winter sports.

The towering peaks also apparently house fossils of extinct giant marine reptiles the size of whales that roamed the ocean 250 million years ago.

Paleontologists have found the fossils of three ichthyosaurs, or “lizardfish”, at an elevation 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 seabed high into the Alps.

One specimen included the largest ichthyosaur tooth ever found – and this whale tooth reveals some of the mysteries of these long-extinct sea creatures.

fantastic creatures

Patagonian Sheepdogs are known to be very fluffy.

Adorably fluffy Patagonian Sheepdogs are something of a national dog in parts of South America, helping herd sheep between the Chilean coast and the Patagonian mountains. And you’ve probably never heard of it.

They are also the closest living relative to a now extinct dog breed from England and Scotland, according to new research.

It’s too far to paddle, so how did they end up on the other side of the world? In the 19th century, South American officials saw sheep farming as a promising industry. So they turned to the UK and its successful practices.

The farmers came — and they brought their dogs with them. Now, thanks to the isolation these herding dogs have experienced, they act as a “missing link” that scientists can use to understand canine evolution.

Take note

These may surprise you:

— Astronomers have discovered 30 exocomets in a nearby planetary system — an already intriguing place where they can observe the birth of planets.
— A species of tiny social spider lives in groups. But once these spiders mate, the male has a special move to avoid being eaten by his female partner.
— The James Webb Space Telescope’s mirrors are fully aligned and ready to capture sharp images of the universe.
Do you like what you read? Oh, but there’s more. register here to get the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by the CNN Space and Science writer, delivered to your inbox Ashley Stricklandwho marvels at the planets beyond our solar system and the discoveries of the ancient world.

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