From NASA's over-hyped press conference on Mars findings to an impossible particle that should not exist but identified, the week was interesting and an eye-opener on many science and space fronts.If you were not able to keep track of all the developments in the fast-paced world of science and technology, here is a quick round up of some great science news over the last week.
Did NASA just find proof for life on Mars? No, but maybe
After teasing the world for about a week about some new find made by the Curiosity rover, NASA announced that they found ancient, 3 billion-year-old organic matter at the Gale crater on Mars. Just below the surface of the crater, which was once a lake with liquid water, there is actual organic matter. Also, the region seems to be breathing methane as its levels peak during the warm summer months and dies down during the cold winters.
"Are there signs of life on Mars?" said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "We don't know, but these results tell us we are on the right track."
Impossible "particle that should not exist" identified
A new experiment called the MiniBooNE at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), near Chicago has found the strongest-to-date evidence that sterile neutrinos do in fact exist and they picked up subtle hints and trails of it. However, actual sterile neutrinos are yet to be recorded on Earth.
NASA SMAP mission helps farmers worldwide with water and moisture maps
NASA has mapped out the entire planet's soil and moisture content and it keeps refreshing it every three days. The main aim is to help people understand soil moisture and better predict crop yields. It is open for use for anyone and maps can be downloaded.
Nuclear battery made with 10 times more power
A new type of battery that uses nuclear reactions instead of chemical ones like the lithium ion batteries have been developed by Russian scientists. It is ten times more powerful and has exceeded the power density of chemical batteries. They could provide a steady current for hundreds if not thousands of years before they finally run out, say researchers.
Fourteen-year clock experiment proves fundamental physics
Science and everything that can be explained by it depends on a number of physical constants, but are those constants really constant? In an attempt to answer this question, physicists literally stared at a dozen clocks for 14 years straight. Thankfully, and as expected, the experiment proved that Einstein's theories of general relativity are, in fact solid. There were no anomalies identified through this experiment.
Planet Nine is likely a cluster of asteroids that is firing off comets into the Solar System
There is a mysterious body that is being called "Planet Nine" out there in the Kuiper Belt and it is causing all kinds of gravitational tugs at space rocks. Astronomers now think that this could be a collection of smaller rocks and the gravity could actually be a collective force of small bodies instead of one large planet. Also, it is tugging and pushing at comets and directing them into the Solar System. Could this Planet Nine be held responsible for the dinosaur killing asteroid?
Students spending too much time studying face vision problems
A direct link between intense education for children and short sightedness or Myopia was found in a study that covered south east Asia. However, spending time outdoors was found to relieve stresses in the eyes. Also, it is not known if the effects are the same for adult learners as well.
Some other stories that almost made the cut include, Carbon dioxide can be profitably transformed into petrol and diesel, world's oldest ever footprint made over 550 million years back found in China, and the universe might not actually be able to sustain an intelligent civilization past climate change.