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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Pac-Man Gobbles the Death Star
30 March 2010 10:47 am
The Cassini spacecraft must have known April Fool's Day was coming up. It returned this temperature map—released yesterday—after its closest flyby ever of Saturn's icy moon Mimas last month. Shaped into the likes of the Death Star of Star Wars fame by the giant crater Herschel, 396-kilometer-diameter Mimas was expected to have its warmest surface temperatures on the equator, where it was early afternoon. Instead, it was warmest in the morning (all of 92 K), giving rise in the science team's temperature-calibrated color scheme to a very large Pac-Man. The warmer Herschel in Pac-Man's mouth makes sense, Cassini scientists say, because the crater could retain heat longer, but the gaping Pac-Man is a mystery. Perhaps it arises from a variation in the heat retention properties of surface ice. Now, on to Cassini's 67th flyby of Saturn's big haze-shrouded moon Titan on 5 April.