Science Saturday: Fuzzy Dinos + Martian Elephants + Diamond Computing + Paschal Moon + More

Welcome back to another fact filled edition of Science Saturday! This week: unearth T-Rex’s feathery ancestors, see elephants on Mars, build a computer inside of a diamond, and learn about the astronomy of Easter. All this and more, plus our gadget of the week: Google’s Project Glass.

 

Humongous Feathered Dinosaur Dug Up in China
Scientists have known for some time that many dinosaurs had feathers. In fact, modern birds are direct descendants of those very “terrible lizards”. But, a new find in China reveals that even the giants among the dino kingdom, perhaps even the T-rex, had feathers, too. The Yutyrannus huali, an ancestor of the T-Rex weighing in at 3,000 pounds, was found recently with down feathers. This guy is 40 times the weight of the largest previously known feathered dinosaur. The discovery shows that even the very big dinosaurs may have been feathered.

Read the scientific journal article in Nature.


Artist impression of giant feathered Yutyrannus and the smaller Beipiaosaurus.


Elephant Face Seen on Mars
Surely you’ve heard of the face on Mars, but what about the elephant face? A new picture taken by NASA’s HiRISE camera orbiting Mars beamed back the below image of a lava flow in the Elysium Planetia region of Mars, which looks a lot like a big gray terrestrial mammal. This image is just another Martian example of the phenomenon known as “pareidolia,” in which our eyes and brain can be coaxed to see familiar patterns in unfamiliar settings.

Read more at the HiRISE website.


Click to embiggen

Quantum Computer Built Inside a Diamond
A team of scientists has built the first ever quantum computer housed inside of a diamond. Their demonstration shows the viability of solid-state quantum computers, which have an advantage over gas- and liquid-state quantum computers in that the solid-state variety can easily scale up in size. Quantum computers are typically very small and still cannot compete with larger, traditional computers. But, maybe this diamond computer can be scaled into a larger version, which could have insane computing capabilities.

Read the scientific journal article in Nature.


The 3mm x 3mm diamond quantum computer

How Astronomy Gets You a Day Off Work
The first full moon of the spring season occurred at 3:19 p.m. ET yesterday. Because of this, you probably didn’t have to go to work (and some of you lucky ones even get “Easter Monday” off!). Why? Because Easter is officially celebrated after the Paschal Full Moon, the first full moon of spring. If the Paschal Moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter will be in seven days time. So, now you know why Easter never seems to fall on the same day (or even the same month) from year to year.

More Easter moon facts at Space.com.


This year’s Paschal Moon (photo credit: spacemike)

Gadget of the Week: Google’s Project Glass
OK, this is it. We are officially living in the future. Google unveiled this week a new project called Google Glass — augmented reality glasses not unlike the ever so stylish headwear from TNG’s “The Game“. Project Glass is in it’s very early stages, but Google’s put together a video to show how the tech would work as well as some photos showing off the design. Pretty incredible stuff.


Initial design for Google Glass headwear

Science Bytes
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a peek.

 


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