Every year, new species of creatures are discovered on land and in the waters stretching across the world. In this article, you will learn about one of the latest species uncovered this year, as well as information on the last Discovery space shuttle mission.
New Species in Ocean Found
Dwelling in the deepest parts of the ocean between Indonesia and the Philippines, scientists have uncovered a new species of creature known as a squidworm. Although the name of the creatures isnâ€™t all that appealing, the squidworm is actually a fascinating find. Measuring up to 9.4 centimeters in length, the creature swims upright and travels in the water by moving two rows of thin protrusions shaped like paddles. These features measure the length of the creature's body and actually "cascade like dominoes."
Out of its head, there are 10 tentacles that are as long or longer than its body. The squidworm is also equipped with six pairs of curved nuchal organs that permit the creature to taste and smell in its underwater surroundings.
A group of marine biologists led by Karen Osborn of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California relied on a submersible controlled by remote to locate the previously unknown animals in the Celebes Sea. The creatures were found at a depth of 2.8 kilometers. The animal was much different than any other creature found, especially with the kind of head adornments that it possessed.
Squidworms call 100 to 200 meters above the ocean floor its home â€“ living in a layer filled with fauna and flora yet to be discovered. The region that the squidworm has been found is rich with many different creatures the world has never heard of. Thanks to advancements in technology, collecting sample on the ocean floor makes exploring and studying such animals and plants a reality.
Final Space Launch Delayed Once More
The space shuttle Discovery is faced with another delay for its anticipated final mission. The next window of opportunity for such a journey to take place is in December, which means astronauts will spend Christmas in space. If the mission does not occur in 2010, NASA could push back the date to February.
Discovery requires major repairs to the massive external fuel tank â€“ prompting a meeting amongst top shuttle program managers. They met on November 24 to discuss the next course of action. NASA officials decided to postpone any attempts to launch until at least December 17 and possibly even wait for a date in February.
The mission was originally scheduled for a window between Dec 3 and Dec 7, but more data regarding the potential success was needed before they could move forward. Since the space flight is scheduled for 11 days, astronauts would be spending their holidays in outer space. This time of the year is usually avoided for missions because shuttles in orbit need to adjust to the year change via flight computer reconfiguration.
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