The COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place mandates and the need for social distancing has changed our lives in unprecedented ways and put a damper on everything — from graduations to proms, milestone birthdays and even summer vacations. However, it has also helped raise awareness of the importance of family. Hence, it is not surprising that many Americans plan to go the extra mile to demonstrate their love and appreciation for the real-life superhero in their lives on Mother's Day, which will be celebrated on May 10, 2020.
Christie's is well-known for selling expensive, one-of-a-kind items. However, its latest offering is literally "out of this world." On April 30, 2020, the British auction house announced that the fifth-largest chunk of the Moon — a 29-pound (13.5-kilogram) rock dubbed NWA 12691 — was being offered for private sale for a "reasonable' $2.5 million!
The negative health impacts of plastic on both wildlife and humans have been well-documented. However, the versatile material, which is used for everything from grocery bags to drink bottles to food packaging, is hard to avoid. Experts estimate that of the 359 million tons of plastics produced annually worldwide, about 150–200 million tons end up in landfills or the environment. To make matters worse, the material derived from the small percentage of plastic that is recycled is of lower quality and can only be used a few times for items like clothing or carpets before it has to be discarded.
On April 29, 2020, Earth will get an intimidating visitor — a massive asteroid called 1998 OR2. Fortunately for us, the space rock, which experts believe will be the largest one to fly by our planet this year, will be following the strict COVID-19 pandemic regulations. 1998 OR2 will not only be zooming past Earth at a safe "social" space of about 3.9 million miles (6.3 million km), or about 16 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, but it will also be wearing a "face mask."
NASA's ambitious plans to land humans on the Moon by 2024 just got one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to the first comprehensive map of our satellite's surface. Unveiled on April 23, 2020, the colorful 1:5,000,000-scale "Unified Geologic Map of the Moon" is the result of decades of painstaking work by scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
When Robert Sullivan, a research associate at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, found some dinosaur bones in 67-million year-old Cretaceous rocks in New Mexico's San Juan Basin, in 2008, he had little idea they belonged to a new raptor species. More significantly, the feathered dinosaur roamed southern North America just prior to the mass extinction event, when most raptors had already disappeared from the fossil record.
Earth Day, which is celebrated annually on April 22, is usually commemorated with outdoor activities demonstrating support for environmental protection. These include planting trees, collecting roadside or beach trash, and conducting, or participating in, recycling and conservation programs. While the coronavirus lockdowns will restrict some of the usual activities, organizations, educators, and activists worldwide have devised numerous ways to mark the 50th anniversary of this all-important holiday, which is dedicated to climate action this year, without leaving the comfort of your homes. Here are a few of the digital Earth Day celebrations planned for 2020.
Japan has always been at the forefront of robotic technology. Over the years, the androids have been deployed to work in banks, run hotels, and even serve as personal assistants to the elderly. Now, in what is being hailed as an "industry first," a Tokyo university has used avatar robots to enable students to "attend" their graduation ceremony without leaving home.