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This Week in Science: Mercury Crash, T. Rex’s Vegetarian Cousin, Super Strong Robots

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Seven days, lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of some of the week’s most notable and quotable items.

Stanford researchers created tiny robots that can pull and lift things up to 2,000 times their own weight—the equivalent of a single person being able to drag around a blue whale.

Tesla announces new batteries for homes and business aimed to help with energy storage and address some renewable energy issues.

A chamber of liquid mercury was discovered underneath the ruins of the ancient Mexican pyramid Teotihuacan. Water could have originated in the universe as soon as a billion years after the Big Bang.

The Messenger spacecraft crashed into the surface of Mercury.

Newly discovered dinosaur Chilesaurus diegosuarezi was a cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex—but preferred plants to flesh—and has an odd combination of traits that led some to call it the “platypus dinosaur.”

Another newly discovered dinosaur, Yi qi, is believed to have flown on unusual featherless wings akin to those on a flying squirrel or a bat.

Bats have tiny hairs on their wings to help them navigate.

Pluto probably has a polar cap made of nitrogen snow.

Russia’s space agency failed to regain control of an unmanned cargo ship that launched for the International Space Station but soon spun off course. The ship will likely plunge back to Earth next week.

Teen drinking causes long-lasting changes in the brain.

Climate change has upped the odds of extreme heat events—what used to be a one-every-three-years kind of scorcher is now occurring between four and five times every three years.

A new estimate suggests one in six species could go extinct because of climate change.


Image: Gabriel Lio / University of Birmingham


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