Mars Rover Overbudget, Long-Lasting Dispersants and Dancing Brittle-Stars

BY Jenny Marder  January 31, 2011 at 10:56 AM EST

The Brittle-Stars Danced. The Stingray Smoked a Pipe.

New York Times.jpgSea creatures with bodies like snakes and heads like sea urchins. Monkeys with Lollipop Paws. Dancing brittle-stars. A wonderful, whimsical article on the connection between nonsense verse and biology and the role that exploration and taxonomy has played in children’s stories. Read it, immediately. The Owl and the Pussycat will never be the same. (Richard Conniff, The New York Times)

NASA’s Overbudget Mars Rover in Need of Another Cash Infusion

Space News.jpgNASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MLS) Rover has sapped its funding reserves. The rover is overbudget and needs more money to make its November launch date, Space News reports. And Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division, says postponing is not an option. (Amy Svitak, Space News)

Gulf Spill Dispersants Surprisingly Long Lasting

National Geographic.jpgThe case on dispersants isn’t closed. Loads of dispersants that were added during the Gulf Oil spill remained trapped underwater for months, National Geographic reports. A study by University of California, Santa Barbara microbial geochemist David Valentine and his research team found that three months after the wellhead was capped, a key ingredient of the dispersants, dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, remained in underwater oil plumes, not biodegrading. Little is known about the substance’s environmental or toxic effects, the study reinforces. (Brian Handwerk, National Geographic News)

Humans Would Beat Neanderthals in Marathon

Discovery News.jpgIf a modern human challenged a Neanderthal to a marathon, who would win? Modern humans apparently, thanks to the length of certain limb bones. (Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News)

And in case you missed them, some stories from our Science page last week:

Remembering the Challenger Disaster: The Big ‘Y’

Tools Hold Clues to Early Human Migration Out of Africa

What is a Neutrino… And Why Do They Matter?