The Comet SWAN C/2020 F8 seen on May 2.Credit…Damian Peach, Chilescope

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

In spite of the far-reaching impacts of the coronavirus, some fields of study are flourishing with new archaeological and scientific discoveries.

Amateur archaeologists are examining ancient Roman ruins using Lidar (light detection and ranging) technology, which allows them to digitally remove vegetation from imagery. Using this process, archaeologists have discovered remnants of ancient Roman roads, burial mounds, and settlement enclosures. In addition, geologists discovered 1,000-year-old human remains in Tanzania, uncovering what scientists now believe to be the oldest tsunami victims in eastern Africa. In light of this new discovery, researchers are re-evaluating the level of risk tsunamis pose to east African populations, which will inform governments in the future on how to plan for such disasters.

While coronavirus will slow the progress of some astronomy projects, scientists were able to use a technique called gravitational microlensing to discover what they say is a new alien planet with similarities to Earth. An Australian amateur astronomer who recently acquired much more downtime to pursue his hobby discovered the comet SWAN, which may be visible to the naked eye in parts of the world throughout May.

MEDIA CONTRIBUTION

Bristol leads archaeologists on 5,000-year-old egg hunt – University of Bristol – 4/9/20 “We are assessing not only how ancient luxuries were produced but also how they were used by different peoples. These questions are incredibly important for our own society today, in which the same object may have different social or symbolic meanings for different groups. Such knowledge and understanding helps foster tolerance and mutual respect in a multi-cultural society.

NASA’s 2024 Artemis Moon mission moves ahead despite coronavirus – Axios – 5/5/20 As the coronavirus rages, NASA is making strides toward its ambitious goal to launch astronauts to the surface of the Moon in the next four years. […] “It’s important that this agency do this now, because our country — and in fact the whole world — has been shaken by this coronavirus pandemic,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference last week. “And yet, we need to give people hope.”

New evidence shows giant meteorite impacts formed parts of the Moon’s crust – Phys.org – 5/11/20 The scientists conducted new research of a unique rock collected by NASA astronauts during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission to the Moon. They found it contains mineralogical evidence that it formed at incredibly high temperatures (in excess of 2300 °C/ 4300 °F) that can only be achieved by the melting of the outer layer of a planet in a large impact event.

Top VCs discuss how COVID-19 is impacting robotics – TechCrunch – 5/7/20 The pandemic has also spurred many to find new ways to work and keep society moving amid physical distancing, stay-at-home orders and mass hospitalizations. For years, robotics and automation have been a looming presence in a number of fields ranging from shipping and fulfillment to construction sites and operating rooms. But the novel coronavirus could well be the disruption that accelerates the adoption of these technologies.

INFLUENCER CONTRIBUTION

China Culture on Twitter, 5/13/20: Archaeologists recently unveiled newly discovered city ruins in Central China, which reveal an ancient state dating back 5,300 years.

Archaeology in Iran on Twitter, 5/12/20: 20 New Inscriptions Found in Iran’s Naqsh-e Rostam Necropolis

Matthew Rozsa on Twitter, 5/12/20: A scientific study released in March found that a parasitic microorganism which preys on salmon does not rely on oxygen to produce the energy needed to survive. The discovery upends the common sense about what defines animal life. @Salon

ISS Research on Twitter, 5/13/20: Not only are humans launching to the @Space_Station this month, so is science! HTV-9 lifts off from Japan at 1:30 pm EDT Wednesday, May 20 carrying investigations testing a new livestreaming tool, microscope and telescope. Check out what’s on board: https://go.nasa.gov/2Z04MDG

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