In just over a year, a Nasa spacecraft will visit a tiny world at the edge of the solar system. That tiny astral body appears to have an even tinier moon.
- Published 25.12.17
Tiny fragment and a moon
• In just over a year, a Nasa spacecraft will visit a tiny world at the edge of the solar system. That tiny astral body appears to have an even tinier moon. The object, known as 2014 MU69, is small, no more than 20 miles wide, but planetary scientists hope that it will turn out to be an ancient and pristine fragment from the earliest days of the solar system.
• A beautiful sea creature out there may put your Christmas tree to shame. The Christmas tree worm lives on coral reefs in tropical waters, building tiny, tubular homes with the calcium carbonate it secretes. These look like tiny, decorated Christmas trees. Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel found that the worms may protect some corals from bleaching, algal smothering and predation from certain marine animals.
• Palaeontologists have found entombed in amber a 99-million-year-old tick (inset) grasping the feather of a dinosaur, providing the first direct evidence that the tiny pests drank dinosaur blood. Immortalised in the golden gemstone, the bloodsucker’s last supper is remarkable because it is rare to find parasites along with their hosts in the fossil record. The finding gives researchers an insight into the prehistoric diet of one of today’s prevalent pests.