|Cassini's approach to Saturn has been recreated by NASA in a stunning new video. (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute via Wikipedia Commons)|
ScienceDaily reports the earthquake in Japan may have moved the Earth's axis and slightly shortened our day. According to calculations done at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the magnitude 9.0 earthquake should have increased the planet's rotation by about 2 millionths of a second, and shifted the Earth's weight balance by 17 centimeters. The numbers may be refined as more data becomes available.
The awful toll the earthquake took in lives could have been worse. Discover reports the epicenter was relatively far from Tokyo, and that Japan has invested the equivalent of billions of dollars in making its buildings and infrastructure as resistant to tremors as current technology will allow.
A group of Guatemalan prisoners deliberately infected with sexually-transmitted diseases during the 1940s is suing the federal government for compensation. The BBC reports U.S. scientists deliberately infected hundreds of unsuspecting prisoners with syphilis or gonorrhea between 1946 and 1948 as part of secret study of pencillin. The government has apologized for the experiments but has not responded to the compensation request.
The MESSENGER probe is set to become the first probe to orbit Mercury on Thursday, but data collected by the spacecraft so far has helped NASA create the first global map of the planet. Scientific American reports the space agency has combined data from the probe with that of Mariner 10, which flew by Mercury in 1974 and 1975, to create a map charting nearly 98 percent of the surface of the planet.
We here at Science Links have looked at many videos over the last few months, but we haven't seen anything as stunning as this: NASA pulled together images made by the Cassini probe to show what it would be like to approach Saturn in a spaceship.