Science: Update

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The Independent Culture
A RESEARCH satellite sent to investigate the Sun that got lost on the way may be salvageable after all, says the European Space Agency. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (Soho) had been out of contact with Earth since June, until it began responding to signals again last month. Now it has sent back temperature and electrical data. "At this point we are carefully optimistic," said Bernhard Fleck, Soho project scientist for ESA. Ground controllers are now checking to see which instruments have survived the weeks of freezing temperatures, floating 1.5 million km from Earth. It could be weeks before the team knows whether Soho will be usable again.


TWO FOSSILISED dinosaur eggs have been found in southern Bolivia, in a site that could turn out to be one of the biggest fossil fields in the world. The fossils are about 68 million years old and were found by the Swiss palaeontologist Christian Mayer. One egg is 40cm long and seems to be from a flying reptile, while the other is about 25cm long. The fossil field is covered in fossil footprints from dozens of species, some apparently from animals up to 350 metres long. If confirmed, it could signal the presence of a previously unknown dinosaur species. Among the tracks were also some from Tyrannosaurus rex.


PORTRAITS OF leading scientists from the 17th century to the 20th are to go on public display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The Royal Society and the gallery have teamed up to produce a ``self-guiding trail of discovery, which marries art and science''. Among the 20 scientists whose portraits will go on display are Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking and Dorothy Hodgkin, the crystallographer who deciphered the structure of molecules such as insulin and vitamin B12.