🐈⬛ Last Week in Science #3
Saline water flowed on Mars just 0.4 million years ago, while the world’s biggest Schrödinger’s cat was re-created in a crystal — here’s a look at last week’s science news.
The largest Schrödinger’s cat
Researchers have put a tiny flake of a sapphire crystal in a state of quantum superposition in which its atoms move in two directions at once. Weighting just 16 micrograms, this weird object is 100 trillion times the mass of the molecules previously put in so-called cat states. Cat state is a way to re-create Schrödinger’s idea of an imaginary feline, known for being alive and dead simultaneously.
Saline water on Mars
The Zhurong rover explored crusts and cracks on the surfaces of hydrated salt-rich dunes at low latitudes on Mars formed between 1.4 and 0.4 million years ago. Scientists now believe these surface features were caused by saline water from thawed frost or snow. The discovery provided clues to future missions searching for signs of life on Mars, particularly at low latitudes with comparatively warmer temperatures.
Deimos origin story
The Al-Amal orbiter, part of the Emirates Mars Mission, has flown just over 100 kilometres from the surface of Deimos — one of the smaller Martian moons. The orbiter’s observations showed that the composition of Deimos and Phobos, the second moon of Mars, seem to be more similar to their parent planet than to asteroids. It supports the theory that they were formed from Mars and not captured by the planet’s gravitational field.
Elia Kabanov is a science writer covering the past, present and future of technology (@metkere)
You can also read this post in Russian.
Illustration: Elia Kabanov feat. MidJourney. Photo credits: Matteo Fadel (photo 1), Emirates Mars Mission (photo 2).