Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Secrets of a regular mushroom sprouting from a water-loving creature reveal how much we still don’t understand about fungi

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Mushrooms are interesting parts of nature, and they have both good and not-so-good aspects. On one side, mushrooms and fungal roots are useful for food, drugs, and eco-friendly materials. They even help trees share nutrients and store carbon, potentially fighting climate change. On the flip side, some fungi can be harmful, causing diseases that affect ecosystems and human health.

A peculiar discovery in India involved a frog with a mushroom growing on its body. The mushroom, identified as a common bonnet, usually grows on decaying wood. It’s unclear why the mushroom chose the frog, and researchers plan to investigate further during the next monsoon season.

In 2022, NASA conducted the DART mission to test asteroid deflection technology. The target was Dimorphos, a moonlet asteroid. The impact didn’t just create a crater but fundamentally changed the asteroid’s appearance, likened to a bitten chocolate M&M.

Whale songs aren’t the only loud noises in the ocean. In Myanmar, there’s a small, translucent fish called Danionella cerebrum that makes sounds louder than an elephant, reaching over 140 decibels. Researchers used video recordings and scans to understand how these tiny fish generate such thunderous sounds.

Leap years help keep our calendars in sync with the solar year, preventing seasons from going out of whack. Without leap years, the summer solstice would eventually happen in December. A solar year is about 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, and leap years compensate for the approximately one-quarter day lag each year.

Odysseus, a US-made lunar vehicle, successfully transmitted data despite a bumpy landing on the moon. It now faces the challenge of surviving lunar night and extreme temperatures. Additionally, three faint moons have been spotted orbiting Uranus and Neptune.

Other interesting findings include a 2,000-year-old clay head from Roman Britain, a dead star that consumed a planet in its orbit, and the reasons behind the spread of invasive JorĊ spiders in the United States. If you’re intrigued, you can sign up to receive more fascinating stories from CNN Space and Science writers.

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