Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Launching into space? Not so fast. Insurers balk at new coverage
An ever-swelling amount of space debris is threatening satellites that hover around Earth, making insurers leery of offering coverage to the devices that transmit texts, maps, videos, and scientific data, industry sources said. Thousands of new satellites are being launched into areas where orbital rubbish has been accumulating since early space missions nearly 65 years ago. The surging collision risks have left the handful of insurers that offer satellite coverage pulling back or exiting the market, executives and analysts said.
Brazilian viper venom may become tool in fight against coronavirus, study shows
Brazilian researchers have found that a molecule in the venom of a type of snake inhibited coronavirus reproduction in monkey cells, a possible first step toward a drug to combat the virus causing COVID-19. A study published in the scientific journal Molecules this month found that the molecule produced by the jararacussu pit viper inhibited the virus’s ability to multiply in monkey cells by 75%.
Below a pyramid, a treasure trove sheds new light on ancient Mexican rites
More than a decade after Sergio Gomez began excavating a tunnel under a towering Mexican pyramid, the archeologist still spends most of his time studying the massive cache of sacred artifacts carefully placed there by priests some 2,000 years ago. The volume and variety of objects hidden in the sealed tunnel under Teotihuacan’s ornate Feathered Serpent Pyramid has shattered records for discoveries at the ancient city, once the most populous metropolis of the Americas and now a top tourist draw just outside modern-day Mexico City.
Don’t look now: How a robot’s gaze can affect the human brain
It has long been known that making eye contact with a robot can be an unsettling experience. Scientists even have a name for the queasy feeling: the “uncanny valley”. Now, thanks to researchers in Italy, we also know it’s more than just a feeling.
U.S. aviation agency probes Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight deviation
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Wednesday it is investigating a deviation in the descent of the flight of the Virgin Galactic rocket plane that carried British billionaire Richard Branson to the edge of space on July 11. The New Yorker magazine earlier reported that the regulator was investigating an off-course descent. An FAA spokesman told Reuters the vehicle “deviated from its Air Traffic Control clearance as it returned to Spaceport America. The FAA investigation is ongoing.”
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)