First dinosaurs in Arabian peninsula identified

Updated 29 April 2014
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First dinosaurs in Arabian peninsula identified

STOCKHOLM: An international team of paleontologists has for the first time identified dinosaur species that lived in the Arabian peninsula, Swedish scientists said Tuesday.
The researchers found teeth and bones dating from around 72 million years ago in the northwestern part of the region, along the coast of the Red Sea in what is today Saudi Arabia, Uppsala University said in a statement.
The area now a desert, but at the time it was a beach on the African coast, and the Arabian landmass was largely underwater.
The remains are tail vertebrae from a titanosaurid sauropod, an herbivore which was probably longer than 20 meters (65 feet), and teeth belonging to an abelisaurid, a carnivorous theropod which was around six meters long.
“These are the first taxonomically recognizable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian peninsula,” Australian paleobiologist Benjamin Kear said in the statement.
“Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian peninsula, with only a handful of highly fragmented bones documented this far.”
The finding is very rare because sedimentary rocks deposited in streams and rivers in the region during the Age of Dinosaurs are quite uncommon.
“Similar dinosaurs have been found in North Africa, Madagascar and as far away as South America,” the researchers said in the statement.
The finds, jointly authored by Australian, Saudi and Swedish researchers and under the auspices of the Saudi Geological Survey, were published in late December on the scientific journal PLOS ONE.


SpaceX launches first satellites for Musk’s Starlink Internet service

Updated 24 May 2019
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SpaceX launches first satellites for Musk’s Starlink Internet service

  • The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time
  • The Falcon 9 was due to release its cargo of 60 satellites into orbit about an hour after Thursday’s launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: High-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on Thursday on a mission to carry the first batch of five dozen small satellites into low-Earth orbit for his new Starlink Internet service.
The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Friday), marking a milestone in a global enterprise aimed at generating cash for Musk’s larger ambitions in space.
The launch came a week after two back-to-back countdowns for the mission were scrubbed — once due to high winds over the Cape and the next night in order to update satellite software and “triple-check” all systems.
The Falcon 9 was due to release its cargo of 60 satellites into orbit about an hour after Thursday’s launch. Each one weighs 500 pounds (227 kg), making it the heaviest payload for any SpaceX rocket to date.
Those satellites are designed to form the initial phase a planned constellation capable of beaming signals for high-speed Internet service from space to paying customers around the globe.
Musk has said he sees the new Starlink venture as an important new revenue stream for his California-based Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, whose launch service income he expects to top out at around $3 billion a year.
Speaking to reporters last week, Musk said that makes Starlink pivotal in helping pay for his larger goals of developing a new spacecraft to fly paying customers to the moon and for eventually trying to colonize Mars.
“We think this is a key stepping stone on the way toward establishing a self-sustaining city on Mars and a base on the moon,” said Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who is also chief executive officer of automaker Tesla Inc.
At least 12 launches carrying similar payloads are needed to achieve constant Internet coverage of most of the world, Musk said. Starlink is only currently authorized for operations in the United States.
Musk faces stiff competition. In February, Airbus SE-backed OneWeb launched its own clutch of satellites, while LeoSat Enterprises and Canada’s Telesat are also working to build data networks.
In each network, the tiny satellites orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites, a technological shift made possible by advances in laser technology and computer chips.
Musk said SpaceX would begin approaching customers later this year or next year. As many as 2,000 satellites will be launched per year, with the ultimate objective of placing up to 12,000 into orbit.