Reuters Science News Summary

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

SpaceX rocket sends first global water survey mission into orbit

A SpaceX rocket blasted off early on Friday carrying a U.S.-French satellite designed to conduct an unprecedented global survey of Earth’s surface waters, a mission expected to shed new light on the mechanics and consequences of climate change.The Falcon 9 booster owned and operated by Elon Musk’s commercial rocket company lit up the predawn sky along California’s coast as it roared off its launch pad at the Vandenberg U.S. Space Force Base, about 160 miles (260 km) northwest of Los Angeles.

Endangered pink iguana hatchlings seen for first time on Galapagos island

Scientists have discovered hatchling and juvenile populations of the Galapagos pink land iguana, an endangered reptile native to a sole island on the Ecuadorean archipelago, for the first time since the species’ discovery just decades ago.Native only to the slopes of Wolf Volcano on the Galapagos’ Isabela Island, the iguana is considered critically endangered and just several hundred are left, according to estimates.

NASA formally retires Mars InSight lander after 4-year mission

NASA has formally retired its Mars InSight lander, the first robotic probe specially designed to study the deep interior of a distant world, four years after it arrived on the surface of the red planet, the agency announced on Wednesday. Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles determined the mission was over when two consecutive attempts to re-establish radio contact with the lander failed, a sign that InSight’s solar-powered batteries had run out of energy.

Italy’s Vega grounded as investigators probe failed launch

Italy’s Vega rockets have been grounded and an investigation is under way after the latest model failed on its second mission, destroying two Earth-imaging satellites and further complicating Europe’s access to space on top of the war in Ukraine.Launch firm Arianespace said on Wednesday a “serious anomaly” occurred two minutes and 27 seconds after the upgraded Vega C left the pad in French Guiana, thwarting efforts to add two satellites to the Pleiades Neo constellation operated by Airbus.

Scientists freeze Great Barrier Reef coral in world-first trial

Scientists working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have successfully trialled a new method for freezing and storing coral larvae they say could eventually help rewild reefs threatened by climate change.Scientists are scrambling to protect coral reefs as rising ocean temperatures destabilise delicate ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef has suffered four bleaching events in the last seven years including the first ever bleach during a La Nina phenomenon, which typically brings cooler temperatures.