Zapping the mozzies that spread dengue
SYDNEY • More than 80 per cent of a dengue fever-spreading mosquito has been wiped out in an Australian town during a landmark trial that scientists yesterday said offered hope for combating the dangerous pest globally.
Researchers from Australia's national science body CSIRO bred millions of non-biting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in laboratory conditions at James Cook University in a project funded by Google parent company Alphabet. The insects were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, which renders them sterile.
They were then released into the wild at trial sites around the Queensland town of Innisfail where over three months they mated with females that laid eggs that did not hatch, causing the population to plummet.
600kg crocodile caught after eight-year hunt
SYDNEY • An elusive monster saltwater crocodile weighing 600kg has been caught after an eight-year hunt in Australia, officials said yesterday.
The 4.7m-long beast was found in a trap downstream from the northern outback town of Katherine after first being spotted in 2010.
The crocodile is estimated to be 60 years old.
Israeli group to send spacecraft to moon
YEHUD (Israel) • An Israeli non-profit group plans to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon in February in the first landing of its kind since 2013.
The craft, which is shaped like a round table with four carbon fibre legs, is set to blast off in December from Florida's Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, said Dr Ido Anteby, chief executive of the SpaceIL non-profit.
Unveiled yesterday at state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries, the 1.5m-high spacecraft weighing 585kg is expected to transmit pictures and videos back to earth over two days after it lands on Feb 13 as well as measuring magnetic fields.