Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
In New York lab, centuries-old corals hold clues to climate shifts
Some 20 miles north of New York City, a team of scientists is searching for clues about how the environment is changing by studying organisms not usually found in the woods around here: corals. In the labs of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a research unit of Columbia University overlooking the Hudson River, the scientists led by Professor Braddock Linsley pore over feet-long coral cores they extracted from far-away reefs.
Emotion-sensing robot launches to assist space station astronauts
An intelligent robot equipped with emotion-sensing voice detectors was headed to the International Space Station after launching from Florida on Thursday, becoming the latest artificial intelligence-powered astronaut workmate in orbit. The Crew Interactive Mobile Companion 2, or CIMON 2, is a spherical droid with microphones, cameras and a slew of software to enable emotion recognition.
Bye-bye, birdie: Study finds North American birds getting smaller
Since 1978, researchers have scooped up and measured tens of thousands of birds that died after crashing into buildings in Chicago during spring and fall migrations. Their work has documented what might be called the incredible shrinking bird. A study published on Wednesday involving 70,716 birds killed from 1978 through 2016 in such collisions in the third-largest U.S. city found that their average body sizes steadily declined over that time, though their wingspans increased.
NASA's probe soaring near sun reveals surprises about solar wind
Troves of new data from a NASA probe's close encounters with the sun are giving scientists unique insight about the solar wind and space weather more generally as the spacecraft zooms through the outermost part of the star's atmosphere. Researchers on Wednesday described the first published findings from the Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft launched in 2018 to journey closer to the sun than any other human-made object. The findings, offering fresh details about how the sun spawns space weather, are reshaping astronomers' understanding of violent solar wind that can hamper satellites and electronics on Earth.