This week on LSCDS #ScienceNews and #Innovation:

On the heels of the first ultra-high resolution images from the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, the European Space Agency has launched its Solar Orbiter. Beginning its journey on February 9th, the orbiter will take roughly two years to reach its closest solar position (a position equivalent to about three quarters of the distance from the Earth to the Sun). Astronomers hope to capture the first ever images of the solar poles and study phenomena such as the solar wind.

Two spacecraft in front of the Sun.

(Image credit: Solar Orbiter: ESA/ATG medialab; Parker Solar Probe: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)

Scotland is leading a charge to counter greenhouse gases by promoting the buildup of peat bogs. A form of wetland ecosystem, the peatland is capable of trapping carbon in soil efficiently – holding more than twice the amount of carbon as forests do. Scotland hopes to reach a state of carbon neutrality by 2045 with peatland restoration predicted to significantly contribute to that effort.

seagull flying on top of body of water

More details on the Coronavirus outbreak are being deciphered. The virus, recently designated as nCov-2019, has and been identified as belonging to the same family as the coronavirus responsible for SARS. The pangolin has been identified as the potential source of the nCov-2019 on the basis of a genetic comparison between viruses collected from the animal and from human patients infected with the virus. By learning the mode by which the virus jumped from an animal to humans, such research aims to limit and prevent such transmissions in the future.

Long-tailed pangolin, Manis tetradactyla, D.R. Congo.

(Image credit: Frans Lanting/National Geographic)