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Showing posts from September, 2015

How NASA's 'Real Martians' Are Preparing for Manned Trips to Mars

NASA is working to get the agency ready for a human mission to the Red Planet in a few decades, and is showcasing its personnel and projects online. Among NASA's many spotlights is a fascinating new video that zooms in on a NASA power system engineer's quest to create enough electricity to power a Mars base. To Alleyne, the International Space Station showcases many different kinds of research, ranging from biology to physics to Earth and space science.


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The Only Privately-Owned Astronaut Watch Worn on the Moon Is Up for Auction

Forty-four years ago, David Scott's watch broke while he was out for a walk. Scott did not notice it had broken until after he had come back inside. Of course, none of that would be noteworthy had Scott not been on the moon at the time.


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Berlin candy store offers 3D printed sweet treats

A German candy maker is hoping to tempt the taste-buds of Berliners with customized fruit gum sweets made with a 3D printer. CUT-yes) say they have developed a way to produce food from a 3D printer. A Katjes store in Berlin's trendy Mitte district showcases the Magic Candy Factory where sweet-lovers young and old can choose from 3D template designs that include individual fruit gum animals and shapes, as well as letters and words.

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How to Spot the Asteroid Vesta in October's Night Sky

The next two weeks provide an excellent opportunity to spot the brightest asteroid visible from EarthVesta — one of the best-known objects in the solar system. In the first six years of the 19th century, astronomers discovered four new members of the solar system. Now, there are tens of thousands of known asteroids.


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Apollo Panoramas: Moon Landings Go Wide in Crowdfunded Photo Book

A new photo book about the Apollo moon landings provides a "wide look" at the lunar surface vistas that astronauts saw and captured on film more than 40 years ago. "'Apollo: The Panoramas,' as the title implies, is dedicated to high resolution assembly of the panoramic sequences that the astronauts captured on the lunar surface," Mike Constantine, the book's author, told collectSPACE.com. Constantine, as the proprietor of the UK-based Moonpans, has been assembling the panoramas as digital files, large prints, wall murals and other formats for the past 15 years.


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Scientists find genes that protect African children from malaria

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have identified specific genetic variations that protect some African children from developing severe malaria and say their discovery will boost the fight against a disease that kills around half a million children a year. In the largest study of its kind, the researchers said identifying the variations in DNA at a specific location, or locus, on the genome helps explain why some children develop severe malaria and others don't in communities where people are constantly exposed to the mosquito-borne disease. In some cases, they said, having a specific genetic variation almost halves a child's risk of developing a life-threatening case of the disease.

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Strange Designs: 5 Weird Ways Tattoos Affect Your Health

Tattoos are very common, but they do bring certain health risks, said Dr. Marie Leger, a dermatologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City who has studied adverse reactions to tattoos. "I love tattoos," Leger told Live Science. In fact, infections can come from a bunch of different sources, including the tattoo artist, as well as the ink, Leger said.

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Japanese Paper Art Inspires Sun-Tracking Solar Cell

Japanese paper art is typically used to create dainty folded cranes and paper snowflakes, but now, researchers are using it to inspire innovations in the energy world. Scientists from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (UM) have used the ancient art of paper cutting, known as kirigami, to create a unique thin-film solar cell that can use a method of following the sun called optical tracking. The idea was initially hatched by Matt Shlian, one of the authors of the new study and a professor in the University of Michigan's School of Art and Design.


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It's Part Tank, Part Salamander, and Ready for Combat

A new amphibious vehicle that moves just as well on land as it does in the water looks kind of like a salamander. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin designed and built the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to replace the U.S. Marine Corps' aging fleet of swimming tanks, which have been in use for more than four decades.


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Matt Damon in Space: Actor Hits Sci-Fi Trifecta with 'The Martian'

Matt Damon has become a Hollywood A-lister by taking on roles in big-budget action films and dramas, but could he become known for his science fiction work instead? This Friday is opening night of "The Martian," which is the third major science fiction movie starring Damon in the last two years. In 2014, Damon played a supporting role in Christopher Nolan's space epic "Interstellar." In 2013, he starred in "Elysium," a story in which extreme class divides have sent wealthy people to live on a Shangri-La-esque space station orbiting Earth.


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Rare Fluorescent Sea Turtle Glows Red and Green

Below the tropical waves near the Solomon Islands, nighttime divers spotted a psychedelic vision: an endangered sea turtle glowing bright red and green. The divers immediately began filming the creature, a hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), following it for a few minutes until it swam away. "It was such a short encounter," said David Gruber, an associate professor of biology at Baruch College in New York City and a National Geographic emerging explorer.


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Fit for a God? Ancient Booty Discovered in Transylvania

Two large stashes of bronze weapons and jewelry, from the eighth century B.C., have been discovered in southern Transylvania, in Romania. The hoards date back to a time before minted currency had been invented or writing had spread to this part of Europe. "The majority of the objects are made of bronze, yet there are also weapons and tools made of iron," wrote Corina Bors, a senior archaeologist with the National History Museum of Romania, in the summary of a presentation she gave recently at the European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.


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Something Strange Is Happening Inside Saturn

Unusual ripples in Saturn's rings are revealing the mysterious inner workings of the great gas giant. Billions of particles race around Saturn's 170,000-mile-wide (273,600 kilometers) set of rings, which are mostly water ice with a smattering of rock. Most scientists' models of Saturn and other gas giants assume the planet is pretty uniform — just a large gas envelope surrounding a small, dense core that's perhaps the size of Earth.


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Hubble Snaps Breathtaking Views of Colorful Veil Nebula (Photos, Video)

The new set of Hubble photos of the Veil Nebula, which researchers combined into several stunning videos, show a colorful cloud of material 110 light-years wide that lies about 2,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). The Veil Nebula's beauty belies its violent origins: The structure formed about 8,000 years ago, after a star 20 times more massive than the sun died in a supernova explosion, researchers said. "Astronomers suspect that before the Veil Nebula's source star exploded, it expelled a strong stellar wind.


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Water on Mars Could Help Put Astronaut Boots on Red Planet

Yesterday (Sept. 28), scientists announced that the strange dark streaks — called recurring slope lineae (RSL) — that appear on steep Red Planet slopes when the weather is warm are caused by salty liquid water.


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Meat May Not Be So Bad for You After All (But There's a Catch)

Although a vegetarian diet has many health benefits, eating meat may not be so terrible for you either, as long as you include plenty of vegetables, too, according to a new study. In the study, the researchers looked at how different diets affected the types of bacteria in people's guts, and the levels of certain compounds that those gut bacteria produce. But diets that also included meat — such as the Mediterranean diet — didn't necessarily spell disaster for gut health.

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Calcium Not as Great for Bones as Once Thought

The reports, both published today (Sept. 29) in the journal BMJ, looked at the effects of calcium intake on bone density and risk of fracture in adults over age 50. In the first report, researchers analyzed the results of 59 previous randomized controlled trials of calcium involving more than 12,000 people. The investigators found that increasing calcium intake — either through diet or by taking supplements — increased people's bone-mineral density by up to 2 percent.

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Breast Cancer Risk Linked to Virus Found in Cattle

In the study, researchers tested the breast tissue of about 240 women for BLV, and found that 59 percent of the samples from women who had breast cancer showed signs of BLV. Only 29 percent of the samples from women without breast cancer showed signs of the virus. The researchers' analysis of the data revealed that the odds of having breast cancer, when taking other risk factors into account, were three times higher if BLV was present — an increase that's higher than those of several other well known risk factors for breast cancer, including drinking alcohol, being obese and using hormone treatments after menopause, the study said.

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U.S. biotech to apply artificial intelligence to UK genome study

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Berg, a private company that uses artificial intelligence to discover new drugs and diagnostics, will help England's national genomics project mine DNA and health data from thousands of British citizens for potential drug targets. Berg, based in Boston, was co-founded in 2006 by Silicon Valley real estate billionaire Carl Berg. Its newest agreement is with the Genomics England 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to accelerate development of new diagnostics and treatments through a year-long industry trial, company executives told Reuters.


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From pixels to pixies: the future of touch is sound

By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ultrasound - inaudible sound waves normally associated with cancer treatments and monitoring the unborn - may change the way we interact with our mobile devices. UK start-up Ultrahaptics, for example, is working with premium car maker Jaguar Land Rover [TAMOJL.UL] to create invisible air-based controls that drivers can feel and tweak. Instead of fumbling for the dashboard radio volume or temperature slider, and taking your eyes off the road, ultrasound waves would form the controls around your hand.

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'The Martian' Celebrates Discovery of Water on Mars

Following NASA's announcement that there is liquid water on the surface of Mars, Mark Watney, the fictional lead character in the upcoming movie "The Martian," has a very special message for the world. NASA's announcement of liquid water on Mars' surface came yesterday (Sept. 28), just a few days before the movie's premier this Friday (Oct. 2). The movie, which is based on the book of the same name by Andy Weir, stars Matt Damon as Watney.


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Intense Solar Flare Unleashed from Unruly Sunspot

An intense solar flare took out low-frequency radio communications over South America and the Atlantic Ocean earlier today (Sept. 28), and the unstable sunspot is likely to erupt again. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured an amazing video of the solar flare from space. The explosion unleashed extreme ultraviolet radiation that rushed over the Earth, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center said in a statement.


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Antikythera Wreck Yields More Treasures of Ancient Greece's '1 Percent'

A bronze chair arm — possibly the remains of an ancient throne — and a piece of a Greek board game are among the latest treasures raised from the site of the famous shipwreck Antikythera. This year, archaeologists discovered an intact amphora (a vaselike container), a small table jug (known as a lagynos) and a rectangular chiseled stone, probably a statuette base. A section of bronze furniture may be the arm of a throne, according to the Woods Hold Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).


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Snack Time for Predators! 6 Weird Ways Wildfires Affect the Forest

From early visits from coyotes looking for an easy, and rodent-y, post-burn snack, to a shrubby buffet that flourishes for elk and bison, here are six ways forest fires affect trees and animals, and the science behind them. This year's fires are vast, affecting such states as California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. California is bearing the brunt of the destruction, with six fires covering 399,022 acres (1,614 square kilometers) — roughly the size of 18 Manhattans, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

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Tiniest Snail Ever Found Could Fit Through Needle's Eye 10 Times

The newly discovered snail species, found in China, may be the world's smallest land snail. This is a large group, according to Barna Páll-Gergely of Shinshu University in Japan and colleagues, who wrote in 2014 in the journal ZooKeys that snails this small account for most of the diversity in tropical land snails. The newest, tiniest snail is one of seven species recently discovered in China, the researchers reported today (Sept. 28) in ZooKeys.


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Oddly Gigantic Supermassive Black Hole Puzzles Scientists

The supermassive black hole at the heart of a recently discovered galaxy is much larger than it should be, and astronomers don't know why. The galaxy, known as SAGE0536AGN, lies about 2 billion light-years from Earth and contains roughly 25 billion times the mass of the sun. Galaxies of this size typically harbor central black holes with the equivalent of 12 million solar masses or so, but SAGE0536AGN's is about 30 times that heavy, weighing in at 350 million solar masses, a new study reports.


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Zero Gravity Corporation Celebrates 10 Years of Weightless Flights

The Virginia-based Zero Gravity Corp. (Zero G) has now been flying customers on a specially modified Boeing 727 jet for a decade. It's been amazing!" Terese Brewster, ZERO-G president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.


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Mars Gets More Habitable with Water Discovery, Scientists Say

The discovery of liquid (albeit very salty) water on Mars may suggest that the Red Planet is more habitable than previously thought, according to scientists. Strange, dark streaks that run down the sides of hills on the surface of Mars are formed partly by the presence of liquid water, scientists announced today (Sept. 28). Using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the researchers say they now have strong evidence that salty water soaks the planet's surface soil, perhaps even flows down the slopes, and creates the dark streaks.


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7 More People Sick with Legionnaires' Disease in NYC

More people in New York City are sick with Legionnaires' disease in what appears to be a new cluster of cases, health officials say. So far, seven people who live or work in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx have been hospitalized recently with Legionnaires' disease, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The new cases are not related to the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that occurred in New York City over the summer, which was the largest in the city's history, and sickened 120 people in the South Bronx.

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UK scientists start stem cell trial of potential blindness cure

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - The first patient has been treated in Britain in a pioneering trial of a new treatment co-developed by Pfizer and derived from embryonic stem cells designed for patients with a condition that can cause blindness. Specialists at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital said the operation, described as "successful", was the first of 10 planned for participants in a trial of the treatment for a disease called 'wet' age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The trial will test the safety and efficacy of transplanting eye cells known as retinal pigment epithelium, which have been derived from embryonic stem cells.

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UK scientists start stem cell trial of potential blindness cure

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - The first patient has been treated in Britain in a pioneering trial of a new treatment co-developed by Pfizer and derived from embryonic stem cells designed for patients with a condition that can cause blindness. Specialists at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital said the operation, described as "successful", was the first of 10 planned for participants in a trial of the treatment for a disease called 'wet' age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The trial will test the safety and efficacy of transplanting eye cells known as retinal pigment epithelium, which have been derived from embryonic stem cells.

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More research needed on U.S. earthquakes possibly tied to oil and gas work: report

A coalition of U.S. states warned on Monday that a spike in earthquakes potentially tied to oil and gas activity in places not typically prone to them needs urgent attention from regulators and others to protect public safety. The report to be released later on Monday by States First includes input from governors, regulators and oil and gas policy leaders in 13 states, including Oklahoma and Kansas, where earthquake activity and intensity have risen in recent years. "We see something very new and different happening here in the mid-continent," said Rex Buchanan, interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey and co-chair of the group that issued the report.

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Fossilized fur reveals color of 49-million-year-old bats

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fossils can do a good job of revealing key aspects of an extinct creature: its bones, teeth, claws, even soft tissue like fur, skin, feathers, organs and sometimes remains of its last meal in the gut. "As technology continues to advance, we'll keep finding information in fossils that we don't even know is there today." The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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The AstroCritic: What 'The Martian' Gets Right About Astronauts

Leroy Chiao, AstroCritic, is a former NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station. Chiao is the special adviser for human spaceflight to the Space Foundation and the Houston Association for Space and Science Education. Some time ago, I participated in a remote panel discussion via streaming video that included Andy Weir, author of "The Martian" (Crown, 2014).


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Scientists find evidence of recent water flows on Mars - study

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Scientists analyzing data from a NASA spacecraft have found the first evidence that briny water flowed on the surface of Mars as recently as last summer, a paper published on Monday showed, raising the possibility that the planet could support life. "It suggests that it would be possible for life to be on Mars today," John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administration for science, told reporters. Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars," said Jim Green, the agency's director of planetary science.


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Evidence found of summertime water flows on Mars

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Scientists have found the first evidence that briny water may flow on the surface of Mars during the planet's summer months, a paper published on Monday showed. Scientists developed a new technique to analyze chemical maps of the Martian surface obtained by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The slopes, first reported in 2011, appear during the warm summer months on Mars, then vanish when the temperatures drop.


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Scientists find evidence of recent water flows on Mars - study

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Scientists analysing data from a NASA spacecraft have found the first evidence that briny water flowed on the surface of Mars as recently as last summer, a paper published on Monday showed, raising the possibility that the planet could support life. "It suggests that it would be possible for life to be on Mars today," John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administration for science, told reporters. Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars," said Jim Green, the agency's director of planetary science.


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Ringing Ears and Chronic Pain Share Unexpected Link

In the review, the authors proposed that tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and chronic pain are the result of similar changes in two regions of the brain. These regions — the nucleus accumbens and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex — are both in the front of the brain, and may act as "gatekeepers" for sensory stimuli such as noise and pain, the researchers said. "It's a very clever system," said Josef Rauschecker, a professor of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University and lead author of the review, published today (Sept. 23) in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

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Belgian scientists look for biofuel clues in panda poo

By Robert-Jan Bartunek BRUGELETTE, Belgium (Reuters) - Belgian researchers are examining the excrement of giant pandas to try to understand how they can digest tough bamboo, hoping for clues on how to develop new generations of biofuel. The genetic make-up of endangered pandas is that of a carnivore but the animals have adapted to a diet consisting almost exclusively of bamboo. "We can look for new enzymes which could be used to degrade tough biomass," said Korneel Rabaey, professor for biochemical and microbial technology at Ghent University, standing outside the giant panda enclosure at the Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium.


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God Help Us? How Religion is Good (And Bad) For Mental Health

This week millions of Americans are navigating crushing crowds and spending hours traveling in order to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis on his first visit to this country. To those who are devoutly religious, the pope's U.S. trip presents a unique opportunity to get papal blessings, receive mercy and feel closer to God. But even those devoted Catholics who aren’t in the front row seat for Francis' visit may see benefits to their belief. A slew of research has tied being religious with better well-being and overall mental health. A number of studies have found that devout people have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a better ability to cope with stress.

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Salty Water Flows on Mars Today, Boosting Odds for Life

Liquid water flows on Mars today, boosting the odds that life could exist on the Red Planet, a new study suggests. The enigmatic dark streaks on Mars — called recurring slope lineae (RSL) — that appear seasonally on steep, relatively warm Martian slopes are likely caused by salty liquid water, researchers said. "Liquid water is a key requirement for life on Earth," study lead author Lujendra Ojha, of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, told Space.com via email.


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Unusual Allergy: Girl Reacts to Food Only After Exercise

A teenage girl in Canada had an unusual food allergy that showed up only after she exercised, according to a new report of her case. The 17-year-old's allergy first appeared when she had a small snack — a few rice crackers and hummus — right before she worked out on a treadmill at her home. "We hope that this case will serve as an important reminder that although rare, food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis exists and making a diagnosis can lead to life-saving preventative strategies," the researchers at Montreal Children's Hospital, who worked on the girl's case, wrote in their report, published online Sept. 3 in the Journal of Medical Case Reports.

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Man's Heavy Metal Poisoning Leads to Vision Loss, Baldness

Thallium poisoning can cause nerve pain, confusion and loss of muscle control, and the heavy metal can be fatal in high doses, according to the report of the young man's case. The patient "had all the hallmark signs" of thallium poisoning, said Dr. Enchun Liu, a ophthalmologist at the Retina Institute in St. Louis, Missouri, who treated the man for his vision problems and was the lead author of the case report, published Sept. 24 in JAMA Ophthalmology. "This was the first case of thallium poisoning I've ever seen," Liu told Live Science.

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Nectar-Slurping Bat Tongues Move Like Human Bowels

Tongue waggles resembling bowel movements could help some bats drink flower nectar, researchers say. Many insects rely on flower nectar as their main source of food, and have specialized mouthparts to siphon the sweet liquid.


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Water Woes: Firefighters Get Creative to Douse Flames in California

California's drought could make fighting wildfires even harder, experts say. California is facing one of its worst fire seasons on record, with nearly three-dozen wildfires blazing across the Golden State, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. But the drought has also dried up water sources needed to help douse the flames, said Carroll Wills, the communications director for the California Professional Firefighters Association.


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Rare 'Supermoon' Total Lunar Eclipse Thrills Skywatchers Around the World

The first "supermoon" total lunar eclipse in more than three decades did not disappoint, with the moon thrilling skywatchers around the world as it passed through Earth's shadow. On Sunday evening (Sept. 27), the slightly-larger-than-normal full moon shined brightly in Earth's skies and then dove into the planet's shadow, turning a gorgeous reddish-gold color as observers with clear skies enjoyed the view. The event marked the first supermoon total lunar eclipse since 1982, and the last until 2033 — and it was visible to potentially billions of people across the Western Hemisphere and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia.


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Aww! Panda Cub Bei Bei Is a 'Precious Treasure'

A giant-panda cub at Smithsonian's National Zoo is no longer nameless: The furry youngster will now be called Bei Bei (BAY-BAY), which means "precious treasure" in Mandarin, according to his naming ceremony, held at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., this morning (Sept. 25). First ladies Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan (of the People's Republic of China) revealed Bei Bei's name with the help of third-graders from the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, who helped unfurl the scrolls bearing the panda's name in Mandarin and English.


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They're Out There! Most People Believe in E.T.

A majority of people, particularly guys, in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany say they believe that intelligent life is out there. Fifty-six percent of Germans, 54 percent of Americans and 52 percent of people from the United Kingdom believe that alien life capable of communication lives somewhere among the stars, according to a new survey by the marketing research firm YouGov. However, in the United Kingdom at least, people are slightly cautious about whether humans should reach out to E.T. Among U.K. respondents, 46 percent said a digital message should be sent into space in the hopes that it reaches intelligent aliens.


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Mishka, 1st Sea Otter with Asthma, Learns to Use an Inhaler

The air was hazy from forest fires, and Mishka, a 1-year-old sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium, could barely breathe. Aquarium staff jumped into action, putting an oxygen mask on the 45-lb. (20 kilograms) sea otter and administering anti-inflammatory medication to help her breathe. After several medical tests, Mishka became the first-known sea otter (Enhydra lutris) to be diagnosed with asthma.


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Eyes on space, India launches 'mini-Hubble'

India launched its first space research observatory and several U.S. satellites on Monday, part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to expand his country's influence in the competitive, $300 billion global space industry. The observatory, named ASTROSAT, will help Indian scientists intensify space exploration efforts by studying distant celestial objects and conduct deeper analyses of star systems. "This launch ... is important for astronomical sciences," Harsh Vardhan, India's minister for earth sciences, said in a statement.


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Tanzanian engineer invents low-cost water filter

(Reuters) - It looks good enough to drink but just seconds before, this water was full of dirt and bacteria.     Dr. Askwar Hilonga is a Tanzanian scientist who has created a water filter that he says can remove 99.9 percent of bacteria, micro-organisms and viruses.     The invention uses nanotechnology to filter out contaminants and produce clean water.     The idea was inspired by a visit to his parents' village outside Arusha in Tanzania, where many people still risk their lives drinking dirty water and often suffer from water-borne diseases.     Catherine Nanyaro is a housewife and lives in Arusha.

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I'm all ears: fossils reveal human ancestors' hearing abilities

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two-million-year-old fossils including the three tiny bones of the middle ear are helping scientists figure out the auditory abilities of early human ancestors at a time when they were beginning to hear more like a person and less like a chimpanzee. A study published on Friday involving two species from South Africa, Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus, showed they boasted better hearing than either chimps or people in a frequency range that may have facilitated vocal communication in a savanna habitat. Both species featured a mixture of ape-like and human-like anatomical traits and inhabited grassland ecosystems with widely spaced trees and shrubs, as opposed to the forests of earlier members of human lineage.


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U.S. culls over 1,200 Oregon cormorants, sparks outcry

By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - The U.S. federal government has killed more than 1,000 seabirds on an Oregon island since May to protect endangered salmon as part of a plan that environmentalists say is flawed and are seeking to stop with a lawsuit. "Government agents are racing about in their boat blowing birds out of the sky," said Bob Sallinger, conservation director of the Audubon Society of Portland. "The public has a right to see how the federal government is squandering millions of taxpayer dollars killing protected wild birds." The government workers started culling the birds on May 24 as part of a multi-year plan to kill 11,000 double-crested cormorants, which U.S. wildlife officials say are putting endangered salmon at risk by eating juvenile fish.


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'Supermoon' Total Lunar Eclipse Thrills Skywatchers Around the World

The first "supermoon" total lunar eclipse in more than three decades did not disappoint, with the moon thrilling skywatchers around the world as it passed through Earth's shadow. On Sunday evening (Sept. 27), the slightly-larger-than-normal full moon shined brightly in Earth's skies and then dove into the planet's shadow, turning a gorgeous reddish-gold color as observers with clear skies enjoyed the view. The event marked the first supermoon total lunar eclipse since 1982, and the last until 2033 — and it was visible to potentially billions of people across the Western Hemisphere and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia.


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'Angelina Effect' Is Real: Actress Raised Breast Surgery Awareness

Angelina Jolie Pitt's breast surgery increased women's awareness of reconstructive breast surgery options, according to a new study from Austria. Many researchers and media stories have speculated this, but the new research is the first prospective, scientific study to look at the impact of Jolie Pitt's announcement, the researchers said. Jolie Pitt made headlines in May 2013 was she announced that she had undergone a double mastectomy because she had tested positive for a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.

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Apple Watch Credited with Saving Life: What Conditions Can It Detect?

A Massachusetts teen says the Apple Watch saved his life, by alerting him that his heart rate was much higher than normal, leading to a diagnosis of a life-threatening condition. Experts say the gadget — and similar devices — could potentially detect alterations in people's heart rates that might be a sign of health problems. Paul Houle Jr., a high school senior, said he felt back pain after two football practices on the same day, but he didn't think much of it, according to Huffington Post.

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NASA to Unveil Big Mars Discovery Monday: How to Watch Live

NASA will reveal a "major science finding" about Mars on Monday morning (Sept. 28), and you can follow the announcement live.


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Why Does the Moon Turn Red During a Total Lunar Eclipse?

Tonight, an oversized ruby-colored sphere will rise in the sky as a total lunar eclipse turns the normally pallid moon scarlet. The so-called supermoon is also at the perfect spot in its orbit so the alignment between the sun, Earth and moon will be perfect … for a total lunar eclipse: At about 8:11 p.m. EDT (0011 GMT), the moon will tiptoe into the outer portion of Earth's shadow, becoming totally bathed in the darkest part of that shadow at 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 GMT), with the total lunar eclipse ending at about 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT). When the Earth is directly in front of the sun — blocking the sun's rays from lighting up the moon — you'd see a fiery rim encircling the planet.

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Supermoon Lunar Eclipse 2015: Full 'Blood Moon' Coverage

A total lunar eclipse will spawn a rare and dramatic 'supermoon' blood moon on Sept. 27, 2015. For our full viewing guide, read: 'Supermoon' Lunar Eclipse: When and Where to See It


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10 Surprising Facts About Lunar Eclipses

As the full moon shines in the night sky tonight (Sept. 27), it will pass through Earth's shadow in a total lunar eclipse. You can watch the lunar eclipse in a webcast by the Slooh Community Observatory. You can also see the total lunar eclipse webcast on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.


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Total Lunar Eclipse: US Weather Forecast to See the Blood Moon Tonight

About 70 percent of the country will be able to get a good view of the total lunar eclipse tonight (Sept. 27). Unfortunately for many who live east of the Mississippi River, the odds of seeing the moon as it passes completely into the Earth's shadow are rather poor, according to current weather projections. Read on below to get our supermoon lunar eclipse weather forecast for skywatchers across the United States.


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Tonight's Dazzling 'Supermoon' Lunar Eclipse: What You’ll See

Here's how it will happen: To start with, there will be a full moon, which occurs every 29.5 days when the sun, Earth and moon are pretty well lined up, with Earth in the middle. Tonight, the moon is in just the right spot on its orbit — which takes it above and below the plane of Earth's orbit around the sun — so the alignment will be perfect, and Earth will cast its shadow across the face of the moon. In fact, full moons are never totally full, because when they would be, the moon is in total eclipse.


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Why Tonight's Full Moon Is a 'Harvest Moon' Lunar Eclipse

The full moon tonight (Sept. 27) will be an especially special lunar occasion. In addition to being a traditional "harvest moon," the moon will be at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it a so-called "supermoon." Plus, skywatchers people across North and South America, Europe and Africa will get to see a lunar eclipse, because the moon will pass into the Earth's shadow. You can watch the harvest moon lunar eclipse live in a webcast by the Slooh Community Observatory.


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Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Rises Tonight: Watch It Live in Slooh Webcast

In a total lunar eclipse this Sunday (Sept. 27), the surface of the moon will appear to be a deep crimson color, and people around the world will be able to watch the celestial spectacle online. The so-called supermoon lunar eclipse will be visible in most of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, western Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Slooh broadcast begins at 8 p.m. EDT (midnight GMT), and will provide views of the eclipse from three different countries, including a stream of the eclipse rising over Stonehenge in England, as well as expert commentary.


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Rare 'Supermoon' Lunar Eclipse Coming Sunday: Skywatching Tips

A rare supermoon lunar eclipse will grace the night sky on Sunday (Sept. 27), and if you live in the Western Hemisphere, you could have spectacular views of this celestial treat. This so-called "Blood Moon" effect is caused by light refracting through Earth's atmosphere from sunsets and sunrises, according to NASA. The last time this type of lunar eclipse occurred was in 1982, and it won't happen again until 2033.


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Blood Moon Prophecy: The Science of Supermoon Eclipse Superstitions

A full "supermoon" will pass precisely within Earth's shadow this Sunday (Sept. 27), creating a total lunar eclipse and bathing our planet's natural satellite in rusty hues. This eye-catching lunar eclipse will give night owls everywhere a reason to look up in wonder, but not everyone thinks this weekend's "blood moon" is a harmless celestial event. One of those doomsayers is John Hagee, a Christian evangelical minister from San Antonio who has stirred up controversy with his sermons (and books and television broadcasts) about the alleged religious significance of the upcoming lunar eclipse.

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What a Precious Bei Bei! Panda Cub Grows Up (Photos)

The baby giant panda at the Smithsonian's National Zoo now has a name: Bei Bei (BAY-BAY), which means "precious treasure," a nod to his sister's name, Bao Bao, which has the same meaning. Bei Bei has come a long way since he was born blind and deaf on Aug. 22. The images below show how the little panda has grown over the past month. [ Read the full story on Bei Bei's naming ceremony]


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Lunar Décor: 'Luna' Lamp Brings the Moon Down to Earth

Ever look up at the full moon on a clear night and wish you could bring it straight into your home? Currently available via an Indiegogo fundraiser campaign, the lamp, made by a company called Acorn Studios, has an adjustable luminosity, and comes in seven different sizes, ranging from 3.2 inches (8.1 centimeters) in diameter, which can be purchased for $75, to 23.6 inches (59.9 cm), for $875. In addition to being advertised as a piece of art, Acorn Studios touts the Luna's durability, so it can be put on the floor and even be played with.


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Total Lunar Eclipse: How to Judge the Moon's Brightness and Color

A lunar eclipse provides spectacular viewing opportunities for everyone, from amateur skywatchers to experienced observers — read on to learn how to describe what you see.


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Rare 'supermoon' eclipse to unfold Sunday night

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Sky-watchers around the world are in for a treat Sunday night and Monday when the shadow of Earth casts a reddish glow on the moon, the result of rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. The total "supermoon" lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" is one that appears bigger and brighter than usual as it reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth. It just appears slightly bigger in the sky," planetary geologist Noah Petro, with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said.


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Space Race on Earth: Astronauts Compete in 2,000-Mile Road Rally

A new international space race is set to launch between astronauts from the United States, Brazil, France and India. But instead of blasting off for the moon or Mars, the space explorers have traded in their rockets for minivans and are racing from Connecticut's capital to Florida's Space Coast. Dubbed the "Space Race," this year's rally is an 8-day, 2,000-mile (3,200 km) trivia game, where the United States serves as the game board.


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