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Showing posts from September 30, 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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