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Showing posts from December 22, 2015

NASA cancels launch of next Mars probe due to instrument leak

A U.S. science satellite slated to launch to Mars in March has been grounded due to a leak in a key research instrument, NASA said on Tuesday, creating uncertainty about the future of a widely anticipated effort to study the interior of the planet. The spacecraft, known as InSight, was designed to help scientists learn more about the formation of rocky planets, including Earth. The cancellation raises questions about the future of the research effort, as it will be another two years before Earth and Mars are favorably aligned for a launch.


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San Andreas May Be a 'Zipper' Fault

A new explanation for colliding faults could help explain mysterious fault lines that have mystified geologists for decades. The new explanation could explain everything from the quake-prone faults of Southern California to dynamic crust beneath the snow-capped peak of K2 in the Himalayas. The theory is deceptively simple: When two faults collide, instead of one breaking past another, they may just merge, like a zipper zipping up, said John Platt, a geologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.


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King Tut's Half Sister May Have Nursed Him, Carving Suggests

Egypt's famous "boy king," the pharaoh Tutankhamun, may have suckled at the breast of his half sister during his infancy, new research finds. The announcement comes on the heels of a cleaning and analysis of the tomb of Maia (or Maya), King Tut's wet nurse. Researchers discovered the tomb in 1996 in Saqqara, an ancient burial ground about 19 miles (30 kilometers) south of Cairo, according to a statement posted yesterday (Dec. 20) on the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities' Facebook page.


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Lions Gain New Endangered Species Protections

Two lion subspecies will now be protected by the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced today (Dec. 21). Panthera leo melanochaita, a lion subspecies living in eastern and southern Africa, will be listed as threatened, while Panthera leo leo, a subspecies found in western and central Africa and in India, will receive endangered status, FWS officials said. New genetic data prompted the agency to recognize western and central African lions as subspecies P. leo leo, and spurred their"endangered" classification.


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Ding dong wobbly and bright

By Jim Drury Christmas bells ringing out are a popular feature of the festive season. Colorful images showing their vibration in unprecedented detail have been released by the University of Leicester's Advanced Structural Dynamics Evaluation Center (ASDEC). Working with John Taylor & Co., a company of local bell founders, the ASDEC team scanned the structural dynamics of two large bells using a robotized 3D laser vibrometry system at approximately 4,000 measurement locations.

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