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Showing posts from November 25, 2016

Destination Moon? Belgium joins the space race

The Interfederal Space Agency of Belgium (ISAB) will be set up next year, science minister Elke Sleurs said, arguing that it would help a local industry hang on to what is now a 5-percent share of the EU's 7 billion-euro a year space industry. Challenges from the likes of rising powers India and China and changing rules for EU-wide tenders meant Belgium should pool resources to help its companies compete, she said: "If we just keep the status quo, we risk losing out on space contracts." About 60 firms in the local sector include the 96-year-old SABCA, which has worked on Europe's Ariane rocket program. Images from Tintin space stories, starting with "Destination Moon" in 1950, have become Belgian national treasures and fed popular fascination worldwide with cosmic adventure.


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Ant Overlords? Supercolony in Ethiopian Forests Set to Invade Globe

The forests of Ethiopia are teeming with a supercharged ant that is poised to invade the globe, new research suggests. The infamous ant species, Lepisiota canescens, is demonstrating the behavior needed for supercolony formation and for global invasion — (insect world domination, anyone?), the researchers say. "The species we found in Ethiopia may have a high potential of becoming a globally invasive species," study author D. Magdalena Sorger, a postdoctoral researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, said in a statement.


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4,000-Year-Old 'Thinker' Sculpture Uncovered in Israel

A ceramic vessel bearing the sculpture of a pensive-looking figure has been found in the Israeli city of Yehud. Archaeologists found the artifact during excavations in advance of a new housing development. "It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards, the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," Gilad Itach, the IAA excavation director, said in a statement.


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Weather vs. Climate: Why Trump's Global Warming Stance Is Flawed

Is there reason to doubt climate change because some of the nation's hottest days happened in 1898, as President-elect Donald Trump told the New York Times in an interview yesterday? In an exchange with Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and staff about climate changeon Tuesday (Nov. 22), Trump said, "I have an open mind to it," but later added, "You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. However, it's misleading to single out a weather event — such as a particularly hot day in 1898 — as evidence for or against climate change, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service (NOS).


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Prepare for 'surprise' as global warming stokes Arctic shifts - scientists

By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Unless the world stops burning fossil fuels that are fuelling global warming, irreversible changes in the Arctic could have disastrous effects for the people that live there and for the rest of the planet, researchers warned on Friday. The Arctic's ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change and other human activities, such as oil and gas extraction, they said in a report for the Arctic Council, an inter-governmental forum working to protect the region's environment. "Arctic ecosystems are changing in dramatic ways: the ice is melting, sea levels are rising, coastal areas are eroding, permafrost is thawing, and the areas where plants and animals live are shifting," said the report.


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Notes from Mars 160: The Science Work We're Doing

The Mars Society is conducting the ambitious two-phase Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analogue mission to study how seven crewmembers could live, work and perform science on a true mission to Mars. Mars 160 crewmember Annalea Beattie is chronicling the mission, which will spend 80 days at the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah desert before venturing far north to Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, Canada in summer 2017.


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Astronauts enjoy a zero-gravity 'Spacegiving' dinner

(Reuters) - An international crew of astronauts celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with a special 'spacegiving feast' of rehydrated foods on board the International Space Station. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published a photograph of the six astronauts enjoying their meal, which included rehydrated turkey, stuffing, potatoes and vegetables. The meal was rounded off with cherry blueberry cobbler for dessert, NASA Commander Shane Kimbrough said in a preview statement made some 200 miles (320 km) from earth on Nov 18. (Reporting by Reuters TV. ...

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