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Showing posts from December 2, 2016

Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin recovering well after Antarctic evacuation

Former U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, posted photos on Saturday of his recovery in a New Zealand hospital after he was evacuated from the South Pole due to illness. Aldrin, 86, who was visiting the pole as part of a tourist group, was flown to Christchurch, New Zealand, early on Friday local time when his condition deteriorated. Aldrin appeared in good spirits on Saturday after receiving a visit from NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman at Christchurch Hospital.


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1,000-Year-Old Viking Toolbox Found at Mysterious Danish Fortress

A Viking toolbox found in Denmark has been opened for the first time in 1,000 years, revealing an extraordinary set of iron hand tools that may have been used to make Viking ships and houses, according to archaeologists. The famed 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth is thought to have ordered the construction of the fortress. So far, archaeologists have found at least 14 iron tools inside a single deposit of earth excavated from a gatehouse building of the fortress.


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Utah's Great Salt Lake Is Shrinking

Years of drought and over-irrigation have caused Utah's Great Salt Lake to shrink at an alarming rate, recent satellite photos show. After the Great Lakes, Utah's Great Salt Lake is the largest body of water (by area) in the United States. Now, the lake covers an area of only about 1,050 square miles (2,700 square km), new satellite photos from NASA reveal.


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European Mars mission funding approved even after test lander's crash

European space agency (ESA) member states have approved another 450 million euros ($479 million) in funding for the ExoMars mission to the Red Planet, even after a test lander that was part of the program crashed in October, ESA said on Friday. The European-Russian ExoMars program sent a gas-sniffing orbiter and the test lander to Mars this year to search for signs of past or present life on the Red Planet and to lay the groundwork for a rover that is due to follow in 2020. The Schiaparelli lander crashed after a sensor failure caused it to cast away its parachute and turn off braking thrusters more than two miles (3.7 km) above the surface of the planet, as though it had already landed.

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2.5-Billion-Year-Old Fossils Predate Earth's Oxygen

Fossils of what may be the oldest sulfur-eating bacteria ever found have been discovered in rocks dating back a staggering 2.52 billion years. The fossils don't represent the oldest life on Earth by any stretch — there are fossils of microbes that are at least a billion years older — but they are the oldest of their type. Rather than using oxygen to survive, these bacteria would have turned hydrogen sulfide into sulfate (the oxidized form of sulfur), using the energy from that chemical reaction to grow, Czaja said.


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4 New Superheavy Elements Have Official Names

Four new chemical elements now have official names and symbols, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced this week. After a five-month review, IUPAC chemists have approved the four names for superheavy elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 proposed by the elements' discoverers. Such superheavy elements, whose atomic numbers indicate how many protons reside in each nucleus, don't occur naturally in nature, so they must be created in labs.


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