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Showing posts from February 23, 2017

SpaceX aborts approach to space station, delivery delayed

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A navigation error forced SpaceX to delay its shipment to the International Space Station on Wednesday, following an otherwise smooth flight from NASA's historic moon pad.


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NASA announcement: live-stream the space agency’s latest exoplanet discovery

Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern, NASA will announce findings on a discovery outside our solar system. Rather, NASA is eager to tell us about new exoplanets — planets that orbit stars other than our own — it has found.


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Climate Change Could Have Wide-Ranging Effects on Mental Health

Climate change may have surprising and wide-ranging effects on mental health, experts say. That's because climate change is both a root cause of mental health crises and a "threat multiplier," meaning that it makes existing mental health problems worse, said Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist in private practice and an advisory board member for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Van Susteren spoke about the connection between climate change and mental health yesterday (Feb. 16) here at the Climate & Health Meeting, a gathering of experts from public health organizations, universities and advocacy groups that focused on the health impacts of climate change.


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Doomsday-proof vault in the Arctic receives a major deposit of seeds

A frozen tundra is perhaps the worst place in the world to grow crops. But that didn't stop people from bringing nearly 50,000 seeds of potatoes, lentils, wheat, barley and other food staples to the Arctic Circle this week. The seeds won't be sprinkled across frozen farmlands. Instead, they'll be stored indefinitely at a global seed vault on Norway's Svalbard archipelago.  SEE ALSO: This vault filled with seeds in Norway could help bring Earth back from an apocalypse The vault is designed to safeguard the world's food sources from any variety of doomsday scenarios: nuclear war, climate change, natural disasters or even an asteroid strike. This week's seed deposit includes samples from seed collections in Benin, India, Pakistan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Belarus, the U.K., Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the United States and Mexico, Crop Trust announced on Wednesday. Marie Haga, executive director of Crop Trust, scans boxes of ICARDA's seeds at the Longy…

Why Space Operas Will Never Come True

As an astrophysicist, I am always struck by the fact that even the wildest science-fiction stories tend to be distinctly human in character. No matter how exotic the locale or how unusual the scientific concepts, most science fiction ends up being about quintessentially human (or human-like) interactions, problems, foibles, and challenges. This is what we respond to; it is what we can best understand. In practice, this means that most science fiction takes place in relatively relatable settings, on a planet or spacecraft. The real challenge is to tie the story to human emotions, and human sizes and timescales, while still capturing the enormous scales of the universe itself.


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The alien planets of TRAPPIST-1 are already inspiring great art, poetry, and writing

Imagine standing on a world 40 light-years from Earth. You look up, and see other planets slowing moving through the sky, sisters to the world you find yourself on.  You notice that it's relatively dark, because the star you're orbiting is dim, and far smaller than the sun. But you're still warm, thanks to the infrared light emitted by the ultracool dwarf star.  SEE ALSO: Seven Earth-sized planets orbit an alien star only 40 light-years away This could be a vision of what we'd see if we traveled to one of the seven Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a small, dim star about 235 trillion miles from our home. The possibly icy, watery and steaming worlds of TRAPPIST-1. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech Thoughts of these newly-discovered planets outside of our solar system are enough to send even the most limited imagination wandering through the universe, right?  Proving that very point, a number of artists have already created their own art celebrating the distant worlds not …

NY lawmakers: Cuomo is moving to cut funds to fight cancer

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a $25 million reduction to programs that fight cancer, diabetes and other public health challenges — a move intended to eliminate inefficiencies that is being fought by some lawmakers and health advocates who oppose the cuts.


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South Korea confirms H5N8 bird flu outbreak at duck farm

South Korea has confirmed an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus at a duck farm in a southwestern county, its first such incident in 15 days, the farm ministry said on Wednesday. Asia's fourth largest economy has culled a record number of more than 33 million farm birds, or nearly a fifth of its poultry population, in the battle to contain its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu since November last year. This week's case was reported in Haenam county, more than 390 km (242.33 miles) southwest of the capital, Seoul.


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Cool facts about 7 Earth-size planets circling single star

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Talk about an Earth-shattering discovery.


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NASA discovered 7 Earth-sized planets and everyone made the same Trump jokes

Finally — some good news. NASA has found what pretty much appears to be a backup solar system a mere 40 light-years away. And not a moment too soon. SEE ALSO: NASA may put astronauts on the first flight of its new mega-rocket Scientists discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets circling a dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, and everyone on Earth is ready to sign up for a one-way ticket to the new system. (Using current technology, it would be nearly impossible for humans to get to the planetary system, however. #Thanks2017.) Image: NASA/JPL-CALTECH Everyone also immediately made the scientific achievement about the 45th president. With seven new worlds suddenly available, the possibilities seemed endless. Earthlings could send Trump to the new system. He could mess up these exoplanets before destroying Earth. Or we could all flee to these new worlds and leave Trump behind. Twitter was filling up with Trump and TRAPPIST-1 jokes as soon as NASA made the announcement. Trump just announced that we'…

News So Foreign It’s Out of This World: Scientists Discover Seven New Potentially Habitable Planets

Hopefully a few of the planets have oil so we can invade them.


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Astronomers discover 7 potentially habitable exoplanets orbiting nearby dwarf star

An international team of astronomers has discovered seven potentially habitable exoplanets — or planets outside our solar system — that could have liquid surface water, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature. "The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if but when," Thomas Kutcher, an associate administrator of the science mission directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, said at a news conference today. Though it is unclear whether any of the seven exoplanets can harbor life, astronomers said they all could have liquid water — the key to life as we know it.


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Astronomers find seven Earth-size planets where life is possible

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, bolstering the prospect of discovering extraterrestrial life, research published on Wednesday showed. It is located about 40 light years away from Earth, close by astronomical standards, but about 44 million years away at the average cruising speed of a commercial passenger jet.


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SpaceX makes good on space station delivery a little late

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX made good on a 250-mile-high delivery at the International Space Station on Thursday, after fixing a navigation problem that held up the shipment a day.


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7 Earth-like planets could be best bet to find alien life

Astronomers call Trappist-1 the most incredible star system they've ever seen. A newly discovered set of exoplanets only 39 light-years away could be the perfect lab for finally proving we aren't alone.


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Fox Firepower: Revolutionary foam pulverizes bullets to dust

Tech Take: Defense Specialist Allison Barrie on the new foam that doesn't just stop bullets, it destroys them


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Here's what the Ice Age tells us about future sea level rise

A new study on an ancient ice sheet may hold important clues about our planet's future. The research focuses on the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the massive expanse covering North America during the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. A team of scientists found that small spikes in the temperature of the ocean — not the air — likely caused periods of rapid melting and splintering of the ice. SEE ALSO: This 'GOT' star teamed up with Google to capture Greenland's melting ice Their findings add to a growing body of evidence that climate change could ultimately drive sea levels even higher than today's models predict, according to the study published Feb. 15 in the journal Nature. Glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica and other areas have been melting rapidly in recent years due in part to increasing ocean temperatures. "It is possible that modern-day glaciers ... are more sensitive to ocean warming than we previously thought," said Jeremy Bassis, the stud…

Metallic Hydrogen: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

The world's only sample of metallic hydrogen, a substance touted as the holy grail of condensed-matter physics, has reportedly “disappeared.”


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Trappist-1 Nasa announcement: We could find alien life within 10 years on newly discovered planets

Seven potentially habitable exoplanets have been discovered in a solar system 40 light years away and, should it exist, we could find evidence of alien life within the next decade. Nasa hosted a press conference on 22 February to reveal the findings of the new study which was a multinational collaboration between top space scientists. The planets orbit the ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.


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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has plans for big expansion of Seattle-area HQ

Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has out-of-this-world ambitions – with expansion plans to match. Permit filings at the city of Kent, Wash., reveal plans for a 236,000-square-foot warehouse complex and 102,900 square feet of office space, southwest of Blue Origin’s current 300,000-square-foot headquarters and rocket production facility in an industrial area of the city. Last year, Blue Origin purchased a 120,000-square-foot warehouse building across the street from its headquarters to support the production of the company’s BE-3 and BE-4 rocket engines, as well as its New Shepard suborbital boosters and crew capsules. “When we go to the next step with… Read More


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7 Earth-size planets found orbiting dwarf star

NASA says planets discovered in a solar system nearly 40 light-years away are in the zone that could hold the potential for life


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An inside look at the differences between life at NASA and SpaceX

When Elon Musk sets his sights on an industry, he does so with purpose and with the intention of completely turning said industry on its head. While most people are readily familiar with Musk's efforts at Tesla, the groundbreaking work being done by SpaceX, Musk's other company, has only recently started to attract attention from the mainstream.To be sure, Elon Musk was bold for thinking that Tesla could revolutionize the auto industry. That said, Musk's plans to enter the aerospace industry with SpaceX and compete with and work alongside NASA wasn't just bold, it was downright crazy. And yet, both of Musk's ventures continue to amass greater success with each passing year.Earlier this month, we stumbled across a thread on Quora asking if it's better for engineers to work at NASA or SpaceX. Of course, the question itself was a bit misleading because it's not as if one company is superior to the other. Without question, some of the smartest minds on the plan…

Looking for life: Scientists find 7 possibly Earthlike planets orbiting ultracool star

A second look at an exoplanet system 39 light-years from Earth has brought a bonanza for astronomers: not two, not three, but seven alien worlds – some of which could have acceptable conditions for life. “I think that we’ve made a crucial step towards finding if there is life out there. … Before, it was indications,” said study co-author Amaury Triaud of Cambridge University’s Institute of Astronomy. “Now we have the right target.” That claim is debatable, but in any case, the discovery suggests that there are even more planets out there than astronomers previously thought. Which is what astronomers have been… Read More


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Meet NGC 5907 X-1, The Brightest And The Farthest Known Pulsar

The pulsar, located roughly 50 million light-years from Earth, emits the same amount of energy our sun releases in 3.5 years.


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SpaceX makes good on space station delivery a little late

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX made good on a 250-mile-high delivery at the International Space Station on Thursday, after fixing a navigation problem that held up the shipment a day.


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End your emails like this to get more replies back

First impressions are key — and that’s why so many of us agonize over how to conclude our emails, especially when we’re job…


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Court considers constitutionality of Ohio execution process

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal appeals court plans to consider arguments over the constitutionality of Ohio's lethal injection process as the state tries to start carrying out executions once again.


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Seven Earth-sized planets orbit an alien star only 40 light-years away

A small, cool star in distant space plays host to something amazing.  Scientists have discovered that at least seven Earth-sized worlds circle the star TRAPPIST-1, a ultracool dwarf star only about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth.  The planetary haul — which includes at least six rocky planets total, three of which were first discovered last year — is detailed in a new study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.  SEE ALSO: Stop describing a planet as 'Earth-like' unless it really is This marks the first time so many Earth-sized worlds have been found orbiting the same star.  It's possible that some of those exoplanets (worlds orbiting stars outside of our solar system) could play host to liquid water on their surfaces, boosting the chance that alien life might be lurking there.  "We can expect that within a few years we will know a lot more about these planets," Amaury Triaud, a co-author of the new study said during a press conference, add…

What Makes A Planet A Planet?

NASA is set to unveil a new planetary discovery, but debate still persists about what qualifies as a planet.


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NASA News Conference Live Stream: NASA To Announce Exoplanet Discoveries

NASA experts are holding a press conference to unveil new information about exoplanets, which are planets that revolve around a star other than our Sun. Watch the NASA live stream here.


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NASA announcement: live-stream the space agency’s latest exoplanet discovery

Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern, NASA will announce findings on a discovery outside our solar system. Rather, NASA is eager to tell us about new exoplanets — planets that orbit stars other than our own — it has found.


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Here's what the Ice Age tells us about future sea level rise

A new study on an ancient ice sheet may hold important clues about our planet's future. The research focuses on the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the massive expanse covering North America during the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. A team of scientists found that small spikes in the temperature of the ocean — not the air — likely caused periods of rapid melting and splintering of the ice. SEE ALSO: This 'GOT' star teamed up with Google to capture Greenland's melting ice Their findings add to a growing body of evidence that climate change could ultimately drive sea levels even higher than today's models predict, according to the study published Feb. 15 in the journal Nature. Glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica and other areas have been melting rapidly in recent years due in part to increasing ocean temperatures. "It is possible that modern-day glaciers ... are more sensitive to ocean warming than we previously thought," said Jeremy Bassis, the stud…

Scientists discover 7 earth-size planets with possible life orbiting star

NASA announced the discovery of the most Earth-size planets found in the habitable zone of a single star. The dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, was discovered in 2008.


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Trappist-1 Nasa announcement: We could find alien life within 10 years on newly discovered planets

Seven potentially habitable exoplanets have been discovered in a solar system 40 light years away and, should it exist, we could find evidence of alien life within the next decade. Nasa hosted a press conference on 22 February to reveal the findings of the new study which was a multinational collaboration between top space scientists. The planets orbit the ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.


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Russia successfully launches space freighter after crash

Russia on Wednesday successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft taking food and equipment to the International Space Station after the previous such ship crashed to Earth shortly after launch in December. A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress cargo ship lifted off on schedule at 05:58 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russian space agency Roscosmos said. After around nine minutes, the Progress ship "separated normally" from the third stage of the Soyuz rocket and set off on a two-day trip to the ISS, Roscosmos said.


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NASA discovered 7 Earth-sized planets and everyone made the same Trump jokes

Finally — some good news. NASA has found what pretty much appears to be a backup solar system a mere 40 light-years away. And not a moment too soon. SEE ALSO: NASA may put astronauts on the first flight of its new mega-rocket Scientists discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets circling a dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, and everyone on Earth is ready to sign up for a one-way ticket to the new system. (Using current technology, it would be nearly impossible for humans to get to the planetary system, however. #Thanks2017.) Image: NASA/JPL-CALTECH Everyone also immediately made the scientific achievement about the 45th president. With seven new worlds suddenly available, the possibilities seemed endless. Earthlings could send Trump to the new system. He could mess up these exoplanets before destroying Earth. Or we could all flee to these new worlds and leave Trump behind. Twitter was filling up with Trump and TRAPPIST-1 jokes as soon as NASA made the announcement. Trump just announced that we'…

Adding friendly bacteria to skin lotion wards off bad germs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bacteria live on everyone's skin, and new research shows some friendly germs produce natural antibiotics that ward off their disease-causing cousins. Now scientists are mixing the good bugs into lotions in hopes of spreading protection.


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Exoplanets 101: Looking for life beyond our Solar System

Paris (AFP) - Seven Earth-like planets orbiting a small star in our Galaxy called Trappist-1, revealed Wednesday, are the most recent -- and arguably the most spectacular -- in a string of exoplanet discoveries going back 20 years.


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Climate Change Could Have Wide-Ranging Effects on Mental Health

Climate change may have surprising and wide-ranging effects on mental health, experts say. That's because climate change is both a root cause of mental health crises and a "threat multiplier," meaning that it makes existing mental health problems worse, said Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist in private practice and an advisory board member for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Van Susteren spoke about the connection between climate change and mental health yesterday (Feb. 16) here at the Climate & Health Meeting, a gathering of experts from public health organizations, universities and advocacy groups that focused on the health impacts of climate change.


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Bye Bye, Bao Bao: Panda leaves Washington for China

One of Washington's most popular residents left town on Tuesday: Bao Bao, the National Zoo's uber-popular young female panda, headed to her new home in China. Bao Bao left Dulles International Airport outside the US capital on a specially outfitted cargo plane for a 16-hour nonstop flight to the Chinese city of Chengdu, home to a special research base for giant panda breeding. Once in China, the 3.5-year-old Bao Bao -- born in August 2013 at the National Zoo -- will stay in quarantine for about a month, before entering the breeding program.


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DNA evidence proves a maternal dynasty existed in North America 1,200 years ago

An ancient North American dynasty ruling parts of the what is now the southwestern US 1,200 years ago used to only pass its power to elites born from powerful women, according to new DNA evidence. In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications on Feb. 21., scientists reported work done on DNA material from…


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DC-based for decades, Apollo 11 capsule to go on road trip

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) — The Apollo 11 command module, which traveled more than 950,000 miles to take Americans to the moon and back in 1969, is going on a road trip, leaving the Smithsonian for the first time in more than four decades.


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EPA's Scott Pruitt enters a hotbed of anti-Trump resistance: his own agency

Usually, new administrators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are welcomed at headquarters without too much fanfare. That is, until today.  Scott Pruitt — the new EPA administrator nominated to the position by President Donald Trump — gave his welcome address to his agency Tuesday after garnering more "no" votes on the Senate floor than any other EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970.  SEE ALSO: One of the shortest bills ever was just introduced in Congress, it's basically just 'KILL THE EPA' In taking on the job, Pruitt is facing a daunting challenge: stiff resistance from within the agency itself, with current and former employees having protested his nomination, with some taking the nearly unheard of step of openly advocating for senators to vote "no" when it was brought to the Senate floor.  For some scientists in the agency, his first speech was probably the equivalent of Voldemort himself walking into Hogwarts and assuming th…

Brain scans 'may spot teen drug problems'

Brain scans may help predict which teenagers go on to develop drug problems, a study suggests.


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