NASA is weighing the risk of adding astronauts to the first flight of its new megarocket. NASA's human exploration chief said Friday that his boss and the Trump administration requested the feasibility study. The Space Launch System will be the most powerful rocket ever built when it flies. It's intended for moon and Mars travel. NASA is shooting for an unmanned test flight in late 2018. Putting people on board would delay the mission and require extra money. The space agency's William Gerstenmaier says if adding astronauts to the first flight means delaying beyond 2019, it would probably be better to just stick with the original plan. NASA expects to issue its report in about a month.
Nearly 10 years after a "doomsday" seed vault opened on an Arctic island, some 50,000 new samples from seed collections around the world have been deposited in the world's largest repository built to safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out global food crops. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a gene bank built underground on the isolated island in a permafrost zone some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the North Pole, was opened in 2008 as a master backup to the world's other seed banks, in case their deposits are lost. The latest specimens sent to the bank, located on the Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, included more than 15,000 reconstituted samples
More than 17,000 ducks will be culled in Spain after a highly contagious bird flu strain that has affected poultry throughout Europe was detected at a farm, authorities said Thursday. The virus found in Catalonia is H5N8, said Meritxell Serret, in charge of agriculture in the northeastern region -- the same one that has seen hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese slaughtered in France's southwest. Up until now, the virus had only been detected in Spain in three wild animals.
Some of the nation's biggest scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union, are partnering with grass-roots organizers to plan the March for Science, an Earth Day rally in Washington and cities around the world aimed at defending "robustly funded and publicly communicated science." The news signals that the effort, spawned from social-media musings in the days after President Trump's inauguration, has officially gone mainstream. Such coordinated activism is a big change for scientists and the societies that represent them. Researchers have long been reluctant to dive into political debates out of concern that their
The term “farmer’s tan” may soon lose all significance, as the ancient art of cultivation moves indoors. A startup called Bowery Farming has caught the attention of investors and food experts alike, and as the urban farming industry grows, so too do these new companies’ wallets. Bowery Farming has just raised $7.5 million to help grow more food inside, even within a city. At the heart of Bowery’s operations is what it calls “post-organic vegetables.” Basically, all of the company’s produce are grown sans pesticides and depend upon a high-tech operating system.
A spectacular "ring of fire" solar eclipse Sunday will regale skygazers in South America and southern Africa, with seafarers in the nearby Atlantic getting a front-row view too, astronomers say. The eclipse -- during which the Sun will all but disappear as the Moon crosses its path -- will be most visible in a 100-kilometre (62-mile) band cutting through Chile, Argentina, Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Climate scientists don't typically make the rounds on late-night talk shows. But thanks to President Donald Trump, they do now. Ben Santer, a prominent atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday night — a rare step for someone employed by a government-run lab. "These are strange and unusual times, and it seems kind of important to talk about the science that we do," Santer told Meyers, explaining he was there as a private citizen. SEE ALSO: The geekiest signs from the 'Stand up for Science' rally Trump previously claimed that human-caused climate change is "a hoax." More recently, he's said he is "open-minded" on climate
Foam body armor? Even armor-piercing bullets cannot get through this foam. And the foam doesn’t just stop bullets. It destroys them … this foam decimates bullets into dust. North Carolina State University Professor Afsaneh Rabiei led the team that created the amazing foam. This is not ordinary foam like the kind used for shaving, for example. This is a special type of foam called composite metal foams, or CMF. The military and law enforcement could use this kind of foam for advanced, ultra-light body armor to protect personnel. And this research team has other foams up its sleeve that have the potential to keep military and first responders safe from radiation and extreme heat too. Bullet vs.
Just 1 percent of participants always said that they wanted to know what the future held for them. "In our study, we've found that people would rather decline the powers that made Cassandra famous, in an effort to forgo the suffering that knowing the future may cause, avoid regret and also maintain the enjoyment of suspense that pleasurable events provide," Gigerenzer said. Participants were asked whether, hypothetically, they would want to know about 10 future events, which ranged from serious to mundane.
Some Facts About the Full Moon In ancient times, looking into the sky and seeing a full moon must have been fascinating because we had no idea what caused it. All we knew was that it happened on a very predictable schedule. But today we know scientifically what causes a full moon. In fact, a full moon occurs when one side of the earth is fully illuminated by the moon. It occurs when the sun, moon, and earth are lined up with the earth in the middle. From our perspective, the rays of the sun are fully illuminating the moon, which makes it appear full. As the position of the sun, moon, and earth change, so too does the way we view the moon. Of course, the shape of the moon isn’t changing, just
NASA's Jupiter-circling spacecraft is stuck making long laps around the gas giant because of sticky valves. It currently takes Juno 53 days to fly around the solar system's biggest planet. That's almost four times longer than the intended 14-day orbit. After repeated delays, NASA decided late last week to forego an engine firing that would have shortened the orbit. Officials say the maneuver poses too much risk. NASA says the quality of science won't be affected. But it will take more time to gather the data, given Juno's longer loops. The mission will have to be extended at tens of millions of extra dollars if scientists are to collect everything under the original plan. It's already a billion-dollar
The accuracy of detecting voice biometrics may decrease as we age according to new research from a fraud detection firm. Pindrop presented its findings at the RSA security conference in San Francisco last week, where the firm demonstrated the existence of slight changes to the human voice’s speed and pitch over months and years. The researchers claimed that error rates in voice biometrics can double over a two-year period.
Can a better understanding of iron particles that are carried vast distances across the Pacific Ocean help scientists predict how our oceans can reduce carbon emissions? A new study by researchers at Texas A&M, Rutgers University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Minnesota and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute might have just made a big step in getting us the answer. Researchers determined that iron coming out of hydrothermal vents along volcanic mountain ridges in the Pacific can travel up to 2,500 miles. The iron is important for feeding phytoplankton, which are a key part of the marine food chain. Fish, for example, feed on phytoplankton. Scientists believe that that
How many times the first dog does this—giving a gift to another, with no benefit to itself—is a measure of what cognition researchers call “prosociality,” or, in essence, generosity. Specifically, how many times it gives food to a friend, or a strange dog, or just offers it to an empty enclosure can help researchers understand whether prosociality exists in dogs, part of a larger quest to understand which creatures are capable of generosity and how and when the trait evolved. In the past, the Messerli Research Institute scientists who run this particular facility at University of Vienna have found that pet dogs give more to their friends—dogs who live in the same house with them—than to strangers. With this task—dogs touching buttons with their noses, cuing a researcher to slide a plate of food under the barrier to the other chamber—dogs still give more to friends than strangers.
See how Scrub Daddy, Bombas, Lovepop and others have done since they appeared on the show. So for all the people out there, what's the one thing you would tell them to make it happen? There is nothing special about the six of us. We're all selfmade.
Some analysts cite Hillary Clinton's continued criticism of drug prices as a cause for a slump in biotech during the U.S. presidential campaign, but with the election behind us, many biotech enterprises saw at least a 9% increase due to Donald Trump's victory. Two companies in the biotech space entering the first quarter of 2017 may be in a position for their products, as well as stock prices, to move to greater heights, BioVie Inc. (BIVI) and Organovo Holdings Inc. (ONVO). Warning! GuruFocus has detected 2 Warning Signs with ONVO.
It’s hard to imagine anything more despised than mosquitos. They menacingly buzz about, swoop in to feast on your blood, and often leave behind an annoying, itchy lump. But by far the worst bit is that they spread throngs of pathogens—dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile, malaria… the list goes on. Their bites cause hundreds of millions of infections each year. Dengue alone infects around 390 million people a year globally. Malaria strikes around 214 million. What if there was a vaccine that could, in one fell swoop, prevent all of those infections? As a bonus, what if it could also prevent itchy responses to mosquito bites and even knock back the bug’s populations? It sounds like
Life expectancy is expected to rise in many countries around the world, but in the United States, that increase is predicted to be smaller than in other countries, a new study finds. In the study, published today (Feb. 21) in the journal The Lancet, researchers predicted what the average life expectancies will be in 35 countries for people born in the year 2030. The greatest increases in life expectancies over their present levels were predicted for girls born in South Korea and boys born in Hungary, the researchers found.
The face of a 1,400-year-old murder victim is seeing the light of day, now that scientists have digitally reconstructed his features. Archaeologists found the man’s remains — placed in an odd, cross-legged position with rocks pinning down his arms and legs — during the excavation of a cave in the Black Isle, Ross-shire, in the Scottish Highlands. The archaeologists sent the man’s bones to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee in Australia. The team there, led by forensic anthropologist Sue Black, analyzed the bones and identified the horrific injuries the man had sustained, including five impacts that led to the fracturing of the man’s face and skull.
Initially, Clint Perry wanted to make a vending machine for bumblebees. He wanted to understand how they solve problems. Perry, a cognitive biologist at Queen Mary University of London, is interested in testing the limits of animal intelligence. "I want to know: How does the brain do stuff? How does it make decisions? How does it keep memory?" says Perry. And how big does a brain need to be in order to do all of those things? He decided to test this on bumblebees by presenting the insects with a puzzle that they'd likely never encounter in the wild. He didn't end up building that vending machine, but he did put bees through a similar scenario. Perry and his colleagues wrote Thursday in the journal
One of the great joys and headaches of writing about science for a D.C. audience is that there are a lot of brilliant people reading: engineers at NASA, doctors for the National Institutes of Health, paleontologists at the Smithsonian, etc. And they always notice when I make a mistake. So I wasn't totally surprised when I arrived at work Thursday morning and found a disgruntled message on my answering machine. My story about the discovery of a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized exoplanets had run in that day's paper. And Bert Schwarzschild, a particle physicist and former editor of the magazine Physics Today, had a bone to pick about one small number in the piece: 365.26. That's how long
African nations are gearing up to battle an invasive crop pest called the fall armyworm, which has been rapidly spreading across the continent since its arrival there just over a year ago. The caterpillar has wreaked destruction on staple crops including maize (corn), millet and sorghum. Experts warn that Europe and Asia could be next. Officials gathered for an emergency meeting—organized by the regional Africa office of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations—in Harare, Zimbabwe, earlier this month to coordinate their response. Sixteen countries agreed to urgent plans to boost the region’s capacity to manage crop pests. “The meeting in Harare was basically aimed largely
1 2/24/2017 12:50 AM PST Neil deGrasse Tyson says there's a chance the newly discovered cluster of Earth-sized planets could harbor life, but there's something big (yet small) they haven't told you about. Dr. Tyson told us the science community is ecstatic over NASA's discovery. Truth is, even non-scientists are geeking out. Sooo ... here's the bad news. The 'Cosmos' host has issues with the sun. Not ours, but the red dwarf star next to the newfound planets ... because it's creating a seriously hostile environment. Neil's explanation is awesome! Better news? He's got a great idea about naming the cluster, as long as Disney doesn't get in the way.
We commemorate black history in February. However, much too often, many attempt to relegate or marginalize such reality to a people, place or thing, casually discussing the phrase "black history" as though it should only hold value during the shortest month of the year, without ever considering the profound depths of the definitions or words. It is imperative that we welcome the full knowledge and understanding that, as a race of people, our blackness belongs to an infinite energy, power and melanated essence much older and ancient than the world as we know it. Ancient and holy writings teach in the beginning there was darkness which moved upon the face of the deep. According to Webster, black