Science

  • ABC News

    Europe's Comet Probe Rosetta Ends 12-Year Mission With Crash

    After 12 years of hurtling through space in pursuit of a comet, the Rosetta probe ended its mission Friday with a slow-motion crash onto the icy surface of the alien world it was sent out to study. Mission controllers lost contact with the probe, as expected, after it hit the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 1039 GMT (6:39 a.m. EDT) Friday, the European Space Agency said. Aside from sending a lander onto the surface of comet 67P in November 2014 — a cosmic first — the Rosetta mission has collected vast amounts of data that researchers will spend many years analyzing. Scientists have already heralded several discoveries from the mission that offer new insights into the formation of the solar system and the origins of life on Earth.

  • Rare 'Black Moon' Rises Over Western Hemisphere Friday Night
    ABC News

    Rare 'Black Moon' Rises Over Western Hemisphere Friday Night

    A rare "black moon" rises Friday night over the Western Hemisphere, but don't expect to see it. NASA says a black moon is the second new moon in a calendar month. A new moon is the start of the lunar cycle and the phase where the moon is impossible to see because it's completely shrouded in darkness. A black moon occurs about once every 32 months. Friday night's officially takes place at 8:11 p.m. on the East Coast. The term "black moon" contrasts with "blue moon," which is the second full moon in a calendar month.

  • Congress members question whether SpaceX should conduct its own investigation
    Los Angeles Times

    Congress members question whether SpaceX should conduct its own investigation

    Ten Republican Congress members led by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) have sent a letter to the heads of the Air Force, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration questioning whether SpaceX should be allowed to lead its own investigation into a Sept. 1 launch pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and a communications satellite. The letter, dated Thursday, also cited SpaceX’s prior explosion in June 2015 while carrying cargo for NASA to the International Space Station. The Hawthorne space company led its own investigation for that launch failure.  Under federal law, SpaceX is allowed to conduct its own investigation. SpaceX, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., and

  • 'World's deepest flooded cave' discovered in Czech Republic
    AFP

    'World's deepest flooded cave' discovered in Czech Republic

    A Czech-Polish team said Friday it had discovered the world's deepest underwater cave in the eastern Czech Republic. At 404 metres (1,325 feet) deep, the Hranicka Propast, a limestone abyss near the city of Hranice, beats out Italy's Pozzo del Merro cave that is 392 metres deep for the world record, Miroslav Lukas of the Czech Speleological Society told AFP.

  • Why Mars’ Job Market Could Be About to Take Off
    Fortune

    Why Mars’ Job Market Could Be About to Take Off

    Elon Musk unveiled his plan to get the human race to Mars on Tuesday, but the question remains, why would anyone want to go? One reason Musk gave was that it will be a great place to find work. Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer and president of the Mars Society who likes to use European colonization of the Americans as a guide to how a Martian colonization might work, points out that European immigrants to New England and Virginia went there in search of gold and silver. They found none of those metals, as is likely to be the case with Mars, but instead were able to sustain themselves through agriculture, and in the case of Virginia eventually found a viable export in tobacco.

  • Nick Hillary Weeps at Verdict in Garrett Phillips' Murder Trial: Part 6
    ABC News Videos

    Nick Hillary Weeps at Verdict in Garrett Phillips' Murder Trial: Part 6

    Nick Hillary's civil lawsuit against the village of Potsdam and the police is still pending. Reporter: At the majestic St. Lawrence county courthouse, it is time for justice. Hillary waived his right to a jury trial, allowing one man, judge Felix catena, to decide his fate.

  • How weak DNA evidence railroaded—and then rescued—Amanda Knox
    Ars Technica

    How weak DNA evidence railroaded—and then rescued—Amanda Knox

    Today, September 30, Netflix releases its original documentary, Amanda Knox. The film features the now exonerated suspects and the prosecutor who charged them as the piece looks back at a murder trial that grabbed headlines worldwide. As such, we're resurfacing our piece from October 2011 that examined how DNA evidence put Knox in jail before ultimately rescuing her. If you watch crime dramas, you'll be forgiven for the impression that DNA evidence makes an airtight case. And if you do have that impression, you might be confused about the internationally famous case of American Amanda Knox, convicted of murdering her British roommate in Perugia, Italy in 2007. After all, the prosecution's case

  • Global warming set to pass 2C threshold in 2050: report
    AFP

    Global warming set to pass 2C threshold in 2050: report

    Earth is on track to sail past the two degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold for dangerous global warming by 2050, seven of the world's top climate scientists warned Thursday. "Climate change is happening now, and much faster than anticipated," said Sir Robert Watson, former head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the body charged with distilling climate science for policy makers. Since 1990, devastating weather-related events -- floods, drought, more intense storms, heat waves and wild fires -- due to climate change have doubled in number, Watson and the other scientists said in a report.

  • The Surprising Health Benefit of Riding Roller Coasters
    Travel+Leisure

    The Surprising Health Benefit of Riding Roller Coasters

    Riding a roller coaster could be beneficial for passing kidney stones. After patients came back from Disney World, a urologist at Michigan State University noticed an interesting pattern: Those who rode medium-intensity roller coasters came back with fewer kidney stones. In fact, one patient told the doctor that he passed a kidney stone every single time he rode Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster.

  • ABC News

    Reptile With 'Bizarre' Limbs Tweaks Current Understanding of Evolution

    A new study on 212-million-year-old fossils from an extinct reptile with strange arms has shed new light on our understanding of evolution. A team of scientists analyzed the fossils of a drepanosaurus, a prehistoric reptile that has been described as a "chameleon-anteater hybrid," and found that the bone structure, especially in the front limbs, were unlike any other animals from that time period. “This animal stretches the bounds of what we think can evolve in the limbs of four-footed animals,” Adam Pritchard, the lead author on the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University, said in a statement. Pritchard, Alan Turner of Stony Brook University, Randall Irmis of the University of

  • A city in Iceland turned off street lamps to show people the northern lights
    Mashable

    A city in Iceland turned off street lamps to show people the northern lights

    For a brief moment on Wednesday night the residents of an Icelandic city usually bathed in artificial light were treated to spectacular views of the green curtains of the northern lights dancing overhead. Usually, people need to travel far from Reykjavík's city lights to catch sight of the aurora borealis.

  • The worker shortage facing America's farmers
    CNN Money

    The worker shortage facing America's farmers

    American farmers say they are facing a severe worker shortage. More than half of U.S. farm workers are undocumented immigrants, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet, that pool of workers is shrinking. A recent Pew Research report found that more Mexican immigrants are now leaving the U.S. than coming into the country, citing tougher enforcement of immigration laws and the slow economic recovery here in the U.S. (The report accounted for both documented and undocumented immigrants). With fewer workers, farm owners say costs are rising and they often must leave unpicked fruit to rot in the fields. Many producers are even opting to leave the U.S. for countries with lower costs and fewer

  • Beijing's silver-plated 'Smog Free Tower' turns pollution into carbon cubes
    Digital Trends

    Beijing's silver-plated 'Smog Free Tower' turns pollution into carbon cubes

    Beijing residents are all too familiar with air pollution. On high pollution days, dense smog permeates the sky, contaminates the streets, and of course is breathed into people’s lungs. The tower is part of the Smog Free Project, a clean air initiative led by Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde, who bills the structure as “the largest electronic vacuum cleaner in the world.” Stationed in parks, the tower creates a bubble of clean air in otherwise polluted areas.

  • Ask a MacArthur ‘genius’: Could elusive deep-sea microbes help fight climate change?
    Washington Post

    Ask a MacArthur ‘genius’: Could elusive deep-sea microbes help fight climate change?

    Victoria Orphan has a problem. The geobiologist wants to understand how tiny microorganisms interact with their physical environment. But the organisms she wants to study are not exactly easy to access: They live on the ocean floor. Orphan’s quest to study those elusive microbes has taken her deep into one of Earth’s last frontiers — and her latest frontier is life as a MacArthur grant winner. There are compelling reasons for studying archaea and bacteria at the bottom of the sea. Both kinds of organisms play a fundamental role in gobbling up methane, a greenhouse gas that gets trapped at the bottom of the ocean in the form of an ice-like substance. Those substances, called methane hydrates,

  • Tech titans join to study artificial intelligence
    AFP

    Tech titans join to study artificial intelligence

    Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind on Wednesday announced a non-profit organization called "Partnership on AI" focused on helping the public understand the technology and practices in the field. The move comes amid concerns that new artificial intelligence efforts could spin out of control and end up being detrimental to society. Academics, non-profit groups, and specialists in policy and ethics will be invited to join the board of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI).

  • ABC News

    Researchers Sample Unusually Rich Deep-Sea Area off Hawaii

    Federal researchers have just returned from an expedition to study the biodiversity and mechanisms of an unusually rich deep-sea ecosystem off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday that the abundance of sea life sampled in a particular stretch of water off the Big Island points to a thriving deep-sea habitat, but they aren't exactly sure why. The area, about a mile off the south shore of Hawaii Island, was full of fish including sawtooth eels, dragonfish and many other mysterious deep-sea creatures. Much of the ocean surrounding Hawaii is among the least productive water in the Pacific, said the expedition's lead researcher Jamison Gove, a NOAA oceanographer.

  • EU agrees to ratify Paris climate deal
    AFP

    EU agrees to ratify Paris climate deal

    EU environment ministers agreed Friday to fast-track the ratification of the landmark Paris agreement on climate change, despite the fact that some national parliaments have yet to approve the deal. What some believed impossible is now real," European Union President Donald Tusk said on Twitter. Around 60 countries have now committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures, which was sealed in December 2015 in the French capital.

  • Nikola Tesla’s Dark Secret
    Ozy

    Nikola Tesla’s Dark Secret

    The boy spent much of his early childhood enduring Serbian traditions, including an overabundance of sloppy kisses from two wrinkly old aunts, one of whom had “two teeth protruding like the tusks of an elephant,” Nikola Tesla wrote in his autobiography. Recognized as one of the greatest inventors of his time, his celebrity status saw him hobnobbing with the likes of Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Edison and J.P Morgan. “It’s a word that is overused, but he really was a genius and a star among the stars,” says Marc Seifer, author of the biographical account of the engineer, Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla.

  • The UN wants to buy a spaceship to launch poor countries’ experiments into orbit
    Quartz

    The UN wants to buy a spaceship to launch poor countries’ experiments into orbit

    At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) underway in Mexico this week, that tension is front and center. A lack of funding means that poor nations often are denied the benefits of space access—not simply scientific advancement or international prestige, but the very real advantages that come from using satellites to track weather, monitor crops, provide telecommunications access, and mitigate disasters. The United Nations is stepping up efforts to help these countries close the gap.

  • Why birds never crash into each other in midair
    Business Insider

    Why birds never crash into each other in midair

    Birds always seem to avoid one another, even if they're flying on what looks like a collision course. The researchers looked at 10 birds, specifically parakeets or "budgies." They set the birds up on opposite ends of a tunnel and went through 102 rounds of flights. "As air traffic becomes increasing busy, there is a pressing need for robust automatic systems for manned and unmanned aircraft, so there are real lessons to be learned from nature," study author Mandyam Srinivasan said in a news release.

  • US Military Research Labs will take commercial technology for a constant game changing third offset innovation
    nextbigfuture.com

    US Military Research Labs will take commercial technology for a constant game changing third offset innovation

    First offset - nuclear weapons In the Cold War, the U.S. and its NATO allies sought a series of competitive advantages over the Soviet Union, a means by which to offset their very, very great conventional strength. The United States actually pursued two offset strategies. The first came with President Eisenhower's New Look Strategy in the early 1950s. When President Eisenhower came into office in 1953, the United States was heavily outnumbered by the Soviet conventional superiority on the European central front. Eisenhower estimated it would take 92 U.S. and NATO divisions to have any chance of checking, at the time, 175 Soviet divisions. But a force that size, with Europe rebuilding itself after

  • Surprisingly flexible 3D-printed bones could be used for treating fractures
    Digital Trends

    Surprisingly flexible 3D-printed bones could be used for treating fractures

    Scientists have demonstrated a new, 3D-printed hyperelastic “bone” that could be used in future implants and grafts to help mend a variety of bone-related injuries. “This is a very unique material that’s sort of a synthetic analog to natural bone,” Ramille Shah, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, told Digital Trends. “The unique thing about it is that it is 90 percent hydroxyapatite, which is the main mineral component of bone. Given this unique property, it’s interesting to hear that the hyperelastic abilities of the 3D-printed “bone” — which lets it regain its original shape when squashed or deformed — was actually a happy accident in the lab.

  • The black moon has a long, interesting history that greatly involves October
    Hello Giggles

    The black moon has a long, interesting history that greatly involves October

    Black Moons (and more broadly, new moons) have a long history of special meaning in many cultures and practices, and interestingly, it’s often connected to women! Right off the bat, if you look at a list of lunar deities, you’ll notice that the vast majority of them are female, which is kind of cool and interesting, especially since the moon holds such power in many cultures. Much like the blue moon, it’s just a colloquial name given to what is, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly mundane celestial event.

  • NY Man Goes on Trial For Murder of Ex-Girlfriend's Son: Part 5
    ABC News Videos

    NY Man Goes on Trial For Murder of Ex-Girlfriend's Son: Part 5

    The defense called attention to the lack of evidence, while the prosecution pointed out inconsistencies in Hillary's story. Reporter: This murder trial, any murder trial, is big news in St. Lawrence county, New York. Nick Hillary is charged with second degree murder in the 2011 death of 12yearold Garrett Phillips in potsdam.

  • Colombia peace deal will allow scientists to uncover country's unexplored biodiversity
    Fox News Latino

    Colombia peace deal will allow scientists to uncover country's unexplored biodiversity

    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA –  In 2004, scientist Diego Alarcón ventured into the Colombian mountains to study bird species in a place most scientists wouldn’t dare go: territory controlled by FARC rebels. Scientists studying Colombia’s rich biodiversity are among many celebrating the August announcement of a permanent ceasefire between the Colombian government and FARC rebels. After decades of limited access to Colombia’s most biodiverse areas, researchers can finally explore and document the plants, animals and microorganisms that make Colombia the second most biodiverse country in the world. One expedition by the Humboldt Institute has already uncovered more than 100 new species in conflict zones.