Science

  • Scientists Exit Hawaii Dome After Yearlong Mars Simulation
    ABC News

    Scientists Exit Hawaii Dome After Yearlong Mars Simulation

    Six scientists have completed a yearlong Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in a dome in near isolation. For the past year, the group in the dome on a Mauna Loa mountain could go outside only while wearing spacesuits. On Sunday, the simulation ended, and the scientists emerged. Cyprien Verseux, a crew member from France, said the simulation shows a mission to Mars can succeed. "I can give you my personal impression which is that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic. I think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome," Verseux said. Christiane Heinicke, a crew member from Germany, said the scientists were able to find their own water in a dry climate.

  • ABC News

    In Drought, Drones Help California Farmers Save Every Drop

    A drone whirred to life in a cloud of dust, then shot hundreds of feet skyward for a bird's-eye view of a vast tomato field in California's Central Valley, the nation's most productive farming region. Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Cannon Michael is putting drone technology to work on his fields at Bowles Farming Co. near Los Banos, 120 miles southeast of

  • Lucy, our oldest human ancestor, probably died because she fell out of a tree
    Quartz

    Lucy, our oldest human ancestor, probably died because she fell out of a tree

    Lucy was a tiny—just three and a half feet tall and about 60 pounds. When she lived 3.2 million years ago in Ethiopia, she likely spent her days foraging for food and her nights sleeping in trees to avoid predators. Unfortunately, her makeshift tree house was probably the cause of her death. On Aug. 29, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin published (paywall) work in Nature that uncovers new evidence about how Lucy, one of our oldest ancestors, died. Based on close inspection and computed tomographic (CT) scans of a subset of breaks in her skeleton, they concluded Lucy probably fell about 40 feet to her death, and the fall happened close to the crevasse where she was found. John

  • OpEd: Billionaires are racing to the stars, but who really owns outer space?
    CNBC

    OpEd: Billionaires are racing to the stars, but who really owns outer space?

    Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Authority announced that Moon Express, a space exploration business owned by private U.S. citizens, had been approved to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2017. Moon Express reportedly aims to land a robotic vehicle (an MX-1 lander) on the moon to maneuver it about the lunar surface and to beam images and data back to Earth. The mission is apparently a first step toward the venture's overall goal of developing and mining mineral resources of the moon .

  • More Than 300 Reindeer Killed By Lightning: Here's Why
    LiveScience.com

    More Than 300 Reindeer Killed By Lightning: Here's Why

    More than 300 wild reindeer were killed after being struck by lightning in Norway, in what government officials say was an unusually deadly event. It's not uncommon for wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes, but what made this storm so deadly? Most lightning deaths that occur in groups are due to the ground current, John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Verge.

  • French environment minister announces partnerships in Iran
    AFP

    French environment minister announces partnerships in Iran

    France's environment minister signed Sunday a plan for French firms to help tackle Iran's environmental problems, but criticised the refusal of her country's banks to work with the Islamic republic. Segolene Royal met in Tehran with the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organisation, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and a group of ministers, agreeing to work together on the water shortage, energy efficiency and pollution problems facing Iran.

  • LiveScience.com

    More Parents Are Refusing Vaccinations, But Their Reasons Are Changing

    Parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids are now more likely to say their reason is that they do not see a need for vaccination, the researchers found. Pediatricians should continue to talk to parents who have concerns about vaccines to try to increase immunization rates, said study co-author Dr. Catherine Hough-Telford, a pediatrician at the University of Alabama. In the study, researchers surveyed 627 pediatricians in 2013 and asked them whether their patients' parents had ever refused a vaccination, or had asked to delay a vaccination.

  • First secret from ancient stone tablet revealed
    CBS News

    First secret from ancient stone tablet revealed

    An ancient tablet recently unearthed in Tuscany has revealed its first secret: the engraved name of a goddess linked to fertility. The 500-pound (227 kilograms) stone slab, or stele, was unearthed earlier this year at Poggio Colla, a sixth century B.C. site built by the Etruscans. The stele bears a long inscription in a language that has not been used for 2,500 years, project archaeologist Gregory Warden, a professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told Live Science in April. Now, translation is underway and archaeologists have discovered that the tablet references the goddess Uni. [Photos: The Tomb of an Etruscan Prince] “We can at this point affirm that this discovery is

  • Rocket Lab nearing completion of world's first private orbital launch site
    CNBC

    Rocket Lab nearing completion of world's first private orbital launch site

    Rocket Lab , whose technology aims to propel small satellites into orbit at a fraction of the current industry prices, has nearly completed construction of the world's first private launch site. Located on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula, the site was designed to "enable the highest frequency of space launches in history," according to Rocket Lab, a U.S. company with a New Zealand subsidiary. Ten-year old Rocket Lab will be charging $4.9 million per launch, a significant discount to SpaceX's $62 million price tag, and hopes to conduct weekly operations.

  • More than 300 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway
    AFP

    More than 300 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway

    More than 300 wild reindeer have been killed by lightning in southern Norway, officials said Monday, in the largest such incident known to date. The 323 reindeer, including 70 young, were found on Friday by a gamekeeper on the Hardangervidda plateau, a national park where Europe's largest herd of some 10,000 wild reindeer roam freely. The animals stay close together in bad weather and these ones were hit by lightning," an official from the Norwegian Environment Agency, Kjartan Knutsen, told AFP.

  • The New York Times - Harnessing the Firenado
    New York Times

    The New York Times - Harnessing the Firenado

    From The New York Times: A new, blue, whirling shape of fire, inspired by bourbon, could one day help clean up oil spills.. Watch the original video on Times Video: http://nyti.ms/2bTU9KO

  • This animated map shows why animals can't survive climate change without our help
    Quartz

    This animated map shows why animals can't survive climate change without our help

    As the global climate gets hotter both people and animals will have to adapt to changes in their local environments. However, while people can shed clothes or turn up the A/C, animals have fewer options to maintain the conditions they need to survive. If their home habitats change too much, they’ll be forced to migrate in search of new territory. “Migration” sounds like a simple fix, and in some cases it might be, if not for one big problem: There are, literally, a lot of things in the way. Nearly every path that animals would naturally travel is blocked by roads, fences, houses and other man-made barriers. According to research published earlier this year in PNAS (paywall), “only 41% of natural

  • Scientists Declare We Are Officially In 'The Age Of Man' — Marked By Plastic Litter And Nuclear Bombs
    UPROXX

    Scientists Declare We Are Officially In 'The Age Of Man' — Marked By Plastic Litter And Nuclear Bombs

    Humans have so altered the Earth and its atmosphere that we have ushered in a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene. On Monday, an official expert group made this recommendation at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town.

  • LiveScience.com

    EpiPen Alternatives Exist, and They May be Cheaper

    The soaring price of the EpiPen has garnered controversy recently, but there are alternatives to this well-known allergy treatment device. The EpiPen belongs to a class of medical devices known as epinephrine auto-injectors, which allow people to quickly inject a precise dose of the drug epinephrine. The devices are used to treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can be triggered, in people who have the corresponding allergies, by foods, insect stings, medications and certain other substances.

  • The Quiet Work of a Civil Engineer
    The Atlantic

    The Quiet Work of a Civil Engineer

    Civil engineering is often called the oldest engineering discipline, as humans have been building roads, bridges, and water ducts for thousands of years. The profession is also expected to expand by 8 percent in the next 10 years, as increasing urbanization and an interest in renewable-energy create new projects for civil engineers. Engineering is the STEM sector where the struggle for female representation is the most pronounced: According to statistics compiled by the Society of Women Engineers, only 12 percent of engineers are female.

  • ABC News

    Feds Turn to Space Experts NASA for Small-Drone Traffic Plan

    As the unmanned aircraft industry continues to evolve, the United States is depending on its space agency to help manage small drone traffic close to the Earth. NASA is currently entering the second phase of a four-step plan to draw up rules of the skies for drones that weigh 55 pounds or less and fly no higher than 500 feet. The project is meant to develop performance standards for drones that would be used for commercial purposes by companies such as Amazon and Google. The agency is hoping to present its research to the Federal Aviation Administration before 2020, John Cavolowsky, director of NASA's Airspace Operations and Safety Program, told attendees at a drone summit in North Dakota last week.

  • Russian man volunteers for first human head transplant
    CBS News

    Russian man volunteers for first human head transplant

    While severing someone’s head and attaching it to another person’s body sounds like something straight out of a science fiction or horror movie, some real-life scientists say they are planning to do just that – as early as next year. Italian neuroscientist Dr. Sergio Canavero made headlines last year when he announced his plans to perform the first human head transplant in 2017. Since then, he’s recruited Chinese surgeon Dr. Xiaoping Ren to work with him, and now has found a volunteer patient for the procedure: a Russian man named Valery Spiridonov. In its September issue, The Atlantic profiles Spiridonov and the two scientists who hope to perform the experimental – and highly controversial – procedure.

  • This is what it looks like when society collapses
    Business Insider

    This is what it looks like when society collapses

    Before society collapses, it slows down. A team of researchers examined the archaeological record that Neolithic European — that is, between 3,000 and 10,000 years — societies left in the years before several different collapses. Sean Downey, a University of Maryland anthropologist and a researcher on the study, said that to understand what it means for a society to slow down, you should imagine a rainforest.

  • LiveScience.com

    Will You Make More Money If You Attend a Top-Tier School?

    College tuitions are becoming prohibitively expensive for many people, with Harvard University now costing almost $61,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees. Given the high price tag, is it worth it to graduate from a highly selective school versus a less expensive, lower-tier one? The answer is, yes, "selectivity matters a lot," at least for most majors, according to two researchers.

  • Scientists discover vast reef behind Great Barrier Reef
    Fox News

    Scientists discover vast reef behind Great Barrier Reef

    Researchers working with the Royal Australian Navy have discovered an extensive reef system behind the famous Great Barrier Reef, mapping a huge network of donut-shaped features that measure between 650 and 984 feet across. The formations are called bioherms, and were made by a type of algae called halimeda. Shaped like donuts, the structures can be as deep as 33 feet in their center. “We’ve known about these geological structures in the northern Great Barrier Reef since the 1970s and 80s, but never before has the true nature of their shape, size and vast scale been revealed,” Robin Beaman, a researcher with James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, said in a statement. Beaman is also a

  • Scientists exit Hawaii dome after yearlong Mars simulation
    ap.org

    Scientists exit Hawaii dome after yearlong Mars simulation

    Six scientists have completed a yearlong Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in a dome in near isolation. For the past year, the group in the dome on a Mauna Loa mountain could go outside only while wearing spacesuits. On Sunday, the simulation ended, and the scientists emerged.

  • After Math: Only the essentials
    Engadget

    After Math: Only the essentials

    It was a pretty kick-ass week in terms of interplanetary exploration -- and not even just in NMS. Astronomers found a potentially habitable planet just 4.2 light years from us! This could be our first stop beyond Mars but it's going to take a while to get there, so we're going to have to travel light. That means bringing nothing but the most essential of supplies -- like scouter drones, custom-designed hazmat suits, efficient solar power generators and 8K televisions. Numbers, because how else are you going to calculate the interstellar rocket's payload fraction?

  • Six Scientists Lived in a Tiny Pod for a Year Pretending They Were on Mars
    Wired

    Six Scientists Lived in a Tiny Pod for a Year Pretending They Were on Mars

    It sounds nuts, and maybe you have to be, but Six scientists completed a yearlong NASA-funded Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in a dome in near isolation.

  • SAPVoice: Could Big Data Have Saved Ancient Civilizations?
    Forbes

    SAPVoice: Could Big Data Have Saved Ancient Civilizations?

    The burning of the Ancient Library of Alexandria has come to symbolize the tragedy of irretrievably losing valuable cultural information and knowledge. The Egyptian centre of scholarship was one of the largest and most important libraries of the ancient world, standing from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Romans conquered Egypt in 30 BC. Today, our information is decentralized across huge regions, and thanks to digital technology, there is a lot more of it. According to the documentary The Human Face of Big Data (shown worldwide as part of SAP’s Our Digital Future film series), the typical person in the Western world is now exposed to as much data in one day as someone in the 15th century would have seen in their entire life.

  • 60% of key S.Asian water basin not usable: study
    AFP

    60% of key S.Asian water basin not usable: study

    Sixty percent of the groundwater in a river basin supporting more than 750 million people in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh is not drinkable or usable for irrigation, researchers said Monday. The biggest threat to groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic Basin, named after the Indus and Ganges rivers, is not depletion but contamination, they reported in the journal Nature Geoscience. Up to a depth of 200 metres (650 feet), some 23 percent of the groundwater stored in the basin is too salty, and about 37 percent "is affected by arsenic at toxic concentrations," they said.