The European Space Agency says it is switching off its radio link to the probe that landed on a comet, after receiving no signal from the lander for a year. The agency says the decision to shut down a communications instrument on the Rosetta spacecraft Wednesday was taken to conserve energy. Rosetta had used the instrument to communicate with its lander, Philae, which touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014. During the next two months, Rosetta will use its remaining power to conduct scientific measurements before it crash-lands on the comet Sept. 30. Data collected by Rosetta and Philae have improved scientists' understanding of comets and the role they played in the
The ALS Association is crediting money raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge for the discovery of a gene they say is among the most common that contribute to the progressive disease. Those who accepted the challenge allowed buckets of ice water to be dumped on their heads to raise awareness of ALS. The challenge became a viral sensation in 2014 and raised more than $100 million for the association. Some of that money helped fund a global effort to help find genetic drivers of the condition called Project MinE. The ALS Association says a paper published this week in the journal Nature Genetics reveals Project MinE researchers have identified the NEK1 gene's connection to ALS. It says understanding
If you want to see a tall population of men, go to the Netherlands. National height averages are useful as an indicator of nutrition, health care, environment and general health that people have experienced from the womb through adolescence, said Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, who led the research. The tallest men in the new analysis were Dutch, with an average height of about 6 feet (182.5 centimeters).
Scientists say that money raised from the challenge funded research that has helped identify a gene that could lead to new therapies. When a famous ice bucket challenge is paying off it is now being credited with a step forward in the fight against Lou
A computerized brain training program cut the risk of dementia among healthy people by 48 percent, U.S. researchers said on Sunday in reporting an analysis of the results of a 10-year study. The preliminary findings, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto, are the first to show that any kind of intervention could delay the development of dementia in normal, healthy adults. To date, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have largely rejected evidence that computer-based cognitive-training software or "brain games" have any effect on cognitive function. The new findings would be quite promising if they hold up through peer review and publication in a scientific journal, said Dr. John King, an expert in social research at the National Institute of Aging.
What began as a brush fire last Friday rapidly morphed into a raging blaze over the weekend, burning more than 33,000 acres and destroying at least 18 homes in Los Angeles County. Only about 10 percent of the wildfire was contained by Sunday night, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported. “All the experience we’ve had with fires is out the window,” John Tripp, the county’s deputy fire chief, told the Associated Press.
Futuristic technologies that promise to improve people's strength and smarts by editing genes, implanting brain chips or super-charging blood have raised more concern than enthusiasm among Americans, a poll showed on Tuesday. The survey by the Pew Research Center included more than 4,700 US adults, and is considered a nationally representative sample. The prospect of brain implants that could increase intelligence and focus also raised concern for 69 percent of people, as did the potential of synthetic blood that could improve speed, strength and stamina (63 percent).
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At first glance, Daisy, Debbie, Denise and Diana are like any other sheep, ambling in a green field in Nottingham, England, chewing cud and minding their own business. The reason — they are clones of the most famous sheep in history. “‘Sister clones’ probably best describes them,” Kevin Sinclair, a professor of developmental biology at the University of Nottingham, and the lead author of the first detailed and comprehensive assessment of age-related non-communicable diseases in cloned organisms, told NPR.
Israel's national museum is set to display a 2,200-year-old Egyptian mummy of a man who was afflicted with some modern-day illnesses such as osteoporosis and tooth decay, the museum said on Tuesday. The mummy is the only such relic in Israel, named the "Protective Eye of Horus," after a pharaonic deity. It was kept for decades at a Jesuit institute in Jerusalem before it was loaned to the Israel Museum.
Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, should be riddled with craters. But when NASA's Dawn spacecraft started orbiting the dwarf planet last year, scientists were surprised to find it was relatively smooth. In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, researchers conclude that something mysterious must have erased the marks. Given the pockmarked appearance of most asteroid belt objects — including Vesta, the asteroid that Dawn visited before arriving at Ceres — scientists expected many large craters to pepper their planetary target. “Ceres is thought to have formed at the dawn of the solar system, some one to ten million years or so after the onset
The clock is ticking for the rats, possums and weasels that have invaded New Zealand over the past few hundred years. Before humans landed in New Zealand less than 800 years ago, precious few mammals lived on the islands — a vibrant archipelago that provided a home for flightless birds, such as the kiwi, takahe and kakapo parrot, as well as geckos and lizard-like tuataras. "While once the greatest threat to our native wildlife was poaching and deforestation, it is now introduced predators," Key said in a statement.
Super volcanic eruptions are so catastrophically powerful that they could devastate the entire planet. In a worst case scenario, these kinds of eruptions can eject 1000s of cubic kilometers of magma and ash in the matter of days or few months. That much ash in the atmosphere could block out the light and heat of the sun for years or decades. Unlike most volcanic eruptions, what makes super-eruptions different is that they are unable to erupt easily.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is being credited with helping to raise significant funds that have allowed researchers to identify a gene found to be one of the most common in people with the deadly disease that affects neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The Challenge became a sensation two summers ago and involved participants, including many athletes and celebrities, pouring ice water over their heads to help raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The effort raised more than $100 million in contributions for the ALS Association, which contributed $1 million to the Project MinE research project. "The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled us to secure funding from new sources in new parts of the world," said Bernard Muller, an entrepreneur who suffers from the progressive disease and helped start the research project.
A footprint measuring over a meter wide that was made by a meat-eating predator some 80 million years ago has been discovered in Bolivia, one of the largest of its kind ever found. The print, which measures 1.2 meters (1.3 yards) across, probably belonged to the abelisaurus, a biped dinosaur that once roamed South America, said Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia, who is studying the find. The print was found some 64 kilometers (40 miles) outside the city of Sucre in central Bolivia by a tourist guide earlier this month.
Solar Impulse 2 — the experimental solar plane which first set out on its circumnavigation attempt in 2015 — has just landed in Abu Dhabi, its final landing spot and the city where its around-the-world bid began. Piccard and his fellow Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg set out on this world tour to raise awareness about solar power and clean technology that could one day change the way we travel. Solar Impulse 2 is making use of energy efficient batteries and other technologies that could one day help make flight more fuel efficient and friendly for the environment.
NEWS BRIEF Using remote sensing technologies, U.S. archaeologists have unlocked a lost piece of early North American history—all without actually digging. The fort of San Marcos, located in present-day Parris Island, South Carolina, was one of five forts that existed in 1577 in the Spanish colonial town of Santa Elena, the remains of which were first uncovered almost 40 years ago. After two years of research, Chester DePratter of the University of South Carolina and Victor Thompson of the University of Georgia were able to uncover the missing fort by employing ground-penetrating radar, soil testing, and monitoring magnetic fields to detect the landscape of the ancient settlement. The 16th-century
Retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will address the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia today (July 27), presumably about gun violence in America. In January 2011, Giffords was shot in the head during a meeting with constituents at a Tucson supermarket. She survived, but six other people present at the event were killed. Since that tragic event, both Giffords and Kelly have been outspoken advocates of the need for more gun control, and it appears they will address this topic today at the DNC. "Gabby & I are excited to speak at @DemConvention on Wed. about why @HillaryClinton will make our country safer," Kelly said
A nocturnal species of weasel with a robber-mask-like marking across its eyes has returned to the remote ranchlands of western Wyoming where the critter almost went extinct more than 30 years ago. Wildlife officials on Tuesday released 35 black-footed ferrets on two ranches near Meeteetse, a tiny cattle ranching community 50 miles east of Yellowstone National Park. Black-footed ferrets, generally solitary animals, were let loose individually over a wide area.
As local fishermen tell it, the deep blue “Dragon Hole” in the Xisha Islands, called the “eye” of the South China Sea, is where the Monkey King in Journey to the West acquired his famous golden cudgel. After nearly a year of exploration, Chinese researchers have determined that the underwater sinkhole is likely the world’s deepest, reaching about 987 feet below the surface and surpassing the previous record holder, Dean’s Blue Hole near the Bahamas, by more than 300 feet, Xinhua News Agency reported. Blue holes are named as such for their rich, dark blue coloring, a stark contrast to the otherwise aqua waters that surround them. Researchers with the Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection began exploring Dragon Hole, known as Longdong, in August 2015 and completed the project last month, Xinhua reported.
Spanish troops intervened Tuesday as a wildfire near the eastern city of Valencia spread to a nature reserve after laying waste to some 1,400 hectares (3,500 acres) of land, regional authorities said.
Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez said researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between AD 683 and 702. Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship. The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples, such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.
It was definitely déjà vu in the media today. Reuters, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, and more were back on the "brain training prevents dementia" bandwagon. STAT's headline was particularly boosterish: Play on! In a first, brain training cuts risk of dementia years later. It's just a few months since the US Federal Trade commission fined a company $2 million for false advertising based on brain training claims like this. And in October 2014, an international scientific consensus statement tried to stem this tide. Yet here we are again. Sigh! This time, the results aren't even just getting the usual claim of being "promising": in the STAT article, they're "highly, highly promising"! And that's
It took a group of researchers from five different countries including India, Japan, Canada, the U.S. and France but we’ve finally learned (and it should come as no surprise because they’re indestructible) that cockroaches are the fountain of youth. The highly disgusting, Diploptera punctata AKA Pacific Beetle Cockroach — which is the only known viviparous cockroach. Meaning that like humans, the Pacific Beetle Cockroach gives birth to live babies rather than hatching eggs.
Solar Impulse 2 on Monday neared the end of its epic journey to become the first sun-powered airplane to circle the globe without a drop of fuel to promote renewable energy. When the experimental aircraft touches down in Abu Dhabi it will cap a remarkable 42,000-kilometre (26,097 mile) journey across four continents, two oceans and three seas. Solar Impulse 2 was expected to enter UAE airspace at around 1:30 am local time on Tuesday (2130 GMT Monday), and land in Abu Dhabi at around 4:00 am (0000 GMT).