19 April 2015

The Milky Way Over Loon Island: A Stargazer's Stunning View (Photo)

The Milky Way Over Loon Island: A Stargazer's Stunning View (Photo)This stunning panoramic of the Milky Way shows our host galaxy arching over Lake Sunapee. Astrophotographer A. Garrett Evans took the image Loon Island Lighthouse on Lake Sunapee in Sunapee, New Hampshire on Feb. 28, 2015. Our host galaxy, the Milky Way, is a barred spiral galaxy seen as a band of light in the night sky. Evans found the weather co-operative the night he took the image.

18 April 2015

Evidence of Pre-Columbus Trade Found in Alaska House

Evidence of Pre-Columbus Trade Found in Alaska HouseBronze artifacts discovered in a 1,000-year-old house in Alaska suggest trade was occurring between East Asia and the New World centuries before the voyages of Columbus. Archaeologists found the artifacts at the "Rising Whale" site at Cape Espenberg. "When you're looking at the site from a little ways away, it looks like a bowhead [whale] coming to the surface," said Owen Mason, a research associate at the University of Colorado, who is part of a team excavating the site. The new discoveries, combined with other finds made over the past 100 years, suggest trade items and ideas were reaching Alaska from East Asian civilizations well before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean Sea in 1492 archaeologists said.

18 April 2015

Man Goes Exploring with Metal Detector, Finds Roman-Era Grave

Man Goes Exploring with Metal Detector, Finds Roman-Era GraveA man in England went exploring with a metal detector and made the discovery of a lifetime: an exquisitely preserved Roman-era grave filled with artifacts, including bronze jugs, mosaic glassware, coins and hobnails from a pair of shoes, all dating to about A.D. 200. The grave likely belonged to a wealthy individual, said Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the archaeology and outreach officer for the North Hertfordshire District Council. Once Fitzpatrick-Matthews and his colleagues located the grave, they also found evidence of a nearby building, likely a shrine or temple, attached to a villa. The man with the metal detector, Phil Kirk, found the grave in a field in Kelshall, a small village located between London and Cambridge.

17 April 2015

Scientists: 3 wolves remain at Isle Royale National Park

This photo released by Michigan Technological University taken on Feb. 15, 2015, shows the last three wolves known to live at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. Their numbers have dropped steadily in recent years, and scientists are calling for more wolves to be brought to the wilderness island to keep the moose population in check. (Rolf Peterson/Michigan Technological University via AP)TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park, which scientists have studied closely for more than half a century along with the moose on which they feed, are on the verge of disappearing as the most recent census showed that only three remain, scientists said Friday.

17 April 2015

2015 Already Setting Heat Records

2015 Already Setting Heat RecordsThe first three months of 2015 set new global heat records, government officials announced today (April 17).

17 April 2015

Scientists create self-powering camera

By Elly Park New York, NEW YORK - Scientists at Columbia University in New York have successfully built a camera that is capable of producing images using power harvested from the surrounding incident light.  The prototype self-powering camera takes an image each second, and in a well-lit scene it can operate indefinitely. The team is led by Shree Nayar, Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering,  "What we have designed here is an image sensor with pixels, with this new design that can not only capture pictures but also generate power from the pixels, in order to capture the images themselves. In modern cameras photo diodes, tiny devices inside each pixels of the image sensor, measure the amount of light that falls onto it, and Nayar said he noticed that the process is similar to photo diodes used inside solar panels to harvest energy.   "It turns out exactly the photo diode is also used in solar cells which are used in solar panels to harvest energy from light, except that they are being used in a slightly different circuit.

17 April 2015

U.S. eyes new ways to prepare and win future war in space

By Andrea Shalal COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - The United States needs disruptive new technologies, new ways of acquiring equipment and bandwidth, and closer ties with global allies to stay ahead of growing challenges in space from China, Russia and others, the head of U.S. Air Force Space Command told Reuters. General John Hyten said the United States had been bracing for threats to its satellite systems for years, but continued anti-satellite testing by potential foes had fueled a fresh sense of urgency in both industry and government about the need to prepare to win a possible war in space.

17 April 2015

Spring Skywatching: Constellation Leo Comes in Like a Lion

Spring Skywatching: Constellation Leo Comes in Like a LionOne of the surest signs of spring for stargazers is the constellation Leo high in the evening sky. One of the 12 traditional constellations of the zodiac, Leo is one of the best-known star patterns in the sky.

17 April 2015

Amazonian tribe study shows how human bodily bacteria is changing

Handout picture of a group of huts in an isolated village inhabited by Yanomami Amerindians in southern VenezuelaBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Everyone's body is brimming with bacteria, and these microbes do plenty of good things like building the immune system and helping digestion. A study published on Friday looking at the gut, mouth and skin microbes in people from a small, isolated tribe in southern Venezuela's Amazonian jungles shows just how much modern life may be altering humankind's bodily bacteria. The Yanomami villagers, secluded from the outside world until 2009, possessed the most diverse collection of bacteria ever found in people including some never before detected in humans, said scientists whose research appears in the journal Science Advances. The researchers were surprised to learn the Yanomami's microbes harbored antibiotic-resistant genes including those conferring resistance to manmade antibiotics, considering they never had exposure to commercial antibiotics.

17 April 2015

NASA electric rover goes for a spin

Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, FloridaBy Jim Drury Texas, Houston, U.S. - Driving NASA's Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV) looks out of this world - and the leading space agency say this might one day be a possibility. Developed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas it's a fully electric vehicle which the agency say is well-suited for busy urban environments. Turns of the steering wheel are recorded by sensors and sent to computers at the vehicle's rear where they are interpreted immediately, instructing motors in one or all of its four wheels to turn as commanded. A force feedback system in the steering wheel means the driver will feel the same resistance and sensations as a car.

17 April 2015

Physicists try to make sense of a dark matter puzzle from space

A spiral galaxy known as NGC 1433 is seen in an undated image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space TelescopeClamped to the International Space Station, the 7.5-tonne Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) intercepts particles from outer space, looking for evidence of "dark matter", which has never been seen but is thought to be five times as abundant in the universe as visible matter. We are taking 1,000 pictures per second," said Stefan Schael, a professor at RWTH Aachen University. The space camera gives a new perspective on results gathered on earth at the CERN physics research centre's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva. "At the LHC we have found exactly what we were predicting.

17 April 2015

ReNeuron stem cell therapy shows long-term promise for stroke

A pioneering stem cell treatment for patients disabled by stroke has continued to show long-term promise in a clinical trial, the British biotech company behind the project said on Friday. News that two-year follow-up data from a small Phase I study showed improvements in limb function with no worrying safety issues lifted shares in ReNeuron 10 percent by 0830 EDT. The clinical results were presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference in Glasgow. The procedure involves injecting ReNeuron's neural stem cells into patients' brains to repair areas damaged by stroke, thereby improving both mental and physical function.

16 April 2015

Mercury-orbiting U.S. spacecraft heading for a crash landing

An image of the planet Mercury produced by using images from MESSENGER probeBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A NASA spacecraft that made surprising discoveries of ice and other materials on Mercury will make a crash landing into the planet around April 30, scientists said on Thursday. The Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or Messenger, probe has been circling the innermost planet of the solar system for more than four years, the first close-up studies of Mercury since NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft made three flybys in the mid-1970s. “The spacecraft will pass behind the planet, out of view from the Earth, and will just not emerge again,” said Daniel O’Shaughnessy, systems engineer with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which operates the spacecraft. The impact at 8,724 miles per hour (14,040 km per hour) will leave a fresh crater, roughly 52 feet (16 meters) in diameter, that should serve as an interesting reference point for a follow-on European spacecraft called BepiColombo, which is due to arrive in 2024.

16 April 2015

Of Mice and Synthetic Muscle: Big Science On SpaceX Dragon Spaceship

Of Mice and Synthetic Muscle: Big Science On SpaceX Dragon SpaceshipSpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule is hauling a lot of science gear up to the International Space Station, including experiments for the orbiting outpost's first one-year crew. The unmanned Dragon launched into space Tuesday (April 14) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It is due to arrive at the space station at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) Friday, April 17. Some of this equipment will help NASA examine the nature of eye problems that have plagued several astronauts on long-term missions.

15 April 2015

U.S. study calls into question tests that sequence tumor genes

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - New cancer tests that sequence only a patient's tumor and not normal tissue could result in a significant number of false positive results, potentially leading doctors to prescribe treatments that might not work, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The tests take advantage of new treatments that target changes in the DNA of tumor cells that are important for their survival. The issue is that few of these tests look at DNA from healthy cells to compare which mutations patients were born with and which are unique to the cancer, said Dr. Victor Velculescu of Johns Hopkins and a principal in Personal Genome Diagnostics, a company co-founded by the researchers.

15 April 2015

AstraZeneca science is on the move, one year on from Pfizer bid

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Having seen off a hostile $118 billion bid launched a year ago by U.S. rival Pfizer, Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca is on the move -- quite literally. Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is making AstraZeneca more nimble as hopes build for its cancer pipeline, but he still has his work cut out to keep 2015 earnings above the floor needed to protect his bonus. Investors must balance the short-term challenges posed by a massive "cliff" of patent expiries for older drugs against AstraZeneca's long-term promise that sales can reach $45 billion in 2023 from $26 billion last year. So far, Frenchman Soriot has played his hand well, given the inevitable disappointment among some shareholders at the rejection of Pfizer's final 55 pound-a-share offer last year.

14 April 2015

Giant Atom Smasher Revs up: Physicists Reveal What They're Looking For

Giant Atom Smasher Revs up: Physicists Reveal What They're Looking ForThe Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long (27 kilometers) underground ring in Geneva, Switzerland, revved up again last week at double its previous power. The humongous particle collider will now begin searching for elusive subatomic particles at 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV). The first run of the LHC had a single overarching goal: finding the Higgs boson, the particle that explains how other particles get their mass. Scientists know there is more out there than can be explained by the Standard Model, the reigning physics paradigm describing subatomic particles.

13 April 2015

China to surpass U.S. as top cause of modern global warming

Birds fly across the sky on a polluted day in WuhanBy Alister, Doyle,, Environment and Correspondent OSLO, April 13 (Reuters) - China is poised to overtake the United States as the main cause of man-made global warming since 1990, the benchmark year for U.N.-led action, in a historic shift that may raise pressure on Beijing to act. China's cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, when governments were becoming aware of climate change, will outstrip those of the United States in 2015 or 2016, according to separate estimates by experts in Norway and the United States. "A few years ago China's per capita emissions were low, its historical responsibility was low.

12 April 2015

NASA Probe Circles Mars for 1,000th Time

NASA Probe Circles Mars for 1,000th TimeNASA's Mars-studying MAVEN spacecraft notched a spaceflight milestone this week — its 1,000th orbit of the Red Planet. MAVEN (short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) arrived at the Red Planet in September 2014 and began its yearlong study of the Martian atmosphere on Nov. 16. The 1,000th orbit was completed on Monday (April 6), NASA officials said. "The spacecraft and instruments continue to work well, and we're building up a picture of the structure and composition of the upper atmosphere, of the processes that control its behavior and of how loss of gas to space occurs," MAVEN principal investigator Bruce Jakosky, from the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, said in a statement.

12 April 2015

NASA Scientists Cook Up Building Blocks of Life in Lab

NASA Scientists Cook Up Building Blocks of Life in LabMany of the chemical ingredients necessary for life as we know it were available on the early Earth, and should be present on exoplanets as well, new research suggests. Researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center in California generated three key components of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in the lab, by exposing commonly occurring ring-shaped molecules of carbon and nitrogen to radiation under spacelike conditions. "Nobody really understands how life got started on Earth," Scott Sandford, a space science researcher at Ames, said in a statement. The rings hold carbon atoms, but the presence of nitrogen makes pyrimidine less stable than other carbon-rich compounds, researchers said.