Science News

Record-breaking U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly will retire soon

Record-breaking U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly will retire soon

NASA’s record-breaking astronaut Scott Kelly is going to leave his post at the space agency at the end of March, but he will continue to help NASA scientists with research-examining effects of long-duration spaceflight on human body. Kelly revealed his departure from NASA on Friday.

Kelly returned to earth aboard Soyuz TMA-18M on March 1. He spent record 340 days on the International Space Station (ISS). In a web posting, the space station selfie king talked about his spacefaring days. He said his 143,846,525 miles aboard ISS around our globe has pushed the limits of space exploration.

The universe is indeed a big place and humanity has many miles yet to travel around, said Kelly. Leaving NASA is just a step on that journey, the 52-year-old astronaut added.

250-million-year-old fossil highlights evolution of Dinosaurs from reptiles

250-million-year-old fossil highlights evolution of Dinosaurs from reptiles

A 250-million-year-old fossil of an ancient crocodile-like reptile, Teyujagua paradoxa, was found in southern Brazil last year. Paleontologists expect that the fossil will provide information to researchers about the evolution of dinosaurs on Earth and what could have caused their extinction.

The fossil discovery was made by researchers from the Paleobiology Laboratory of the Universidade Federal do Pampa at Triassic rock in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

New ‘icephobic’ material removes ice across a variety of surfaces easily

New ‘icephobic’ material removes ice across a variety of surfaces easily

Removing ice across a variety of surfaces could be an easy task in future with an ‘icephobic’ material developed by University of Michigan researchers. The research team claimed that the new material can help in removing ice from wind turbines, airplanes and other surfaces without damaging the surface.

To improve and simplify the process of ice removal, rubbery polymers should be used, said the University of Michigan research team. Use of rubbery polymers is more practical and useful in removing ice, they added.

ExoMars Mission: Russia, Europe all set to launch Proton rocket to find source of Martian Methane

ExoMars Mission: Russia, Europe all set to launch Proton rocket to find source

In search of methane’s source in the Martian atmosphere, Russia and Europe will launch a joint mission to the fourth planet from the sun in near future. Under the ESA and Russian Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) plan, a Proton rocket will be lifted off towards Mars to check the source of methane in the planet’s atmosphere.

The mission’s major objective will be to figure out whether the methane gas is coming from a geological source or microbes are behind it. If everything goes as per the plan, Russia and Europe will also land a rover on the Red Planet to drill the surface. The rover will be assembled in the United Kingdom and the agencies may launch that mission in 2018, or in 2020.

SpaceX Offers 30% Price Cut for flight in Used Rocket

SpaceX Offers 30% Price Cut for flight in Used Rocket

Several companies in the field of space exploration, including SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, have been working on the concept of reusable launch vehicles so as to achieve the dream of landing a rocket after successful missions.

Apart from being a scientific breakthrough, such reusable vehicles are going to save huge money for these companies, which can be used for further research.

As part of this initiative, Elon Musk’s SpaceX last week organized another successful launch of its Falcon 9 rocket. Though the launch was as the company had desired, the landing was not quite as successful as the one in December (it crashed into the ocean).

China planning to build space telescope even more powerful than NASA’s Hubble

China planning to build space telescope even more powerful than NASA’s Hubble

In a latest announcement, China has said that it is looking forward to come up with a space telescope, even more powerful than NASA’s Hubble, with the capability to observe and capture our universe in extraordinary detail.

The so far anonymous telescope is going to have the ability to dock with the modular space station of China, the Tiangong.

The plans have been announced by Chinese officials during parliamentary sessions. They have claimed that the latest telescope is going to have 300 times the Hubble’s field of vision.

The telescope would be able to dock with a close-by space station, due to which any repairs can be possibly carried out by Chinese taikonauts in no time, in comparison to the huge time of 3.5 years NASA takes to fix issues with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Meat-heavy diet could have allowed early humans to derive enough energy from meals with minimal chewing

Meat-heavy diet could have allowed early humans to derive enough energy

With little food processing and introduction of meat in the diet, ancient humans might have reduced the need for chewing food. With lower count of chews per meal, they were having time for more activities. Also, adding meat played an important role as it had higher nutritional value compared to vegetarian diet.

Human skeletons started changing in notable and puzzling ways when our genus, Homo, got separated from other hominins more than 2.8 million years back. For example, Homo erectus was quite taller and possessed a bigger brain case as compared to the Australopith ancestors.

Environmental groups sue Obama administration over ‘weak’ rules to protect sage grouse

Environmental groups sue Obama administration over ‘weak’ rules to protect sage

Environmental groups have long been demanding strict curbs on activities such as oil and gas drilling that has been blamed for decline in the population of greater sage grouse across the American West.

In a latest effort, these groups Thursday sued the Obama administration alleging the sage grouse conservation programme that the government had announced in September last had many loopholes. Filed in the US District Court in Idaho, the lawsuit also claimed that the plan may not prove enough to protect the bird from extinction. Sage grouse is known for its elaborate mating ritual.

LHC Gives Signs of New Age Physics

LHC Gives Signs of New Age Physics

Physicists have recently detected a new particle using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) situated at the CERN facility in Switzerland. The scientists are claiming that this particle might be capable of bringing about a revolution in the field of physics.

The new particle is likely to serve as a sign for the emergence of a new age of physics. If the findings made by the physicists are established, it is likely to uncover a major error in the Standard Model of Physics. Subatomic physics is primarily based on the set of theories of the standard model.

Gravitational Wave Discovery Comes After Long Wait

Gravitational Wave Discovery Comes After Long Wait

The NSF Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences is responsible for supporting central research in astronomy, chemistry, physics, material science and mathematics. Fleming Crim, the Assistant Director for the NSF Directorate, confirmed about the concept of gravitational waves in front of the US Congress. The LIGO Science Collaboration finally managed to observe the waves for the first time, after decades of efforts by scientists.

NASA’s MAVEN detects impacts of Comet on Mars’ Magnetic Field

NASA’s MAVEN detects impacts of Comet on Mars’ Magnetic Field

NASA launched Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft (MAVEN) to know more about what happened to early atmosphere on planet Mars.

After a week into Mars orbit, the Colorado-built spacecraft found that Mars’ magnetic field was thrown into chaos by Siding Spring's magnetosphere that made a close flyby Mars.

As a precaution, many instruments on MAVEN were turned off during Siding Spring’s flyby. This is a distance similar to one-third of the distance from the Earth to the moon. Many of instruments of MAVEN were shut down in order to protect them from pressure of the comet; however, a few were set operational to observe effects of the comet.

Carbon Dioxide is believed to have influenced Ice Sheet from beginning

Carbon Dioxide is believed to have influenced Ice Sheet from beginning

Scientists are increasingly linking Antarctic ice sheet to the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Supporting the idea, a new research published in the Journal Science claimed that during the time when ice sheet first started appearing, a fall in CO2 in atmosphere may have let ice sheet to form.

According to the research, the period known as the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, which prevailed some 34 million years ago, is believed to have been an era that led to periods of glaciations. The research has found that falling level of carbon dioxide back then has initiated ice sheet growth.

NASA lunches new Engine that would propel Space Shuttle to Mars

NASA lunches new Engine that would propel Space Shuttle to Mars

In an initiative to make future missions to the red planet successful, NASA recently launched an experimental rocket engine, which would be used to power future spacecraft to Mars and to other regions that are far off in our galaxy. The success of the launch was announced on Friday by the American space agency.

As an integral part of the Space Launch System (SLS) program, NASA had developed RS-25 rocket engine that was tested on Thursday, the high-powered device blast continuously for 500 seconds. Another rocket would be tested by NASA in near future.

Media gets first ever tour of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin

Media gets first ever tour of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin

The team members of Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin were aware that there would be queries when the company called up media to its Kent, Washington office this week. It was the first time ever that the press got the chance to enter Blue Origin, which has worked under the wraps till date. The rocket company floated by Jeff Bezos has been working on interesting space travel projects.

During a tour and roundtable, reporters threw lot of questions at Bezos. The conversation went on for four hours.

Some of the key questions asked during the meeting were:

Newly discovered microbe is astonishingly good at eating PET

Newly discovered microbe is astonishingly good at eating PET

Durable plastic sold under commercial name PET is considered as a massive environmental hazard because it is resistant to breakdown. However, researchers have discovered a potential new match for this tough plastic. During a research project a research team from Japan has come across a microbe that is amazingly good at eating PET plastic sheets.

According to the World Economic Forum, production of an estimated 342 million tons of plastic is recorded each year across the world, and just nearly 14% is collected for recycling.

Almost all plastic degrades at an extremely slow pace, but PET, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate, is among the most durable. In year 2013 alone, nearly 61 million tons of the colorless plastic was produced across the world.

NASA releases eye-popping composite video of Tuesday’s total solar eclipse

NASA releases eye-popping composite video of Tuesday’s total solar eclipse

The total solar eclipse witnessed this week was not seen in the United States. NASA has released an interesting video of the solar eclipse which was visible in most parts of Indonesia and many countries in Asia. The Internet is overflowing with pictures and videos of total solar eclipse, the only one of 2016, but it’s difficult to beat the composite footage released by NASA.

The brief clip released by NASA showcases the eclipse not from Earth’s surface, as done by most of the sky gazers, but from deep space, focused at our wonderful blue marble.

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly retiring on April 1

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly retiring on April 1

NASA officials made an announcement on March 11 that astronaut Scott Kelly, who has lately completed an extraordinary yearlong mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and is holder of the American record of spending most number of days out of Earth, will retire on April 1.

Post retirement, Scott Kelly will keep on taking part in the research linked to his one-year space mission, which was planned to assist in clearing the way for crewed missions to the Red Planet by highlighting the ways long-duration spaceflight affects the body of a human being both psychologically and physiologically.

Researchers discover skull of an ancient reptile that survived mass extinction and colonized a nearly empty world

Researchers discover skull of an ancient reptile that survived mass extinction

A disastrous event, which we know today as ‘the Great Dying’, had destroyed majority of life forms on our planet a quarter of a billion years back. However, researchers have found a reptile which they believe, managed to survive those extreme conditions. The research team has found a fossil of that ancient reptile named Teyujagua paradoxa.

There is a tiny skull with serrated teeth of an ancient reptile that was able to survive the extinction and colonized an almost empty world. The relative of this reptile evolved into the birds, dinosaurs, and crocodiles that ruled the land for the following 180 million years.

Advanced Climate Science allows accurate detection of Global Warming Fingerprints

Advanced Climate Science allows accurate detection of Global Warming Fingerprint

As per a high-level scientific advisory panel, climate science has advanced considerably in the recent years and climate science experts can correctly sense the fingerprints of global warming on some particular severe weather events, including a heat wave.

For long, scientists have been giving the same response to the question if an event of weird weather was caused by global warming. They have always insisted that they can’t call a single event accountable for climate change.

However, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reported that Science has progressed to the point that this isn’t true as an unqualified blanket statement anymore.

Scientists get intimate view of havoc that comet C/2013 A1’s passing wreaked on magnetic environment around Mars

Scientists get intimate view of havoc that comet C/2013 A1’s passing wreaked on

A few weeks prior to the historic encounter of comet C/2013 A1 with the Red Planet in October 2014, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft made an entry into Mars’ orbit.

With a motive to keep sensitive equipment aboard MAVEN safe from probable damage, some instruments were switched off at the time of the flyby. Similar procedure was followed for other Mars orbiters as well.

However, some instruments, including MAVEN's magnetometer, were on, and conducted observations being on the front-row at the time of the comet's remarkably close flyby.




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