Man-eating Nile crocodiles found in Florida

New York, May 21 : At least three man-eating Nile crocodiles that can grow to 18 feet long and weigh as much as a small car have been found living in the US Sunshine State of Florida, DNA tests have confirmed.

Nile crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus, were responsible for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa between 2010 and 2014.

In Florida, the invasive crocodiles were captured between 2000 and 2014, leading the University of Florida scientists to analyse their DNA, study their diet and one of the animal's growth.

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8-magnitude earthquake can hit Himalayas soon

Washington D. C, May 19 - Big quake is coming! Scientists fear an earthquake, as strong as magnitude 8 on the Richter scale, might soon hit the Himalayan region.

New geologic mapping in the Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir between Pakistan and India suggests that the region is ripe for a major earthquake that could endanger the lives of as many as a million people.

Scientists have known about the Riasi fault in Indian Kashmir, but it wasn't thought to be as much as a threat as other, more active fault systems. However, following a magnitude 7.6 earthquake in 2005 on the nearby Balakot-Bagh fault in the Pakistan side of Kashmir, which was not considered particularly dangerous because it wasn't on the plate boundary, researchers began scrutinizing other fault systems in the region.

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Microscopic 'timers' reveal likely source of cosmic rays

Washington D. C, Apr 24 - Microscopic "timers" have revealed the likely source of galactic radiation that we detect at Earth.

Most of the cosmic rays originated relatively recently in the nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new results from NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft.

ACE allowed the research team to determine the source of these cosmic rays by making the first observations of a very rare type of cosmic ray that acts like a tiny timer, limiting the distance the source can be from Earth.

"Before the ACE observations, we didn't know if this radiation was created a long time ago and far, far away, or relatively recently and nearby," said co-author Eric Christian.

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Veteran US astronaut Scott Kelly says goodbye to NASA

Washington, April 2 : NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently completed a year-long mission on the International Space Station
(ISS) during his 20-year-long association with the US space agency, retired on Friday.

The veteran astronaut said goodbye to his illustrious career with the US record for most cumulative time in space - 520 days.

He will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to his one-year mission, providing periodic medical samples and supporting other testing in the same way his twin brother and former astronaut Mark Kelly, made himself available for NASA's twins study.

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Move over glass, here comes transparent wood

Washington D. C, Mar 31 : A team of researchers has managed to transform real wood into still-real transparent wood, paving way for greener homes.

When it comes to indoor lighting, nothing beats the sun's rays streaming in through windows. Soon, that natural light could be shining through walls, too. Scientists have developed transparent wood that could be used in building materials and could help home and building owners save money on their artificial lighting costs. Their material also could find application in solar cell windows.

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What your moves say about you

Washington D. C, Mar 23 : According to a recent study, your movements can give a unique insight into your inherent personality traits.

The ground-breaking study could open up new pathways for health professionals to diagnose and treat mental health conditions in the future.

The team of experts, including from the University of Exeter, has shown that people who display similar behavioural characteristics tend to move their bodies in the same way.

The new study suggests that each person has an individual motor signature (IMS), a blueprint of the subtle differences in the way they move compared to someone else, such as speed or weight of movement for example.

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US record-setting astronaut Scott Kelly to retire: NASA

Washington: US astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently completed a year-long mission on the International Space Station, will retire from NASA effective April 1, the US space agency said on Friday.

NASA said Kelly will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to his one-year mission, providing periodic medical samples and supporting other testing in the same way his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, made himself available for NASA's twins study during his brother's mission, Xinhua reported.

"This year-in-space mission was a profound challenge for all involved, and it gave me a unique perspective and a lot of time to reflect on what my next step should be," Kelly said in a statement.

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Can money really buy you happiness?

Washington D. C, Mar 11 : It's an age-old question: Can money buy happiness? It's true to some extent, but chances are you're not getting the most bang for your buck.

A team of researchers at the universities of Stirling and Nottingham found that changes in income do not affect most people's happiness, most of the time.

The research, which examined levels of life satisfaction and income changes in more than 18,000 adults over a nine year period, revealed that income change is only important when individuals with specific personality characteristics experience an income loss.

The team found that for most people happiness is likely to rest on avoiding loss, rather than aiming for continual financial gain.

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New NASA technology to better measure Earth's orientation

Washington: The US space agency has deployed an advanced technology to precisely measure Earth's orientation and rotation - information that helps provide a foundation for navigation of all space missions and for geophysical studies of our planet.

The technology includes a new class of radio antenna and electronics that provide broadband capabilities for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI).

This technique has been used to make precise measurements of the Earth in space and time.

To meet the demand for more precise measurements, a new global network of stations called the VLBI Global Observing System
(VGOS) is being rolled out to replace the legacy network.

NASA just completed the installation of a joint NASA-US Naval Observatory VGOS station in Hawaii.

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Carbon dioxide, plants turned into renewable plastic

San Francisco: The researchers at Stanford University of the US have found a way to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) and inedible plant material, such as agricultural waste and grasses, into plastic.

"Our goal is to replace petroleum-derived products with plastic made from CO2," said Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry.

In a study published in the journal Nature, the Stanford team described their work on polyethylene furandicarboxylate (PEF), a promising alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), also known as polyester, Xinhua reported.

Many plastic products now are made from PET. Worldwide, about 50 million tons of PET are produced each year for items such as fabrics, electronics, recyclable beverage containers and personal-care products.

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NASA's new Mars exploration mission set for May 2018 launch

Washington, March 10 : Future Mars exploration has got a date, finally. NASA's new InSight mission -- set to study the deep interior of Red Planet -- is targeting a new launch window that begins on May 5, 2018, with a Mars landing scheduled for November 26 in the same year.

The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission will help scientists understand how rocky planets -- including Earth -- formed and evolved.

The spacecraft had been on track to launch this month until a vacuum leak in its prime science instrument prompted NASA in December to suspend preparations for launch.

"The science goals of InSight are compelling and the NASA and France's space agency Centre National d'√Čtudes Spatiales

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India among nations most vulnerable to cyberattacks

Washington D. C, Mar 10 : India is among the countries most vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to a new report.

Data-mining experts from the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech recently co-authored a book that ranked the vulnerability of 44 nations to cyberattacks.

Lead author V. S. Subrahmanian discussed this research on Wednesday, March 9 at a panel discussion hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D. C.

The United States ranked 11th safest, while several Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Finland) ranked the safest. China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea ranked among the most vulnerable.

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NASA's asteroid hunting spacecraft in key testing phase

Washington, March 9 : The first US mission to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth in September this year is undergoing a major milestone in its environmental testing.

NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is in thermal vacuum testing - designed to simulate the harsh environment of space and see how the spacecraft and its instruments operate under 'flight-like' conditions.

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in September and travel to the asteroid Bennu to collect a sample and return it to Earth for study.

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Citizen sky gazers helping NASA unlock sizzling auroras

Washington, March 9 : The US space agency is using citizen science observations to unlock the secrets behind auroras -- geomagnetic storms that are beautiful but can also cause power outages and interrupt satellite systems.

One such space weather scientist, Liz MacDonald has seen auroras more than five times in her life.

MacDonald, now at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, founded Aurorasaurus -- a citizen science project that tracks auroras through the project's website, mobile apps and Twitter.

On the evening of October 24, 2011, MacDonald was left amazed -- not by any bright, dancing lights in the sky but by the number of aurora-related tweets on her computer screen.

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What is the mystery behind Mercury's 'darkness'?

Washington D. C., Mar 8. : Though it is nearest to the sun, Mercury's surface is immensely dark. So, what is the 'darkening agent'?

About a year ago, scientists proposed that Mercury's darkness was due to carbon that gradually accumulated from the impact of comets that travelled into the inner Solar System. Now, the scientists, led by Patrick Peplowski of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, have used data from the MESSENGER mission to confirm that a high abundance of carbon is present at Mercury's surface.

MESSENGER, which stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun.

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