Science

Chinese rover discovers new type of moon rock

Washington D.C, Dec 23 : The first Chinese mission to softly land on the moon's surface has discovered a new kind of volcanic moon rock.

In December 2013 China's Chang'e 3 lander mission touched down on a smooth flood basalt plain next to a relatively fresh impact crater (now officially named the Zi Wei crater) that had conveniently excavated bedrock from below the regolith for the Yutu rover to study.

Because Chang'e-3 landed on a comparatively young lava flow, the regolith layer was thin and not mixed with debris from elsewhere. Thus it closely resembled the composition of the underlying volcanic bedrock. This characteristic made the landing site an ideal location to compare in situ analysis with compositional information detected by orbiting satellites.

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Rudolph`s red nose guides Santa on X-mas

Washington D.C., Dec. 22 - If you always wondered about Robert L. May's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, then you should know that his shiny red nose on the foggy Christmas Eve has got many optical benefits.

Researchers from Dartmouth College explain why Rudolph is able to lead Santa and his team of eight tiny reindeer through the thick Arctic fog.

Lead researcher Nathaniel J. Dominy points out that Arctic reindeer can see ultraviolet light, which is invisible to humans and most mammals, a trait that comes especially handy in mid-winter when the sun is low on the horizon and the high scattered light from the atmosphere is mainly bluish and ultraviolet.

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There is more to sloppy dog slurping than meets the eye

Washington D.C, Dec 21 - A precise method underlies the sloppy madness of dog slurping, according to a new research.

Using photography and laboratory simulations, Virginia Tech researchers studied how dogs raise fluids into their mouths to drink. They discovered that sloppy-looking actions at the dog bowl are in fact high-speed, precisely timed movements that optimize a dogs' ability to acquire fluids.

The scientists discovered that even though feline and canine mouths structurally are similar, their approaches to drinking are as different as cats and dogs.

Researcher Sunghwan "Sunny" Jung said that dog drinking is more acceleration driven using unsteady inertia to draw water upward in a column, where cats employ steady inertia.

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Big animals' extinction can hasten climate change

Washington D.C, Dec 19 - With the big animals gone forever, climate change could get worse, according to a new study.

The University of East Anglia research reveals that a decline in fruit-eating animals such as large primates, tapirs and toucans could have a knock-on effect for tree species.

This is because large animals disperse large seeded plant species often associated with large trees and high wood density, which are more effective at capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than smaller trees.

Seed dispersal by large-bodied vertebrates is via the ingestion of viable seeds that pass through the digestive tract intact.

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Rise in oxygen gave breath of life to evolution

Washington D.C, Dec 19 - According to a recent study, the 'explosion' of animal life on Earth may have taken place after slow rise of oxygen.

It took 100 million years for oxygen levels in the oceans and atmosphere to increase to the level that allowed the explosion of animal life on Earth about 600 million years ago, according to a UCL-led study.

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World lakes` rapid warming putting ecosystems at risk

Washington D.C, Dec 19 - The world's lakes are warming faster than both the oceans and the air around them, creating blooms of algae that are toxic to fish and rob water of oxygen.

The warming lakes threaten freshwater supplies and ecosystems across the planet, according to a study spanning six continents.

Henry Gholz, program director in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation, said that the knowledge of how lakes are responding to global change has been lacking, which has made forecasting the future of lakes and the life and livelihoods they support very challenging.

Gholz noted that these newly reported trends are a wake-up call to scientists and citizens, including water resource managers and those who depend on freshwater fisheries.

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And Science's Breakthrough of the Year is..

Washington D. C, Dec 18 - The prestigious U. S. journal Science has chosen a popular gene editing tool called CRISPR as its 2015 Breakthrough of the Year.

Managing News Editor John Travis explained that it is an unprecedented selection, given that the technique appeared twice before among Science's runner-ups and is the only runner-up to subsequently be elevated to Breakthrough status.

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Ancient human ancestors may have lived until dawn of civilization

Washington D. C, Dec 18 - A thigh bone found in China suggests that an ancient species of human, thought to be long extinct, may have lived among our modern cousins.

The 14,000 year old bone found among the remains of China's enigmatic 'Red Deer Cave people' has been shown to have features that resemble those of some of the most ancient members of the human genus, (Homo), despite its young age.

The findings result from a detailed study of the partial femur, which had lain unstudied for more than a quarter of a century in a museum in southeastern Yunnan, following its excavation along with other fossilised remains from Maludong ('Red Deer Cave') in 1989.

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Silica-rich Martian rocks hints at water activity

Washington D.C, Dec 18 - NASA's Curiosity Rover has stumbled upon much higher concentrations of silica on Mars and the discovery indicates "considerable water activity."

The scientists, including one from Los Alamos National Laboratory, revealed that the Curiosity rover found much higher concentrations of silica at some sites the rover has investigated in the past seven months than anywhere else it has visited since landing on Mars 40 months ago. Silica makes up nine-tenths of the composition of some of the rocks.

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Rare full moon to light up Christmas Day

Washington D.C, Dec 18 - For all the "good" little munchkins who will be waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas, there is good news. This year, the heavenly landing light will be on!

Not since 1977 has a full moon dawned in the skies on Christmas, but this year, a bright full moon will be an added gift for the holidays.

December's full moon, the last of the year, is called the Full Cold Moon because it occurs during the beginning of winter. The moon's peak this year will occur at 6:11 a.m. EST.

This rare event won't happen again until 2034. That's a long time to wait, so make sure to look up to the skies on Christmas Day.

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More moustaches than women in medical leadership

Washington D. C, Dec 17 - Men with moustaches significantly outnumber women in academic medical leadership positions in the top medical schools across the US, according to a new study.

The number of women in medicine has risen significantly in recent times. Almost 50 percent of the US medical students are women, but the proportion of women in academic medicine is still low with only 21 percent full professors being women.

The lack of women in leadership positions is a problem because of the 'strong ethical argument for equality' and also because in business having more women leaders has been linked with better performance, say the US team of researchers who conducted the study.

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Lacking Christmas spirit? Blame your brain

Washington D. C, Dec 17 - With Christmas around the corner, if you still can't get into the spirit and feel Bah Humbug about it, don't worry as a new study has revealed that it may just be how your brain works.

The team of scientists has claimed to have identified the part of the brain that decides if we are more Santa than Grinch at this time of year.

They estimate that millions of people are prone to displaying Christmas spirit deficiencies, and refer to this as the 'bah humbug' syndrome and said that accurate localisation of the Christmas spirit is a paramount first step in being able to help this group of patients and can advance understanding of the brain's role in festive cultural traditions.

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Horror movies are `bloodcurdling`, indeed!

Washington D. C, Dec 17 - When it comes to horror movies, the term "bloodcurdling" may not be a hyperbole after all, according to a new study.

The study found that watching horror or "bloodcurdling" movies is associated with an increase in the clotting protein, blood coagulant factor VIII.

The term "bloodcurdling" dates back to medieval times and is based on the concept that fear or horror would 'run the blood cold' or 'curdle' (congeal) blood, but the validity of this theory has never been studied.

So researchers in The Netherlands set out to assess whether acute fear can curdle blood, which they say poses an important evolutionary benefit, by preparing the body for blood loss during life threatening situations.

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Potentially 'habitable' planet spotted 14 light yrs away

Washington D. C, Dec 17 - The search for a second 'Earth' may finally be coming to an end with the discovery of the closest potentially habitable planet outside our solar system, just 14 light years away.

The planet, more than four times the mass of the Earth, is one of three that the team detected around a red dwarf star called Wolf 1061.

Lead author Duncan Wright from theUniversity of New South Wales said that it is a particularly exciting find because all three planets are of low enough mass to be potentially rocky and have a solid surface, and the middle planet, Wolf 1061c, sits within the 'Goldilocks' zone where it might be possible for liquid water and maybe even life to exist.

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Monster Planet found 'dancing' with dwarf star, sun-like star

Washington D. C, Dec 17 - A highly unusual planetary system, comprised of a Sun-like star, a dwarf star and an enormous planet sandwiched in between, has been discovered.

The planet, first discovered in 2011 orbiting a star called HD 7449, is about eight times the mass of Jupiter and has one of the most eccentric orbits ever found. An eccentric orbit is one that deviates from being perfectly circular. The further from a circle it is, the more eccentric it is. A large eccentricity can also indicate that a planet is being affected by other objects nearby. For the planet around HD 7449, the large eccentricity was a clue that something else, something bigger than the known planet-also resided in the system.

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