May 7, 2015

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Activity on Enceladus Could Be ‘Curtain Eruptions’

Optical Illusion Responsible for Individual Jets on Saturn's Moon

A newly published study reveals that most of the eruptions from Saturn’s moon Enceladus might be diffuse curtains rather than discrete jets. Many features that appear to be individual jets of material erupting along the length of prominent fractures in Enceladus’ south polar region might be phantoms created by an optical illusion, according to a […]

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May 7, 2015

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NIAC Program Working on Ideas for an Ecosystem on Mars

Planting an Ecosystem on Mars

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is funding cutting-edge work that is testing the viability of using ecosystem-building pioneer organisms to churn out oxygen by using Martian regolith. Taming the brutal environment of Mars for future human explorers to survive and thrive there may demand a touch of “ecopoiesis” – the creation of an ecosystem […]

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May 6, 2015

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Astrophysicists Examine the Possibility of Planets Forming around HL Tauri

ALMA View of Protoplanetary Disc around HL Tauri

A newly published study examines the concentric gaps in the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star HL Tau, revealing the possibility of planets forming within the system. A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we’ve seen a forming planetary system, according to a study by University of Toronto astrophysicists. The […]

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May 6, 2015

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Brown Researchers Reveal Inhibitor for COPD Lung Destruction

Researchers Find Inhibitor for COPD Lung Destruction

A newly published study reveals that cigarette smoke reduces expression of the protein NLRX1 in the lung, taking the restraints off a destructive immune response that results in COPD. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — In a new study, a research team based at Brown and Yale implicates a specific mitochondrial protein and pathway in […]

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May 6, 2015

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Rice Engineers Develop Real-Time 3D Radar System

Real-Time 3D Radar System

Engineering students from Rice University have developed a real-time 3D radar system as a concept for a next-generation collision-avoidance system for the auto industry. Spencer Kent stands nervously in front of Team D.R.A.D.I.S.’ booth at Rice University’s annual Engineering Design Showcase. Judging begins in about 10 minutes, and his teammate Galen Schmidt is frantically typing […]

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May 6, 2015

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Astronomers Discover the Farthest Galaxy to Date

Hubble Discovers Distant Luminous Galaxy

An international team of astronomers has pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5% of its present age, revealing a galaxy that existed over 13 billion years ago. The team discovered an exceptionally luminous galaxy more than 13 billion years in the past and determined its […]

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May 5, 2015

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New ESO Image of a Dark Molecular Cloud

ESO Image of Molecular Cloud LDN1774

This newly released image from the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope shows the dark molecular cloud cataloged as LDN1774. Rather than showing spectacular objects, some of the most surprising images of the Universe instead focus on emptiness. This new image from the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope shows dark tentacles swirling outwards from a dark, blank spot of space […]

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May 5, 2015

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Scientists Find Evidence of Briny Water at Gale Crater

Transient Liquid Water at Gale Crater

Data from NASA’s Curiosity rover reveals transient liquid water and water activity at Gale Crater on Mars. Fayatteville, Arkansas – Data collected on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover and analyzed by University of Arkansas researchers indicate that water, in the form of brine, may exist under certain conditions on the planet’s surface. The finding, published […]

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May 5, 2015

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MIT Energy Initiative Report Highlights the Future of Solar Energy

The Future of Solar Energy Report

A new report by the MIT Energy Initiative assesses solar energy’s current and potential competitive position and identifies changes in U.S. government policies that could more efficiently and effectively support its massive deployment over the long term. Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions […]

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May 5, 2015

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Deep Dielectric Charging May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

Deep Dielectric Charging May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

Data from the Cosmic Ray Telescope and the Advanced Composition Explorer has revealed that energetic charged particles (such as galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles) can penetrate deep within the lunar surface, possibly altering the properties of the soil. The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by University of New […]

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May 5, 2015

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Moves Closer to the Lunar Surface

NASA's LRO Close to the Lunar Surface

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is now within 20 kilometers of the lunar South Pole, the closest the spacecraft has ever been to the lunar surface. On Monday, May 4, 2015 flight controllers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland performed two station keeping burns to change LRO’s orbit. The new orbit allows LRO […]

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May 4, 2015

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Astrophysicists Show Water Could Have Been Abundant in the early Universe

Water Could Have Been Abundant in the Early Universe

New theoretical work from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that water vapor could have been abundant in the early universe. Cambridge, Massachusetts – How soon after the Big Bang could water have existed? Not right away, because water molecules contain oxygen and oxygen had to be formed in the first stars. Then that oxygen […]

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May 4, 2015

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The Mystery of India’s Rapid Move toward Eurasia 80 Million Years Ago

Researchers Explain Mystery of India’s Rapid Move Toward Eurasia

A newly published study from MIT geologists reveals that a double subduction system may have driven India to drift at high speed toward Eurasia some 80 million years ago. In the history of continental drift, India has been a mysterious record-holder. More than 140 million years ago, India was part of an immense supercontinent called […]

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May 4, 2015

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New Pathway for Passing Genetic Messages between Cells

New Pathway for Passing Genetic Messages between Cells Discovered

New research from Yale University reveals a new pathway for passing genetic messages between cells. A Yale-led research team has described a novel pathway for the delivery of microRNA (miRNA), the tiny RNA molecules that can move between cells to regulate gene expression. The study was published on April 29 by PLOS ONE. Scientists previously […]

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May 4, 2015

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Cassini Views “The Great Eye” of Saturn’s Moon Mimas

Cassini Views Saturn's Moon Mimas

Taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, this image reveals the 130-kilometer-wide impact crater on Saturn’s moon Mimas. The great eye of Saturn’s moon Mimas, a 130-kilometer-wide (80-mile) impact crater called Herschel, stares out from the battered moon. Several individual ringlets within the F ring are resolved here, and the small moon Atlas is also seen faintly […]

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May 4, 2015

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Hubble Image of the Week – The Peculiar Asymmetry of Galaxy NGC 949

Hubble Views Galaxy NGC 949

This newly released Hubble image provides the clearest ever view of galaxy NGC 949, which lies over 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Triangulum. The galaxy has an unusual shape, made more obscure due to its inclination. From our point of view, it is difficult to discern exactly what type of galaxy NGC […]

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May 1, 2015

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How Bombardier Beetles Produce an Explosive Chemical Jet

How Bombardier Beetles Produce an Explosive Defensive Chemical Jet

An newly published study form MIT reveals how bombardier beetles superheat liquid and expel it in an intense, pulsating jet as a defensive mechanism. Bombardier beetles, which exist on every continent except Antarctica, have a pretty easy life. Virtually no other animals prey on them, because of one particularly effective defense mechanism: When disturbed or […]

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