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Science Wire

The latest science media releases highlighting exciting news and research from around the globe.

Rendering of bacterium. The Earth Microbiome Project -- a global multidisciplinary project to identify microscope organisms -- has so far cataloged less than 10 million species of the estimated one trillion living on Earth. Image credit: © decade3d / Fotolia
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Earth might be home to a trillion species

Largest-ever analysis of microbial data concludes that 99.999 percent of species remain undiscovered.

Sunlight glints off of Titan's northern seas this near-infrared, color mosaic from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Arizona/Univ. Idaho
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

A pure methane sea on Titan

We knew that Saturn’s moon Titan had seas and lakes of liquid hydrocarbons, but their exact composition was unknown until recently.

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Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Shortest lunar month of 2016 starts May 6

Although the lunar month has a mean period of 29 days 12 hours and 44 minutes, the actual length varies throughout the year. Lengths of lunar months in 2016.

Imagined view from the surface of one of the newly discovered planets, with ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 in the background. Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Just 40 light-years away, 3 potentially habitable planets

We don’t need to look for Earth-like planets exclusively around sun-like stars. Ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 hosts 3 potentially habitable Earth-sized planets.

Artist's impression of the unique object C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS). Observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, and the Canada France Hawai`i Telescope, show that this is the first object to be discovered that is on a long-period cometary orbit, but that has the characteristics of a pristine inner Solar System asteroid. It may provide important clues about how the Solar System formed. Because the object has spent most of its life away from the inner Solar System it suffered very few collisions, and its surface displays few or no craters. As it formed in the same region as the Earth did, it is mostly rocky, and therefore has only very limited cometary activity.
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Orbit like a comet, rocky like an asteroid

They’re calling it a Manx comet, after the cats with no tails. It may have formed in the inner solar system and been ejected outward.

View larger. | As January, 2016, opens, there are four planets in the predawn sky.  Ben Zavala caught them on January 4, 2015.  Thanks, Ben!
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Astronomical events in 2016

Dates of major moon phases, conjunctions and oppositions of planets, meteor showers and other important dates in 2016, from astronomer Fred Espenak.

Hydrothermal system at the Danakil Depression. The yellow deposits are a variety of sulphates and the red areas are deposits of iron oxides. Copper salts colour the water green. Image credit: Felipe Gomez/Europlanet 2020 RI
Science Wire | May 02, 2016

Inhospitable Danakil Depression hosts extreme life

It’s below sea level, with near-boiling water bubbling up from underground, high salt concentrations and toxic vapor. Yet life survives here.

The red planet, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: Jim Bell (Cornell University), Justin Maki (JPL), and Mike Wolff (Space Sciences Institute) and NASA
Science Wire | May 02, 2016

Guide to Mars’ opposition on May 22

Earth flies between Mars and sun on May 22, bringing it closer than Mars has been in over a decade. How to find and enjoy Mars during 2016’s close opposition!

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Science Wire | May 02, 2016

Video: Mars and Saturn in 2016

Video of this year’s oppositions of Mars and Saturn, in front of the constellations Libra and Scorpius. Notice Mars appearing larger around its May 22 opposition!

Moon shot with blue filter via our friend Jv Noriega
Science Wire | May 01, 2016

Next Blue Moon is May 21, 2016

It’s a seasonal Blue Moon – an older definition of the term – the third of four full moons between the March equinox and the June solstice of 2016.

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Science Wire | Apr 30, 2016

Did human limbs evolve from shark gills?

The Sonic Hedgehog gene drives embryonic development of mammal limbs and shark gills. Could our limbs have evolved from gills?

Photo via BreakthroughInitiatives.org.
Science Wire | Apr 29, 2016

Breakthrough Starshot aims for Alpha Centauri

Breakthrough Starshot seeks proof of concept for a 100-million-mile-per-hour mission – using light-propelled nanocrafts – to reach the nearest star in 20 years.

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Science Wire | Apr 29, 2016

How long would it take to get to Alpha Centauri?

Read about star travel via conventional propulsion, warp drives, and more.

An illustration of Earth’s magnetic field shielding our planet from solar particles. Image via NASA/GSFC/SVS.
Science Wire | Apr 28, 2016

Did Earth’s magnetic field collapse for 2 hours on April 23?

No, Earth’s magnetic field did not collapse for 2 hours on April 23. The erroneous story, which is still spreading, originated with a glitch in a computer simulation.

Image taken from the Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the rugged surface of the Naukluft Plateau, plus upper Mount Sharp at right and part of the rim of Gale Crater. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Science Wire | Apr 28, 2016

Mars rover crosses most rugged terrain so far

The Curiosity rover has nearly crossed a stretch of the roughest terrain it’s seen during its 44 months on Mars. Scientists are monitoring the wear and tear on the rover’s wheels.

Jan Oort. Copyright Leiden Observatory. Used with permission.
Science Wire | Apr 28, 2016

This date in science: Jan Oort’s birthday

Visualize a vast reservoir of icy comets on the outskirts of our solar system. That’s what Jan Oort did in 1950, and why the Oort Cloud bears his name.

Image credit: NASA/SDO
Science Wire | Apr 27, 2016

Stunning view of solar flare

On April 17, an active region on the sun’s right side released a mid-level solar flare, which can be seen in this video as a bright flash of light.

Image credit: NOAA
Science Wire | Apr 27, 2016

Does this jellyfish look like a spaceship, or what?

Video of a spectacular jellyfish that floated past NOAA’s ROV on April 24, 2016 in the Mariana Trench – the deepest oceanic trench on the planet.

Discovery image for first-ever known moon orbiting the remote dwarf planet Makemake.
Science Wire | Apr 26, 2016

Dwarf planet Makemake has a moon

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the first moon ever discovered around little Makemake, in the outermost region of our solar system.

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Science Wire | Apr 26, 2016

Watch NASA build James Webb Space Telescope

The JWST mirror covers off for a few days this week, and webcams are set up at Goddard Space Flight Center. Watch!

Health effects of the Chernobyl disaster are still felt 30 years on. Photo credit: Garanich/Reuters
Science Wire | Apr 26, 2016

Chernobyl worst nuclear accident of all time

The meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 exposed 572 million people to radiation. It was far worse than the 2011 Fukushima accident.