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- Amazon founder Bezos' space company loses challenge over NASA launch pad
A commercial space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has lost a challenge over NASA's plans to lease out one of the space shuttle's dormant launch pads in Florida, officials said on Thursday. The company, Blue Origin, had filed a protest with the U.S. General Accountability Office, which arbitrates federal contract disputes. The GAO said in a decision it denied the company's protest. Blue Origin is vying against another company owned by Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal and chief executive of electric car company Tesla Motors, to lease Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
- Space station cooling system shuts down, but no emergency, says NASA
By Irene Klotz SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - NASA is assessing a problem with one of two cooling systems aboard the International Space Station, a potentially serious but not life-threatening situation, officials said on Wednesday. The system automatically shut itself down after detecting abnormal temperatures, said NASA spokesman Josh Byerly at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Repairs may require a spacewalk, Byerly said.
- Scientists find water plumes shooting off Jupiter moon By Irene Klotz SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope show jets of water vapor blasting off the southern pole of Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter that is believed to hold an underground ocean, scientists said on Thursday. If confirmed, the discovery could affect scientists' assessments of whether the moon has the right conditions for life, planetary scientist Kurt Retherford, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope found 125-mile-high (200-km-high) plumes of water vapor shooting off from Europa's south polar region in December 2012. The jets were not seen during Hubble observations of the same region in October 1999 and November 2012.
- China-Brazil satellite launch fails, likely fell back to Earth
A Chinese-Brazilian satellite launched by China on Monday failed to reached its planned orbit and likely fell back to Earth, Brazil's Ministry of Science said. The satellite was the fourth in a series designed to monitor land use in Brazil, including forest cover in the Amazon basin. Brazil's space program is seeking to reduce the country's dependence on U.S. and European space equipment and launch vehicles and expand the domestic aerospace industry, already the world's No. 3 producer of commercial jet aircraft. The CBERS-3 satellite developed by China and Brazil was carried to space on Monday morning aboard a Long March 4B rocket from China's Taiyuan satellite launch center, the Brazilian ministry said in a statement.
- NASA Mars rover finds evidence of life-friendly ancient lake
By Irene Klotz SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Scientists have found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars well suited to support microbial life, the researchers said Monday. The lake, located inside Gale Crater where the rover landed in August 2012, likely covered an area 31 miles long and 3 miles wide, though its size varied over time. Analysis of sedimentary deposits gathered by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the lake existed for at least tens of thousands of years, and possibly longer, geologist John Grotzinger, with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. Analysis of clays drilled out from two rock samples in the area known as Yellowknife Bay show the freshwater lake existed at a time when other parts of Mars were dried up or dotted with shallow, acidic, salty pools ill-suited for life.
- Newly Detected Greenhouse Gas Is 7,000 Times More Potent Than CO2 A greenhouse gas that is thought to have a potent impact on global warming was detected in trace amounts in the atmosphere for the first time, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered very small amounts of an industrial chemical, known as perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), in the atmosphere. While only traces of PFTBA were measured, the chemical has a much higher potential to affect climate change on a molecule-by-molecule basis than carbon dioxide (CO2), the most significant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and a major contributor to global warming, said study co-author Angela Hong, of the University of Toronto's department of chemistry. "We look at potency on a per-molecule basis, and what makes this molecule interesting is that, on a per-molecule basis, it's very high, relative to other compounds in the atmosphere," Hong told LiveScience.
- Why James Bond Wanted Martinis 'Shaken, Not Stirred' James Bond's famous catchphrase "shaken, not stirred" may have stemmed from his inability to stir his drinks due to an alcohol-induced tremor affecting his hands, researchers reveal in a new, tongue-in-cheek medical report. For their report, the researchers read all 14 books of the fictional British Secret Service agent, noting every alcoholic drink, and used standard alcohol unit levels to calculate Bond's alcohol consumption — all in an effort to determine whether 007 was a martini connoisseur or a chronic alcoholic.
- Not So Funny: The Strange Risks of Laughter
Laughing appears to bring health benefits, but not always — for some, a fit of giggles can have serious consequences, according to a new study that reviewed the effects of laughter. The researchers reviewed studies on laughter published between 1946 and 2013. For example, laughing has been shown to improve blood-vessel function and reduce stiffness of the arteries, which is a risk factor for heart problems such as heart attacks. One study found that people who laugh easily have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
- Europe Launches Wake-Up Call Contest for Comet-bound Spacecraft
In the chilly reaches of deep space, the unmanned Rosetta probe will soon awaken from a years-long hibernation for a 2014 comet rendezvous, and the European scientists want you to help wake the slumbering spacecraft. The European Space Agency is asking comet fans around the world to create a special video message to rouse the Rosetta spacecraft under the new 'Wake Up Rosetta' campaign.
- Element Essential for Life Found in Supernova Remains
Phosphorous — one of the essential elements for life — has been discovered in the cosmic leftovers from a star explosion for the first time, scientists say. The second discovery by a second team of scientists found traces of argon gas in a distant nebula. "These five elements are essential to life and can only be created in massive stars," said Dae-Sik Moon, a University of Toronto astronomer, in a statement. The research, led by Seoul National University astronomy Bon-Chul Koo, is detailed in the Dec. 12 edition of the journal Science along with the separate argon gas study.
- Grizzlies Should Stay on Endangered Species List, Scientists Say
Yellowstone National Park grizzly bears could be removed from the Endangered Species list after a new federal report revealed that the bears are not threatened by the loss of one of their main foods, whitebark pine nuts. "It does not take into account the situation, the realities of the conditions on the ground in whitebark pine forests," said Jesse Logan, the retired head of the U.S. Forest Service's bark beetle research unit. The bears were temporarily removed from the Endangered Species list in 2007, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared that the animals' numbers had recovered sufficiently not to need federal protection. The judge cited concerns that the USFWS had failed to consider the decline in whitebark pine in its decision.
- Scientists find water plumes shooting off Jupiter moon
By Irene Klotz SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope show jets of water vapor blasting off the southern pole of Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter that is believed to hold an underground ocean, scientists said on Thursday. If confirmed, the discovery could affect scientists' assessments of whether the moon has the right conditions for life, planetary scientist Kurt Retherford, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope found 125-mile-high (200-km-high) plumes of water vapor shooting off from Europa's south polar region in December 2012. The jets were not seen during Hubble observations of the same region in October 1999 and November 2012.
- CERN votes to admit Israel as newest full member GENEVA (AP) — The governing council of the world's top particle physics lab has unanimously voted to accept Israel as a full member.
- Why Scientists are Concerned About Tree-Burning Power Plants (Op-Ed)
Sasha Lyutse is a policy analyst for the NRDC. Lyutse contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, 41 leading scientists sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to protect U.S. forests from the growing sucking sound created by biomass power plants. As power plants look for alternatives to fossil fuels, some are turning to burning wood or other plant materials — known as biomass — to generate electricity.
- How Nelson Mandela Navigated the Politics of Science (Op-Ed) Michael Halpern is program manager at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. This Op-Ed was adapted from a post to the UCS blog The Equation.Halpern contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. As we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, it is worth reflecting at this time on Mandela's ability to transcend politics when speaking about contentious scientific issues. Nowhere was this more apparent than with the difficult politics surrounding HIV and AIDS at the turn of the millennium.
- How Nuclear Power Can Stop Global Warming How Nuclear Power Can Stop Global Warming
- G8 aims to beat dementia by 2025 with AIDS-style fight
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Leading countries set a goal of finding a cure or effective treatment for dementia by 2025 on Wednesday and ministers said the world needed to fight the spread of the memory-robbing condition just as it fought AIDS. The move by the Group of Eight (G8) nations matches the date set by the United States last year for beating Alzheimer's - but the target is ambitious, considering there is no obvious cure on the horizon. Global cases of dementia are expected to treble by 2050, yet scientists are still struggling to understand its basic biology, and the current medicine cupboard is bare. The London meeting - the first G8 summit on a specific illness since HIV and AIDS - was hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said it was vital to show that dementia was not a normal part of ageing.
- The Science of Shopping: Buy Gifts One at a Time "Having multiple recipients in mind not only means that more gifts are needed, but it may change what shoppers focus on when making gift selections," wrote Mary Steffel of the University of Cincinnati and Robyn A. LeBoeuf of the University of Florida in the new paper published online Nov. 21 in the Journal of Consumer Research. The students were asked to pick gift cards as presents for university and out-of-town friends.
- Actor Alan Alda Challenges Scientists to Explain Color to Kids
Actor Alan Alda has a question: "What is color?" Alda is famous for starring in "M*A*S*H" and "The West Wing," but he is also a founding member of the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York.
- RIP Comet ISON: Scientists Declare Famous 'Sungrazer' Dead After Sun Encounter
SAN FRANCISCO — It's time to accept reality: Comet ISON is dead. "At this point, it seems like there's nothing left," comet expert Karl Battams, of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., said here today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. "Comet ISON is dead; Comet ISON, which was discovered by two Russian amateur astronomers in September 2012, was making its first trip to the inner solar system from the distant and frigid Oort Cloud.
- G8 summit calls for AIDS-style fight against dementia
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - The world needs to fight the spread of dementia in the same way it mobilised against AIDS, a British government minister told a special summit on the disease on Wednesday, saying failure to tackle it would wreck state health budgets. Global cases of dementia are expected to treble by 2050, yet scientists are still struggling to understand the basic biology of the memory-robbing brain condition, and the medicine cupboard is bare. "In terms of a cure, or even a treatment that can modify the disease, we are empty-handed," World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan told ministers, campaigners, scientists and drug industry executives from the Group of Eight leading economies at the summit in London. British Health Minister Jeremy Hunt said there were lessons to be learnt from the fight against AIDS, where a 2005 G8 summit played a key role in pushing for better and more widely available drugs.
- Alan Alda's science contest asks: What is color?
- TV's Stephen Colbert Awards NASA Medal to Voyager 1 Scientist
When NASA wanted to present veteran Voyager project scientist Ed Stone with the Distinguished Public Service Medal — highest honor for a non-government individual — for 40 years of amazing work, the space agency knew just who to call: Stephen Colbert. Clad in his own version of a spacesuit, Colbert presented Stone the award in style on his Comedy Central talk show The Colbert Report on Dec. 3. Colbert, quoting a statement by NASA science missions chief John Grunsfeld, said Stone's award was "for a lifetime of extraordinary scientific achievement and outstanding leadership of space science missions, and for his exemplary sharing of the exciting results with the public." [Photos: Voyager 1 in Interstellar Space, a Timeline]
- Weapons watchdog receives Nobel Peace Prize
OSLO, Norway (AP) — Recalling the "burning, blinding and suffocating" horrors of chemical weapons, the head of a watchdog trying to consign them to history accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday, as prize winners in medicine, physics and other categories also took bows for their awards.
- Nobel awards ceremony held with many VIPs away for Mandela memorial
By Sven Nordenstam STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden held its lavish annual Nobel awards ceremony on Tuesday attended by laureates and royals, but their ranks were depleted when many VIPs flocked to the memorial for anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela in South Africa. More than 1,300 guests at the banquet attended the Nobel dinner in Stockholm City Hall to dine, chat and listen to laureates including Britain's Peter Higgs and Francois Englert of Belgium, who won the Nobel Prize for physics - speak at Sweden's most prestigious social event. Swedish newspapers spotlighted the hastily rearranged seating at the table of honor after Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Princess Victoria cancelled their attendance to fly to South Africa. The ceremony was also missing Canadian Nobel-winning author Alice Munro, who was unable to attend because of ill health.
- Spinning Trap Measures 'Roundness' of an Electron A new technique could one day provide the most precise measurement yet of the roundness of an electron, scientists say. That measurement, in turn, could help scientists test extensions of the standard model, the reigning particle physics model that describes the behavior of the very small, said study co-author Eric Cornell, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the JILA Center for Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics in Boulder, Colo. An electron's shape comes from a cloud of virtual particles surrounding a dimensionless point; Past measurements have suggested the positive and negative charges are at equal distances from the center of the electron, Cornell said.
- Record low temperature recorded in Antarctica: scientists
By Irene and Klotz SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Arctic air blasting the eastern United States is positively balmy compared to the record minus 136 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 93 degrees Celsius) temperature measured in Antarctica in August 2010, according to research released on Monday. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing 32 years of global surface temperatures recorded by satellites. They found that a high ridge in the East Antarctic Plateau contains pockets of trapped air that dipped as low as minus 136 Fahrenheit on August 10, 2010, researchers said at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. The previous record low was minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica, said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.
- Tea Kettles Stop Whistling in the Dark More than a century after relativity, physics can now explain how a tea kettle whistles. Wayt Gibbs reports
- How Elephant Seals Know Who's Boss
SAN FRANCISCO — Male elephant seals recognize the unique calls of their rivals, helping them know when to fight or flee, new research suggests. The findings, presented here at the 166th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, suggest that in the seals' hypercompetitive mating market, recognizing their rivals' calls to avoid senseless fights can be a good strategy. "If you can call at your rival and save yourself from having to fight again, that's really good," said study co-author Caroline Casey, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Scientists test ideas in bird botulism outbreaks
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — For more than a decade, people walking along Great Lakes beaches have come upon a heartrending sight: dozens, or even hundreds, of dead loons, gulls and other waterfowl — victims of food poisoning that paralyzed their muscles and eventually caused them to drown.
- Nobel winner: scientists get it wrong most of time STOCKHOLM (AP) — One of this year's Nobel Prize laureates says learning how to handle failure is key to becoming a successful scientist.
- Scientists to Congress: We Have the Technology to Find Alien Life
To find extraterrestrial life, be it microbes or intelligent life, scientists need telescopes capable of detecting Earth-like planets in Earth's neighborhood and ways to detect biological signatures of life or signs of alien technology. "This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to find life on other planets," Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing today. "Astrobiology has become a crosscutting theme of all NASA space science endeavors," and continued funding is important, said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas). The Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets outside Earth's solar system, including 10 that are Earth-size and lie within their star's habitable zone.
- Swiss expert contests French finding that Arafat not poisoned
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - A Swiss scientist who examined samples from the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said French experts had made weak arguments in concluding that he could not have died of poisoning in 2004. French forensic examiners commissioned by magistrates investigating Arafat's death in a Paris hospital assessed on Tuesday that he had not been killed with radioactive polonium found in abnormally high levels in his body and clothing. The Swiss approach resembled that of the French inquiry but dug deeper into the mystery, said Francois Bochud, director of the institute of radiation physics at University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) who helped exhume Arafat's remains a year ago. Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel but then led an uprising after subsequent talks broke down in 2000, died aged 75 in November 2004.
- Jamaica scientist launches medical marijuana firm KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A prominent Jamaican scientist and entrepreneur is launching a company that aims to capitalize on medical marijuana, a growing global industry that he asserted Wednesday could be a boon for the island's chronically limping economy.
- Climate Scientist: 2 Degrees of Warming Too Much
NEW YORK — Famed climate scientist and activist James Hansen has said it before, and he'll say it again: Two degrees of warming is too much. International climate negotiators agreed in the Copenhagen Accord, a global agreement on climate change that took place at the 2009 United Nations' Climate Change Conference, that warming this century shouldn't increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But in a new paper published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, Hansen and a cadre of co-authors from a wide array of disciplines argue that even 2 degrees is too much, and would "subject young people, future generations and nature to irreparable harm," Hansen wrote in an accompanying essay distributed to reporters. The new study is a departure from the typical climate science paper, both for the wide variety of fields represented in the list of co-authors, which includes economist Jeffrey Sachs, as well as for the policy implications it raises, something climate scientists tend to shy away from.
- The Replication Myth: Shedding Light on One of Science s Dirty Little Secrets
- Science Defines Booty Calls, One-Night Stands And unsurprisingly, the point of these casual relationships is (drumroll, please) … sex. That's why Peter Jonason, a psychologist at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, focused on these relationships in a new study, published Nov. 1 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. The results, he surmised, could explain why people might get involved in a booty-call relationship versus a one-night stand or long-term affair. Each participant was asked to rank how likely booty calls, friends with benefits (people who have casual sex while remaining "just friends"), long-term relationships and one-night stands were to fulfill each of four functions: sexual gratification, social and emotional support, a "trial run" for a serious relationship and a placeholder to stave off boredom or to bide time until something better came along.
- Climate Model of the Month: New Wall Calendar Humanizes Science
The idea started as a joke at Columbia University, thrown around as a pun of climate scientists modeling themselves, not their data, in an effort to engage the public with climate change in a fresh way by humanizing the people behind the research. Science writers Francesco Fiondella of Columbia's International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Rebecca Fowler of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory began throwing around the idea in early 2013 and, after weeks of ongoing chuckles, decided to look for funding and get serious about the project. "There is so much out there in climate research, but we thought a new mechanism was needed for showing people what it all means," Fowler told LiveScience. Fowler and Fiondella hand-picked a group of 13 Columbia climate scientists who represented a balance of males and females and a range of climate-research fields, from hyrdology to physics to marine science.
- Dangerous Global Warming Closer Than You Think, Climate Scientists Say Dangerous Global Warming Closer Than You Think, Climate Scientists Say
- Australia investigates suspected Chinese spy at top science centre Australia is investigating a suspected espionage case at the country's top scientific organization, with a Chinese national being probed for allegedly accessing sensitive data, Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday. The case may further test relations with China after the Australian foreign minister called in the Chinese ambassador to Canberra last week to ask for an explanation for a new air defence zone unilaterally set up by China in disputed international waters. Australian federal police and security agencies are investigating a Chinese national, who until last week worked at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization, Fairfax reported. "CSIRO became aware of a matter involving an employee suspected of unauthorised use of CSIRO computers," the organization's spokesman Huw Morgan told Reuters in an email.
Geändert: 10.12.2010 19:40 Uhr