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June 19 2014

Molecule vital for creating water exists in dying sun-like stars


Using ESA's Herschel space observatory, astronomers have discovered that a molecule vital for creating water exists in the burning embers of dying Sun-like stars.

When low- to middleweight stars like our Sun approach the end of their lives, they eventually become dense, white dwarf stars. In doing so, they cast off their outer layers of dust and gas into space, creating a kaleidoscope of intricate patterns known as planetary nebulas.

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June 19 2014

NASA's Futuristic Spacesuits Made for Mars Walkers


NASA is thinking hard about what the first boots to set foot on Mars will look like.

Getting astronauts to the Red Planet is the chief long-term goal of the agency's human spaceflight program, so NASA is developing many technologies to help make that happen. For instance, there's the Space Launch System mega-rocket, the Orion crew capsule and a new line of prototype spacesuits called the Z-series.

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June 19 2014

Hunting for heat deep in the Earth


Capturing green energy from deep in the Earth will bring competitive electricity and district heating – with help from Norway.

Ever since Jules Verne's 1864 novel " A Journey to the Centre of the Earth", people have dreamt of capturing the heat of planet Earth. It exists in huge amounts, is completely renewable and emits no CO2.

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June 19 2014

The Mysterious Blue Holes of the Bahamas


The island of Andros in the Bahamas is a mystical place. It is a tropical, sun-kissed land of clear blue seas and pristine, white sand beaches. Possessing immense biological and geographical diversity, with a wide range of habitats across an area approximately the size of the state of Delaware, many of which are unique on Earth, Andros is not only a tropical paradise but also a marvel of the natural world. This idyllic island getaway is also a place steeped in mystery, legend, and myth.

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June 19 2014

Earth's Most Abundant, But Hidden Mineral Finally Seen, Named


Earth's most abundant mineral lies deep in the planet's interior, sealed off from human eyes. Now, scientists for the first time have gotten a glimpse of the material in nature, enclosed inside a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite. The result: They have characterized and named the elusive mineral.

The new official name, bridgmanite, was approved for the mineral formerly known by its chemical components and crystal structure — silicate-perovskite. The magnesium-silicate mineral was named after Percy Bridgman, a 1946 Nobel Prize-winning physicist, according to the American Geophysical Union blog.

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June 19 2014

Older Than the Rolling Stones


Before dawn Saturday, thousands of revelers will again gather among the monoliths at Stonehenge to sing, bang drums and frolic beneath a solstice sunrise.

Theories surrounding the monument’s intended purpose — temple? observatory? big sundial? — go in and out of fashion. But this year, the partygoers will show up outside Salisbury, England, with fresh evidence that the site was always intended to host such shenanigans. Specifically, making loud rock music.

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June 19 2014

Deep-Diving 'Exosuit' Lets Scientists Explore 2,000-Year-Old Shipwreck


A treasure trove of bronze and marble statues, gold jewelry and ancient scientific instruments may be buried in sand, hundreds of feet below the Aegean Sea, and a team of explorers is going after the 2,000-year-old hoard using the most advanced diving suit ever built.

Later this year, scientists and divers plan to explore the so-called Antikythera shipwreck, which settled on the seafloor around 50 B.C. off the coast of Antikythera, a Greek island. The team's secret weapon is a 6.5-foot-tall (2 meters), 530-pound (240 kilograms) metal diving suit equipped with 1.6-horsepower thrusters that can reach the extreme depths where the ship came to rest.

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June 19 2014

Revealed: Nazi Plans to Bring Aurochs Back from Dead


A new TV documentary will this week reveal details of Adolf Hitler's secret plans to use Nazi experiments to bring seven feet beasts back from the dead – 350 years after they became extinct.

The documentary claims that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis planned to recreate aurochs, an ancestor of domestic cows, that stood seven feet tall with giant horns. The massive animals, which weighed more than a ton, once roamed the forests of Europe and are often depicted in ancient cave paintings in France and Spain.

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June 19 2014

How to Shrink a Dinosaur: Fossils Reveal Evolution of 'Pocket Sauropods'


Sauropods are best known for being the largest dinosaurs ever to roam Earth. But a new study of these ancient creatures focuses on a surprising fact: Some sauropods were actually quite small.

The conclusion is based on the discovery of the fossil remains of the smaller-than-average sauropod dubbed Europasaurus holgeri in 2006 in a quarry in northern Germany.The specimens were approximately 20 feet (6 meters) long and are believed to have supported dinosaurs weighing less than a ton each.

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June 19 2014

Say Hello to a Horned Dinosaur With 'Wings' on Its Head


The latest name in dinosaurs is Mercuriceratops gemini — a bizarre horned dinosaur that had a frill so wide it looked the wings on the Greek god Mercury's helmet.

At least that's what the scientists who named the beast thought. That's how they came up with the genus name, which is derived from the Greek for "Mercury horned-face." The 77 million-year-old plant-eater is described and classified in a paper published online by the journal Naturwissenschaften.

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June 19 2014

Ancient forest fire gives clues to dinosaurs final days


Researchers at McGill University have excavated the first fossil evidence of forest fire ecology, revealing forests still recover from wildfires the same way today as they did during the reign of the dinosaurs.

66 million years ago, just before the last great mass extinction on Earth, a great fire ravaged what is now southern Saskatechwan, Canada.

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June 19 2014

The Mystery of the Blinking Mummy


When we hear the word 'mummy' we immediately think of Egypt, pyramids & ancient pharaohs seeking to preserve their mortal remains for all eternity. But the truth of the matter is that, either by pure chance or on purpose, corpses showing an incredible state of preservation can be found all around the world.

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June 19 2014

Experts use CT scans to study remains of Egyptian mummy discovered in ancient city of Thebes


Having lived 2,400 years ago, this Egyptian probably never thought that he would be subjected to the ignominies of being prodded and poked in a 21st Century French hospital.

The mummy was found among the tombstones of Thebes and brought to France where it was examined in the taphonomy unit at the Roger Salengro hospital, in Lille and the city’s natural history museum.

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June 18 2014

Remains of 'End of the World' Epidemic Found in Ancient Egypt


Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an epidemic in Egypt so terrible that one ancient writer believed the world was coming to an end.

Working at the Funerary Complex of Harwa and Akhimenru in the west bank of the ancient city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor) in Egypt, the team of the Italian Archaeological Mission to Luxor (MAIL) found bodies covered with a thick layer of lime (historically used as a disinfectant). The researchers also found three kilns where the lime was produced, as well as a giant bonfire containing human remains, where many of the plague victims were incinerated.

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June 18 2014

What I Learned Hunting Decoy-Weaving Spiders In The Amazon


TAMBOPATA, PERU -- In a remote area of the Peruvian Amazon lives a type of spider with a peculiar habit: It builds a spider-shaped "decoy" in its web out of dead insects and other detritus, and which resembles an arachnid much bigger than itself. The idea is that these spider-shaped web additions scare away predators, but nobody knows for sure. Only discovered less than two years ago, scientists know little about these marvelously strange web-weavers.

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June 18 2014

Spiders divide labor by personality, say scientists


Ever wondered if your job really fits your personality? If you were a spider, there might be no doubt.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recently published a study showing that a species of social spider, Anelosimus studiosus, organizes colony duties by personality.

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June 18 2014

Spiders Tune In To Web's Music To Size Up Meals And Mates


Some of the toughest stuff in nature is spider silk — as strong, ounce for ounce, as nylon. And a silk web makes a great trap for prey, as well as a nice place for a spider to live.

But scientists have learned that spiders can do something else quite extraordinary with their webs: They can "tune" them, like musical instruments.

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