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July 28 2014

Earth's pull melts layer around Moon's core


The power of Earth's gravity heats up a layer around the Moon's core keeping it liquid, suggests a new model of the lunar interior.

The findings, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, have implications for our understanding of how the Moon evolved over time.

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July 28 2014

Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar


In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at the same time the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the most powerful form of light, according to measurements by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

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July 28 2014

Don't worry, control of the Russian gecko sex satellite has been restored


Russian space agency Roscosmos has confirmed that it has re-established communication with its Foton-M4 satellite, meaning there are no longer sexually experimental geckos drifting lost in space, possibly building their own government and conspiring to populate a planet.

The satellite made headlines last week when ground lost control with it just days after launch and was no longer able to send it commands.

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July 27 2014

Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers


Astronomers have a mystery on their hands. Two large radio telescopes, on opposite sides of the planet, have detected very brief, very powerful bursts of radio waves.

Right now, astronomers have no idea what's causing these bursts or where they're coming from. And nothing has been ruled out at the moment — not even the kind of outrageous claims you'd expect to see in tabloid headlines.

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July 27 2014

Mysterious signal from the center of the Perseus Cluster unexplained by known physics


Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to explore the Perseus Cluster, a swarm of galaxies approximately 250 million light years from Earth, have observed the spectral line that appears not to come from any known type of matter. The signal they received can not be explained by known physics but they say it shifts suspicion to the dark matter.

Perseus Cluster a collection of galaxies and one of the most massive known objects in the Universe, immersed in an enormous 'atmosphere' of superheated plasma. It is approximately 768 000 light years across.

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July 27 2014

Mapping Dark Matter 4.5 Billion Light-years Away


The Milky Way measures 100 to 120 thousand light-years across, a distance that defies imagination. But clusters of galaxies, which comprise hundreds to thousands of galaxies swarming under a collective gravitational pull, can span tens of millions of light-years.

These massive clusters are a complex interplay between colliding galaxies and dark matter. They seem impossible to map precisely. But now an international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has done exactly this — precisely mapping a galaxy cluster, dubbed MCS J0416.1–2403, 4.5 billion light-years away.

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July 27 2014

On Cloudy Alien Planets, a Chance for Life


The cloudier an alien planet is, the closer it can get to its star and still remain potentially life-friendly, researchers say.

In fact, clouds might help Earth-like planets remain hospitable to life even when orbiting a sun-like star as closely as the hellish Venus circles the sun in our solar system, the scientists added.

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July 27 2014

Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission


Russian scientists have lost contact with an experimental satellite filled with geckos that was to be the focus of new research on animal sex in zero-gravity.

The Foton-M4 spacecraft was launched from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on 19 July and made several orbits of the planet before it stopped responding to commands from Roscosmos, Russia’s Federal Space Agency.

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July 27 2014

Transiting Alien World with Longest Year Discovered


A newfound alien planet is one for the record books.

The alien planet Kepler-421b — which crosses the face of, or transits, its host star from Earth's perspective — takes 704 Earth days to complete one orbit, and thus has the longest year known for any transiting alien world, researchers said. (For comparison, Earth orbits the sun once every 365 days, and Mars completes a lap every 780 days.).

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July 27 2014

How do we terraform Venus?


It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

This planet has been the center of corny nerd fantasies and awful behavioral gender oversimplifications from days of yore.

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July 27 2014

lnside the mysterious Yamal crater


Scientists are back from a first exploration of the strange crater on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. Curiouser and curiouser.

There is water flowing down the smooth crater walls. A Russian science team has returned from exploring the crater, and they still say it is a natural formation, but there are no easy answers as to what caused it.

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July 27 2014

Second mysterious crater reported from Yamal


The Moscow Times reported this week that reindeer herders in far northern Russia have found a second mysterious giant hole. According to these unconfirmed reports, the second hole is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) away from a first large and mysterious hole in the Russian permafrost, which made a big splash in social media after the Siberian Times reported it in mid-July 2014.

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July 27 2014

Wyoming Cave With Fossil Secrets to Be Excavated


For the first time in three decades, scientists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

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July 27 2014

Got Cavities? Ancient Teeth Reveal Bacteria's Evolution


Ouch! The bacterium that causes toothaches has become more diverse over the course of human history, a new study finds.

Streptococcus mutans is a nasty little bacterium that lurks in the mouth, frequently causing tooth decay and cavities. Now, a new analysis of the bacteria's DNA extracted from human teeth dating back to the Bronze Age reveals the bug has been mutating randomly over the years, becoming more diverse as the human population grows, perhaps because it has more mouths to fill.

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July 27 2014

'Uncontacted' Amazon People Treated for Flu


Advocates for indigenous tribes and Brazilian officials are worried that a group of people in the Amazon who had been living in isolation from the outside world may have contracted the flu — a potentially deadly disease that these individuals had never been exposed to before.

Five young men and two young women became sick after they emerged from their remote home turf in Peru in late June and made contact with people living in a settled community.

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July 27 2014

First case of ebola reported in Africa's most populous city Lagos


A man has died of ebola in Lagos, the first confirmed case of the highly contagious and deadly virus in Africa's most populous metropolis.

Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian civil servant, collapsed on arrival in Nigeria's main airport on Sunday, health officials said. His condition rapidly deteriorated before he died, said Abdulsalami Nasidi, project director at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who attributed his death to ebola.

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July 27 2014

Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death


A Chinese city has been sealed off and 151 people have been placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said.

The 30,000 residents of Yumen, in the north-western province of Gansu, are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on the perimeter of the city are telling motorists to find alternative routes, China Central Television (CCTV) said.

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