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July 1 2014

Swedish space rock may be piece of early life puzzle


A fossil meteorite unlike anything seen before has been uncovered in a Swedish quarry. The mysterious rock may be the first known piece of the "bullet" that sparked an explosion of life on early Earth.

Roughly 100 fossil meteorites have emerged from the limestone quarry west of Stockholm, which is being mined for flooring. All of the meteorites are part of an iron-poor class called the L chondrites. They date back about 470 million years to the Ordovician period, when Earth experienced a mysterious burst of new species.

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July 1 2014

How My Dad's Equation Sparked the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence


A few days before Halloween in 1961, a young astronomer was mulling over a fairly serious problem.

Soon the astronomer, Frank Drake, would be convening a meeting at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, to discuss what was still a fringe, eyebrow-raising topic: the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Drake had invited everyone he could think of with an interest in the scientific search for E.T.—all 12 of them—to the meeting.

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July 1 2014

Potentially habitable Earth-like planet discovered; May have similar temperatures to our planet


A potentially habitable Earth-like planet that is only 16 light years away has been discovered. The "super-Earth" planet, GJ 832 c, takes 16 days to orbit its red-dwarf star, GJ 832, and has a mass at least five times that of Earth. It receives about the same average stellar energy as Earth does and may have similar temperatures to our planet. These characteristics put it among the top three most Earth-like planets.

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July 1 2014

Mysterious features on Saturn's Titan reveal the moon's seasonal changes


At first glance, Titan has little in common with Earth. The largest moon of Saturn, temperatures on Titan's surface dip nearly 300 F below zero, its seas slosh with liquid methane, and its sky is a murky shade of creamsicle. And yet, fresh analysis of mysterious features spotted on the moon indicates that it experiences one of the same global processes that is important here on Earth.

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June 30 2014

Magnetic bubbles could shield astronauts from radiation


Deflector shields aren’t just for the starship Enterprise. One day, giant magnetic bubbles could protect spacecraft on long voyages.

By gathering charged particles floating through space, the bubbles could form a force field that flicks away radiation. If successful, the idea could offer scientists a solution to one of NASA’s stickiest problems: how to shield astronauts from harmful cosmic rays and solar eruptions.

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June 30 2014

Would Earth look like a habitable planet from afar?


Even when a distant world has the trademarks of habitability—it's Earth-sized, it's in the zone around its star where liquid water is possible—finding signs of life is tricky. The telescope technology of today falls short of being able to distinguish clues of life.

But readying the tools to find life now will help astronomers when telescopes get better in the next few decades.

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June 30 2014

Nasa 'flying saucer' hoped to deliver astronauts to Mars splashes back down to earth


A saucer-shaped NASA vehicle testing new technology that could one day help humans land on Mars made a successful rocket ride over the Pacific, but its massive descent parachute only partially unfurled.

The space agency hopes that the technology used in the 150 million dollar (£88 million) experimental flight will one day replace the current parachute design, which has been used since 1976.

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June 30 2014

Is There Life on Neptune?


There’s no reason in principle why life couldn’t evolve on a gas giant, but it would have to be some highly unusual life. Last week, we discussed the possibility of life on Jupiter and found it to be a fairly inhospitable place, at least by Earth standards. Does Neptune fare any better? Yes, actually.

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June 30 2014

Supercooled livers boost transplant hopes


A new "supercooling" technique keeps rat livers alive three times longer than before, boosting hopes for easing shortages of human transplant organs, report scientists.

The method involves cooling the livers while flushing them with oxygen and nutrients and preserving them in a solution containing a form of antifreeze.

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June 30 2014

Drone on a Wire: UAVs Could Perch on Power Lines to Recharge


Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have a big problem: their limited battery power. But researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are developing a way to extend the range by having drones act like birds. If a drone can land on a power line, the thinking goes, then it can exploit the electricity running through power lines to recharge.

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June 30 2014

Tofu Ingredient Can Be Used In Solar Cell Production


Magnesium chloride, the chemical used to make tofu and bath salts, could become a key ingredient in the production of solar cells, according to a University of Liverpool study.

Researchers said that Cadmium chloride is currently an important part of solar cell technology, used to manufacture solar panels around the world. Due to the substance's high toxicity, workers practise elaborate safety measures to protect themselves during production. They also implement special disposal measures when discarding the panels.

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June 30 2014

New to Google Earth: Ancient Flying Reptiles


Want to find the nearest pterosaur? There's an app for that — or a database, at least.

A newly developed website catalogs more than 1,300 specimens of extinct flying reptiles called pterosaurs, thus enabling users to map out the ancient creatures on Google Earth. The goal is to help researchers find trends in the evolution and diversity of these ancient winged reptiles.

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June 30 2014

Designers recreate stone age tools with space age technology


For more than a million years, the simple stone hand axe was one of our most important tools, but in the age of smartphones and virtual reality it can be hard to understand how revolutionary it really was. In their design series "Man Made," Dov Ganchrow and Ami Drach use 3D printing to make the tool's importance a little more clear.

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June 30 2014

Is it a fake? The tricky business of authenticating rock art


This week, The Australian reported that a hand stencil found in a controversial coal mining development in the Blue Mountains was a “fake”. The story has also been reported by the BBC and was picked up by Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun.

Community concerns have been high about this development. The extension of the mine, near the Garden of Stones area, has reportedly attracted over 500 objections.

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June 30 2014

New article: What's what with the cave?


The Chauvet cave was painted approximately 30,000 years ago and the dreams were buried and sealed for 20,000 years by a land slide. The site and its contents were discovered in 1994 and rocked the world!

Now, other images that appear to have been hidden within the paintings have been found that seem to reveal specific designs and intentional masking which may tell a story, or message, that could be massively important from an artistic and historical point of view.

What could these images be telling us?

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June 30 2014

Remains of ancient child reburied in Montana


WILSALL – The 12,600-year-old remains of an infant boy were reburied Saturday in a Native American ceremony after scientists recovered DNA from the child discovered in central Montana in 1968.

The boy’s remains were put back as close as possible to the original burial site. Two film crews, about 30 American Indian tribal representatives from Montana and Washington, and others attended the reburial ceremony, The Billings Gazette reported.

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June 30 2014

The Hammer of Thor


A small hammer dating to the 10th century was found recently on the Danish Island of Lolland. Over 1000 of these amulets have been found across Northern Europe but the pendant from Lolland is the only one with a runic inscription.

This particular torshammere (Thor’s Hammer Amulet) was found at Købelev and reported to the Museum Lolland-Falster archaeologist Anders Rasmussen by detectorist Torben Christjansen.

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