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June 23 2014

Rare Fossil 'Mona Lisa' Meteorites May Be Evidence Of Ancient Cosmic Collision


They're being likened to the Mona Lisa -- four fossil meteorites that may be linked to an ancient cosmic crash in the early universe.

Dr. Philipp Heck, curator of meteorites and polar studies at the Field Museum in Chicago, made the comparison to the iconic Leonardo da Vinci portrait -- and not without reason.

“They are so rare and so unique.”

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June 23 2014

Swarm reveals Earth's changing magnetism


The first set of high-resolution results from ESA's three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet.

Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth's magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles.

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June 23 2014

NASA wants to capture an asteroid in 2019


NASA has been talking for some time now about its Asteroid Redirect Mission, a plan to snatch an asteroid out of space and send it into lunar orbit for study. Yesterday, the agency announced when the first phase of the operation will begin: the spacecraft will launch in 2019.

Examining an asteroid — space debris that doesn't change much over time — could give scientists a view into the earliest stages of the universe.

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June 23 2014

NASA: ‘Our plan is to colonize Mars’


Dr Ellen Stofan says that missions to the red planet are a priority of the US space agency – and that the best way to search for extraterrestrial life is by setting up a permanent presence.

Is NASA looking for intelligent life?
NASA, right now, is really taking a step-wise approach: let’s look at our own solar system and the most likely places where we might find life.

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June 23 2014

A New Mantra, 'Follow the Methane,' May Advance Search For Alien Life


Astronomers have developed a powerful new tool that could boost the search for extraterrestrial life.

To date, that search has been largely limited to the search for water. We look for exoplanets at the correct distances from their stars for water to flow freely on their surfaces, and even scan radiofrequencies in the "water hole" between the 1,420 MHz emission line of neutral hydrogen and the 1,666 MHz hydroxyl line.

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June 23 2014

Mystery object in lake on Saturn's moon Titan intrigues scientists


Scientists are investigating a mystery object that appeared and then vanished again from a giant lake on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

They spotted the object in an image taken by Nasa's Cassini probe last year as it swung around the alien moon, more than a billion kilometres from Earth. Pictures of the same spot captured nothing before or some days later.

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June 22 2014

Pluto-bound craft seeks Manhattan-sized lump of ice


Desirable destinations at the fringes of the solar system can be hard to find. So NASA has enlisted its famous Hubble Space Telescope to search for a celestial body that its New Horizons spacecraft can visit once the craft has passed Pluto.

New Horizons is due to fly past the dwarf planet and its moons in July 2015.

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June 22 2014

Is There Life on Charon?


The dwarf planet Pluto and most of its moons were named after the Roman god of death and his grim entourage, so it would be ironic if they turned out to be the only objects in the solar system outside of Earth that contained life. It would also be a little surprising, considering their distance from the Sun, but several recent scientific studies have indirectly raised the possibility.

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June 22 2014

Quantum method closes in on gravitational constant


Physicists have used the quantum nature of matter to obtain a highly precise value for the universal gravitational constant, the 'big G' that appears in Isaac Newton's law of how gravity pulls together everything, from planets to apples. Although the technique still needs refinements, physicists believe that in the future it will beat the precision of conventional methods — and hopefully solve apparent discrepancies between measurements that have long puzzled physicists.

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June 22 2014

Militants Destroy Philosopher's Tomb, Poets' Statues in Iraq


MOSUL Iraq (Reuters) - Militant Sunni Islamists who seized swathes of northern Iraq last week have destroyed symbols of Iraq's heritage in the city of Mosul, including statues of cultural icons and the tomb of a medieval philosopher.

Witnesses said militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had destroyed a statue of Othman al-Mousuli, a 19th Century Iraqi musician and composer, and the statue of Abu Tammam, an Abbasid-era Arab poet.

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June 22 2014

Hidden treasures of ancient Ur uncovered in Bristol


An enigmatic box from a bygone era, filled with pottery, seeds and animal bones, has been discovered in the University of Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. The box was found while researchers were emptying current laboratory spaces in preparation for the installation of a new state-of-the-art radiocarbon dating facility.

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June 22 2014

Egyptologist unravels ancient mystery


It is one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of all times: the disappearance of a Persian army of 50,000 men in the Egyptian desert around 524 BC. A professor has now unearthed a cover-up affair and solved the riddle.

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June 22 2014

Neanderthals evolved their teeth before big brains


The Neanderthals knew how to make an entrance: teeth first. Our sister species' distinctive teeth were among the first unique aspects of their anatomy to evolve, according to a study of their ancestors. These early Neanderthals may have used their teeth as a third hand, gripping objects that they then cut with tools.

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June 22 2014

The genes tell crows to choose partners that look like themselves


Crows like to select mates that look alike. In a large-scale genomic study a team of researchers found that this behavior might be rooted in their genetic make-up, revealing a likely common evolutionary path that allows for separating populations into novel species.

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June 22 2014

These Popular Plastic Bottles May Be Messing With Your Hormones


Many BPA-free plastics may leach BPA-like chemicals that are potentially damaging to human health, a dilemma Mother Jones explored in our exposé on the plastics industry earlier this year. But consumers have had no way of knowing which of the items lurking in their pantries might wreak havoc on their hormones. Until now. A new paper in the journal Environmental Health identifies specific plastic products that leach estrogen-mimicking chemicals. Perhaps more importantly, it also names a few options that are hormone-free.

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June 22 2014

Broccoli drink flushes air pollutants from body


A daily broccoli sprout drink helped people in a heavily polluted area of China rid their bodies of an airborne cancer-causing chemical and lung irritant, scientists report.

In a clinical trial, researchers used the broccoli beverage to get nearly 300 Chinese men and women to consume sulforaphane, a plant compound already demonstrated in animal studies to have cancer-preventive properties.

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June 22 2014

Does Reading ‘Moral’ Stories to Children Promote Honesty?


All over the world, young children are exposed to classic fairy tales, myths and other stories. Most kids love hearing the stories, but in addition to being a fun activity, story-telling is also thought of as an educational tool which can promote moral reasoning and honesty. Conventional wisdom suggests that hearing fairy tales in which dishonest protagonists are punished might help convince the listeners to become truth-tellers.

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