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April 19 2014

Size matters: 'Crucial' ancient Roman city Ostia was 40% bigger than previously thought


British researchers have discovered ruins that prove a city crucial to the Roman Empire, bringing food to the ancient capital itself, was “much bigger” than previously thought. The find has been hailed as “crucial” in understanding the area around the first century AD.

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April 19 2014

How to build a Neanderthal


The DNA sequences of Neanderthals and other extinct human relatives have exposed lost migrations, sexual escapades and even new species. Now, researchers have uncovered another molecular clue lurking in the bones of long-dead humans: the so-called 'epigenetic' chemical modifications that adorn DNA and orchestrate gene activity.

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April 19 2014

There's something ancient in the icebox


Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised to discover an ancient tundra landscape preserved under the Greenland Ice Sheet, below two miles of ice.

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April 19 2014

Ancient plants 'frozen in time' by space impacts


Ancient plant material has been preserved in the glass formed by asteroids hitting the Earth, scientists report. The "frozen in aspic" appearance of what are apparently fragments of grass is spectacular enough.

But a team writing in Geology journal says that delicate organic chemicals have also been conserved inside.

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April 19 2014

Ancient Martian Life May Be Preserved in Glass


When large asteroids or comets strike the Earth — as they have countless times throughout our planet’s history — the energy released in the event creates an enormous amount of heat, enough to briefly melt rock and soil at the impact site. That molten material quickly cools, trapping organic material and bits of plants and preserving them inside fragments of glass for tens of thousands, even millions of years.

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April 19 2014

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere


Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published April 17 in the journal Nature, shows that the atmospheres of Mars and Earth diverged in important ways very early in the 4.6 billion year evolution of our solar system.

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April 19 2014

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts


This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle's Museum of Flight, shows that "the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid is blind luck."

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April 19 2014

Mountains on Saturn’s Moon Iapetus Fell From the Sky


It may sound like something out of “Chicken Little,” but at some point in the history of Saturn’s moon Iapetus, the sky was actually falling: Scientists reported this week that an entire 800-mile-long mountain range along the moon’s equator formed after it fell from space.

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April 19 2014

Birth of 'new Saturn moon' witnessed


Scientists say they have discovered what could be the birth of a new moon in the rings of Saturn.

Informally named Peggy, the object would become the 63rd moon in Saturn's orbit - if confirmed.

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April 19 2014

Explosive Surprise: Huge Volcanoes Shook Mercury for Billions of Years


Explosive volcanic eruptions apparently shaped Mercury's surface for billions of years — a surprising finding, given that until recently scientists had thought the phenomenon was impossible on the sun-scorched planet.

This discovery could shed new light on the origins of Mercury, investigators added.

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April 19 2014

"Number of Potentially Habitable Planets in the Milky Way May Be Double" --NASA


New findings may have the effect of expanding that perceived habitable zone by 10 to 20 percent, almost doubling the number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy. A fluctuating tilt in a planet’s orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah’s Weber State University and NASA.

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April 19 2014

What's The Purpose Of The Universe? Here's One Possible Answer


It's tempting to think of the universe as a meaningless repository for celestial objects like planets and stars. But an intriguing theory suggests there's much more to the cosmos than meets the eye — and that black holes play an integral role in what our universe is actually trying to achieve.

In his book, The Life of the Cosmos, Smolin proposed that Darwinian processes still apply at the extreme macro-scale and to non-biological entities.

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April 18 2014

Nasa Kepler telescope discovers planet believed to be most Earth-like yet found


A newly discovered planet may be the most Earth-like yet found in another solar system, scientists believe.

Kepler-186f is almost the same size as the Earth and occupies its star's "habitable zone" where temperatures are mild enough to allow liquid surface water.


Related: First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed: It may have liquid water
Also: Smallest life-friendly exoplanet may be lit by auroras

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April 18 2014

Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites


Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

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April 18 2014

"The Universe May be Permeated by an as Yet Unknown Field"


"Perhaps empty space is not completely empty after all, but permeated by an unknown field, similar to the Higgs-field", says Professor Hartmut Abele of the Vienna University of Technology, director of the Atominstitut. These theories are named after Aristotle's "quintessence" – a hypothetical fifth element, in addition to the four classical elements of ancient Greek philosophy.

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April 18 2014

Ceiling Height Can Affect How A Person Thinks, Feels And Acts


For years contractors, real estate agents and event planners have said that whether building, buying or planning an event, a higher or vaulted ceiling is always better. Are they right? Until now there has been no real evidence that ceiling height has any influence or advantage with consumers. But recent research suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

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April 18 2014

In a cloning first, scientists create stem cells from adults


Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

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April 18 2014

Mysterious mermaid stripped naked


I am fascinated by mermaids. But my fascination, I should add, is purely professional. It all began when, in my capacity as a curator of natural history at the Horniman Museum & Gardens, I was asked to help identify the composition of a mermaid in the collection.

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