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March 11 2014

U.S. Geological Survey confirms: Human activity caused 5.7 quake in Oklahoma


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) issued a press release yesterday indicating that the magnitude 5.7 earthquake that struck Prague, Oklahoma in 2011 was unintentionally human-induced.

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March 11 2014

Strange Signal From Galactic Center Is Looking More and More Like Dark Matter


The more that scientists stare at it, the more a strange signal from the center of the Milky Way galaxy appears to be the result of dark matter annihilation. If confirmed, it would be the first direct evidence for dark matter ever seen.

Dark matter is a mysterious, invisible substance making up roughly 85 percent of all matter in the universe.

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March 11 2014

Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs?


A thin disk of dark matter running through the Galaxy might be behind the large meteorite strikes that are thought to be responsible for some of Earth’s mass extinctions, including that of the dinosaurs, two theoretical physicists have proposed.

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March 11 2014

Einstein’s Lost Theory Describes a Universe Without a Big Bang


In 1917, a year after Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity was published—but still two years before he would become the international celebrity we know—Einstein chose to tackle the entire universe. For anyone else, this might seem an exceedingly ambitious task—but this was Einstein.

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March 11 2014

Is the lopsided Universe telling us we need new theories?


The Universe is incredibly regular. The variation of the cosmos' temperature across the entire sky is tiny: a few millionths of a degree, no matter which direction you look. Yet the same light from the very early cosmos that reveals the Universe's evenness also tells astronomers a great deal about the conditions that gave rise to irregularities like stars, galaxies, and (incidentally) us.

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March 11 2014

Take that, space junk! Australian scientists to zap debris with lasers


It may sound like science fiction but an Australian team is working on a project to zap orbital debris with lasers from Earth to reduce the growing amount of space junk that threatens to knock out satellites with a “cascade of collisions”.

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March 11 2014

New Technique Could Help Scientists Detect Alien Life... in Four Years


A team of astrobiologists has described a new method of detecting not just water, but life, on distant worlds. There's just one problem – the telescope we need to do it won't be on line until 2018.

Heavy atmospheres (like Earth's) keep water from drifting off planet and into space, so astronomers like to look for them when searching for potentially habitable planets beyond our solar system.

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March 11 2014

Researchers pinpointing the source of Martian meteorites called ‘shergottites’


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – About 5 million years ago, an asteroid or comet slammed into Mars so hard that rocks and other debris launched into space.

After traveling millions of years, some eventually landed on Earth, becoming the biggest of three main types of meteorites hailing from the Red Planet.

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March 11 2014

Alien moons could bake dry from young gas giants' hot glow


When we think of where else life might exist in the universe, we tend to focus on planets. But on a grander cosmic scale, moons could prove the more common life-friendly abode.

A single gas giant planet in the not-too-warm, not-too-cold habitable zone around its star—where Earth and Mars correspondingly reside—could host several livable moons.

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March 11 2014

Why are there square craters forming on the Moon?


The moon is full of craters both large and small, but typically they come in only one shape: round. So why are scientists spotting square craters on the moon?

The folks over at NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera explained just what's behind the phenomenon. Typically, when an object collides with the moon, the shock wave from that collision is distributed equally around it in a round pattern.

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March 11 2014

Project 'Red Dragon': Mars Sample-Return Mission Could Launch in 2022 with SpaceX Capsule


Scientists have blueprinted a low-cost Mars sample-return mission that would use a souped-up Dragon capsule from the private spacefligth company SpaceX and the firm's planned Falcon Heavy rocket to get to the Red Planet by the early 2020s.

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March 10 2014

Deep Water May Have Surrounded Ancient Mars Mountain


Water-carved rocks high up on a Martian mountain, just reported by planetary scientists, point to a very watery past for the red planet.

The new finding comes from Gale Crater, where NASA's Curiosity rover landed in 2012. The rover has already discovered the remains of ancient streams and ponds there.

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March 10 2014

Where's Planet X? NASA Space Telescope Discovers Thousands of New Stars, But No 'Nemesis'


A NASA spacecraft has pounded another nail into the coffin of the hypothetical solar system body known as "Planet X" or "Nemesis."

After scanning the entire sky, the space agency's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) found no signs of an undiscovered planet or other large body in the outer reaches of the solar system. The probe did, however, find several thousand new objects much farther out.

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March 10 2014

Small Asteroid Gives Earth a Close Shave, 3rd in 2 Days


A tiny space rock barely missed Earth today (March 6) in the third of back-to-back-to-back asteroid flybys over the past 24 hours, coming six times closer than the orbit of the moon.

The 25-foot-wide (8 meters) asteroid 2014 EC came within 38,300 miles (61,600 kilometers) of our planet at 4:21 p.m. ET (2121 GMT) today, NASA officials said.

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March 10 2014

Triangle UFOs Fly In The Face Of Logic


The earliest known reports of these unusual triangles can be traced to the Dutch East Indies in the late 1890s, around 10 years prior to the Wright Brothers' first powered airplane flight in 1903. Triangle UFOs were also reported from Scotland and England in 1895.

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March 10 2014

On Gaia tests whether the hypothesis holds up to scientific scrutiny


Spiritual groups that hope to attract your interest may exhort you to “Be a part of something bigger than yourself!” But James Lovelock would tell you that you can already check that off your to-do list.

In the early 1970s, Lovelock—with the help of Lynn Margulis—developed the Gaia Hypothesis, which views the Earth and its ecosystems as resembling a sort of superorganism. Lovelock was working for NASA at the time, developing instruments that would aid the Viking landers in looking for signs of life on Mars, so he was thinking about how life interacts with its environment on a planetary scale.

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March 10 2014

Miracle Machine Turns Water To Wine


Biblical legend has it that Jesus once turned water into wine. Now, two mere mortals claim they can do the same, with a device they’ve created called the Miracle Machine.

Developed by wine expert Ken Boyer and aptly named entrepreneur Phillip Vine, the urn-like device can reportedly turn water, grape concentrate, yeast and a finishing powder (for barrel-aged flavor) into wine in three days. The table top appliance is also controlled by a mobile app that guides users through the process and helps them distinguish the correct wine for their palate.

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March 10 2014

Die-Off of India’s Vulture Population Creates Crisis for Zoroastrian Sky Burials


India has always been a land with a robust vulture population, owing to its 500 million cattle population (almost half of the world’s 1.3 billion) and the taboo associated with eating beef (80% of the country is Hindu). However this situation has drastically changed in just a generation.

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