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  • Einstein's gravitational waves detected in landmark discovery

    Multiple images of a distant quasar are visible in this undated combined view from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space TelescopeBy Will Dunham and Scott Malone WASHINGTON/CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - Scientists for the first time have detected gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesized by Albert Einstein a century ago, in a landmark discovery announced on Thursday that opens a new window for studying the cosmos. The researchers said they identified gravitational waves coming from two distant black holes - extraordinarily dense objects whose existence also was foreseen by Einstein - that orbited one another, spiraled inward and smashed together at high speed to form a single, larger black hole. The waves were unleashed by the collision of the black holes, one of them 29 times the mass of the sun and the other 36 times the solar mass, located 1.3 billion light years from Earth, the researchers said.


  • Scientists bid comet lander Philae farewell after radio silence

    Accomazzo SOM of ESOC reacts after successful landing of Philae lander on comet 67P/ Churyumov-GerasimenkoBy Maria Sheahan FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European scientists have given up hope of restoring contact with space probe Philae, which successfully landed on a comet in a pinpoint operation only to lose power because its solar-driven batteries were in the shade. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) said on Friday it suspects Philae is now covered in dust and too cold to operate. "Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Project Manager of the DLR, said in a statement.


  • NASA delays space station cargo run due to mold on packing bags By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA's next cargo run to the International Space Station will be delayed for at least two weeks after black mold was found in two fabric bags used for packing clothing, food and other supplies, the U.S. space agency said on Wednesday. The source of the mold, a common fungal growth in humid climates like Florida's, is under investigation by NASA and Lockheed Martin, which prepares NASA cargo for launch aboard two commercial carriers, Orbital ATK and privately owned SpaceX. An Orbital Cygnus cargo ship was more than halfway packed for the launch, scheduled for March 10, when the mold was found during routine inspections and microbial sampling, NASA spokesman Daniel Huot said.
  • World's top scientists pledge to share all findings to fight Zika

    A health technician analyzes a blood sample from a patient bitten by a mosquito at the National Institute of Health in LimaBy Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Thirty of the world's leading scientific research institutions, journals and funders have pledged to share for free all data and expertise on Zika to speed up the fight against an outbreak of the viral disease spreading across the Americas. Specialists welcomed the initiative, saying it showed how the global health community had learned crucial lessons from West Africa's Ebola epidemic, which killed more than 11,300 people and saw scientists scrambling to conduct research to help in the development of potential treatments and vaccines. Zika, a viral disease carried by mosquitoes, is causing international alarm as an outbreak in Brazil has now spread through much of the Americas.


  • Researchers find new Zika clues to birth defect in fetus study

    Daniele Santos holds her son Juan Pedro who is 2-months old and born with microcephaly at their house in RecifeBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Researchers on Wednesday reported new evidence strengthening the association between Zika virus and a spike in birth defects, citing the presence of the virus in the brain of an aborted fetus of a European woman who became pregnant while living in Brazil. An autopsy of the fetus showed microcephaly or small head size, as well as severe brain injury and high levels of the Zika virus in fetal brain tissues, exceeding levels of the virus typically found in blood samples, researchers in Slovenia from the University Medical Center in Ljubljana reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings help "strengthen the biologic association" between Zika virus infection and microcephaly, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, wrote in an editorial that accompanied the paper.


  • Defeating Zika: The Big Questions Researchers Are Trying to Answer

    Defeating Zika: The Big Questions Researchers Are Trying to AnswerAt least a dozen research groups are now working on developing a Zika virus vaccine, according the World Health Organization (WHO). More-immediate questions will need to be addressed in order for scientists and health officials to diagnose and contain the virus in the meantime, and to determine whether Zika is linked to microcephaly — a disorder in which babies are born with smaller-than-average heads — and Guillaine-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder. Live Science has rounded up some of the biggest questions about this mysterious virus, and talked to experts to get the low-down on the latest science that might provide answers.


  • Low B12 Seen in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia The brains of the elderly and younger people with autism and schizophrenia may share a common link: Both have low levels of vitamin B12, researchers say. The facts that blood levels of B12 do not always mirror brain levels of the vitamin, and that brain levels decrease more over the years than blood levels, may imply that various types of neurological diseases — such as old-age dementia and the disorders of autism and schizophrenia — could be related to poor uptake of vitamin B12 from the blood into the brain, the scientists said.
  • High Numbers: Are More People Really Smoking Pot? Marijuana use may not be rising as quickly as thought — more people may simply be willing to admit to it, new research suggests. The widespread relaxation of marijuana laws in the U.S. may have reduced the stigma of smoking pot, the researchers reported today (Feb. 10) in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The new study comes on the heels of an October 2015 study, in which researchers said they found that marijuana use had more than doubled in the U.S. over the decade between 2003 and 2013, and that the percentage of people who have a "marijuana use disorder" had also skyrocketed.
  • Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos

    Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff BezosEarly Monday (Nov. 23), the private spaceflight company Blue Origin made a major stride in the pursuit of fully reusable rockets, when it launched an uncrewed vehicle into space and then soft-landed the rocket booster on the ground. "It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's founder, speaking about the landing in a press briefing yesterday (Nov. 24). "And my teammates here at Blue Origin, I could see felt the same way.


  • Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in Space

    Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in SpaceThanksgiving in space will be a lot like the holiday down here on the ground — minus the gravity, of course. Like most Americans, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren have Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) off, and they'll spend the day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) watching football and enjoying a turkey-centric feast, agency officials said. Kelly and Lindgren gave viewers a look at that feast in a special Thanksgiving video this week, breaking out bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin.


  • App shakes up earthquake science by turning users into sensors By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Smartphones could become the makeshift quake detectors of the future, thanks to a new app launched Friday designed to track tremors and potentially save the lives of its users. Its inventors say the app, released by the University of California, Berkeley, could give early warning of a quake to populations without their own seismological instruments. "MyShake cannot replace traditional seismic networks like those run by the U.S. Geological Survey," said Richard Allen, leader of the app project and director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.
  • Neanderthal-Human Trysts May Be Linked to Modern Depression, Heart Disease Ancient trysts between Neanderthals and modern humans may have influenced modern risks for depression, heart attacks, nicotine addiction, obesity and other health problems, researchers said. The Neanderthals were once the closest relatives of modern humans. "This raises several fascinating questions like, 'What effect does the Neanderthal DNA that remains in modern humans have on our biology?'" said study senior author John Capra, an evolutionary geneticist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
  • Scientists stop calling out to comet lander as hope fades

    FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo a model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany. European scientists said Friday Feb. 12, 2016 they have stopped sending commands to the Philae space probe, which became the first to touch down on a comet more than a year ago. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)BERLIN (AP) — European scientists said Friday that they have stopped sending commands to the Philae space probe, which became the first to touch down on a comet more than a year ago.


  • Einstein's right again: Scientists detect ripples in gravity WASHINGTON (AP) — It was just a tiny, almost imperceptible "chirp," but it simultaneously opened humanity's ears to the music of the cosmos and proved Einstein right again.
  • Epic Gravitational Wave Detection: How Scientists Did It

    Epic Gravitational Wave Detection: How Scientists Did ItTo spot gravitational waves directly for the first time ever, scientists had to measure a distance change 1,000 times smaller than the width of a proton. Researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced today (Feb. 11) that they had made history's first direct detection of gravitational waves, enigmatic ripples in space-time whose existence was first predicted 100 years ago by Albert Einstein's famous theory of general relativity. The gravitational waves were generated by the merger of two medium-size black holes about 1.3 billion years ago, researchers said.


  • Gravitational Waves: A Black Hole Is Trying to Slap You — Can You Feel It?

    Gravitational Waves: A Black Hole Is Trying to Slap You — Can You Feel It?Paul Sutter is a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University’s Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). Sutter is also host of the podcasts Ask a Spaceman and RealSpace, and the YouTube series Space In Your Face. Sutter contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.


  • Have Gravitational Waves Been Detected? Scientists Provide Update Today (Watch Live)

    Have Gravitational Waves Been Detected? Scientists Provide Update Today (Watch Live)Scientists are widely expected to announce the first-ever direct detection of elusive gravitational waves this morning, and you can watch the big moment live. Then, at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT), the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada, will host its own webcast about the announcement and its implications. Space.com will carry that event live as well, thanks to the Perimeter Institute.


  • Ripple effect: scientists await word on gravitational waves

    NASA handout of an artist's rendering of an outburst on a ultra-magnetic neutron star, also called a magnetarBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A century ago, Albert Einstein hypothesized the existence of gravitational waves, small ripples in space and time that dash across the universe at the speed of light. On Thursday, at a news conference called by the U.S. National Science Foundation, researchers may announce at long last direct observations of the elusive waves. Such a discovery would represent a scientific landmark, opening the door to an entirely new way to observe the cosmos and unlock secrets about the early universe and mysterious objects like black holes and neutron stars.


  • World's top scientists pledge to share all findings to fight Zika

    A scientist shows a picture of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes inside the IAEA laboratory in SeibersdorfBy Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Thirty of the world's leading scientific research institutions, journals and funders have pledged to share for free all data and expertise on Zika to speed up the fight against an outbreak of the viral disease spreading across the Americas. Specialists welcomed the initiative, saying it showed how the global health community had learnt crucial lessons from West Africa's Ebola epidemic, which killed more than 11,300 people and saw scientists scrambling to conduct research to help in the development of potential treatments and vaccines. Zika, a viral disease carried by mosquitoes, is causing international alarm as an outbreak in Brazil has now spread through much of the Americas.


  • Asian scientists race to make Zika test kit, but lack of live sample a challenge

    Patricia Araujo, 23, who is seven months pregnant, stands in front of her stilt house, a lake dwelling also known as palafitte or 'Palafito', in RecifeBy Aditya Kalra and Rujun Shen NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scientists in Asia are racing to put together detection kits for the Zika virus, with China on Thursday confirming its first case, but the researchers are challenged by the lack of a crucial element - a live sample of the virus. Zika, suspected of causing brain defects in more than 4,000 newborns in Brazil after spreading through much of the Americas, is a particular worry in South and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-borne tropical diseases such as dengue fever are a constant threat. India is working on diagnostic kits for the virus, as there is no testing kit commercially available in the world's second populous country, but the lack of a live virus sample is hindering its efforts.


  • India, Singapore scientists race to make Zika test kit, but lack of live sample a challenge

    Group Leader, Dr Masafumi Inoue of Agency for Science Technology and Research's (A*STAR) Experimental Therapeutics Centre holds up a sample to be tested with the Zika virus diagnostic test kit at their laboratory in SingaporeBy Aditya Kalra and Rujun Shen NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scientists in Asia are racing to put together detection kits for the Zika virus, with China on Thursday confirming its first case, but the researchers are challenged by the lack of a crucial element - a live sample of the virus. Zika, suspected of causing brain defects in more than 4,000 newborns in Brazil after spreading through much of the Americas, is a particular worry in South and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-borne tropical diseases such as dengue fever are a constant threat. India is working on diagnostic kits for the virus, as there is no testing kit commercially available in the world's second populous country, but the lack of a live virus sample is hindering its efforts.


  • Indian scientists express doubt over meteorite death attribution By Andrew MacAskill NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian scientists have expressed doubt that a man in Tamil Nadu was the first person to have been confirmed killed by a meteorite strike, as the state's top official has declared. "It is highly improbable, but we will only be absolutely sure after a chemical analysis," said V. Adimurthy, a senior scientist at India's space agency. The mysterious event has triggered an international debate about whether a meteorite, space debris, leftover explosives or even frozen waste from a plane passing overhead may have killed the man.
  • Genome offers clues on thwarting reviled, disease-carrying ticks

    A deer tick, or blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, is seen on a blade of grass in this undated picture from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have unlocked the genetic secrets of one of the least-loved creatures around, the tick species that spreads Lyme disease, in research that may lead to new methods to control these diminutive arachnids that dine on blood. The researchers said on Tuesday they have sequenced the genome of Ixodes scapularis, known as the deer tick or blacklegged tick, which transmits Lyme and other diseases by chomping through the skin of people and animals and releasing infected saliva as they devour blood. "They are so persistent, resilient and tenacious," said Purdue University entomologist Catherine Hill, who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.


  • Indian scientists study chunk that fell from sky, killed man NEW DELHI (AP) — Scientists are analyzing a small blue object that plummeted from the sky and killed a man in southern India, after authorities said it was a meteorite.
  • Snug as a bug: the hated cockroach inspires a helpful robot

    Three cockroaches squeeze though a 3mm crevice under a room door at different stages of traversal, in this undated handout photo courtesy of PolyPEDAL Lab, UC BerkeleyBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People use a lot of words to describe the reviled cockroach: disgusting, ugly, sneaky and repulsive, to name a few. Scientists said on Monday they have built a small search-and-rescue robot, inspired by the ability of cockroaches to squeeze through tiny crevices, designed to navigate through rubble to find survivors after natural disasters or bombings. "We feel strongly that cockroaches are one of nature's most revolting animals, but they can teach us important design principles," University of California, Berkeley integrative biology professor Robert Full said.


  • Scientists investigate suspected meteorite death in Tamil Nadu By Sandhya Ravishankar CHENNAI (Reuters) - Indian scientists are investigating whether a man was killed by a meteorite, which if confirmed would be the first recorded death from falling fragments of space rock in almost 200 years. Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, has said a bus driver at a college in her state was killed by the meteorite and awarded 100,000 rupees ($1,470) in compensation to his family. "A meteorite fell within the college premises," Jayalalithaa said.
  • Hawking Wants to Power Earth With Mini Black Holes: Crazy or Legit?

    Hawking Wants to Power Earth With Mini Black Holes: Crazy or Legit?If you answered, "Get a mini black hole to orbit Earth," then you and physicist Stephen Hawking may be thinking on the same wavelength. In a lecture on Feb. 2, the famed scientist said tiny black holes, about as massive as the average mountain, could power all of the world's energy needs. "There is nothing technically wrong with this idea, but it is not very practical, at least within the next 10,000 years," said Sabine Hossenfelder, a physicist at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, who blogs at backreaction.blogspot.com.


  • Scientists investigate suspected meteorite death in southern India By Sandhya Ravishankar CHENNAI (Reuters) - Indian scientists are investigating whether a man was killed by a meteorite, which if confirmed would be the first recorded death from falling fragments of space rock in almost 200 years.Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, has said a bus driver at a college in her state was killed by the meteorite and awarded 100,000 rupees ($1,470) in compensation to his family."A meteorite fell within the college premises," Jayalalithaa said. Jayalalithaa, a former film star, left tight-lipped local officials struggling to explain the mystery blast at the engineering college that left a small crater and broke windows.
  • Where the Super Bowl Meets Space: NASA's Aerodynamics Lab

    Where the Super Bowl Meets Space: NASA's Aerodynamics LabOnly a few miles away is the NASA Ames Research Center, where engineers can use wind tunnels, water channels and other tools to study the aerodynamics of rockets, airplanes — and even footballs. In Ames' Experimental Aero-Physics Branch lab, scientists use a fluid dynamics chamber to recreate the conditions of an object flying through the air. "What we are looking for in the smoke patterns is, at what speed the smoke patterns suddenly change," Rabi Mehta, chief of the Experimental Aero-Physics Branch at Ames, said in a statement.


  • India says no rush on GM food but will not stand in way of science

    India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar delivers his speech during a meeting at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 at Le BourgetBy Mayank Bhardwaj NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India needs more data before deciding whether to permit commercial growing of its first genetically modified food crop, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday, but indicated it would not stand "in the way of science" despite protests. A committee of government and independent experts is seeking more information from a team of Indian scientists who have spent almost a decade on laboratory and field trials for a GM mustard crop. "We have to feed more than a billion mouths and we have to raise productivity... (but)we will not compromise on people's health." The meeting, the third held to evaluate field trial data on GM mustard this year, had raised hopes among scientists that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is keen to push technology to lift food productivity.


  • Europe's shift to dark green forests stokes global warming-study

    File photo shows people walking along a forest as the sun shines over fog near Albis Pass mountain passBy Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - An expansion of Europe's forests towards dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures. Forest changes have nudged Europe's summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colour traps the sun's heat, the scientists said. Overall, the area of Europe's forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750.


  • Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue More than 100 years ago, American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people. In an article published today (Feb. 4) in the journal Science, four scholars say racial categories are weak proxies for genetic diversity and need to be phased out. They've called on the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to put together a panel of experts across the biological and social sciences to come up with ways for researchers to shift away from the racial concept in genetics research.
  • Scientists in Germany switch on nuclear fusion experiment

    German chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to press the start button next to the head of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics Sibylle Guenter , left, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania governor, Erwin Sellering, right at the Wendelstein 7-X' nuclear fusion research center at the Max-Planck-Institut for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016. Scientists flipped the switch on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power. ( Bernd Wuestneck/dpa via AP)GREIFSWALD, Germany (AP) — Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Wednesday on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power.


  • Meet 'Squishy Fingers': Flexible Robot Advances Undersea Research

    Meet 'Squishy Fingers': Flexible Robot Advances Undersea ResearchMeet "Squishy Fingers," a new remotely operated vehicle designed to delicately grab and take samples of coral. The ROV, described in a Jan. 20 study in the journal Soft Robotics, will help researchers collect specimens from deep underwater reefs without damaging the corals' fragile bodies. "If we're going to go down and study these systems, then we should be as gentle as we possibly can," said study co-senior author David Gruber, an associate professor of biology at Baruch College in New York City and a National Geographic emerging explorer.


  • Massive Bird Die-Off Puzzles Alaskan Scientists

    Massive Bird Die-Off Puzzles Alaskan ScientistsThousands of dead seabirds have washed up on Alaskan shores over the past nine months. Nearly 8,000 common murres (Uria aalge) were found along the shores of Whittier, Alaska, in early January. Over the New Year's holiday, Alaska experienced four days of gale-force winds from the southeast that resulted in dead birds washing ashore, said Robb Kaler, a wildlife biologist for the Alaska branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).


  • Scientists' path to usable Zika vaccine strewn with hurdles

    Aedes aegypti mosquito is seen inside Oxitec laboratory in CampinasMaking a shot to generate an immune response against Zika virus, which is sweeping through the Americas, shouldn't be too hard in theory. For a start, scientists around the world know even less about Zika than they did about the Ebola virus that caused an unprecedented epidemic in West Africa last year. Ebola, due to its deadly power, was the subject of bioterrorism research, giving at least a base for speeding up vaccine work.


  • Scientists map bedbug genome, follow pest through NYC subway

    FILE - In this March 30, 2011, file photo, a bedbug is displayed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. Researchers from Weill Cornell and scientists at the American Museum of Natural History have traced the nefarious pest through the New York City subway system and discovered a genetic diversity among the bloodsucking creatures. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists have mapped the genome of bedbugs in New York City, then traced fragments of the nefarious pests' DNA through the subway system.


  • 'Climate Snow Job'? Scientists Respond to Attack on Evidence (Op-Ed)

    'Climate Snow Job'? Scientists Respond to Attack on Evidence (Op-Ed)Emmanuel Vincent holds a Ph.D. in climate science and is the founder of Climate Feedback (@ClimateFdbk), a global network of scientists who provide readers, authors and editors with feedback about the accuracy of climate change media articles. Daniel Nethery is editor of Climate Feedback. An opinion piece published Jan. 24 in The Wall Street Journal presented false and misleading statements as if they were fact.


  • The Stars Within Us: Why Everything in You is Stellar

    The Stars Within Us: Why Everything in You is StellarPaul Sutter is a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). Sutter is also host of the podcasts "Ask a Spaceman" and "RealSpace," and the YouTube series "Space in Your Face." Sutter contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.