Category: Science

Let there be light: German scientists test ‘artificial sun’

BY FRANK JORDANS BERLIN (AP) — Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Thursday on what’s being described as "the world’s largest artificial sun" and which they hope will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuel. The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights – officially known as "Synlight" – in Juelich, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight that’s often in short supply in Germany at this time of year. By focusing the entire array on a single 20-by-20 centimeter (8×8 inch) spot, scientists...

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Trump signs bill authorizing NASA funding, Mars exploration

BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Tuesday that updates NASA’s mission to add exploration of Mars and authorizes $19.5 billion in spending for the U.S. space agency for the current budget year. It’s the first time in seven years that there has been an authorization bill for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as NASA, said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a chief sponsor of the bill. Cruz joined several astronauts and other lawmakers in the Oval Office to watch Trump sign the bill. Last week, Trump sent Congress a...

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SpaceX sends satellite into orbit after 2-day delay

  <iframe width=”590″ height=”332″ src=”http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&playlistId=19132&siteSection=90121_dynamic_wirematch_ap&videoId=32130137″ frameborder=”no” scrolling=”no” noresize marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen></iframe> CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has launched a communications satellite into orbit after a two-day delay. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an EchoStar satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 2 a.m. Thursday. The satellite was deployed into orbit high above Earth about 35 minutes later. The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was pushed back due to high winds in Florida. This was the second SpaceX launch from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Last month’s space station resupply launch...

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Ancient palace revealed under destroyed Mosul shrine

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi archaeologists think that tunnels dug by Islamic State militants under a destroyed shrine in Mosul have revealed the palace of an ancient Assyrian king who ruled some 2,700 years ago. IS fighters blew up the shrine of the biblical Jonah’s tomb in 2014 after taking control of the city. They started digging tunnels into the side of the hill under the shrine, leading to the discovery. Ancient inscriptions and winged bulls and lions were found deep in the tunnels, thought to be part of the palace of King Esarhaddon, who ruled the Neo-Assyrian empire...

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From grave to lab, she throws science, passion at cold cases

BY TAMARA LUSH TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dr. Erin Kimmerle stands at the head of an open, watery grave and peers down. It’s a sweltering fall day in Tampa, and here’s what she knows about what’s below: It’s the grave of a murder victim. The woman’s body was found in a patch of scrub brush used as an unauthorized trash dump in 1985 just outside downtown Tampa. Detectives never discovered her name. DNA wasn’t analyzed at the time. They weren’t sure how she was slain, when, or why. Back then, there was little hope of solving the case. Heavy...

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Europe launches latest earth observation satellite

PARIS (AP) — The European Space Agency has launched into orbit a fifth Sentinel satellite as part of its Copernicus earth observation program. The 1.1 ton Sentinel-2B was successfully launched from French Guiana. It’s joining twin satellite Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015. Both have been designed to provide high-resolution optical images for land services. The ESA said the twins will help produce extremely precise data expected to benefit agriculture as well as study climate and environment. Sentinel-2B will help track pollution of lakes and coastal waters, monitor land changes or produce disaster maps by providing information...

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Michigan to offer prize in fight against invasive Asian carp

BY CHRIS EHRMANN –¬†ASSOCIATED PRESS LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Faced with the threat that Asian carp could enter the Great Lakes, Michigan is turning to the public for new ideas and plans to offer a prize to whoever comes up with a way to stop the voracious fish. Michigan’s global search challenge comes after the U.S. government and others have spent hundreds of millions searching for a solution to stop the carp from entering the world’s largest freshwater system. If they aren’t stopped, officials fear the aggressive fish will crowd out prize native fish and hamper recreational boating in...

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Lake Titicaca worshipped by Incans now littered with trash

BY FRANKLIN BRICENO – ASSOCIATED PRESS LAKE TITICACA, Peru (AP) — Tucked between snow-capped mountains, Lake Titicaca was once worshipped by the Incas, who proclaimed its deep blue waters the birthplace of the sun. These days the shores of South America’s largest lake are littered with dead frogs, discarded paint buckets and bags of soggy trash. Less visible threats lurk in the water itself: toxic levels of lead and mercury. The steady deterioration of the prized tourist destination has caused a rash of health problems among the 1.3 million people in Peru and Bolivia living near Lake Titicaca’s polluted...

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SpaceX says it will fly 2 people to moon next year

BY MARCIA DUNN – AP AEROSPACE WRITER CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX said Monday it will fly two people to the moon next year, a feat not attempted since NASA’s Apollo heyday close to half a century ago. Tech billionaire Elon Musk – the company’s founder and chief executive officer – announced the surprising news barely a week after launching his first rocket from NASA’s legendary moon pad. Two people who know one another approached the company about sending them on a weeklong flight just beyond the moon, according to Musk. He won’t identify the pair or the...

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Rings in stomach could be key to telling lobsters’ ages

ORONO, Maine (AP) — Researchers are testing a technique they say could determine the age of lobsters. Lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. Their ages are typically estimated based on size, as they shed their shells and grow larger as they get older. University of Maine research professor Rick Wahle and graduate student Carl Huntsberger say that method of estimating a lobster’s age is inexact. That presents a problem for scientists and fishery managers looking to measure the health of the lobster population. Wahle and Huntsberger are testing a new method based on research by...

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NASA weighing risk of adding crew to megarocket’s 1st flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA is weighing the risk of adding astronauts to the first flight of its new megarocket. NASA’s human exploration chief said Friday that his boss and the Trump administration requested the feasibility study. The Space Launch System will be the most powerful rocket ever built when it flies. It’s intended for moon and Mars travel. NASA is shooting for an unmanned test flight in late 2018. Putting people on board would delay the mission and require extra money. The space agency’s William Gerstenmaier says if adding astronauts to the first flight means delaying beyond...

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NASA’s Jupiter-circling spacecraft stuck making long laps

BY MARCIA DUNN – AP AEROSPACE WRITER CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s Jupiter-circling spacecraft is stuck making long laps around the gas giant because of sticky valves. It currently takes Juno 53 days to fly around the solar system’s biggest planet. That’s almost four times longer than the intended 14-day orbit. After repeated delays, NASA decided late last week to scrap an engine firing that would have shortened the orbit. Officials said the maneuver is too risky because of the valve problem. Only the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, Juno has been circling the planet since July. NASA...

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