Science

Astronaut posts picture of wilted flowers on ISS

Astronaut posts picture of wilted flowers on ISS

If you follow astronaut Scott Kelly on Instagram, you probably saw the image he posted recently of some wilted flowers with the caption, “Our plants aren’t looking too good.” Those are, of course, the flowers NASA’s crew turned their attention to after successfully growing lettuce in space. Despite the impression given by Kelly's photo, though, the flower-growing experiment wasn't at all a failure.

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Humans are polluting outer space and this video shows how much

Humans are polluting outer space and this video shows how much

Some call outer space the last frontier, and apparently that is true not just for exploration but also for bad garbage management. If you thought that the garbage problem here on earth or in the water are bad, just wait until you see how bad things are way, way up there. A video as well as an interactive website tries to visualize the amount of space junk we've left orbiting the earth, junk that will come to bite us in the posterior in the near future of space travel and tourism.

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UCLA researchers create very strong and lightweight metal

UCLA researchers create very strong and lightweight metal

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a new type of metal that is very strong and light. The metal has an extremely high specific strength and modulus also known as stiffness-to-weight ratio. The researchers created the new metal using magnesium infused with dense and even dispersal of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles.

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Last night’s fireball over California was Russian space junk

Last night’s fireball over California was Russian space junk

More often than not, unusual streaks of fire in the sky are filmed in Russia. This time around, though, the fireball was courtesy of Russia itself -- or, more specifically, Russian space junk that had recently reentered the atmosphere. Reports started flooding in on Twitter last night of streaking lights spotted in the nighttime sky over parts of Nevada and California. Many initially thought it was a shooting star or something similar, but U.S. defense officials have clarified the matter.

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Venomous sea snake washes up on California beach

Venomous sea snake washes up on California beach

Thanks to a particularly strong El Nino, sea snakes are washing up on California beaches at an increased rate. Most recently, researchers were surprised to discover a type of venomous reptile called the yellow-bellied sea snake washed ashore earlier this month on a California beach…far beyond its normal habitat. Even more surprising, this is the second of its kind discovered this year.

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NASA’s closest-yet Ceres image zeroes in on Gerber Catena

NASA’s closest-yet Ceres image zeroes in on Gerber Catena

Ceres, the dwarf planet home to no-longer-mysterious bright spots, has been revealed up close and personal in Dawn spacecraft’s newest photographs. The spacecraft is now in its final and lowest orbit around the planet, snapping close-up images of Ceres’ rocky, pocked surface. NASA published the images today, and included among them is a red-blue image for those with old school 3D glasses.

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Dwindling bee numbers put crucial U.S. crops at risk

Dwindling bee numbers put crucial U.S. crops at risk

Bee populations are changing and decreasing in many places around the world, and studies indicate that humans are largely to blame. According to a new national bee-mapping study, which for the first time looks into wild bee populations across the States, the nation’s crucial crops are at risk of destabilization due to the drastic reduction in bee populations.

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NASA delays mission to Mars

NASA delays mission to Mars

NASA is planning on heading to Mars, though with far less Matt Damon than we'd all like. The next mission to the red planet is slated to study seismic tremors, in hopes to learn more about its interior. Unfortunately, those plans are being put on hold for an unknown amount of time.

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SpaceX publishes more pics and video of Falcon 9 rocket landing

SpaceX publishes more pics and video of Falcon 9 rocket landing

SpaceX finally had its fairly tale ending and successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket first stage back on the ground safely after launch. This marks the first successful landing and the first landing that was attempted on land rather than at sea. With the successful landing, SpaceX is closer to making space travel cheaper since the first stage of the rocket can now be refitted and reused for a future mission.

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SpaceX finally gets its fairy tale rocket landing ending

SpaceX finally gets its fairy tale rocket landing ending

Try and try until you succeed, goes the oft quoted aphorism. In Elon Musk and SpaceX's case, even if each attempt costs millions of dollars. After several disastrous attempts at landing, and even one disastrous take off, SpaceX has finally achieved the milestone that it has been working towards for years, possibly the very cornerstone of its existence. It has successfully, safely, and without incident, landed a Falcon 9 stage one rocket back to Earth. Almost ironically, it was more successful landing it on solid ground that it was in water-based attempts.

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