Science

Ocean spray controls more weather than you realize

Ocean spray controls more weather than you realize

Sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles are discovered to "profoundly impact climate" with their ability to scatter solar radiation. Clouds are formed when these particles spray forth - seeds for all forms of weather around the planet. A study has been published today which studies the effects of microbial control of sea spray aerosol, and the blooms therein. In an isolated ocean-atmosphere facility containing 3,400 gallons of natural seawater this study was carried out. Waves upon waves were studied as the atmosphere became moist.

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This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

A fantastic photo (and short video) of the Aurora Australis are captured by NASA astronaut Terry Virts. "Flying away from one of the most incredible auroras I've seen," said Virts, "just west of Australia." In addition to capturing the photo you're about to see full size, Virts also captured a Vine. That means he captured one of the most fantastical visions most humans on Earth will never see from his position with a camera that then bashed the video down to miniature size in order for us normal citizens to be able to see, over and over again.

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Researchers create concrete that can repair its own cracks

Researchers create concrete that can repair its own cracks

Concrete is one of the most common building materials in the world. The foundation for the home you live in right now is probably made from concrete. Many of the huge buildings in downtown areas around the world are also made from the material. Even the Romans used concrete as a building material. Researchers are looking into away to make the material more durable and a professor from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has created a new type of concrete.

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Drone-maker reveals blimp plans for Venus’ skies

Drone-maker reveals blimp plans for Venus’ skies

Venus might not be top of the list for manned missions, but a flock of floating explorers - part drone, part blimp - for its atmosphere are are on the drawing board. Drone-maker Northrop Grumman wants to send its Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP) concept, a long-lived, maneuverable, semi-buoyant research platform that would soar through Venus' skies around 30-40 miles up, to the inhospitable planet, with the aim of using data there to figure out how life here on Earth may have evolved.

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NASA spots “galactic cannibalism” served rare

NASA spots “galactic cannibalism” served rare

Galaxies feasting on their smaller siblings may sound like the stuff of science-fiction, but NASA has captured a surprisingly rare example on camera. The shot, of elliptical galaxy NGC 3923 situated more than 90 million light years away from Earth, was snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, though it's not the distance that makes it special. Instead, it's the fact that not only is it a so-called "shell galaxy", but one which shows unusual symmetry that has NASA's astronomers curious.

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NASA sets $2.25m prize for 3D printed Mars habitats

NASA sets $2.25m prize for 3D printed Mars habitats

Getting astronauts safely to Mars is only the start of your problems when you're trying to explore the red planet: then you have to give them somewhere to live. NASA has kick-started a competition to figure out just how to do that, challenging inventors to come up with a way to not only 3D print a habitat - preferably using materials found on-site - but do so at least semi-autonomously. To encourage the best brains in construction, NASA is dangling a $2.25m prize in the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge.

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Russian rocket crash destroys billion-dollar satellite

Russian rocket crash destroys billion-dollar satellite

Russia has suffered another embarrassing and expensive rocket failure, with today's Proton launch failing just minutes after take-off. The incident above Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan destroyed a $1.6bn Boeing-made satellite which Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, was launching for the Mexican government's Ministry of Communications and Transportation, not to mention again calling into question the country's capacity for commercial space missions.

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Researcher creates super-strong metal that can float

Researcher creates super-strong metal that can float

Metal is a commonly used material on boats, cars, and other similar structures because of its strength, but it brings with it downsides, one of the biggest being its weight. In the future this might not be a problem, in that work is being done now to retain (or even surpass) a metal’s strength while at the same time making the material considerably lighter. One researcher in particular, Nikhil Gupta of NYU Polytechnic University, has been working on something he calls “syntactic foam”, which are various composite materials that are super strong -- and in one case, boasting a low enough density to float on water.

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11,000-year old ice shelf about to disappear forever

11,000-year old ice shelf about to disappear forever

NASA confirms that Antarctica's Larsen B ice shelf is becoming unstable and will soon break up and melt. A team is currently investigating the ice shelf is lead by Ala Khazendar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "Although it’s fascinating scientifically to have a front-row seat to watch the ice shelf becoming unstable and breaking up, it’s bad news for our planet," said Khazendar. "This ice shelf has existed for at least 10,000 years, and soon it will be gone."

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CRISPR-Cas9 modifies your DNA, under legal fire

CRISPR-Cas9 modifies your DNA, under legal fire

A revolutionary method of editing the human genome has this week become the subject of a patent war. Back in April of 2014, patents were awarded by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to the Broad Institutes’ Dr. Feng Zhang, MIT, and Harvard to develop the technology behind "CRISPR-Cas9". This April, the UC Board of Regents’ legal team spoke with the USPTO about reconsidering their action, suggesting they award the patent to the inventor of the original method, UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna. One way or another, this radical DNA modifier must be made.

We need X-Men, after all.

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