Science

NASA Ceres low-orbit pics show salt, mountains, shiny craters

NASA Ceres low-orbit pics show salt, mountains, shiny craters

Yesterday, NASA researchers unveiled a bunch of images revealing a close-up look at Ceres, the dwarf planet. These images were captured by the Dawn spacecraft when it was at its lowest orbit, and they include some detailed views of the Occator Crater, as well as the shiny surfaces causing those mysterious bright spots. A color-enhanced map of Ceres has been released, as well as a video explaining different features on the landscape.

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Homes of the future could be powered by old, ugly tomatoes

Homes of the future could be powered by old, ugly tomatoes

Tomatoes: they’re acidic, tasty, and sometimes ugly. The especially ugly tomatoes usually don’t make it to market, at least not in ordinary supermarkets, nor do the ones that were damaged or started to go bad during harvest. This translates into a lot of tomato waste, something our increasingly resource-conscious world finds unfortunate. Enter the American Chemical Society and a new project it has detailed: turning waste tomatoes into biofuel cells.

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Study: prairie dogs are fluffy little serial squirrel killers

Study: prairie dogs are fluffy little serial squirrel killers

Prairie dogs are adorable, yes, but they’d rip your brain out in a sweet second if they were big enough. Such is the conclusion we’ve drawn from a new study on prairie dogs’ homicidal behavior. Researchers observed the critters for a handful of years and during that time discovered the brutal, coldly practical skeleton in a prairie dog's closet: it hunts down and kills baby squirrels so its own offspring can grow up fat and happy.

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Patch monitors glucose levels and delivers meds to control glucose

Patch monitors glucose levels and delivers meds to control glucose

Anyone who has been around a diabetic that has to prick their fingers multiple times a day to check their blood glucose levels can understand in an instant just how difficult and annoying the disease can be. Factor in the need for some diabetics to not only prick fingers to check glucose levels, but to give themselves shots of insulin to control the blood sugar and things only get worse for diabetics. Scientists have developed an innovative medical device that might make diabetes less of a prick.

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NASA explores equipment to keep astronauts fit

NASA explores equipment to keep astronauts fit

NASA is talking up some of the equipment that it has invented for astronauts to use to keep fit while they are on a long duration space missions. To avoid losing muscle and bone mass, astronauts must work out for two hours each day. During the week ISS astronauts have access to three different pieces of workout gear, a bike, a treadmill, and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device dubbed ARED.

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Flash of a dying star “caught on camera” for the first time

Flash of a dying star “caught on camera” for the first time

We may have images, both static and moving, of stars going boom playing in our head, but actually capturing that brilliant flash of light that heralds the start of a supernova isn't that easy. Even when we're talking about an event that has happened possibly thousands if not millions of years ago. And yet the once defunct Kepler space observatory spacecraft managed to make possible the near impossible, capturing for the first time the so-called shock breakout that precedes the explosion of a dying star.

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Bear bone reveals humans arrived in Ireland earlier than thought

Bear bone reveals humans arrived in Ireland earlier than thought

Humans arrived in Ireland earlier than believed, new research shows. The conclusion comes from the analysis of a bear bone found in a cave in Ireland and was announced this past weekend. According to researchers, humans arrived in Ireland about 2,500 years earlier than previously thought, dating the earliest evidence back to 10,500 BC rather than 8,000 BC.

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DARPA’s TNT program aims to stimulate rapid learning

DARPA’s TNT program aims to stimulate rapid learning

DARPA has a new program that aims to speed up a person’s rate of learning via peripheral nerve stimulation. The agency cites interest in synaptic plasticity and cognitive skills training in particular, and seeks technology able to precisely activate peripheral nerves. The program, dubbed Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT), would reduce the Department of Defense’s training costs and speed up how quickly agents can be equipped with necessary skills and knowledge.

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Let’s ask: Are city birds smarter than country birds?

Let’s ask: Are city birds smarter than country birds?

A study has shown that not only are birds living in major cities smarter than their rural counterparts, they're more immune to diseases. While our dominance of land here on Earth has created a far smaller natural environment for birds over the past several thousand years, Jean-Nicolas Audet, a Ph.D student in the Department of Biology, says that urban birds have done more than just adapt to us, they've become more advanced amongst humans than out in the country on their own.

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Skydio drone can actually follow you while avoiding trees

Skydio drone can actually follow you while avoiding trees

Drones with the ability to follow the user and shoot video or still images are out there right now. The catch is that they only really work in environments where there are no obstacles that the drone needs to avoid. Put the same tracking drone into a forest environment with random tree branches and trunks and the drone is unable to avoid those obstacles.

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Comet to pass Earth in close flyby tomorrow morning

Comet to pass Earth in close flyby tomorrow morning

If you missed today's comet flyby, don't fret -- there will be a second one tomorrow morning, and it'll be even closer than today's (though there is no danger, NASA is sure to warn). This flyby will involve comet P/2016 BA14, and it’ll pass by our planet at 2.2 million or so miles. While that’s a great distance away, relatively speaking, it’ll be the third closest comet flyby since 1983. Tomorrow’s event follows this morning’s flyby of comet 252P/LINEAR.

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New Horizons yields more questions about Pluto than answers

New Horizons yields more questions about Pluto than answers

Last year, humanity achieved an important milestone. The New Horizons probe flew by Pluto in history's closest approach to the dwarf planet in the outermost zone of our solar system. The initial batch of photos were already revealing but that is almost literally just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists involved in the New Horizons studies have just published a paper that reveals even more findings gathered since the probe's first data dump, painting a picture of a planet that is more mysterious than we could have imagined.

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