Science

SpaceX will carry NASA’s Raven module to the ISS soon

SpaceX will carry NASA’s Raven module to the ISS soon

SpaceX will soon launch NASA’s Raven technology module into space, doing so aboard its next upcoming commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. According to the space agency, this module is designed to be attached outside of the ISS, where it will enable ‘autonomous rendezvous’ in space…that doesn’t require any human involvement.

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Researchers: dwarf planet Ceres has ‘key ingredients for life’

Researchers: dwarf planet Ceres has ‘key ingredients for life’

Dwarf planet Ceres, the source of things like shiny bright spots and a big ice volcano, has the 'key ingredients for life,' something discovered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The conclusion is based on organic-rich areas detected on the dwarf planet, which researchers believe are native to the planet. These organic materials join evidence of salts, water ice, hydrated minerals, and more also existing on the planet.

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Land snail species named after Dungeons & Dragons character ‘Shar’

Land snail species named after Dungeons & Dragons character ‘Shar’

Shar, the Mistress of the Night, has a namesake: a small newly discovered land snail found in a cave in Brazil. Researchers have dubbed the small critter Gastrocopta sharae, with those who made the discovery explaining, “It’s a fitting name for a tiny snail that lives hidden in the dark recesses of a cavern … Usually biologists tend to honor Greek and Roman deities when naming species, but the goddess Shar has a more colorful background.”

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NASA ‘Space Poop Challenge’ reveals its three winners

NASA ‘Space Poop Challenge’ reveals its three winners

In case you didn’t get the memo, NASA launched arguably its most unique challenge this past October: the Space Poop Challenge. Yes, that’s its actual name. The challenge dangled a $30,000 reward in exchange for proposed solutions for dealing with human waste — that is, poop — that’ll be implemented in astronauts’ suits. The system is supposed to solve the human waste problem for the duration of up to 144 hours and be used during a crew’s launch into and entry from space.

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India puts record 104 satellites into orbit with one launch

India puts record 104 satellites into orbit with one launch

As if launching a rocket with some payload wasn’t enough of a gamble, try launching one with hundreds of those payloads. That is exactly the record-breaking feat that the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO accomplished. At close to midnight Eastern (10 a.m. local time), the ISRO confirmed that not only did it make a successful launch of a PSLV-37 rocket, it also successfully put 104 satellites into orbit. All from that single launch.

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NASA says lasers may bring broadband to space

NASA says lasers may bring broadband to space

Internet speeds in space, as you’ve probably guessed, are pretty slow. As in, worse than dial-up slow. Researchers have been devising potential ways to solve this problem, and now NASA has detailed one of them: space lasers. According to the agency, space may get its “broadband moment” in the near future (read: the next several years) via data beamed over laser light. This technology has the potential to speed up current rates so that they’re up to 100 times faster.

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Experts tentatively OK human gene editing, but with strict rules

Experts tentatively OK human gene editing, but with strict rules

Experts comprising a panel formed by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have tentatively recommended that human gene editing be allowed to proceed in very limited cases where individuals are at risk of inheriting severe diseases that cannot be prevented by any other means. These edited genes would be passed on to future generations in due time, potentially removing defective genes from entire blood lines. That ample benefit, however, may not be adequate enough to quell concerns.

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Large amounts of toxic pollution found in deepest trenches

Large amounts of toxic pollution found in deepest trenches

It’s mankind’s dirty secret that its garbage eventually find their way to the open seas. Given the vastness and almost unimaginable depths of the world’s oceans, man might assume that some parts of the ocean remain safe from human indifference. Scientists are proving, however, that it is sadly not the case. By studying amphipods leaving at the world’s deepest trenches, scientists discovered worrying levels of “persistent organic pollutants” inside the crustaceans’ bodies. This means that our toxic waste has already reached places where man itself has barely set foot. To add insult to injury, these are pollutants that have been banned for decades already.

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Trump administration delays bumble bee’s endangered status

Trump administration delays bumble bee’s endangered status

The population of the rusty-patched bumble bee has been noticeably decreasing over the past couple decades, a worrisome trend that sparked federal conservation efforts. Among those efforts was a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add the bumble bee to the endangered species list with the ultimate goal of determining how to increase the bee’s population numbers. All that has been halted, however, by the Trump administration.

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Study finds calorie restriction slows aging in mice

Study finds calorie restriction slows aging in mice

A new study recently detailed in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics has found that calorie restriction may slow cellular aging, a conclusion that isn’t entirely new — we’ve seen studies over the past handful of years that detail similar findings. In particular, calorie restriction appears to positively impact ribosomes, the so-called protein-maker of a cell. Slowing down ribosome production lends more time for repair, and, it turns out, slowing down production is as simple as eating less.

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Stunning blue lightning filmed from the International Space Station

Stunning blue lightning filmed from the International Space Station

Researchers at the International Space Station have managed to catch rare blue lightning on camera, giving everyone a look at the phenomenon commonly only spotted by pilots. Such blue flashes aren’t something you’re likely to see from the ground, as they tend to happen above thunderstorms, making them visible to planes above the clouds. In an effort to better study them, the researchers were asked to point a special camera above one such thunderstorm.

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Algae survived 16 months in space outside of the ISS

Algae survived 16 months in space outside of the ISS

Algae can survive exposure in space for a long duration of time, according to the results of a relatively recent experiment aboard (sort of) the International Space Station. The results have been described as ‘astonishing,’ with researchers finding that despite exposure to the vacuum of space, extreme temperature changes, and both UV and cosmic radiation, the algae was able to survive for 16 months on the exterior of the ISS, demonstrating an incredible hardiness.

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