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ChannelYahoo News - Latest News & Headlines    
RSS File: https://news.yahoo.com/rss/science
Description: The latest news and headlines from Yahoo! News. Get breaking news stories and in-depth coverage with videos and photos.
  • Fast, cheap, accurate: Researchers pin hopes on Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR-technology tests to detect coronavirus      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 08:00:24 -0400

    Fast, cheap, accurate: Researchers pin hopes on Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR-technology tests to detect coronavirusUC Berkeley's Nobel Prize winner and MIT researchers employ gene-editing technology to develop rapid COVID-19 virus tests.


    Fast, cheap, accurate: Researchers pin hopes on Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR-technology tests to detect coronavirusUC Berkeley's Nobel Prize winner and MIT researchers employ gene-editing technology to develop rapid COVID-19 virus tests.


     

  • Osiris-Rex: Nasa probe risks losing asteroid sample after door jams      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 06:00:18 -0400

    Osiris-Rex: Nasa probe risks losing asteroid sample after door jamsThe Osiris-Rex spacecraft collected so much rock from asteroid Bennu that bits are leaking out.


    Osiris-Rex: Nasa probe risks losing asteroid sample after door jamsThe Osiris-Rex spacecraft collected so much rock from asteroid Bennu that bits are leaking out.


     

  • NASA spacecraft leaking asteroid rubble into space after collecting more than expected      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 23:55:48 -0400

    NASA spacecraft leaking asteroid rubble into space after collecting more than expectedNASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was successful in its mission to collect a sample from asteroid Bennu, but perhaps too successful.


    NASA spacecraft leaking asteroid rubble into space after collecting more than expectedNASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was successful in its mission to collect a sample from asteroid Bennu, but perhaps too successful.


     

  • Resting places for Boeing’s moon rovers win Washington state landmark status      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 13:51:48 -0400

    Resting places for Boeing’s moon rovers win Washington state landmark statusThree spots on the moon are now official Washington state historic landmarks, thanks to a unanimous vote by a state commission. The thumbs-up, delivered on Friday during a virtual public hearing organized by the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, provided state landmark status to the rovers that Boeing built during the 1960s at its facilities in Kent, Wash., and that NASA sent to the moon for the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. King County awarded similar status more than a year ago, but the state commission’s 9-0 vote — delayed for several months due to the coronavirus… Read More


    Resting places for Boeing’s moon rovers win Washington state landmark statusThree spots on the moon are now official Washington state historic landmarks, thanks to a unanimous vote by a state commission. The thumbs-up, delivered on Friday during a virtual public hearing organized by the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, provided state landmark status to the rovers that Boeing built during the 1960s at its facilities in Kent, Wash., and that NASA sent to the moon for the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. King County awarded similar status more than a year ago, but the state commission’s 9-0 vote — delayed for several months due to the coronavirus… Read More


     

  • In Colorado, It Feels Like a Fire Season Without End      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 10:00:24 -0400

    In Colorado, It Feels Like a Fire Season Without EndGRANBY, Colo. -- "Pray for snow," is the refrain every autumn across Colorado's high country as people wait for blizzards to blanket ski slopes, recharge reservoirs and bring in the wintertime tourists.But on Friday, people were praying for the snow to save their homes. It was their only hope for relief from a spree of late-season wildfires that have choked skies with smoke and sent thousands fleeing, a grim coda to a year of relentless, record-setting wildfires.Across the West, wildfires are burning later into the fall -- and even in wintertime -- as climate change turns seasonal wildfires into a year-round menace by disrupting rainfall patterns, melting snow earlier and scorching meadows and lodgepole pine forests into tinder. The result is shaping not just the states' geography and daily life but people's psychology and basic sense of where they live."It's crazy, just crazy," said Mike Diets, who spent Friday trying to find out whether his two lakeside houses in drought-stricken Grand County were still standing. "It's hunting season. We'd usually be wading through snow this time of year."Even with a blizzard forecast to bring moisture to the Rocky Mountains by Sunday, fire crews in Northern Colorado spent another grueling day Friday battling 60 mph gusts and trying to get control of the East Troublesome fire. The 170,000-acre wildfire has destroyed an unknown number of homes as it roared through ranches, lakeside resorts and Rocky Mountain National Park this week.Across Colorado's mountain towns, people who have been choking on smoke for months and now sleep with "go bags" in their cars have been asking: When will it end?"It's like Armageddon," said Jacquelyn Evanich, who watched three huge wildfires burning this week from the office window of the motel she manages in the town of Granby, on the edge of the East Troublesome fire. "We've been around fires all year, it feels like."In a year when blazes have ravaged the West, fire season is not over, particularly in California, where 4 million acres have burned this year. Large swaths of Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, are bracing for what meteorologists are describing as the most severe fire weather of the year, with gusts projected as high as 70 mph Sunday through Wednesday. Fires that ignited in those conditions in recent years have been uncontrollable.Some 5,500 firefighters are still working to contain the megafires that ignited in August and September, including the Creek fire, which started on Labor Day weekend and is still burning through the Sierra Nevada southeast of Yosemite National Park. It was 61% contained Friday and continues to produce large amounts of smoke.The state's largest electricity provider, Pacific Gas & Electric, has announced plans to turn off power to tens of thousands of households to prevent its equipment from sparking new fires. With most students in the San Francisco Bay Area studying online, schools in affected areas scrambled on Friday to develop alternative plans for households without power.In Colorado, Sheriff Brett Schroetlin of Grand County said the East Troublesome fire was changing unpredictably, hour by hour, making it difficult to tell residents whether their property had survived or was in danger.Evacuees uncertain whether they still have a home have spent days trying to glean scraps of information by listening to radio scanners, poring over satellite images and scouring Facebook pages for photos or videos of their neighborhoods.The toll came into focus Friday for one family.Relatives of Lyle and Marylin Hileman, a couple in their 80s, said they believed the Hilemans had died after taking refuge in a concrete closet in their basement as fire swept through their home near the town of Grand Lake.To the Hilemans and other residents, Grand County was a Rocky Mountain paradise, a place rooted in ranching that has seen an influx of second homeowners and wealthy vacationers who come to fly-cast and teach their children to ride horseback.The Hilemans had planned to ride out the fire in the big yellow house that they had built themselves and where their extended family always gathered. Glenn Hileman, one of their five children, said his mother called him Wednesday night to say that "the big one" was closing in and that meadows were already ablaze. But they decided to stay."There's no way they would have left," Glenn Hileman said.There were flurries of conflicting posts on neighborhood social media groups about whether the couple had made it out as the fire grew or expanded by 100,000 acres. Firefighters told the family they had tried to take a bulldozer up to the house to reach them but were blocked by fallen trees and flames. On Friday, family members said they had gotten confirmation from local authorities that the Hilemans' house had been incinerated."They've never been apart, ever," Glenn Hileman said. "I don't think either of them could've had an idea of leaving this world apart. They were going to survive it together or they were not. Either way, they were going to do it together."Schroetlin said at a briefing Friday that he could not could not confirm any deaths.A granddaughter, Stephanie Hileman, recalled her 86-year-old grandfather, a retired Denver firefighter, as a jokester who rose before dawn to plow snow or build fences on the property he loved and spent nearly 50 years cultivating. She said her 84-year-old grandmother was a "Wonder Woman" who had worked in a mental-health facility and kept an ever-growing collection of 40 candy bowls out for guests."It was heartbreaking," Stephanie Hileman said.Firefighters are in a race with nature, trying to limit the fire's spread and its toll as a wintry system is expected to move into Colorado's high country Saturday night with rain changing to heavy snow by Sunday. Sunday night's temperatures in the Grand Lake area are forecast to plunge to 7 below, and forecasters expect up to a foot of snow.Evan Direnzo, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder, where firefighters have now largely contained two fires that erupted this past weekend, said even a thick quilt of snow might not be enough to quench the fires."They can just simmer under there for a long time," he said, recalling how the Cameron Peak Fire burning north of Rocky Mountain National Park had survived an early-September blizzard. "People were going out and digging under the snow and there was fire under it. It was just chilling, waiting to come back."Jennifer Balch, a fire scientist, said it was unusual to even discuss hopes that a snowstorm would put down a forest fire. But she said the late-season fire conditions offered a clear signal of climate change that would not be going away."I don't think we have ever talked about, 'What is the amount of snow that we need to put out the fire season, to quelch the fire season,'" said Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. "We essentially have summer running into winter and we've skipped the fall."Fire ecologists and forecasters say the moisture levels in dead trees and other vegetation are at record lows while measurements that predict the speed of fires and the height of their flames are at record highs. The entire state is in a drought, and Grand County is locked in extreme or exceptional drought -- the most severe classifications."In the last 30 years, this has been the driest growing season, by far," said Klaus Wolter, a climatologist at the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. He owns a home about 4 miles from where the Cal-Wood Fire erupted in Boulder County on Saturday.He said conditions are worse than in 2002, a notorious year in Colorado for wildfires when the Hayman Fire northwest of Colorado Springs scorched more than 138,000 acres and 133 homes.For years, the Hayman stood as the largest recorded wildfire in state history, but it has been overtaken by three megafires that erupted this year alone. The largest and second-largest of those -- the Cameron Peak Fire and East Troublesome Fire -- are burning 10 miles apart from each other, raising worries that they could merge.Everyone is making adjustments, some unimaginable.Kristin Hulinsky was cooking dinner for herself and her 7-year-old daughter, Brilea, at the Winding River Ranch wedding venue when the order came Wednesday evening to evacuate."It looked like the gates of hell," said Hulinsky, who served as ranch manager at the property. "I don't know how else to explain it. It was practically raining ashes. We got out before we saw any flames, we had to get out there so fast."Hulinsky and her daughter jumped in her car and sped to a family member's home to the west, in Kremling.She has now seen photos, taken by the venue's owner, confirming that all 19 structures on the property, including a lodge, nine cabins, a ranch house and five barns, are a total loss.Hulinksy has now moved down to the Front Range city of Lakewood, set up by her sister for now with a data entry job."There are no words," Hulinsky said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


    In Colorado, It Feels Like a Fire Season Without EndGRANBY, Colo. -- "Pray for snow," is the refrain every autumn across Colorado's high country as people wait for blizzards to blanket ski slopes, recharge reservoirs and bring in the wintertime tourists.But on Friday, people were praying for the snow to save their homes. It was their only hope for relief from a spree of late-season wildfires that have choked skies with smoke and sent thousands fleeing, a grim coda to a year of relentless, record-setting wildfires.Across the West, wildfires are burning later into the fall -- and even in wintertime -- as climate change turns seasonal wildfires into a year-round menace by disrupting rainfall patterns, melting snow earlier and scorching meadows and lodgepole pine forests into tinder. The result is shaping not just the states' geography and daily life but people's psychology and basic sense of where they live."It's crazy, just crazy," said Mike Diets, who spent Friday trying to find out whether his two lakeside houses in drought-stricken Grand County were still standing. "It's hunting season. We'd usually be wading through snow this time of year."Even with a blizzard forecast to bring moisture to the Rocky Mountains by Sunday, fire crews in Northern Colorado spent another grueling day Friday battling 60 mph gusts and trying to get control of the East Troublesome fire. The 170,000-acre wildfire has destroyed an unknown number of homes as it roared through ranches, lakeside resorts and Rocky Mountain National Park this week.Across Colorado's mountain towns, people who have been choking on smoke for months and now sleep with "go bags" in their cars have been asking: When will it end?"It's like Armageddon," said Jacquelyn Evanich, who watched three huge wildfires burning this week from the office window of the motel she manages in the town of Granby, on the edge of the East Troublesome fire. "We've been around fires all year, it feels like."In a year when blazes have ravaged the West, fire season is not over, particularly in California, where 4 million acres have burned this year. Large swaths of Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, are bracing for what meteorologists are describing as the most severe fire weather of the year, with gusts projected as high as 70 mph Sunday through Wednesday. Fires that ignited in those conditions in recent years have been uncontrollable.Some 5,500 firefighters are still working to contain the megafires that ignited in August and September, including the Creek fire, which started on Labor Day weekend and is still burning through the Sierra Nevada southeast of Yosemite National Park. It was 61% contained Friday and continues to produce large amounts of smoke.The state's largest electricity provider, Pacific Gas & Electric, has announced plans to turn off power to tens of thousands of households to prevent its equipment from sparking new fires. With most students in the San Francisco Bay Area studying online, schools in affected areas scrambled on Friday to develop alternative plans for households without power.In Colorado, Sheriff Brett Schroetlin of Grand County said the East Troublesome fire was changing unpredictably, hour by hour, making it difficult to tell residents whether their property had survived or was in danger.Evacuees uncertain whether they still have a home have spent days trying to glean scraps of information by listening to radio scanners, poring over satellite images and scouring Facebook pages for photos or videos of their neighborhoods.The toll came into focus Friday for one family.Relatives of Lyle and Marylin Hileman, a couple in their 80s, said they believed the Hilemans had died after taking refuge in a concrete closet in their basement as fire swept through their home near the town of Grand Lake.To the Hilemans and other residents, Grand County was a Rocky Mountain paradise, a place rooted in ranching that has seen an influx of second homeowners and wealthy vacationers who come to fly-cast and teach their children to ride horseback.The Hilemans had planned to ride out the fire in the big yellow house that they had built themselves and where their extended family always gathered. Glenn Hileman, one of their five children, said his mother called him Wednesday night to say that "the big one" was closing in and that meadows were already ablaze. But they decided to stay."There's no way they would have left," Glenn Hileman said.There were flurries of conflicting posts on neighborhood social media groups about whether the couple had made it out as the fire grew or expanded by 100,000 acres. Firefighters told the family they had tried to take a bulldozer up to the house to reach them but were blocked by fallen trees and flames. On Friday, family members said they had gotten confirmation from local authorities that the Hilemans' house had been incinerated."They've never been apart, ever," Glenn Hileman said. "I don't think either of them could've had an idea of leaving this world apart. They were going to survive it together or they were not. Either way, they were going to do it together."Schroetlin said at a briefing Friday that he could not could not confirm any deaths.A granddaughter, Stephanie Hileman, recalled her 86-year-old grandfather, a retired Denver firefighter, as a jokester who rose before dawn to plow snow or build fences on the property he loved and spent nearly 50 years cultivating. She said her 84-year-old grandmother was a "Wonder Woman" who had worked in a mental-health facility and kept an ever-growing collection of 40 candy bowls out for guests."It was heartbreaking," Stephanie Hileman said.Firefighters are in a race with nature, trying to limit the fire's spread and its toll as a wintry system is expected to move into Colorado's high country Saturday night with rain changing to heavy snow by Sunday. Sunday night's temperatures in the Grand Lake area are forecast to plunge to 7 below, and forecasters expect up to a foot of snow.Evan Direnzo, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder, where firefighters have now largely contained two fires that erupted this past weekend, said even a thick quilt of snow might not be enough to quench the fires."They can just simmer under there for a long time," he said, recalling how the Cameron Peak Fire burning north of Rocky Mountain National Park had survived an early-September blizzard. "People were going out and digging under the snow and there was fire under it. It was just chilling, waiting to come back."Jennifer Balch, a fire scientist, said it was unusual to even discuss hopes that a snowstorm would put down a forest fire. But she said the late-season fire conditions offered a clear signal of climate change that would not be going away."I don't think we have ever talked about, 'What is the amount of snow that we need to put out the fire season, to quelch the fire season,'" said Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. "We essentially have summer running into winter and we've skipped the fall."Fire ecologists and forecasters say the moisture levels in dead trees and other vegetation are at record lows while measurements that predict the speed of fires and the height of their flames are at record highs. The entire state is in a drought, and Grand County is locked in extreme or exceptional drought -- the most severe classifications."In the last 30 years, this has been the driest growing season, by far," said Klaus Wolter, a climatologist at the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. He owns a home about 4 miles from where the Cal-Wood Fire erupted in Boulder County on Saturday.He said conditions are worse than in 2002, a notorious year in Colorado for wildfires when the Hayman Fire northwest of Colorado Springs scorched more than 138,000 acres and 133 homes.For years, the Hayman stood as the largest recorded wildfire in state history, but it has been overtaken by three megafires that erupted this year alone. The largest and second-largest of those -- the Cameron Peak Fire and East Troublesome Fire -- are burning 10 miles apart from each other, raising worries that they could merge.Everyone is making adjustments, some unimaginable.Kristin Hulinsky was cooking dinner for herself and her 7-year-old daughter, Brilea, at the Winding River Ranch wedding venue when the order came Wednesday evening to evacuate."It looked like the gates of hell," said Hulinsky, who served as ranch manager at the property. "I don't know how else to explain it. It was practically raining ashes. We got out before we saw any flames, we had to get out there so fast."Hulinsky and her daughter jumped in her car and sped to a family member's home to the west, in Kremling.She has now seen photos, taken by the venue's owner, confirming that all 19 structures on the property, including a lodge, nine cabins, a ranch house and five barns, are a total loss.Hulinksy has now moved down to the Front Range city of Lakewood, set up by her sister for now with a data entry job."There are no words," Hulinsky said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


     

  • Physicists made a superconductor that works at room temperature. It could one day give rise to high-speed floating trains.      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 09:07:00 -0400

    Physicists made a superconductor that works at room temperature. It could one day give rise to high-speed floating trains.The superconductor only works at pressures roughly equal to those in the Earth's core, but it shows room-temperature superconductors are possible.


    Physicists made a superconductor that works at room temperature. It could one day give rise to high-speed floating trains.The superconductor only works at pressures roughly equal to those in the Earth's core, but it shows room-temperature superconductors are possible.


     

  • NASA just picked a winner in its space-toilet competition. The $20,000 prize awards the best 'lunar loo' for moon-bound astronauts.      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 08:08:00 -0400

    NASA just picked a winner in its space-toilet competition. The $20,000 prize awards the best 'lunar loo' for moon-bound astronauts.The winners interviewed former astronaut Susan Helms for inspiration on how to design a better space toilet.


    NASA just picked a winner in its space-toilet competition. The $20,000 prize awards the best 'lunar loo' for moon-bound astronauts.The winners interviewed former astronaut Susan Helms for inspiration on how to design a better space toilet.


     

  • 'Our hospital is not built for a pandemic': Hospitals again struggle to keep up with the surging number of COVID-19 cases across the nation      Sat, 24 Oct 2020 01:24:19 -0400

    'Our hospital is not built for a pandemic': Hospitals again struggle to keep up with the surging number of COVID-19 cases across the nationHospitalizations for people infected with the new coronavirus have increased in 38 states in the last week.


    'Our hospital is not built for a pandemic': Hospitals again struggle to keep up with the surging number of COVID-19 cases across the nationHospitalizations for people infected with the new coronavirus have increased in 38 states in the last week.


     

  • NASA probe leaking asteroid samples after hearty collection      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 23:06:48 -0400

    NASA probe leaking asteroid samples after hearty collectionThe U.S. probe that collected a sample from an asteroid earlier this week retrieved so much material that a rock is wedged in the container door, allowing rocks to spill back out into space, NASA officials said on Friday. The robotic arm of the probe, OSIRIS-REx, on Tuesday night kicked up a debris cloud of rocks on Bennu, a skyscraper-sized asteroid some 200 million miles (320 million km) from Earth and trapped the material in a collection device for the return to Earth. The leakage had the OSIRIS-REx mission team scrambling to stow the collection device to prevent additional spillage."Time is of the essence," Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, told reporters.


    NASA probe leaking asteroid samples after hearty collectionThe U.S. probe that collected a sample from an asteroid earlier this week retrieved so much material that a rock is wedged in the container door, allowing rocks to spill back out into space, NASA officials said on Friday. The robotic arm of the probe, OSIRIS-REx, on Tuesday night kicked up a debris cloud of rocks on Bennu, a skyscraper-sized asteroid some 200 million miles (320 million km) from Earth and trapped the material in a collection device for the return to Earth. The leakage had the OSIRIS-REx mission team scrambling to stow the collection device to prevent additional spillage."Time is of the essence," Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, told reporters.


     

  • NASA is rushing to hold onto its first sample of asteroid dust before too much leaks into space: 'Time is of the essence'      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 18:48:00 -0400

    NASA is rushing to hold onto its first sample of asteroid dust before too much leaks into space: 'Time is of the essence'A valve on the probe's sample-collecting arm won't close, and bits of asteroid are floating away. The team hopes to store the dust in a safer place.


    NASA is rushing to hold onto its first sample of asteroid dust before too much leaks into space: 'Time is of the essence'A valve on the probe's sample-collecting arm won't close, and bits of asteroid are floating away. The team hopes to store the dust in a safer place.


     

  • Asteroid samples escaping from jammed NASA spacecraft      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 18:19:43 -0400

    Asteroid samples escaping from jammed NASA spacecraftA NASA spacecraft is stuffed with so much asteroid rubble from this week’s grab that it’s jammed open and precious particles are drifting away in space, scientists said Friday. Scientists announced the news three days after the spacecraft named Osiris-Rex briefly touched asteroid Bennu, NASA's first attempt at such a mission. The mission’s lead scientist, Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, said Tuesday's operation 200 million miles away collected far more material than expected for return to Earth — in the hundreds of grams.


    Asteroid samples escaping from jammed NASA spacecraftA NASA spacecraft is stuffed with so much asteroid rubble from this week’s grab that it’s jammed open and precious particles are drifting away in space, scientists said Friday. Scientists announced the news three days after the spacecraft named Osiris-Rex briefly touched asteroid Bennu, NASA's first attempt at such a mission. The mission’s lead scientist, Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, said Tuesday's operation 200 million miles away collected far more material than expected for return to Earth — in the hundreds of grams.


     

  • What would happen if you rode a roller coaster as tall as the Burj Khalifa      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 16:30:00 -0400

    What would happen if you rode a roller coaster as tall as the Burj KhalifaIt's possible to build a roller coaster as high as the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. But it could seriously injure or kill riders.


    What would happen if you rode a roller coaster as tall as the Burj KhalifaIt's possible to build a roller coaster as high as the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. But it could seriously injure or kill riders.


     

  • Wildfire smoke may help virus spread, mouthwash helps curb it      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 16:28:16 -0400

    Wildfire smoke may help virus spread, mouthwash helps curb itLarge wildfires may be linked to increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the San Francisco area, according to a paper in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. Researchers found that between March and September, increases in smoke particles, other wildfire pollutants and carbon monoxide levels corresponded to increases in daily COVID-19 diagnoses and total COVID-19 deaths. While correlation does not necessarily mean causality, coauthor Sultan Ayoub Meo of King Saud University in Saudi Arabia said air pollution provides a means for viruses to move around the environment.


    Wildfire smoke may help virus spread, mouthwash helps curb itLarge wildfires may be linked to increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the San Francisco area, according to a paper in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. Researchers found that between March and September, increases in smoke particles, other wildfire pollutants and carbon monoxide levels corresponded to increases in daily COVID-19 diagnoses and total COVID-19 deaths. While correlation does not necessarily mean causality, coauthor Sultan Ayoub Meo of King Saud University in Saudi Arabia said air pollution provides a means for viruses to move around the environment.


     

  • No, President Trump: Wind turbines aren't killing 'all the birds.' Cats are.      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 14:19:00 -0400

    No, President Trump: Wind turbines aren't killing 'all the birds.' Cats are.Want to know the single best thing you can do to prevent the decline of bird populations? Keep your cat inside.


    No, President Trump: Wind turbines aren't killing 'all the birds.' Cats are.Want to know the single best thing you can do to prevent the decline of bird populations? Keep your cat inside.


     

  • Washington state discovers first 'murder hornet' nest in US      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 13:57:22 -0400

    Washington state discovers first 'murder hornet' nest in USScientists have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials in Washington state said. After weeks of searching, the agency said it found the nest of Asian giant hornets in Blaine, a city north of Seattle near the Canadian border. The world’s largest hornet at 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, the invasive insects can decimate entire hives of honeybees and deliver painful stings to people.


    Washington state discovers first 'murder hornet' nest in USScientists have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials in Washington state said. After weeks of searching, the agency said it found the nest of Asian giant hornets in Blaine, a city north of Seattle near the Canadian border. The world’s largest hornet at 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, the invasive insects can decimate entire hives of honeybees and deliver painful stings to people.


     

  • Two face masks may be more protective than wearing one, but it depends on the type and fit      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 11:45:00 -0400

    Two face masks may be more protective than wearing one, but it depends on the type and fitDoubling up on single-layer cloth masks may be better than one, but the safest homemade masks have three layers, including a nonabsorbent outer one.


    Two face masks may be more protective than wearing one, but it depends on the type and fitDoubling up on single-layer cloth masks may be better than one, but the safest homemade masks have three layers, including a nonabsorbent outer one.


     

  • The FDA's panel of experts said its COVID-19 vaccine approval rules aren't strict enough, and could lead to vaccines being rushed out      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 07:22:47 -0400

    The FDA's panel of experts said its COVID-19 vaccine approval rules aren't strict enough, and could lead to vaccines being rushed outThe Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory board said the agency's rules on vaccine trials could lead to unsafe or ineffective vaccines.


    The FDA's panel of experts said its COVID-19 vaccine approval rules aren't strict enough, and could lead to vaccines being rushed outThe Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory board said the agency's rules on vaccine trials could lead to unsafe or ineffective vaccines.


     

  • North Korea told citizens to stay inside, claiming (with no scientific basis) that a storm of yellow dust coming from China was carrying COVID-19      Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:21:18 -0400

    North Korea told citizens to stay inside, claiming (with no scientific basis) that a storm of yellow dust coming from China was carrying COVID-19On Wednesday, North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper warned people of the "danger of invading malicious viruses" inside an approaching storm.


    North Korea told citizens to stay inside, claiming (with no scientific basis) that a storm of yellow dust coming from China was carrying COVID-19On Wednesday, North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper warned people of the "danger of invading malicious viruses" inside an approaching storm.


     

  • Don't give up on COVID-19 plasma, experts say, after study finds no benefit      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 22:14:22 -0400

    Don't give up on COVID-19 plasma, experts say, after study finds no benefitThe Indian results, published in the BMJ British Medical Journal, found that the plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not help hospitalised patients fight off the infection, and failed to reduce death rates or halt progression to severe disease. The findings are a setback for a potential therapy that U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as a "historic breakthrough", and one experts say has been used in some 100,000 patients in the United States already, despite limited evidence on its efficacy. Scientists not directly involved in the India study, which involved around 460 patients, said its results were disappointing but should not mean doctors give up hope altogether on convalescent plasma.


    Don't give up on COVID-19 plasma, experts say, after study finds no benefitThe Indian results, published in the BMJ British Medical Journal, found that the plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not help hospitalised patients fight off the infection, and failed to reduce death rates or halt progression to severe disease. The findings are a setback for a potential therapy that U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as a "historic breakthrough", and one experts say has been used in some 100,000 patients in the United States already, despite limited evidence on its efficacy. Scientists not directly involved in the India study, which involved around 460 patients, said its results were disappointing but should not mean doctors give up hope altogether on convalescent plasma.


     

  • Norway funds satellite map of world's tropical forests      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 19:06:48 -0400

    Norway funds satellite map of world's tropical forestsNorway pays for a monthly satellite dataset to track the state of the world's tropical forests.


    Norway funds satellite map of world's tropical forestsNorway pays for a monthly satellite dataset to track the state of the world's tropical forests.


     

  • Diabolical ironclad beetles can get squished under 39,000 times their weight and survive. Scientists figured out how.      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 17:50:00 -0400

    Diabolical ironclad beetles can get squished under 39,000 times their weight and survive. Scientists figured out how.A new study describes the strength of diabolical ironclad beetle exoskeletons. The findings could help engineers create hardier vehicles and planes.


    Diabolical ironclad beetles can get squished under 39,000 times their weight and survive. Scientists figured out how.A new study describes the strength of diabolical ironclad beetle exoskeletons. The findings could help engineers create hardier vehicles and planes.


     

  • These Winged Dinosaurs Hurtled Through the Trees like Haywire Hang Gliders      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 15:30:49 -0400

    These Winged Dinosaurs Hurtled Through the Trees like Haywire Hang GlidersDuring a blip in time in the late Jurassic, a dinosaur that weighed no more than a chinchilla flung itself from tree to tree, spread its wings and tried to soar. In theory, it sounds beautiful -- an early attempt at flight before birds figured out the blueprint.In practice, it was chaotic.The dinosaur, Yi qi, only barely managed to glide, stretching out and shimmying its skin-flap, downy-feathered wings in a valiant attempt at flying. "It was rocketing from tree to tree, desperately trying not to slam into something," said Alex Dececchi, a paleontologist at Mount Marty University in South Dakota. "It wouldn't be something pleasant."Unsurprisingly, Yi qi is not an ancestor of modern birds. It went extinct after just a few million years, presumably doomed by its sheer lack of competency in the air. In a study published Thursday in the journal iScience, Dececchi and other researchers analyzed how Yi qi and the dinosaur Ambopteryx could have flown. Both animals were scansoriopterygids, a little-known group of small dinosaurs. The researchers did not expect the two to be great flyers, but their results painted a picture of bumbling creatures that weren't truly at home on the ground, among the trees or in the sky.Found by a farmer in northeastern China, Yi qi was first described in 2015 by paleontologists Xing Xu, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Xiaoting Zheng, of Linyi University. When Dececchi first learned about the dinosaur's bizarre anatomy, he was taken aback. "I said words that cannot be put into print," he said.In addition to the batlike wings, which had never before been observed in a dinosaur, Yi qi had an extraordinary long bone jutting out from its wrist. "Like Edward Scissorhands," said Michael Pittman, a paleontologist at the University of Hong Kong and an author on the paper.In 2018, Dececchi presented Yi qi in one of his classes as a way of teaching the scientific method: "Here's a weird creature. How do you think it would fly?" The more he thought about the question, the more he wanted to answer it.When Dececchi presented a preliminary paper on Yi qi at a conference in 2018, he saw a similar paper by Arindam Roy, a graduate student in Pittman's lab. The scientists decided to collaborate, with Pittman reconstructing the dinosaur's wing and Dececchi modeling its flight. When Ambopteryx was described in 2018, the scientists incorporated the dinosaur into the study.Pittman's lab scanned the fossil using a technique called laser-stimulated fluorescence to detect soft tissues that might have gone unnoticed when the Yi qi was first described. The laser technique revealed new soft tissues around the neck and face and provided close-up images of the membrane, which allowed Pittman to revise the model for what Yi qi's wing might have looked like.With wing models in hand, Dececchi ran the dinosaurs through a panoply of mathematical models to test its flight ability. "I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt: the biggest wings, the most muscles, the fastest flapping," he said.The creatures failed even the most generous models. Their pectoral muscles were too weak to achieve flapping flight. They could not sprint fast enough to launch themselves from the ground. They were poor turners. They could not even take off after running on an incline while furiously flapping their wings.The only scenario left was a bumbling glide wherein the dinosaurs stretched out their arms like flying squirrels and jumped from tree to tree, clattering among the branches.Xu, who led the study first describing Yi qi, said he found the new paper's analysis rigorous, although he was a bit surprised by how poorly the dinosaur seemed to fly. "I don't consider this a final word on the flight capabilities of Yi," he said, adding that the discovery of better-preserved specimens may produce different results."It's a nice exploration of an odd group," said Jingmai O'Connor, a curator of fossil reptiles at the Field Museum who also described Yi qi. "However, the authors seem to be reading too much into a handful of poorly preserved specimens." She noted that only three adult scansoriopterygid fossils are known to science.Yi qi and Ambopteryx's strategy may have worked in the short term. But as early birds took over the skies, eagle-size pterosaurs leered from above and wolf-size dinosaurs salivated from below, the scansoriopterygids tumbled into extinction.Although their failed flights offer little insight into how true birds evolved from dinosaurs, they shed light on the many ways that creatures tried to take to the skies. "The more fossils we find, the more we see how messy this evolutionary transition was," said Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved with the research.In Dececchi's eyes, the dinosaurs might have skirted doom if they had more time to evolve past the equivalent of their awkward teen years. "Then today, you might have had bats, birds and these weird and wonderful guys," he said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


    These Winged Dinosaurs Hurtled Through the Trees like Haywire Hang GlidersDuring a blip in time in the late Jurassic, a dinosaur that weighed no more than a chinchilla flung itself from tree to tree, spread its wings and tried to soar. In theory, it sounds beautiful -- an early attempt at flight before birds figured out the blueprint.In practice, it was chaotic.The dinosaur, Yi qi, only barely managed to glide, stretching out and shimmying its skin-flap, downy-feathered wings in a valiant attempt at flying. "It was rocketing from tree to tree, desperately trying not to slam into something," said Alex Dececchi, a paleontologist at Mount Marty University in South Dakota. "It wouldn't be something pleasant."Unsurprisingly, Yi qi is not an ancestor of modern birds. It went extinct after just a few million years, presumably doomed by its sheer lack of competency in the air. In a study published Thursday in the journal iScience, Dececchi and other researchers analyzed how Yi qi and the dinosaur Ambopteryx could have flown. Both animals were scansoriopterygids, a little-known group of small dinosaurs. The researchers did not expect the two to be great flyers, but their results painted a picture of bumbling creatures that weren't truly at home on the ground, among the trees or in the sky.Found by a farmer in northeastern China, Yi qi was first described in 2015 by paleontologists Xing Xu, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Xiaoting Zheng, of Linyi University. When Dececchi first learned about the dinosaur's bizarre anatomy, he was taken aback. "I said words that cannot be put into print," he said.In addition to the batlike wings, which had never before been observed in a dinosaur, Yi qi had an extraordinary long bone jutting out from its wrist. "Like Edward Scissorhands," said Michael Pittman, a paleontologist at the University of Hong Kong and an author on the paper.In 2018, Dececchi presented Yi qi in one of his classes as a way of teaching the scientific method: "Here's a weird creature. How do you think it would fly?" The more he thought about the question, the more he wanted to answer it.When Dececchi presented a preliminary paper on Yi qi at a conference in 2018, he saw a similar paper by Arindam Roy, a graduate student in Pittman's lab. The scientists decided to collaborate, with Pittman reconstructing the dinosaur's wing and Dececchi modeling its flight. When Ambopteryx was described in 2018, the scientists incorporated the dinosaur into the study.Pittman's lab scanned the fossil using a technique called laser-stimulated fluorescence to detect soft tissues that might have gone unnoticed when the Yi qi was first described. The laser technique revealed new soft tissues around the neck and face and provided close-up images of the membrane, which allowed Pittman to revise the model for what Yi qi's wing might have looked like.With wing models in hand, Dececchi ran the dinosaurs through a panoply of mathematical models to test its flight ability. "I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt: the biggest wings, the most muscles, the fastest flapping," he said.The creatures failed even the most generous models. Their pectoral muscles were too weak to achieve flapping flight. They could not sprint fast enough to launch themselves from the ground. They were poor turners. They could not even take off after running on an incline while furiously flapping their wings.The only scenario left was a bumbling glide wherein the dinosaurs stretched out their arms like flying squirrels and jumped from tree to tree, clattering among the branches.Xu, who led the study first describing Yi qi, said he found the new paper's analysis rigorous, although he was a bit surprised by how poorly the dinosaur seemed to fly. "I don't consider this a final word on the flight capabilities of Yi," he said, adding that the discovery of better-preserved specimens may produce different results."It's a nice exploration of an odd group," said Jingmai O'Connor, a curator of fossil reptiles at the Field Museum who also described Yi qi. "However, the authors seem to be reading too much into a handful of poorly preserved specimens." She noted that only three adult scansoriopterygid fossils are known to science.Yi qi and Ambopteryx's strategy may have worked in the short term. But as early birds took over the skies, eagle-size pterosaurs leered from above and wolf-size dinosaurs salivated from below, the scansoriopterygids tumbled into extinction.Although their failed flights offer little insight into how true birds evolved from dinosaurs, they shed light on the many ways that creatures tried to take to the skies. "The more fossils we find, the more we see how messy this evolutionary transition was," said Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved with the research.In Dececchi's eyes, the dinosaurs might have skirted doom if they had more time to evolve past the equivalent of their awkward teen years. "Then today, you might have had bats, birds and these weird and wonderful guys," he said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


     

  • Colorado wildfires drag on later than normal, break records      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:22:38 -0400

    Colorado wildfires drag on later than normal, break recordsWhile it could be an apocalyptic scene out of a movie, it has become the reality of Colorado's wildfire season. One of Colorado’s smaller fires exploded late Wednesday from 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) to 196 square miles (508 square kilometers) and closed Rocky Mountain National Park. Fire officials say it has so far burned 265 square miles (686 square kilometers).


    Colorado wildfires drag on later than normal, break recordsWhile it could be an apocalyptic scene out of a movie, it has become the reality of Colorado's wildfire season. One of Colorado’s smaller fires exploded late Wednesday from 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) to 196 square miles (508 square kilometers) and closed Rocky Mountain National Park. Fire officials say it has so far burned 265 square miles (686 square kilometers).


     

  • Test and trace works better when numbers are low: UK science adviser      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 11:48:41 -0400

    Test and trace works better when numbers are low: UK science adviserEngland's test and trace scheme needs improvement and it is hard to run an effective system when there are large and increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said on Thursday.


    Test and trace works better when numbers are low: UK science adviserEngland's test and trace scheme needs improvement and it is hard to run an effective system when there are large and increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said on Thursday.


     

  • Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trials      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 11:18:11 -0400

    Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trialsBritain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, will leave for sea trials on Wednesday to be put through its paces before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica late next year to boost research into climate change. It will spend two weeks at sea off the coast of North Wales for technical trials before the shipyard formally hands it over. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will operate the ship, carrying out ice trials in the Arctic in early 2021 before it journeys to the Antarctic next November, where the BAS say it will transform UK research in polar regions.


    Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trialsBritain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, will leave for sea trials on Wednesday to be put through its paces before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica late next year to boost research into climate change. It will spend two weeks at sea off the coast of North Wales for technical trials before the shipyard formally hands it over. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will operate the ship, carrying out ice trials in the Arctic in early 2021 before it journeys to the Antarctic next November, where the BAS say it will transform UK research in polar regions.


     

  • Why a bowl of bird's nest soup can cost more than $100 at some restaurants      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 10:30:00 -0400

    Why a bowl of bird's nest soup can cost more than $100 at some restaurantsA bowl of bird's nest soup can cost more than $100. The Asian delicacy is made from the dissolved nests of swiftlets, a bird native to Southeast Asia.


    Why a bowl of bird's nest soup can cost more than $100 at some restaurantsA bowl of bird's nest soup can cost more than $100. The Asian delicacy is made from the dissolved nests of swiftlets, a bird native to Southeast Asia.


     

  • Moderna completes enrollment in large COVID-19 vaccine study      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 09:53:03 -0400

    Moderna completes enrollment in large COVID-19 vaccine studyOver 25,650 participants have so far received their second shot of the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, the company said. Moderna said its study includes more than 11,000 participants from minority communities, including 6,000 Hispanic or Latin-American participants and more than 3,000 Black or African-American participants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires at least two months of safety data after a full vaccination regime to review applications for emergency use authorization of an experimental vaccine.


    Moderna completes enrollment in large COVID-19 vaccine studyOver 25,650 participants have so far received their second shot of the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, the company said. Moderna said its study includes more than 11,000 participants from minority communities, including 6,000 Hispanic or Latin-American participants and more than 3,000 Black or African-American participants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires at least two months of safety data after a full vaccination regime to review applications for emergency use authorization of an experimental vaccine.


     

  • I'm an epidemiologist. Here are 5 things you should do right now to ride the wave of new COVID cases and prepare for the long winter.      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 09:02:00 -0400

    I'm an epidemiologist. Here are 5 things you should do right now to ride the wave of new COVID cases and prepare for the long winter.Prepare emergency kits with essential items for all of the members of your household — but please don't buy all of the toilet paper.


    I'm an epidemiologist. Here are 5 things you should do right now to ride the wave of new COVID cases and prepare for the long winter.Prepare emergency kits with essential items for all of the members of your household — but please don't buy all of the toilet paper.


     

  • NASA Touched an Asteroid. How Much Will It Bring Home?      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 08:06:31 -0400

    NASA Touched an Asteroid. How Much Will It Bring Home?When NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft touched the surface of an asteroid Tuesday to gather a sample of rocks and dirt, the operation proceeded smoothly, to the glee of the mission's operators 200 million miles away on Earth.But the biggest question remained unanswered: How much of the asteroid did OSIRIS-REX pick up? Did it manage to gather any samples at all?On Wednesday, the mission managers released a video of the sampling mechanism hitting the surface of the asteroid, within 3 feet or so of where the spacecraft had been aimed."I must have watched about a hundred times last night," Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of the mission, said during a news conference Wednesday.The sampling mechanism set down partly on a rock about 8 inches wide. That could have caused a problem if it had prevented the mechanism from pressing up against the surface."But literally, we crushed it," Lauretta said. "When the spacecraft made contact, that rock appears to fragment and shatter, which is great news."A burst of nitrogen gas kicked up a cloud of rocks and dirt, as hoped."You can see that particles are flying all over the place," Lauretta said. "We really did kind of make a mess on the surface of this asteroid, but it's a good mess."The chances that spacecraft captured a sizable sample "have gone way, way up," he said. It will still be a few days before scientists can confirm how much material was trapped within the sample collector, which resembles an automobile air filter.On Thursday, the spacecraft will take photographs of the collection mechanism, which may show some of the asteroid soil stuck to velcro-like surfaces. On Saturday, it will conduct a pirouette to estimate how much material has been trapped inside."There's an incredibly clever physics experiment that the team has designed here called the sample mass measurement," Lauretta said during the NASA Television broadcast Tuesday.The robotic arm with the sample collector at the end will be extended, and then the spacecraft will be nudged into a spin Saturday."We're measuring a property called the moment of inertia," Lauretta said.The scientists will compare the rate of spin to what they measured before collecting a sample. Just as a skater with outstretched arms holding a barbell would spin slower than a skater holding nothing, OSIRIS-REX will spin slower depending on how much material was picked up.The calculation of the collected mass is to be completed by Monday. Lauretta said if the measurement shows more than 80 grams, or almost 3 ounces, that would be enough. Scientists are hoping for at least a couple of ounces, but it could be more than 4 pounds.If by unlucky chance OSIRIS-REX came up short Tuesday, it can try two more times. The next attempt would be at a backup site named Osprey in January.The collection of the asteroid sample is the climax of the $800 million mission, which launched four years ago. The spacecraft has been making detailed observations of Bennu -- a rock as wide as the Empire State Building is tall -- for two years, mapping features of its surface as small as a couple of inches wide. It even discovered that Bennu was shooting debris from its surface into space.The mission's controllers selected a spot inside a crater near Bennu's north pole that they named Nightingale. The spacecraft, 20 feet wide and about the size of a sport utility vehicle, had to navigate carefully to the target site, which is only 26 feet in diameter. In addition, it had to avoid a wall of rocks on the eastern edge of the crater. That included a pointy pillar nicknamed Mount Doom, which is as tall as a two- or three-story building.However, despite the risks, Nightingale offered the greatest potential scientific payoffs, with unobstructed fine-grained material that appears to contain carbon-rich minerals.Asteroids, mostly located in orbits between Mars and Jupiter, are bits that never coalesced into a planet, and planetary scientists hope that the samples from Bennu could shed light on what the young solar system was like when it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Asteroids like Bennu, which possesses carbon-rich minerals, may have provided the building blocks for life to arise on Earth.The asteroid is also being studied because its orbit could cause it to collide with Earth late in the 22nd century. The likelihood of such an occurrence is low, and the asteroid is not large enough to end human civilization should it occur.OSIRIS-REX -- the name is a shortening of Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer -- is to leave the asteroid next year and drop off the sample, which will parachute to a landing in Utah on Sept. 24, 2023.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


    NASA Touched an Asteroid. How Much Will It Bring Home?When NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft touched the surface of an asteroid Tuesday to gather a sample of rocks and dirt, the operation proceeded smoothly, to the glee of the mission's operators 200 million miles away on Earth.But the biggest question remained unanswered: How much of the asteroid did OSIRIS-REX pick up? Did it manage to gather any samples at all?On Wednesday, the mission managers released a video of the sampling mechanism hitting the surface of the asteroid, within 3 feet or so of where the spacecraft had been aimed."I must have watched about a hundred times last night," Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of the mission, said during a news conference Wednesday.The sampling mechanism set down partly on a rock about 8 inches wide. That could have caused a problem if it had prevented the mechanism from pressing up against the surface."But literally, we crushed it," Lauretta said. "When the spacecraft made contact, that rock appears to fragment and shatter, which is great news."A burst of nitrogen gas kicked up a cloud of rocks and dirt, as hoped."You can see that particles are flying all over the place," Lauretta said. "We really did kind of make a mess on the surface of this asteroid, but it's a good mess."The chances that spacecraft captured a sizable sample "have gone way, way up," he said. It will still be a few days before scientists can confirm how much material was trapped within the sample collector, which resembles an automobile air filter.On Thursday, the spacecraft will take photographs of the collection mechanism, which may show some of the asteroid soil stuck to velcro-like surfaces. On Saturday, it will conduct a pirouette to estimate how much material has been trapped inside."There's an incredibly clever physics experiment that the team has designed here called the sample mass measurement," Lauretta said during the NASA Television broadcast Tuesday.The robotic arm with the sample collector at the end will be extended, and then the spacecraft will be nudged into a spin Saturday."We're measuring a property called the moment of inertia," Lauretta said.The scientists will compare the rate of spin to what they measured before collecting a sample. Just as a skater with outstretched arms holding a barbell would spin slower than a skater holding nothing, OSIRIS-REX will spin slower depending on how much material was picked up.The calculation of the collected mass is to be completed by Monday. Lauretta said if the measurement shows more than 80 grams, or almost 3 ounces, that would be enough. Scientists are hoping for at least a couple of ounces, but it could be more than 4 pounds.If by unlucky chance OSIRIS-REX came up short Tuesday, it can try two more times. The next attempt would be at a backup site named Osprey in January.The collection of the asteroid sample is the climax of the $800 million mission, which launched four years ago. The spacecraft has been making detailed observations of Bennu -- a rock as wide as the Empire State Building is tall -- for two years, mapping features of its surface as small as a couple of inches wide. It even discovered that Bennu was shooting debris from its surface into space.The mission's controllers selected a spot inside a crater near Bennu's north pole that they named Nightingale. The spacecraft, 20 feet wide and about the size of a sport utility vehicle, had to navigate carefully to the target site, which is only 26 feet in diameter. In addition, it had to avoid a wall of rocks on the eastern edge of the crater. That included a pointy pillar nicknamed Mount Doom, which is as tall as a two- or three-story building.However, despite the risks, Nightingale offered the greatest potential scientific payoffs, with unobstructed fine-grained material that appears to contain carbon-rich minerals.Asteroids, mostly located in orbits between Mars and Jupiter, are bits that never coalesced into a planet, and planetary scientists hope that the samples from Bennu could shed light on what the young solar system was like when it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Asteroids like Bennu, which possesses carbon-rich minerals, may have provided the building blocks for life to arise on Earth.The asteroid is also being studied because its orbit could cause it to collide with Earth late in the 22nd century. The likelihood of such an occurrence is low, and the asteroid is not large enough to end human civilization should it occur.OSIRIS-REX -- the name is a shortening of Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer -- is to leave the asteroid next year and drop off the sample, which will parachute to a landing in Utah on Sept. 24, 2023.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


     

  • Study finds AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 06:23:34 -0400

    Study finds AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructionsAstraZeneca's Oxford COVID-19 vaccine accurately follows the genetic instructions programmed into it by its developers to successfully provoke a strong immune response, according to a detailed analysis carried out by independent UK scientists. "The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness," said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, who led the research. AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.


    Study finds AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructionsAstraZeneca's Oxford COVID-19 vaccine accurately follows the genetic instructions programmed into it by its developers to successfully provoke a strong immune response, according to a detailed analysis carried out by independent UK scientists. "The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness," said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, who led the research. AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.


     

  • Spain and France both surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, as Europe's outbreak continues to spiral      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 06:22:50 -0400

    Spain and France both surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, as Europe's outbreak continues to spiralSpain has now reported 1,005,295 coronavirus cases, while France has recorded 1,000,369 cases, according to John Hopkins University data.


    Spain and France both surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, as Europe's outbreak continues to spiralSpain has now reported 1,005,295 coronavirus cases, while France has recorded 1,000,369 cases, according to John Hopkins University data.


     

  • Osiris-Rex: Nasa asteroid mission confident of success      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 03:26:53 -0400

    Osiris-Rex: Nasa asteroid mission confident of successThe first images are released of the Osiris-Rex spacecraft trying to grab rock from asteroid Bennu.


    Osiris-Rex: Nasa asteroid mission confident of successThe first images are released of the Osiris-Rex spacecraft trying to grab rock from asteroid Bennu.


     

  • Do I need to wear a mask if I’m 6 feet away from others?      Thu, 22 Oct 2020 03:02:32 -0400

    Do I need to wear a mask if I’m 6 feet away from others?Health experts recommend wearing masks in public and keeping your distance from others in most cases, but whether you should do both could depend on the situation. “There’s no invisible force field at 6 feet,” said Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University. Other factors could also influence whether it’s best to keep your distance while also wearing a mask.


    Do I need to wear a mask if I’m 6 feet away from others?Health experts recommend wearing masks in public and keeping your distance from others in most cases, but whether you should do both could depend on the situation. “There’s no invisible force field at 6 feet,” said Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University. Other factors could also influence whether it’s best to keep your distance while also wearing a mask.


     

  • FDA should 'under no circumstances' fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine, says patient safety group      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 23:04:05 -0400

    FDA should 'under no circumstances' fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine, says patient safety groupThe US Food and Drug Administration should not approve a vaccine before full clinical trials are completed, said ECRI, a nonprofit patient safety organization.


    FDA should 'under no circumstances' fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine, says patient safety groupThe US Food and Drug Administration should not approve a vaccine before full clinical trials are completed, said ECRI, a nonprofit patient safety organization.


     

  • Trio who lived on space station return to Earth safely      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 23:02:42 -0400

    Trio who lived on space station return to Earth safelyA trio of space travelers safely returned to Earth on Thursday after a six-month mission on the International Space Station. The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 7:54 a.m. (2:54 GMT) Thursday. After a brief medical checkup, the three will be taken by helicopters to Dzhezkazgan from where they will depart home.


    Trio who lived on space station return to Earth safelyA trio of space travelers safely returned to Earth on Thursday after a six-month mission on the International Space Station. The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 7:54 a.m. (2:54 GMT) Thursday. After a brief medical checkup, the three will be taken by helicopters to Dzhezkazgan from where they will depart home.


     

  • Planners 'must prepare' for weather extremes - Met Office      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 20:22:29 -0400

    Planners 'must prepare' for weather extremes - Met OfficeThe Met Office is launching a tool to help planners prepare for further weather extremes.


    Planners 'must prepare' for weather extremes - Met OfficeThe Met Office is launching a tool to help planners prepare for further weather extremes.


     

  • More pollution expected from stay-home workers      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:56:05 -0400

    More pollution expected from stay-home workersClimate change: More pollution expected from stay-home workers


    More pollution expected from stay-home workersClimate change: More pollution expected from stay-home workers


     

  • NASA spacecraft sent asteroid rubble flying in sample grab      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:36:32 -0400

    NASA spacecraft sent asteroid rubble flying in sample grabNASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft crushed rocks and sent rubble flying as it briefly touched an asteroid, a strong indication that samples were collected for return to Earth, officials said Wednesday. Scientists won't know until next week how much was gathered at asteroid Bennu — they want at least a handful of the cosmic rubble. “We really did kind of make a mess on the surface of this asteroid, but it’s a good mess, the kind of mess we were hoping for,” said lead scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona at Tucson.


    NASA spacecraft sent asteroid rubble flying in sample grabNASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft crushed rocks and sent rubble flying as it briefly touched an asteroid, a strong indication that samples were collected for return to Earth, officials said Wednesday. Scientists won't know until next week how much was gathered at asteroid Bennu — they want at least a handful of the cosmic rubble. “We really did kind of make a mess on the surface of this asteroid, but it’s a good mess, the kind of mess we were hoping for,” said lead scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona at Tucson.


     

  • Health secretary Alex Azar says all Americans who want a vaccine could get one by spring 2021      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:35:00 -0400

    Health secretary Alex Azar says all Americans who want a vaccine could get one by spring 2021The US should have enough doses for seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders by the end of January, Azar said.


    Health secretary Alex Azar says all Americans who want a vaccine could get one by spring 2021The US should have enough doses for seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders by the end of January, Azar said.


     

  • Sir David Attenborough polar research ship set to begin sea trials      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 16:51:00 -0400

    Sir David Attenborough polar research ship set to begin sea trialsFour years in the making, Britain's new £200m polar ship has left the builder's yard for testing.


    Sir David Attenborough polar research ship set to begin sea trialsFour years in the making, Britain's new £200m polar ship has left the builder's yard for testing.


     

  • Secrets of the 'uncrushable' beetle revealed      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:55:05 -0400

    Secrets of the 'uncrushable' beetle revealedHow a tiny insect with super-tough body armour can survive being stamped on or run over by a car.


    Secrets of the 'uncrushable' beetle revealedHow a tiny insect with super-tough body armour can survive being stamped on or run over by a car.


     

  • Elation as Nasa's Osiris-Rex probe tags asteroid Bennu in sample bid      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 13:39:36 -0400

    Elation as Nasa's Osiris-Rex probe tags asteroid Bennu in sample bidOsiris-Rex makes brief contact with asteroid Bennu in an effort to pick up fragments of rock.


    Elation as Nasa's Osiris-Rex probe tags asteroid Bennu in sample bidOsiris-Rex makes brief contact with asteroid Bennu in an effort to pick up fragments of rock.


     

  • Climate change: 'Cooling paint' could cut emissions from buildings      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 11:11:03 -0400

    Climate change: 'Cooling paint' could cut emissions from buildingsResearchers have developed a white paint that reflects sunlight and helps cool buildings.


    Climate change: 'Cooling paint' could cut emissions from buildingsResearchers have developed a white paint that reflects sunlight and helps cool buildings.


     

  • Can't crush this: Beetle armor gives clues to tougher planes      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 11:08:22 -0400

    Can't crush this: Beetle armor gives clues to tougher planesIt's a beetle that can withstand bird pecks, animal stomps and even being rolled over by a Toyota Camry. “This beetle is super tough," said Purdue University civil engineer Pablo Zavattieri, who was among a group of researchers that ran over the insect with a car as part of a new study. The species — aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — owes its might to an unusual armor that is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw, according to the study by Zavattieri and his colleagues published in Nature on Wednesday.


    Can't crush this: Beetle armor gives clues to tougher planesIt's a beetle that can withstand bird pecks, animal stomps and even being rolled over by a Toyota Camry. “This beetle is super tough," said Purdue University civil engineer Pablo Zavattieri, who was among a group of researchers that ran over the insect with a car as part of a new study. The species — aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — owes its might to an unusual armor that is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw, according to the study by Zavattieri and his colleagues published in Nature on Wednesday.


     

  • Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trials      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 09:34:52 -0400

    Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trialsBritain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, will leave for sea trials on Wednesday to be put through its paces before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica late next year to boost research into climate change. It will spend two weeks at sea off the coast of North Wales for technical trials before the shipyard formally hands it over. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will operate the ship, carrying out ice trials in the Arctic in early 2021 before it journeys to the Antarctic next November, where the BAS say it will transform UK research in polar regions.


    Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trialsBritain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, will leave for sea trials on Wednesday to be put through its paces before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica late next year to boost research into climate change. It will spend two weeks at sea off the coast of North Wales for technical trials before the shipyard formally hands it over. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will operate the ship, carrying out ice trials in the Arctic in early 2021 before it journeys to the Antarctic next November, where the BAS say it will transform UK research in polar regions.


     

  • China says environment still grim despite five years of progress      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:33:00 -0400

    China says environment still grim despite five years of progressChina's environment conditions are "grim", falling short of public expectations even after five years of efforts to improve air quality, boost clean energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions, a senior official said on Wednesday. There was still a long way to go, said Zhao Yingmin, the vice-minister of ecology and environment, even though China had met a series of targets on smog, water quality and carbon emissions over the five years from 2016.


    China says environment still grim despite five years of progressChina's environment conditions are "grim", falling short of public expectations even after five years of efforts to improve air quality, boost clean energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions, a senior official said on Wednesday. There was still a long way to go, said Zhao Yingmin, the vice-minister of ecology and environment, even though China had met a series of targets on smog, water quality and carbon emissions over the five years from 2016.


     

  • China says environment still grim despite five years of progress      Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:30:05 -0400

    China says environment still grim despite five years of progressChina's environment conditions are "grim", falling short of public expectations even after five years of efforts to improve air quality, boost clean energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions, a senior official said on Wednesday. There was still a long way to go, said Zhao Yingmin, the vice-minister of ecology and environment, even though China had met a series of targets on smog, water quality and carbon emissions over the five years from 2016.


    China says environment still grim despite five years of progressChina's environment conditions are "grim", falling short of public expectations even after five years of efforts to improve air quality, boost clean energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions, a senior official said on Wednesday. There was still a long way to go, said Zhao Yingmin, the vice-minister of ecology and environment, even though China had met a series of targets on smog, water quality and carbon emissions over the five years from 2016.


     



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