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D-brief

The Milky Way Cannibalized a Neighboring Galaxy

By Korey Haynes | July 22, 2019 2:00 pm

By pinpointing the ages and origins of stars in the Milky Way, astronomers can trace its history. (Credit: Koppelman, Villalobos and Helmi/NASA/ESA/Hubble)

Ten billion years ago, the Milky Way encountered another galaxy in the vast emptiness of space, and consumed it. Dubbed Gaia-Enceladus by astronomers, this stranger was roughly a quarter the Milky Way’s size, and it forever changed the makeup and shape of our home galaxy.

Scientists have had evidence for a while that the Milky Way s …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: galaxies

D-brief

India’s Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Launches for the Moon

By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | July 22, 2019 1:00 pm

a’s GSLV MkIII-M1 rocket on the launch platform before the launch in India. (Credit: ISRO)

The Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, launched successfully into Earth orbit on July 22 after a week long delay. The mission ultimately aims to place a lander and a rover on the lunar surface later this fall.

At about 5:18 a.m. EDT, India’s GSLV MkIII-M1 rocket lifted off from the launch platform at the nation’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre. About  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Neuroskeptic

An Electric "Humm" To Make You Smarter?

By Neuroskeptic | July 21, 2019 9:31 am

This week I came across a brain stimulation device called Humm that promises to improve your cognitive function and memory if you stick it to your forehead.

The Humm device. Image adapted from https://thinkhumm.com/preorder

There are several broadly similar devices on the market, which make use of the principle of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) – passing a current through the head (the front of the head, generally) in order to modulate brain activity.

In the case o …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: select, Top Posts, Uncategorized

Vintage Space

Apollo's Legacy is Keeping Us Grounded

By Amy Shira Teitel | July 20, 2019 11:09 am

Buzz Aldrin’s famous footprint. NASA.

Apollo was amazing. Footage moonwalking astronauts and breathtaking images of the Earth from space remain a source of inspiration, and on a personal level have been the driver behind my entire academic and professional career. Apollo’s legacy, on the other hand, has crippled our progress in space. In short, I think Apollo sort of ruined spaceflight.

In the Very Beginning…

On July 29, 1955, White House Press Secretary James C. Hagerty addres …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

D-brief

Elon Musk Confirms SpaceX's Starhopper Survived Recent Fireball

By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | July 19, 2019 3:29 pm

An artist rendition of Starship on a future flight in space. (Credit: SpaceX)

In a series of Twitter responses, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed Starhopper, the prototype for the company’s next generation of spacecraft, survived what appeared to be an explosion during a recent test.

On Tuesday, July 16, Starhopper had undergone a “static fire test” to check recently added Raptor engines on a testing pad in Boca Chica, Texas. But about five seconds after the test, a fireball surrounded …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: spacecraft

The Crux

Why Do Mosquitos Love Biting Some People More Than Others?

By Cody Cottier | July 19, 2019 1:31 pm

Mosquitos are an annoyance to all — but some people seem to attract them far more than others. (Credit: mycteria/Shutterstock)

As I slept unaware beneath the stars one night in early July, what I can only assume to be a legion of mosquitoes declared war against my forehead. 

I’ve been a mosquito magnet as long as I can remember, so I should have foreseen the itchy misery they would deliver upon my face. I offered them an exposed patch of flesh, they took it. Eight times. But my t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals

ImaGeo

NASA: Last month was the warmest June on record. Will July turn out to be the warmest month ever observed?

By Tom Yulsman | July 19, 2019 11:21 am

Satellite image of a wildfire blazing in in the Qeqqata Kommunia of western Greenland. The image consists of data acquired by a Sentinel satellite on July 14th, 2019 in the infrared and visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. (Source: Copernicus Sentinel Data processed by Pierre Markuse)

Last month has gone into the books as the warmest June on record, beating out 2016 by a comfortable margin, according to the latest global analysis by NASA.

Now, more than half way through July, co …

D-brief

This AI Solves The Rubik’s Cube Way Better Than You

By Roni Dengler | July 19, 2019 10:00 am

(Credit: rcherem/shutterstock)

In 1974, an architecture professor named Erno Rubik built a movable piece of art to help his students understand three-dimensional problems. Though his own creation took him more than a month to solve, it soon became an iconic puzzle game, the Rubik’s cube.

The goal of the game is to re-arrange the faces of a cube decorated with 54 multi-colored squares so that each face shows a solid block of color. There are 43 quintillion potential ways to arrange the …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

D-brief

How a Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants' Jaws to Deliver a Death Bite

By Jennifer Walter | July 18, 2019 4:31 pm

An ant infected by a cordyceps fungus with a stroma emerging from the back of its head. (Credit: David P. Hughes, Maj-Britt Pontoppidan/Wikimedia Commons)

Forget The Walking Dead – there’s a real zombie outbreak happening right now — though it’s more like the crawling dead.

Ants, moths, grasshoppers, wasps and hundreds of other species of insects regularly fall victim to a deadly parasite that hijacks their bodies and brains, causing strange behaviors and eventually leading them …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
MORE ABOUT: animals

D-brief

The Truth is Out There: Using VERITAS to Search for E.T.

By Korey Haynes | July 18, 2019 4:00 pm

The four VERITAS telescopes in Arizona will soon be used to hunt for alien communications. (Credit: The VERITAS collaboration)

Traditionally, the hunt for intelligent life in the universe has focused on radio signals from far off worlds. But scientists are turning to more varied types of signals, acknowledging that we have very little idea how a truly alien life-form might choose to communicate, either with themselves or us.

With that in mind, Breakthrough Listen, a program searching for …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
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