A big impact on Mars 3 million years ago may have been the source of most of the Martian rocks that have landed here on Earth, scientists claim in a new study. The findings, if correct, mean the surface of Mars is 200 million years older than previously thought.
There are about 150 Martian rock specimens in the hands of scientists today. A specific subset of these rocks, called shergottites, have sparked debate amongst meteorite experts over their age.
Most research concludes shergottites are 150 to 600 million years old, but other estimates based on lead isotopes put the rocks at 4.1 billion years old. A research team from the University of Oslo in Norway have taken a new approach, by factoring in the meteorites’ source. Their answer, an age of 4.3 billion years old, would make the rocks the oldest known material from Mars—but the results have been met with skepticism from other scientists.
A baby born with HIV in Mississippi three years ago made headlines last year when she was “functionally cured” of the virus, after receiving treatment immediately after birth. Now, the Mississippi baby has company.
At an AIDS conference in Boston, doctors announced Wednesday that a second baby, now 9 months old, from Long Beach, Calif., was cleared of HIV after receiving the same aggressive form of treatment just four hours after birth.
The most recent announcement helps allay the initial skepticism that surrounded the Mississippi baby’s success story. In fact, the New York Times reports, there may be eight more similar cases in Canada and South Africa.
Scientific study often opens new doors of discovery—but sometimes it reopens doors closed long ago. On Tuesday, experimental psychiatrists in Santa Cruz, California published results from the first controlled medical trial of LSD in over 40 years.
The study, published in Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease [pdf], found evidence that LSD, when administered in a medically-based therapeutic environment, lowers the anxiety experienced by individuals facing life-threatening illnesses. Although the sample size—just 12 people—was small, the findings offer compelling rationale for further study of the illegal, often stigmatized drug.
“This study is historic and marks a rebirth of investigation into LSD-assisted psychotherapy,” said Rick Doblin in a news release, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which sponsored the study. “The positive results and evidence of safety clearly show why additional, larger studies are needed.”
Update 3/6/14 11:51am ET: The online Slooh observatory was able to capture asteroid 2014 DX110 on close approach from the Canary Islands, and they’ve released this short time-lapse video in the negative. The asteroid is the small line in the center of the video.
Update 3/5/14: Asteroid 2014 DX110 has passed Earth, but you can see a replay of the webcast below.
On Wednesday, an 82-foot asteroid barreling through space at 33,000 miles per hour will pass Earth within the moon’s orbit, or about 216,000 miles. Astronomers say there’s no chance it will hit us, but you could catch on live video the galactic flyby via webcast. You can sit back and watch the asteroid buzz by Earth in the video above starting at 4 p.m. ET.
The asteroid, known as 2014 DX110, belongs to the Apollo class of asteroids and is comparable to the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia last year, causing major damage to property and injuring some 1,500 people. Astronomers first spotted DX110 on Feb. 28, and they expect it will make another trip past Earth in March 2046. Slooh.com, which connects land-based telescopes to the Internet, will attempt to catch DX110 as it zooms past Earth in a webcast beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
An additional webcast from the Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 in Italy will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET.
After tiny loggerhead turtles hatch from eggs buried on Florida beaches, they scramble frantically out to sea. Once in the open water, we see neither hide nor hair of these endangered turtles until they show up as teenagers on the other side of the Atlantic. But a new study, the first to track newborn turtles during these “lost years,” has finally found out what happens.
The mystery of sea turtles’ “lost years” had long stumped marine biologists, including study author Jeanette Wyneken of Florida Atlantic University, who described the lack of existing data in a press release:
“From the time they leave our shores, we don’t hear anything about them until they are found near the Canary Islands. Those waters are a bit like nursery school for them, as they stay for about four to eight years. There’s a whole lot that happens crossing the Atlantic that we knew nothing about.”
Early yesterday morning this was the predawn sight in northern Alaska: a NASA rocket launching straight into an aurora. And the feeling on the ground was one of relief. With luck, the mission will tell researchers more about the particles and electric fields that combine to produce one of nature’s most spectacular sights.
The rocket is part of the Ground-to-Rocket Electrodynamics–Electron Correlative Experiment, or GREECE, mission. The mission seeks to understand what combination of events set up “auroral curls” – swirling structures within aurorae.
The rocket – launched on March 3, 2014 at 6:09 a.m. EST from Poker Flat, Alaska – is a so-called sounding rocket. Sounding rockets are useful for low-cost missions, NASA explains:
Sounding rockets carry scientific instruments into space along a parabolic trajectory. Their overall time in space is brief, typically 5-20 minutes, and at lower vehicle speeds for a well-placed scientific experiment. The short time and low vehicle speeds are more than adequate (in some cases they are ideal) to carry out a successful scientific experiments. Furthermore, there are some important regions of space that are too low for satellites and thus sounding rockets provide the only platforms that can carry out measurements in these regions.
Scientists in France have awoken a gigantic, ancient virus from its 30,000-year-long slumber in Siberian permafrost — and found that it’s ready to infect again.
There’s no need to scour eBay for a HAZMAT suit: the virus, dubbed Pithovirus sibericum, only infects single-celled amoebas. However, the discovery has scientists wondering what other microbes are hidden in melting permafrost awaiting another chance to infect.
Fans of exoplanets have had an exciting few days. First the long-awaited Kepler results were announced, confirming over 700 new worlds outside our solar system. Exciting! That was tempered just a day later, however, by the news that many of the “super earths” astronomers have discovered over the years — worlds larger than Earth, but smaller than Neptune — may in fact be inhospitable, even within their stars’ habitable zones.
But the latest exoplanet news buoys hopes of off-Earth habitability: a new study indicates that potentially habitable exoplanets are much more common that we’d thought.
It’s common knowledge that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, but young people are still choosing to light up more than any other demographic in the United States. Researchers now have evidence that a specific part of the brain varies between smokers and nonsmokers. The researchers say it could be that smoking is causing these changes, even in teenagers who have smoked for a relatively short period of time.
Prior research has shown brain differences between adult smokers and nonsmokers, but few studies focused on the youngest demographic of smokers whose brains are still undergoing development. The new findings indicate that a small part of a brain region called the insula is thinner in young people who smoke. Read More
When it comes to developmental disorders of the brain, men and women are not created equal.
Decades of research have shown that males are at far greater risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than females. Boys, on average, are five times more likely to have autism than girls . What causes this disparity has largely remained unknown.
Now scientists have uncovered compelling genetic evidence to explain why the biological scales aren’t balanced.