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First Japanese astronaut takes command of space station
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata assumed command of the International Space Station on Sunday, the first Japanese national to oversee a manned space mission. Wakata, 50, had been a space station flight engineer since he and two crewmates arrived on November 7. "I am humbled to assume the command of the space station," Wakata said during a change-of-command ceremony broadcast on NASA Television. Outgoing station commander Oleg Kotov, flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, both from Russia, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins are due to depart the orbital outpost on Monday.
Car coolant rejected by Daimler is safe, say EU scientists
EU scientists have found that the new car coolant at the centre of a dispute that has pitched regulators against Germany and its luxury carmaker Daimler does not pose any serious safety risks, the European Commission said on Friday. The Commission, the EU executive, has launched legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler's refusal to stop using an old-style coolant that has global warming potential more than 1,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The suggested substitute, which has roughly the same impact as carbon dioxide, is the R1234yf coolant developed by U.S. conglomerate Honeywell in partnership with Dupont.
Israeli scientists shoot for the moon with dishwasher-sized spacecraft
By Steven Scheer JERUSALEM (Reuters) - It's only the size of a dishwasher and weighs as much as giant panda, but its inventors are hoping this spacecraft will go where no other Israeli vessel has gone before - to the moon. Working on a shoestring budget, the Israeli scientists and engineers building the shuttle - temporarily named "Sparrow" - believe it will land on the moon by the end of 2015, a feat only the United States, Russia and China have managed so far. The landing will be the toughest task in the Sparrow's mission, not least because of the moon's many mountains and craters, said Yariv Bash, an electronic engineer and the founder of SpaceIL, the group building the spacecraft. The $20 million prize will go to the first team to land a spacecraft on the moon, make it jump 500 meters and transmit images and video back to earth.
Study pinpoints source of Mars meteorites
After traveling millions of years, some eventually landed on Earth, becoming the biggest of three main types of meteorites hailing from the Red Planet. Now researchers say they have pinpointed the source of those Martian meteorites classified as the "shergottites." The finding, if confirmed, would give scientists fresh insights into Mars' history and evolution. "If one were able to say, 'Oh, this Martian meteorite is from exactly this spot on Mars,' then that would have significant added value to what you could get out of it," said Carl Agee, meteorite curator and director of University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics. University of Oslo planetary scientist Stephanie Werner and colleagues say they have done just that.
As scientists watch, distant asteroid disintegrates
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Patsy Cline's classic country song "I Fall to Pieces," has nothing on this one. The rocky asteroid, named P/2013 R3, was one of the innumerable objects populating the crowded asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, roughly three times further away from the sun than Earth. This time, however, scientists first noticed the dramatic events using ground-based telescopes in Arizona and Hawaii and then got a better look using the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. "After looking at the asteroid belt for a couple of hundred years - the first one was discovered in 1801 - to find a new thing like this is really exciting," David Jewitt, a UCLA astronomer who led the research, said in a telephone interview.
New Ozone-Destroying Chemicals Discovered in Atmosphere
Four new man-made, ozone-destroying chemicals have been discovered in the upper atmosphere, and appear to be slowing the recovery of the ozone hole, according to a new report. The ozone hole over Antarctica has been gradually healing ever since an international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol began limiting the production of ozone-depleting chemicals in 1989. These chemicals, known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), were commonly used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosols until they were found to react with and break down ozone molecules in the Earth's protective ozone layer. The treaty was created to significantly cut CFC emissions and allow the ozone hole to completely close, potentially by 2050.
Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Lethal Acid Rain
The oceans soured into a deadly sulfuric-acid stew after the huge asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, a new study suggests. Scientists blame this mass extinction on the asteroid or comet impact that created the Chicxulub crater in the Gulf of Mexico. A new model of the disaster finds that the impact would have inundated Earth's atmosphere with sulfur trioxide, from sulfate-rich marine rocks called anhydrite vaporized by the blast. Once in the air, the sulfur would have rapidly transformed into sulfuric acid, generating massive amounts of acid rain within a few days of the impact, according to the study, published today (March 9) in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The First US City Was Full of Immigrants
A sprawling city in the heartland of the United States was a cultural melting pot hundreds of years before Europeans ever set foot in North America. "All of a sudden, there's a giant rise in the size of the site," said study researcher Philip Slater, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois. Countryside settlements were abandoned in favor of Cahokia's precincts along the Mississippi River. By A.D. 1100, as many as 20,000 people were living in an area covering 5.5 square miles (14.5 square kilometers), said Thomas Emerson, the director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey.
Live Webcast Helps Track Large Newfound Asteroid Tonight: How to Watch
An asteroid at least the size of a 60-story building will make a distant flyby of Earth this week, and you watch astronomers track the space rock tonight (March 9) in a live webcast, weather permitting. The online Slooh community observatory will host the free webcast at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT) to track asteroid 2014 CU13, a space rock about 623 feet (190 meters) wide discovered on Feb. 11 that will pass Earth at a range of about eight times the distance between Earth and the moon on Tuesday (March 11). You can watch the asteroid webcast live on the Slooh website, with streaming views from Slooh's remotely operated telescope in the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa. "Slooh is featuring 2014 CU13 in a live broadcast from its flagship observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands on Sunday, March 9th ? in order to call attention to this asteroid so that amateur astronomers will help further pinpoint its orbit," Slooh officials said in a statement.
'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey' Reboots Carl Sagan's Landmark TV Series on Fox ...
Come with me." With those words in 1980 the astronomer Carl Sagan launched "Cosmos," an epic 13-part TV series that brought science to the public like never before, and opened up all of space and time to exploration. A generation later, Sagan's legacy lives again in "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," a 21st-century reboot premiering on Fox tonight (March 9). The new "Cosmos" (the original was billed as "A Personal Journey") updates its predecessor with a blend of spectacular visual effects and the latest astronomical discoveries. "He'd be thrilled that this new 'Cosmos' is going to be the largest rollout of a television series in planetary history," said series executive producer Ann Druyan, a co-writer on both Cosmos series and the widow of Carl Sagan, who died in 1996.
Carl Sagan's Legacy: Scientists, Fans Share Memories of Famed Astronomer
For years, Carl Sagan brought science into homes around the United States with his TV shows and books. Some of the most famous scientists working today had life-changing experiences with Sagan, and other people who never met him still felt his influence from the media he created. Scientists and other people who were touched by Carl Sagan's life and work shared some memories of the famous scientist: "I was just a 17-year-old kid from the Bronx with dreams of becoming a scientist, and somehow, the world's most famous astronomer found time to invite me to Ithaca in upstate New York and spend a Saturday with him," Tyson said during the first episode of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," a reboot of Sagan's "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." "I remember that snowy day like it was yesterday." [See Carl Sagan's legacy in photos]
Artful Science Logos Honor Greatest Astronomers and Physicists of All Time (I...
From the ancient Egyptian astronomer Hypatia to modern-day astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, physicists throughout history are getting the artist's treatment in a new set of illustrations honoring the thinkers' contributions to science. Dr. Prateek Lala, a physician based in Canada, has recently crafted playful images using the names of famous scientists to show, in logo form, what they gave to theoretical physics. Called "science typographies" or "logotypes," some of the more striking images include Isaac Newton's apple and Edwin Hubble with the Hubble Space Telescope that eventually flew his name into space. Lala started making his images in 2013 after speaking with a friend about the ways in which people learn, and how to get everyone interested in scientific research.
'Cosmos' Reborn: New Fox TV Show Aims to Bring Science to Everyone
"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," is a relaunch of Carl Sagan's classic "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." The new Cosmos series premieres Sunday (March 9), and the creators of the show, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, hope that it will reach a wide audience like the Sagan's "Cosmos" did during its run in 1980. "We wanted to reach everyone because we believed that this knowledge is a birthright," Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow and a co-writer of the new show, said of the first "Cosmos" series during a webcast here at the Hayden Planetarium Tuesday (March 4). "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" uses animation and virtual effects ? including a unique spaceship which Tyson travels on ? to create an immersive TV experience.
The dawning of the age of genomic medicine, finally
By Julie Steenhuysen LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) - When President Bill Clinton announced in 2000 that Craig Venter and Dr. Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Institute had succeeded in mapping the human genome, he solemnly declared that the discovery would "revolutionize" the treatment of virtually all human disease. The expectation was that this single reference map of the 3 billion base pairs of DNA -- the human genetic code -- would quickly unlock the secrets of Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer and other scourges of human health. As it turns out, Clinton's forecast was not unlike President George Bush's "mission accomplished" speech in the early days of the Iraq war, said Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Translational Science Institute, which is running a meeting On the Future of Genomic Medicine here March 6-7.
It's 3 a.m., Is that a Parasitic Worm in Your Cheek? (Op-Ed)
Jonathan Allen is a professor in the Department of Biology at the College of William & Mary. His teaching, as well as his research, is directed at marine invertebrates and he participates in the William & Mary Marine Science minor. I am a scientist, and therefore not the kind of person who goes down the rabbit-hole looking to self-diagnose a rare disease, but there I was, night-surfing internet health sites trying to figure out what was behind the strange rough spot in my mouth. I began to wonder if some kind of parasite might explain the wandering rough patch in my mouth.
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