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Consider the seeds of the world safe for now. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, often referred to as the “doomsday vault” in the Arctic, contains over 800,000 important crop seeds along with tree samples that would tide humanity over should a global natural or man-made disaster takes place. It’s located 400 feet under permafrost and designed to be strong enough...
A bag that was used by Neil Armstrong to collect rocks from the surface of the moon in 1969 will go up for public auction in New York on July 20. It is expected to fetch $4 million or more. The bag, which still contains traces of priceless moon dust, has been on a wild ride over the past half-century...
A KEY component to colonising Mars would be having babies in zero gravity and a high radiation environment. But it’s “a completely unknown area of science”. FREEZE-DRIED mouse sperm that spent nine months in space has been used to produce healthy rodent offspring back on Earth, Japanese researchers said this week. But could the same hold true for humans? And if...
Five NASA Earth-science missions are now on the chopping block. Four we already knew about; they were zeroed out in the White House's preliminary, or "skinny," 2018 budget request, which was unveiled in March. The fifth, called the Radiation Budget Instrument (RBI), was revealed yesterday (May 23) with the release of the Trump administration's fleshed-out 2018 request. RBI had been part...
On Friday, a slew of alarming headlines emerged regarding the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Water had apparently breached this “fail-safe” trove of the planet’s seeds that is supposed to protect earth’s food supply in the event of a “doomsday” scenario. The alleged failure of the vault, buried deep into an Arctic mountainside, had occurred after warmer than usual temperatures had...
It took three auctions before anyone bought the "lunar sample return bag" the U.S. Marshal's Office put up for sale, unaware that astronaut Neil Armstrong had used it to retrieve pieces of the moon during the historic Apollo 11 mission. At a 2014 auction, no one bit when the opening bid was set at $20,000. An amateur collector bought the...
The Trump administration's fiscal 2018 budget request includes $19.1 billion for NASA, a $561 million decrease over previously enacted levels that would reduce the number of Earth science missions, eliminate the agency's education office and do away with the Obama administration's plans to robotically retrieve a piece of an asteroid as a precursor to eventual flights to Mars. The budget...
Whales are the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been giants. Fossil records show that ancient whales were much smaller than the currently living behemoths. So when did whales get so big, and how? A new study suggests it might be due to changes in climate that affected the food that some whales eat: krill and small fish....
More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash. Turtles get tangled in fishing line, and hermit crabs make their homes in plastic containers. The high-tide line is demarcated by litter. Small scraps of...
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Clear skies and a setting sun provided a stunning backdrop as SpaceX launched an expendable Falcon 9 with the last of four Inmarsat-5 Global Xpress (GX) telecommunications satellites. The Falcon 9, in an increasingly-rare expendable configuration, lifted off at 7:21 p.m. EDT (23:20 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) and deposited the Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) around...