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Science News - The Oregon Herald

Kepler-452b: What It Would Be Like to Live On Earth's 'Cousin'

Monday July 27, 2015    5:07 AM

A group of pioneers magically transported to the surface of â?? which is the closest thing to an "Earth twin" yet discovered, researchers announced yesterday (July 23) â?? would instantly realize they weren't on their home planet anymore. (And magic, or some sort of warp drive, must be invoked for such a journey, since Kepler-452b lies 1,400 light-years away.) Kepler-452 is 60 percent wider than Earth and probably about five time ... Full Story

US Air Force Launches Advanced Military Communications Satellite

Saturday July 25, 2015    2:31 PM

The U.S. Air Force launched an advanced military communications satellite late Thursday (July 24), lighting up the evening sky as it became the latest addition to a growing milsat constellation supporting American military forces from orbit. The $445 million 7 (WGS-7) satellite blasted off f ... Full Story

Velociraptor's Cousin Flaunted Fabulous Feathers, Tiny Arms

Thursday July 16, 2015    7:25 AM

The exquisitely preserved 125-million-year-old fossil shows that the roughly 5-foot-long (1.5 meters) dinosaur had clawed toes and fingers, sharp teeth, short arms and stunning plumage (unlike the scaly of "Jurassic World"), the researchers said. But it's unlikely the 45-pound (20 ... Full Story

Tiny Pluto sports big mountains, New Horizons finds

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:04 PM

LAUREL, Md. (Reuters) - The first close-up views of Pluto show mountains made of ice and a surprisingly young, crater-free surface, scientists with NASA's New Horizons mission said on Wednesday. The results are the first since the piano-sized spacecraft capped a 3 ... Full Story

Justified Evil: How Wrongdoers Excuse Amoral Acts

Wednesday July 15, 2015    12:24 PM

There are, of course, people without conscience in the world. The American Psychiatric Association, in its DSM-IV-TR, estimated that 3 percent of males and 1 percent of females in the general population are psychopaths. Tellingly, those individuals make up an estimated 25 percent of the prison pop ... Full Story

Human Hands Are Primitive, New Study Finds

Wednesday July 15, 2015    9:35 AM

These results suggest that since the overall hand proportions of humans are largely primitive, when the first members of the human lineage started to use and produce complex stone tools in a systematic way, "their hands were already pretty much like ours today," said study lead ... Full Story

Surprise! Infrared Camera Reveals Black Leopard's Hidden Spots

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:48 AM

The black leopards of the Malaysian Peninsula may look like they have uniform dark coats, but hidden cameras with infrared light have revealed a surprise: The black cats sport the characteristic leopard spots within their dark-hued coats. The new insight has allowed conservationists to reliably i ... Full Story

Amazing Pluto Flyby Images to Be Unveiled Today

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:41 AM

Early this morning, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will beam home the first haul of photos and other data it collected during Tuesday morning's (July 14) historic Pluto flyby. The space agency plans to unveil some of the best images during a news conference today at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT ... Full Story

Pluto, Big Moon Charon Blaze in New Technicolor Images

Tuesday July 14, 2015    5:25 PM

The surfaces of  don't actually look like the inside of a kaleidoscope; if you saw them with your naked eye, they'd appear much more monochromatic. But the new false-color images reveal the identity of various chemicals across the surfaces of the two bodies, and can help scientists uncov ... Full Story

U.S. spacecraft sails by Pluto, capping 9-year journey

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:38 PM

LAUREL, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. spacecraft sailed past the tiny planet Pluto in the most distant reaches of the solar system on Tuesday, capping a journey of 3 billion miles (4.88 billion km) that began nine and a half years ago. NASAâ??s New Horizons spacecraft pas ... Full Story

Science Meets Superstition as Nervous Pluto Team Waits

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:32 PM

zoomed within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto at 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT) today, hopefully collecting the first up-close images and other data about the dwarf planet system. But the spacecraft's handlers won't know how things went until they get a status update from the probe, a ... Full Story

All Aboard! Slug Poop Carries Worms to Destinations

Tuesday July 14, 2015    5:21 AM

Tiny nematode worms have an unusual way of getting from point A to point B: They travel on the slug poop express. Nematodes are worms that eat the bacteria growing on rotting vegetation. By definition, these smorgasbords are short-lived. Researchers wondered how such tiny creatures â?? measu ... Full Story

Pluto Flyby Occurs 50 Years After 1st Mars Encounter

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:30 AM

On July 14, 1965, NASA's  flew by the Red Planet, becoming the first spacecraft ever to capture up-close looks at another planet. (NASA's Mariner 2 spacecraft gathered data but no images when it zoomed past Venus in December 1962.)  "You couldn't have written a script that was b ... Full Story

Lifting the Veil on Pluto's Atmosphere

Monday July 13, 2015    1:14 PM

You might guess that a small and distant world almost 40 times farther from the sun than the Earth is from the sun would not have an atmosphere, but in the case of Pluto, you'd be wrong. In fact, , particularly when it comes to weather patterns. Gusty winds, clouds, haze, micro snowflakes and ... Full Story

Supersonic Jet Could Fly People from NYC to London in 3 Hours

Monday July 13, 2015    10:25 AM

A new luxury jet could get you (and 17 of your closest friends) from New York to London in just 3 hours. Spike Aerospace's S-512 Supersonic Jet was introduced in 2013, but the Boston-based company recently announced a few exciting updates to the plane's design that could make it safer for jetsetters. And the updated design could a ... Full Story

Mighty Mammoths Fell Prey to Rapidly Warming Earth

Saturday July 25, 2015    2:31 PM

During the unstable climate of the Late Pleistocene, about 60,000 to 12,000 years ago, abrupt climate spikes, called interstadials, increased temperatures between 7 and 29 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 16 degrees Celsius) in a matter of decades. Large animals likely found it difficult to survive in these hot conditions, possibly because of the effects it had on their habitats and prey, the researchers said. Interstadials "are known to have caused dramatic shifts in global rainfall and vegetation patterns," the study's first auth ... Full Story

New Photos of Pluto and Moon Surprise, Puzzle Scientists

Thursday July 16, 2015    10:14 AM

The , which were captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft during its historic flyby on Tuesday (July 14), show that both the dwarf planet and Charon have been geologically active in the recent past. Pluto harbors giant ice mountains, for example, while miles-deep chasms score Charon' ... Full Story

Wild Milky Way Map Reveals Hidden Loops of Multicolored Microwaves

Thursday July 16, 2015    7:23 AM

Currents of bold color swirling in the image above look like an impressionist's painting, but are actually a map of microwaves emanating from the Milky Way galaxy. This vivid snapshot captures light radiating outward as charged particles . The low-energy light waves also reveal the ... Full Story

New Pluto Photos Contain Multitude of Mysteries

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:02 PM

New Horizons made its at 7:49 a.m. (1149 GMT) Tuesday morning (July 14), but it took almost 24 hours for scientists to get a sneak peek at the treasure trove of data that the probe picked up. It will take 16 months for the spacecraft to beam home the entire volume of information it collected during its historic Pluto encounter. At a media briefing held today (July 15), leaders of the New Horizons team discussed some of the new images taken during and around closest approach. Among other amazing revelations, the new photos showed that Pluto's surface is surprisingly young and is studded with big, icy mountains; and that Charon has been geologically active recently and possesses canyons up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep. [] ... Full Story

Huge Brain Scan Database is Revealing Secrets of the Mind

Wednesday July 15, 2015    12:22 PM

Researchers are using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans to watch how blood flows through active areas of the brain in real time. The scans can be used to produce "maps" of activity during a brain's thought processes, with the maps changing based on what a person is ... Full Story

Elusive New Pentaquark Particle Discovered After 50-Year Hunt

Wednesday July 15, 2015    9:33 AM

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider, the , have found proof of the existence of the pentaquark, an elusive subatomic particle that was first proposed to exist more than 50 years ago. "The pentaquark is not just any new particle," Guy Wilkinson, a spokesperson for the LHC experiment ... Full Story

It's Raining Spiders! Weirdest Effects of California Drought

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:46 AM

The Golden State is in the midst of its driest period on record. But all that warm, dry weather affects more than just lake levels and â?? it has some downright weird effects, too. From pipe-eating poop to more roadkill, here are some of the strangest results of the . 1. Pipe-eating poop A ... Full Story

Pluto Flyby Success! NASA Probe Phones Home After Epic Encounter

Tuesday July 14, 2015    8:14 PM

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent a status update home to its handlers here on Earth, indicating that the probe survived its this morning (July 14) â?? and that reams of amazing data should be on the way soon. The message came in to mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Appli ... Full Story

Festive Pluto Flyby Brings Cheers, Tears, Kids and (Maybe) Some Drama

Tuesday July 14, 2015    5:23 PM

When the New Horizons spacecraft made its (July 14) after more than nine years in transit, the moment came with the obligatory NASA countdown. Alan Stern, the principal investigator for the mission, led a crowd of nearly 1,200 people in a countdown to 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT) â?? the time of clo ... Full Story

Pluto Flyby May Reveal Secrets of Saturn's Moon Titan

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:36 PM

With its nitrogen and methane atmosphere, Pluto bears a strong resemblance to Titan â?? one of the most in the solar system â?? or at least how Titan may have been in the past. "New Horizons will help us confirm our photochemical understanding [of] Pluto. Since the photochemistry is similar ... Full Story

U.S. spacecraft flies by Pluto after nine-year, 3 billon mile trip

Tuesday July 14, 2015    8:15 AM

LAUREL, Md. (Reuters) - More than nine years after its launch, a U.S. spacecraft sailed past Pluto on Tuesday, capping a 3 billion mile (4.88 billion km) journey to the solar systemâ??s farthest reaches, NASA said. The craft flew by the distant "dwarf" planet at ... Full Story

Australian tracking station to get first new images of Pluto

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:34 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A space tracking station surrounded by cows in an Australian valley will on Tuesday become the first place in the world to get close-up images of Pluto, the most distant planetary body ever explored. After nine-and-half years of traveling 5.3 ... Full Story

Watch the Pluto Flyby: How to See NASA Make History Online

Monday July 13, 2015    4:03 PM

At 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT) on Tuesday, NASA's in what is arguably the planetary event of the year, if not the decade. For the first time since NASA's Voyager mission in 1989, a spacecraft will fly by an unexplored planet. "It sounds like it's science fiction, but it's not ... Full Story

NASA’s New Horizons probe finds Pluto is bigger than predicted

Monday July 13, 2015    1:11 PM

LAUREL, Md. (Reuters) - Mysterious Pluto looms large and turns out to be larger than expected as NASAâ??s New Horizons spacecraft wraps up a nearly decade-long journey, with a close flyby on track for Tuesday, scientists said on Monday. The nuclear-powered probe was in pos ... Full Story

Why Do People Love Pluto?

Monday July 13, 2015    10:22 AM

When Pluto's official status in the solar system was changed from "planet" to "dwarf planet," the public outcry was overwhelming. Neil deGrasse Tyson who disagreed with the decision ... Full Story

Ancient Volcano Tattooed the Earth with Giant Rings

Saturday July 25, 2015    2:31 PM

The circular Pilanesberg caldera is located in the South African province known as North West, in Pilanesberg National Park. The , or cauldron-shaped crater, features different rings of rock that make up a near perfect circle, with structures that rise about 330 to 1,640 feet (100 to 500 meters) above the surrounding landscape. The tallest point, Matlhorwe Peak, soars 5,118 feet (1,560 m) above sea level. Several streams typically flow throu ... Full Story

Too Much Sitting Linked to Women's Cancer Risk

Thursday July 16, 2015    10:12 AM

Women in the study who sat more than 6 hours a day were at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and the blood cancer multiple myeloma compared with women who sat less than 3 hours a day. In addition to raising women's risk of these specific cancers, the study also showed that "Long ... Full Story

Big Daddy of Primates: Lemur Has Giant Testes

Thursday July 16, 2015    7:20 AM

If the northern giant mouse lemur were the size of a human, its testes would be as big as grapefruits, said Christoph Schwitzer, the director of conservation at the Bristol Zoological Society in the U.K. The lemur (Mirza zaza) was first named by science in 2005, and researchers knew nothing ab ... Full Story

Scientists use "therapeutic cloning" to fix mitochondrial genes

Wednesday July 15, 2015    12:26 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. researchers have used a controversial cloning technique to make new, healthy, perfectly matched stem cells from the skin of patients with mitochondrial diseases in a first step toward treatment for these incurable, life-threatening conditions. A st ... Full Story

'Chasing Pluto': PBS Documentary on Epic New Horizons Flyby Airs Tonight

Wednesday July 15, 2015    9:39 AM

Anyone wishing to relive the excitement of the New Horizons spacecraft's epic Tuesday (July 14) flyby of Pluto is in luck: A documentary that chronicles the historic event premieres tonight (July 15) on PBS. "Chasing Pluto," a production of PBS' NOVA science series, airs tonight ... Full Story

Oldest Animal Sperm Lasted 50 Million Years in Antarctica

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:50 AM

The researchers found the sperm fragments embedded within the walls of a fossilized cocoon. The scientists said they suspect that an ancient relative of worms or leeches likely created the cocoon while mating, and released its sperm inside. The sperm became trapped in the cocoon before the enclos ... Full Story

Solar-powered plane grounded nine months in Hawaii by battery damage

Wednesday July 15, 2015    6:44 AM

(Reuters) - A solar-powered plane halfway through an attempt to circle the globe will be grounded in Hawaii for at least nine months because of battery damage sustained during its record 118-hour flight to Oahu from Japan, the project team said on Wednesday. The spindl ... Full Story

Pluto probe survives encounter, phones home

Tuesday July 14, 2015    8:12 PM

LAUREL, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. spacecraft sailed past the tiny planet Pluto in the distant reaches of the solar system on Tuesday, capping a journey of 3 billion miles (4.88 billion km) that began nine and a half years ago. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft passed by ... Full Story

U.S. spacecraft sails by Pluto, capping nine-year journey

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:40 PM

LAUREL, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. spacecraft sailed past the tiny planet Pluto in the most distant reaches of the solar system on Tuesday, capping a journey of 3 billion miles (4.88 billion km) that began nine and a half years ago. NASAâ??s New Horizons spacecraft pas ... Full Story

Pluto Flyby Road Trip: My Path to New Horizons

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:34 PM

I'll be covering the Pluto flyby for Space.com from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland - home to New Horizons' mission operations center - and try to share the experience via social media. I hope you'll join us to witness humanity's first clo ... Full Story

Painter with Parkinson's Switches Hands, Mystifying Doctors

Tuesday July 14, 2015    8:12 AM

Doctors diagnosed Juan Mallol Pibernat, a Spanish artist, with Parkinson's disease when he was in his early 70s. The illness causes the loss of brain cells in an area that controls muscle movement, and symptoms can include tremors, impaired balance and coordination, and limb stiffness, acc ... Full Story

Google Doodle Celebrates Pluto Flyby by NASA's New Horizons

Tuesday July 14, 2015    2:32 AM

LAUREL, Md. -- Today, July 14, 2015,  NASA will make history when its New Horizons spacecraft becomes the first mission ever to fly by Pluto, and the folks at Google are celebrating with an appropriately celebratory Google doodle.  The animated Google doodle shows the  as New Horizons w ... Full Story

Will LSST Solve the Mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy? (Kavli Hangout)

Monday July 13, 2015    1:16 PM

During a traditional Chilean stone-laying ceremony, the first building block of a powerful new astronomical observatory, the , was placed in the ground on Cerro Pachón in Chile April 14. Although LSST will not see first light until 2022, the astronomical community is already abuzz about how thi ... Full Story

Volvo's Scary-Looking Front Car Seat Is Probably Safe

Monday July 13, 2015    10:27 AM

The is fixed on a platform in Volvo's XC90, and the arrangement allows a person sitting in the backseat to look at and entertain a strapped-in youngster sitting in the front. This conceptual configuration could be safe in this particular car, as the front air bag would be switched of ... Full Story

Rare Harpy Eagle Chick Captured in New Pics

Monday July 13, 2015    7:31 AM

One of the eagles is a mama bird, while the other is an adorable eagle chick. Because the giant bird of prey lives in the darkest portions of the rainforest and hunts its quarry in dead silence, many Peruvian Amazon birders can go their entire lives without seeing one, said nature photographer ... Full Story