Monday, August 17, 2015

India's Mars orbiter sends stunning canyon photo

The Ophir Chasma as photographed by Mangalyaan's colour camera. ISRO
Just in time for India's Independence Day, the country's very first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission, has sent back some beautiful images of the Red Planet's surface.
The Indian Space Research Organisation mission, also known as Mangalyaan, which means "Mars-craft" in Sanskrit, was launched in early November 2013 on a shoestring budget compared to other space missions. All up, it's estimated that it cost about $74 million, compared to NASA's $671 million Maven Mars orbiter mission, which launched at around the same time.
Mangalyaan has been something of a success story for the ISRO. It was the country's first attempt at an interplanetary mission, and an ambitious one at that. Mars serves as the next major milestone in space exploration, and India is the first country to succeed in reaching the planet's orbit in its first attempt. More than half of all attempts to reach Mars fail and India not only got it right on its first attempt, it did so at record cost.

Our Solar System May Have Had A Fifth 'Giant' Planet

The missing planet bumped into Neptune before disappearing into the abyss of space, according to a new study.

The four gas giant planets in our solar system -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune -- may have a long-lost relative. According to a new study, our system was once home to a fifth gas giant that suddenly vanished some 4 billion years ago after a run-in with Neptune.
Indirect evidence for this lost world is seen in a strange cluster of icy objects -- called the "kernel" -- in the Kuiper Belt. That's the vast region of primordial debris that encircles the sun beyond the orbit of Neptune.
"The Kuiper Belt is a perfect clue to understanding how the solar system evolved since its formation," study author Dr. David Nesvorny, an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., told New Scientist.
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Electric Rainbow!

A real-estate agent and storm chaser captured a snapshot of a lifetime on Aug. 9, when he photographed a rare duo — an eerie flash of lightning framed by a glorious rainbow — in Tucson, Arizona.
The electrifying image took social media by storm: As of Aug. 14, Greg McCown's photo had garnered more than 1,000 Facebook likes and more than 3,600 retweets.
There's a reason why it went viral: Those types of sightings are incredibly rare. Although 100 lighting bolts strike the Earth every second, the chances of them flashing near a rainbow are slim, said Randall Cerveny, a professor of meteorology at Arizona State University in Tempe.
"Usually, you don't get those two things to line up at the same time," Cerveny said, adding that a desert area like Tucson is more likely to serve up conditions for such a sighting
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The 'End of the high seas', or we watch the seas die

Even optimistic estimates for what might be achieved at December's Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris will not be enough to save the world's coral reefs, according to a Plenary session analysis presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Prague.
Speaking to the world's major gathering of geochemists, Professor Peter F Sale (University of Windsor, Canada) spelled out the stark choice facing climate scientists in the run-up to the Paris conference. The stated aim for the COP21 climate conference is to limit a temperature increase to less than +2C by the end of the century

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

It was a very interesting week for physics as experiments at the LHC showed that a particle known as the "beauty quark" behaved as has been predicted by the Standard Model and thus represented a new blow for the "supersymmetry" physics theory

New data from ultra high-speed proton collisions at Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) showed an exotic particle dubbed the "beauty quark" behaves as predicted by the Standard Model, said a paper in the journal Nature Physics

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Why three curries a week could lower risk of death

Curry really could be the spice of life after scientists discovered that eating hot food regularly can lower the risk of dying prematurely.
A study of nearly 500,000 Chinese people over seven years found that those who ate spicy food three times a week cut their risk of dying by 14 per cent compared with people who abstained.
Although researchers at Harvard University say they cannot definitively say that hot food has a protective effect, they say it paves the way for more research which could lead to new dietary recommendations.
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Nasa satellite captures rare image of far side of moon

Nasa's Deep Space Observatory has released unusual images of what is commonly referred to as the dark side of the moon.
The far side of the moon is never visible from Earth and these pictures show the moon as it passes over a sunlit Earth.
One Nasa scientist said it was surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon.

A Global Experiment

Thousands of students all over the world are expected to take part in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) 2015 global experiment. This year the theme is “Water: a global experiment with hydrogels.”
Students taking part are invited to explore the effects that hydrogels (a man-made product) have on the water cycle before sharing their results with other classes across the globe. Not only are all the activities engaging, they also support learning and curriculum. So why not get involved?

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