Now Playing
97.1 The River
Last Song Played
Classic Hits
On Air
No Program
Now Playing
97.1 The River
Last Song Played
Classic Hits

science

200 items
Results 1 - 10 of 200 next >

NASA to explore valuable, metal space rock worth $10,000 quadrillion

NASA is setting its sights on a large, metal asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. 

The U.S. space agency and researchers at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration want to get a closer look at the space rock, named Psyche, because they believe it’s made of valuable metals, such as nickel, iron, and gold.

 >> Read more trending stories 

The asteroid measures 124 miles in diameter and the iron on it alone is worth $10,000 quadrillion, NASA said in a statement. That compares to the value of the world economy, which is estimated at almost $74 trillion.

But, even if scientists wanted to harness the asteroid and haul it back to Earth, they don’t yet have the technical capability to do it.

So, NASA and ASU researchers are launching a robotic space craft in 2023 to make observations of Psyche. The craft is scheduled to arrive at the asteroid in 2030 where it will spend 20 months studying the rock and mapping it.

The rock will give scientists a glimpse of a planetary core for the first time.

“This mission, visiting the asteroid Psyche, will be the first time humans will ever be able to see a planetary core,” said lead scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton.

Elkins-Tanton, the director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, said the mission “will help us gain insights into the metal interior of all rocky planets in our solar system, including Earth.”

The $450 million mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.

NASA to explore valuable metal space rock worth $10,000 quadrillion

NASA is setting its sights on a large, metal asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. 

The U.S. space agency and researchers at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration want to get a closer look at the space rock, named Psyche, because they believe it’s made of valuable metals, such as nickel, iron, and gold.

>> Read more trending stories  The asteroid measures 124 miles in diameter and the iron on it alone is worth $10,000 quadrillion, NASA said in a statement. That compares to the value of the world economy, which is estimated at almost $74 trillion.

But, even if scientists wanted to harness the asteroid and haul it back to Earth, they don’t yet have the technical capability to do it.

So, NASA and ASU researchers are launching a robotic space craft in 2023 to make observations of Psyche. The craft is scheduled to arrive at the asteroid in 2030 where it will spend 20 months studying the rock and mapping it.

The rock will give scientists a glimpse of a planetary core for the first time.

“This mission, visiting the asteroid Psyche, will be the first time humans will ever be able to see a planetary core,” said lead scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton.

Elkins-Tanton, the director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, said the mission “will help us gain insights into the metal interior of all rocky planets in our solar system, including Earth.”

The $450 million mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.

World’s primates in crisis, on track for extinction, new study warns

Half of the world’s primates, including gorillas, apes, monkeys, lemurs, and others are in crisis and on track for extinction, mainly due to a growing human population and habitat loss.

Some “60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction and 75 percent have declining populations,” according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. That means around 300 of the world’s 500 species of primates are currently threatened or endangered, the survey found.

>> Read more trending stories 

Nonhuman primate species are essential for a healthy environment and balanced ecosystems, which humans also need to survive, the study said.

"This truly is the 11th hour for many of these creatures," study co-leader Paul Garber, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, told USA Today.

Garber also said many primate species will disappear quickly, over the next 25 years, unless the world takes action.

“Raising global scientific and public awareness of the plight of the world’s primates and the costs of their loss to ecosystem health and human society is imperative,” the study warned.

The threats to primates’ existence also include industrial agriculture, cattle ranching, logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, hunting, illegal trade in primate parts, and as pets.

 

Lone zebra shark surprises scientists with pups

A zebra shark surprised researchers in Australia when she hatched a trio of eggs three years after she was last paired with a mating partner, according to a study published Monday in Scientific Reports.

>> Read more trending stories

Leonie the shark was separated from her partner in 2013, but in April 2016 managed to hatch the eggs. It is the first known time that a shark has switched from sexual to asexual reproduction, according to scientists at the University of Queensland.

"We thought she could be storing sperm, but when we tested the pups and the possible parent sharks using DNA fingerprinting, we found they only had cells from Leonie," said Christine Dudgeon, research officer at the University of Queensland's School of Biomedical Sciences. "Leonie adapted to her circumstances, and we believe she switched because she lost her mate."

Leonie was captured in the wild in 1999 and first introduced to a male shark at the Reef HQ aquarium in Queensland. The pairing wasn't fruitful until scientists again paired the two in 2006. Leonie started laying eggs in 2008 and continued to produce litters until 2013, according to researchers.

In 2013, Leonie's daughter, Lolly, was added to her tank. The next year, both sharks laid eggs.

"Much like a chicken, they will lay eggs if the conditions are good, whether they are fertile or infertile," Dudgeon told The Guardian Australia.

Despite the lack of male sharks, six of Leonie's 47 eggs had live embryos inside. However, by the third month of incubation, all six had died.

Again, both sharks laid eggs last year. Four of them hatched – three from Leonie's clutch and one from Lolly's.

It's incredibly rare for females of a species to switch from sexual to asexual reproduction. There are only two other documented cases, according to The Guardian. An eagle ray who was separated from her partner for a year managed to reproduce and a boa constrictor asexually reproduced, although she was caged with a male boa constrictor, according to the newspaper.

It's not clear what caused Leonie to switch from sexual to asexual reproduction.

"What we want to know now is, could this occur in the wild and, if so, how often does it?" Dudgeon said. "This has big implications for conservation and shows us how flexible the shark's reproductive system really is."

However, she warned The Guardian, the switch is unlikely to herald a turning point for the endangered species. She described the case to the newspaper as similar to "a severe case of inbreeding."

Scientists will watch Leonie's offspring to determine whether they can reproduce despite their odd beginnings.

"You lose genetic diversity with generations of asexual reproduction, so we'll be seeing if these offspring can mate sexually themselves," Dudgeon said.

Alien megastar more hungry than mysterious, scientists say it ate a planet

The theories about the strange and mysterious light patterns surrounding a distant star some 1,500 light years away from Earth have abounded since it’s discovery in 2009, especially the possibility that aliens were somehow behind it.

The dipping or dimming light surrounding the star named KIC 84622852, also known as Tabby’s Star or Boyajian’s Star, was identified by the Kepler Space Telescope and has been tracked by scientists ever since.

>> Read more trending stories  

Scientists said the irregular light patterns are an indication that something unusual is orbiting the planet.

One of the most unusual theories about the cause of the erratic light emitted from Tabby’s Star, something straight out of a science fiction film, suggested that aliens could have built a megastructure of some sort around the star, maybe a huge sphere of solar panels to harness energy.

Another theory, equally as strange, suggested an advanced alien civilization was building something gigantic near the star.

Perhaps a large number of comets orbiting the star caused the erratic light, or maybe the star was extremely active, emitting periodic and gigantic outburst, scientists theorized.

Now a more convincing theory about KIC 84622852 suggests the star consumed a planet about 10,000 years ago.

“We propose that the secular dimming behavior is the result of the inspiral of a planetary body or bodies into KIC 8462852,” researchers from Columbia University and UC Berkley said in a new research paper.

If the star did consume a planet, it could explain the unusual light pattern, researchers said.

It would have caused Tabby’s Star to suddenly brighten erratically, especially if a detached moon system from the engulfed planet was still circling the star irregularly blocking its light. The star would show a dimming pattern of light as it returned to normal, the research suggested.

Breast cancer treatment unnecessary a third of the time, says new Danish study

Too many women were unnecessarily treated for breast cancer after mammograms detected slow-growing tumors that are basically harmless, according to a Danish study published in the journal “Annals of Internal Medicine.”

The research indicated that overdiagnosis of breast cancer is more frequent than previously thought.

>> Read more trending stories  

The Danish study looked at the incidence of early-stage and advanced breast cancer in women between the ages of 50 and 84 years old, both before and after the country began offering mammograms, between 1986 and 2010.

They found that one in three women diagnosed with breast cancer after a mammogram were unnecessarily treated for the disease, something that officials said can endanger women’s health and lives

The chief medical officer with the American Cancer Society, Dr. Otis Brawley, was not involved in the study but wrote an accompanying editorial.

The study raised the uncomfortable possibility that some women who believe their lives were saved by mammograms were actually harmed by surgery, radiation and even chemotherapy they didn’t need, Brawley said in the editorial.

The problem is that all breast cancers essentially look the same under a microscope, Brawley said, but researchers are recognizing that they don’t pose the same risk.

"By treating all the cancers that we see, we are clearly saving some lives," according to news reports on an interview with Brawley. "But we're also 'curing' some women who don't need to be cured."

The release of the study has stoked a long-running debate, again, over what age women should begin screenings for breast cancer.

The age varies from between 40 to 50 years old, depending on the health agency.

More than 40,000 women in the United States die from breast cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Ring in the New Year with cosmic fireworks, best way to see Comet 45P

 Stargazers are excited. Comet 45P is taking center stage on New Year’s Eve, promising a cosmic fireworks display as it blazes by Earth for the first time in more than five years.

Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, or Comet 45P as it’s commonly called, should be easy to spot on New Year’s Eve as it nears the crescent moon.

>> Read more trending stories 

It should be visible for a few hours right after sunset, above the western horizon, if the skies are clear, before setting with the moon.

The best way to find it is to first search for the planet Venus, the brightest light in the western sky.

You won’t be able to see the comet with the naked eye. You’ll need a pair of binoculars or a telescope to get a good look at it.

It won’t look like a planet or a star because it will cast off a bluish-green light with a fan-shaped tail trailing behind it.

The darker the area and the less light pollution, the better to see the comet.

If you miss the comet on New Year’s Eve, don’t worry. The best time to see it is next year on Feb. 11, when it passes closest to Earth.

NASA wraps up stellar year of space travel to distant destinations

NASA has had quite a year. From the Juno mission to study Jupiter to the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn, and New Horizons journey to Pluto and the outer reaches of the solar system, the space agency has traveled quite a distance in 2016 in its continued exploration of the universe and beyond.

The Juno deep space probe arrived at Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system and fifth from the sun, on July 4 after its launch in 2011.

>> Read more trending stories 

NASA said the goal of the mission is to understand the “origin and evolution” of the planet. Juno’s mission includes mapping the planet’s magnetic fields, measuring water and ammonia in Jupiter’s atmosphere, and more.

NASA’s other robotic missions include the Cassini spacecraft, which is circling Saturn in its final year of orbit, studying the planet’s iconic rings close-up. The Cassini mission is scheduled to end next year with the probe’s crash into Saturn.

New Horizons, which arrived at Pluto in 2015 for a flyby, beamed back the last of its Pluto data late this year and is now traveling onward to an even more distant object in the Kuiper Belt.

The space agency is also making progress on its planned human mission to Mars in the 2030’s. This year NASA has been choosing its next generation of astronauts who will make deep space missions. They are  scheduled to begin training next summer.

Other major achievements for NASA in 2016 include the completion of the largest-ever space telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope was finished in November and is now on schedule for a 2018 launch. The agency also made strides in aeronautics research and robotic technology.

NASA wraps up stellar year of space travel to distant destinations

NASA has had quite a year. From the Juno mission to study Jupiter to the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn, and New Horizons journey to Pluto and the outer reaches of the solar system, the space agency has traveled quite a distance in 2016 in its continued exploration of the universe and beyond.

The Juno deep space probe arrived at Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system and fifth from the sun, on July 4 after its launch in 2011.

NASA said the goal of the mission is to understand the “origin and evolution” of the planet. Juno’s mission includes mapping the planet’s magnetic fields, measuring water and ammonia in Jupiter’s atmosphere, and more.

NASA’s other robotic missions include the Cassini spacecraft, which is circling Saturn in its final year of orbit, studying the planet’s iconic rings close-up. The Cassini mission is scheduled to end next year with the probe’s crash into Saturn.

New Horizons, which arrived at Pluto in 2015 for a flyby, beamed back the last of its Pluto data late this year and is now traveling onward to an even more distant object in the Kuiper Belt.

The space agency is also making progress on its planned human mission to Mars in the 2030’s. This year NASA has been choosing its next generation of astronauts who will make deep space missions. They are  scheduled to begin training next summer.

Other major achievements for NASA in 2016 include the completion of the largest-ever space telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope was finished in November and is now on schedule for a 2018 launch. The agency also made strides in aeronautics research and robotic technology.

200 items
Results 1 - 10 of 200 next >