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NASA says new heavy-lift rocket debut not likely until 2018

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, designed to fly astronauts to the moon, asteroids and eventually Mars, likely will not have its debut test flight until November 2018, nearly a year later than previous estimates, agency officials said on Wednesday. NASA is 70 percent confident of making a November 2018 launch date, given the technical, financial and ma

Texas family to part ways with skeleton of mammoth found on its farm

By Lisa Maria Garza DALLAS (Reuters) - A North Texas family, who discovered the skeleton of a 20,000- to 40,000-year-old mammoth while mining through sediment on their farm, is preparing to turn over the remains to a local museum. In May, Wayne McEwen and his family were gathering material from a gravel pit on their property, south of Dallas, when his son struck a 6-foot (1.8 meter) tusk while o

Tricking memory in lab animals stokes hope for PTSD

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - The frailty of remembrance might have an upside: When a memory is recalled, two research teams reported on Wednesday, it can be erased or rewired so that a painful recollection is physically linked in the brain to joy and a once-happy memory to pain. "Recalling a memory is not like playing a tape recorder," said Susumu Tonegawa of the Massachusetts Institute o

SpaceX delays launch after test rocket explosion

By Irene Koltz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies will delay the launch of its next Falcon 9 rocket by up to two weeks following Friday’s explosion of a related prototype vehicle during a flight test, officials said on Tuesday. The privately owned company, also known as SpaceX, had planned to launch a communications satellite owned by Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telec

Boeing says completed key design review for space taxi

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co has completed a key review of its design for a new commercial venture to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, making it the only one of four rival bidders to finish the NASA work on time, company officials said on Thursday. Boeing is competing with Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp

Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone Began at a Funeral

An extensive look at the genome of the Ebola virus reveals its behavior, when it arrived in West Africa and how it spread in the region to cause the largest-ever recorded Ebola outbreak. Researchers sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes from 78 patients in Sierra Leone, one of the countries affected by the outbreak that started in the neighboring Guinea, and found that the virus' genome changes quick

'Jeopardy!'-Winning Computer Now Crunching Data for Science

Watch out, Sherlock, there's a new Dr. Watson in town. IBM's Watson, the computer that famously won the quiz show 'Jeopardy!', is now helping researchers make scientific discoveries. The new system, known as the Watson Discovery Advisor, could accelerate the scientific process by sifting through massive amounts of information and visualizing patterns in the data. But unlike when Watson was on 'J

Is the Universe a 2D Hologram? Experiment Aims to Find Out

An ongoing experiment could reveal whether or not our full and fleshed-out 3D universe is an illusion, a 2D projection onto a cosmic screen beyond our perception or understanding. The Holometer project, which is based at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois, is now operating at full power, probing the very nature of space-time itself. "We w

Cosmic Quest: Who Really Discovered Neptune?

Neptune will appear directly opposite the sun in the sky tomorrow (Aug. 29), but despite the potentially clear view of the planet from Earth, the truth about the person who first discovered the distant world remains cloudy. Neptune was supposedly discovered in 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle using calculations by Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams, making it a joint British-French-German disc

US Air Force Museum to Restore Retired Titan Rocket

Air Force in Dayton, Ohio announced Tuesday (Aug. 26) plans to begin restoring the 18-story-tall Titan 4Bspace launch vehicle that it's had in its collection since 2005. The towering rocket, which has been stored in gigantic pieces in a World War II era hangar at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will be exhibited on its side when placed in the museum's new fourth building, set to open in 2016. "

Scientists solve mystery of moving Death Valley rocks

By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A solution to the longstanding mystery of why rocks move erratically across an isolated patch of California's Death Valley finally emerged on Thursday, when researchers published a study showing the driving force was sheets of wind-driven ice. Trails from the movement of the rocks, which show them changing direction suddenly in their movement across the

Brutal Winter? Almanac Could Be Wrong, Scientists Say

The United States is in for another long, cold winter, according to the newest edition of the Farmers' Almanac. This winter will see "below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation," the Almanac reads. But the predictions included in the Farmers' Almanac are just that: predictions. While NOAA's official three-month outlook for the coming winter months isn't due out until around m

Scientists find mild cases of MERS among patients' families

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fewer than half of Saudi Arabian patients in a study passed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to household members, and many of those who developed secondary infections contracted mild cases of MERS, global researchers reported on Wednesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed observations that the virus can cau

Schrödinger's Cat Comes into View with Strange Physics

By sending green, red and yellow laser beams down a path to detector, researchers have shed light on the famous physics idea known as the "Schrödinger's cat" thought experiment. Over any given period there's a 50-50 chance the poison vial will open, and a person who opens the box after a given time and looks at the cat will then observe that it is either dead or alive.

Lava flow from Hawaii volcano could threaten homes, scientists say

By Malia Mattoch McManus HONOLULU (Reuters) - State scientists and officials are warning some residents of Hawaii's Big Island that their homes could be jeopardized by a lava flow from Kilauea Volcano that is moving through a forest preserve toward their neighborhood. Geological Survey scientist said that while the lava flow did not pose an imminent threat to residents of the Kaohe Homesteads of t

UN panel: Global warming human-caused, dangerous

WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous — and it's increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.

U.S. scientist pleads guilty to taking government laptop to China

The scientist was fired in April 2012 from Sandia National Laboratories, a government-owned research facility operated by Sandia Corporation that is responsible in part for ensuring the safety of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. Huang also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a counterintelligence officer in June 2011, the U.S.

Art, Science & Philosophy Behind Photos of Oldest Living Things

What can a simple, unadorned photograph of a tree teach people about a heady concept like "deep time" or "year zero?" Quite a lot, actually, if the photographer in question is Rachel Sussman. The scientists immediately recused themselves and said, "I'm not qualified." But for myself as an artist, I was able to come in and say, "I just have this idea, and I'm just going to follow it whatever direct

Sickly Coral Reefs Fail the Smell Test

When looking for a place to settle down, these animals use chemical cues to avoid reefs that are littered with seaweed and flock to healthy habitats instead, according to a new study. Scientists have seen corals decline around the world over the past several decades, and the new findings help explain why some reefs aren't recovering or recruiting new corals, despite conservation efforts. "The re

Atomic Clock Will Fly to Space Station in 2016

A new atomic clock is due for installation on the International Space Station in 2016, ushering in a new age of physics experiments probing the relationship between space and time. Once there, the space station's robotic arm will install it on a payload platform outside the Columbus Laboratory, one of the station's research modules. Another atomic clock called SHM, or Space H-Maser will also be

Scientists warn Florida governor of threat from climate change

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) - Five climate scientists warned Florida Governor Rick Scott in a meeting on Tuesday that a steadily rising ocean was a major threat to the state's future, urging it to become a leader in developing solar energy and other clean power sources. The Republican governor, who disputed the human impact on climate change in his 2010 campaign, agreed recently t

Weirdest Worm Ever? Clawed Creature Finds Its Family Tree

When researchers first discovered the fossil worm Hallucigenia in the 1970s, they were so perplexed they identified its head as its tail and its legs as its spines. The finding is surprising because it rewrites the evolutionary history of spiders, insects and crustaceans, said study researcher Javier Ortega-Hernandez, a paleobiologist at the University of Cambridge. Most genetic studies have fou

In CDC bird flu mix-up, U.S. agency cites sloppy science, failed reporting

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. government scientist working with bird flu rushed through lab procedures in order to get to a staff meeting, setting off what could have been a fatal mishap, health officials said on Friday. They said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab worker, who was not identified, allotted only about half the time necessary to carry out t

'Mission Blue' film charts scientist's quest to save oceans

By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - From the Galapagos Islands to Australia's Coral Sea and a marine park off the coast of Mexico, the documentary "Mission Blue" navigates the journey of renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle as she travels the globe to save the planet's threatened seas. With stunning underwater footage, the film that airs on Friday on the online streaming service Netflix and in

Lionfish's Terminator-Style Killing Alarms Scientists

Lionfish, an invasive Pacific Ocean species, have been wiping out native fish populations in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean for the past couple of decades. Now, research reveals the "terminator"-style approach to hunting that has likely made them so successful: When other predatory fish quit stalking their prey to look for easier targets, lionfish just keep on killing. "Lionfish seem to be

Rare Sight: Clouds Move On Saturn's Huge Moon Titan (Video, Photos)

Clouds cruise through the skies of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in striking new imagery captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. In a rare sight for scientists, Cassini captured views of methane clouds drifting across Ligeia Mare, a big hydrocarbon sea near Titan's north pole, from July 20 through July 22. Few clouds had been seen on Titan since the dissipation of a major storm in 2010, so resear

Scientists find how 'nefarious' Ebola disables immune response

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying the lethal Ebola virus say they have found how it blocks and disables the body's ability to battle infections in a discovery that should help the search for potential cures and vaccines. In the largest and deadliest outbreak of the disease yet recorded, Ebola has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa since March. A group of scientists i

This Extreme Antarctic Insect Has the Tiniest Genome

At just 99 million base pairs of nucleotides (DNA's building blocks), the midge's genome is smaller than that of the body louse — and far more miniscule than the human genome, which has 3.2 billion base pairs. "It's a pretty exciting fly," Washington State University genomics researcher Joanna Kelley, who worked on the project to sequence the midge's genome, said in a statement. It's the only tr

Artificial Rat Brain Gets Pounded in Name of Science

The new brainlike tissue is one step toward creating a functioning brain in a petri dish — something that is still a ways off, scientists say. The artificial neural tissue also resembles that of a rat's brain, because it had similar mechanical properties, they said.

Quantum Particles Take the Road Most Traveled

For the first time ever, physicists have mapped the path that particles are most likely to take when moving from one quantum state to another. In physics, a concept called the "path of least action" describes the trajectory that an object is most likely to follow, similar to the familiar concept of the "path of least resistance." For example, a tossed football follows a parabolic arc through the


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