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Solar plane lands in Spain after three-day Atlantic crossing
An airplane powered solely by the sun landed safely in Seville in Spain early on Thursday after an almost three-day flight across the Atlantic from New York in one of the longest legs of the first ever fuel-less flight around the world. The single-seat Solar Impulse 2 touched down shortly after 7.30 a.m. local time in Seville after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 2.30 a.m. EDT on June 20. The flight of just over 71 hours was the 15th leg of the round-the-world journey by the plane piloted in turns by Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.
Human skin cells used in animal-free cosmetic tests
By Matthew Stock A UK-based laboratory is working to eradicate animal testing in the cosmetics industry by developing alternative methods which are not only cruelty-free but more scientifically advanced than other current tests. XCellR8 uses scaffolds of cells from human skin donated by plastic surgery patients, which they say are ideally suited to testing cosmetic products. "For skin irritation testing the cells are isolated from human skin that has been donated by people who have had plastic surgery and they've said that they're quite happy for the tissue to be used for research purposes.
Human flights to Mars still at least 15 years off: ESA head
You'll have to wait at least 15 years for the technology to be developed, the head of the European Space Agency (ESA) said, putting doubt on claims that the journey could happen sooner. "If there was enough money then we could possibly do it earlier but there is not as much now as the Apollo program had," ESA Director-General Jan Woerner said, referring to the U.S. project which landed the first people on the moon. Woerner says a permanent human settlement on the moon, where 3D printers could be used to turn moon rock into essential items needed for the two-year trip to Mars, would be a major step toward the red planet.
British astronaut Tim Peake would return to space station 'in a heartbeat'
Britain's first official astronaut said on Tuesday he would join another trip to the International Space Station "in a heartbeat" and would love to explore the moon. Tim Peake was one of three astronauts to return to earth on Saturday after spending half a year on the space station. It was "extremely important" for Britain to be involved in the advancement of human space flight, Peake, said on Tuesday.
India launches 20 satellites at one go; most to serve U.S. customers
India successfully launched 20 satellites in a single mission on Wednesday, with most of them set to serve international customers as the South Asian country pursues a bigger share of the $300 billion global space industry. It was the most satellites India has put in space at one go, though Russia set the record of 37 for a single launch in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the launch as "a monumental accomplishment" for the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Caribbean Sea's Curious 'Whistle' Detected from Space
Bounded by South America, Central America and the Caribbean islands, the semi-enclosed basin of the Caribbean Sea acts like the body of a giant whistle, the scientists wrote in the study. "When you blow a whistle, you hear something because the air oscillates — pulses in and out of the whistle — and radiates a wave," the study's lead author Chris Hughes, a researcher at the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool, in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. "In this case, the water is pulsing in and out of the Caribbean Sea.
'3Doodler' Pen Lets You Draw 3D-Printed Creations in Midair
Still, using a 3D printer isn't always simple: The machine is frequently housed within a box the size of a microwave, and it requires technical software and, in some cases, a detailed knowledge of design. In 2012, Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth, co-founders of 3Doodler along with Daniel Cowen, were trying to come up with the next great kids' toy. The two wished they "could just take the nozzle off the 3D printer and fill in the missing gap," Bogue, now CEO of the company, told Live Science.
Moral Dilemma of Self-Driving Cars: Which Lives to Save in a Crash
New research has found that people generally approve of autonomous vehicles (AV) governed by so-called utilitarian ethics, which would seek to minimize the total number of deaths in a crash, even if it means harming people in the vehicle. The study, based on surveys of U.S. residents, found that most respondents would not want to ride in these vehicles themselves, and were not in favor of regulations enforcing utilitarian algorithms on driverless cars.
Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos
Early Monday (Nov. 23), the private spaceflight company Blue Origin made a major stride in the pursuit of fully reusable rockets, when it launched an uncrewed vehicle into space and then soft-landed the rocket booster on the ground. "It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's founder, speaking about the landing in a press briefing yesterday (Nov. 24). "And my teammates here at Blue Origin, I could see felt the same way.
Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in Space
Thanksgiving in space will be a lot like the holiday down here on the ground — minus the gravity, of course. Like most Americans, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren have Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) off, and they'll spend the day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) watching football and enjoying a turkey-centric feast, agency officials said. Kelly and Lindgren gave viewers a look at that feast in a special Thanksgiving video this week, breaking out bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin.
Memory-Boosting Trick: Exercise After Learning
Researchers found that people who did a high-intensity workout on a spinning bike 4 hours after completing a memory task had better recall when they were retested two days later than men and women who pedaled the bike immediately after the task, and those who didn't exercise after the task at all, according to the findings published today (June 16) in the journal Current Biology. The study showed that delaying exercise by 4 hours after learning has a "moderate" effect on memory, said Dr. Guillen Fernandez, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. The findings showed that exercise improves memory performance and changes the way memories are stored in the brain, said Fernandez, who conducted the research with Eelco van Dongen, a postdoctoral student at the institute, and other colleagues.
Previous exposure to dengue may make Zika worse, scientists find
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying the Zika outbreak in Brazil say previous exposure to another mosquito-borne virus, dengue, may exacerbate the potency of Zika infection. The scientists said their results, published in the journal Nature Immunology, suggested that some dengue antibodies can recognize and bind to Zika due to the similarities between the two viruses, but that these antibodies may also amplify Zika infection in a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement. This effect is already known with dengue, they said, and is thought to explain why, when a person gets dengue fever a second time, the infection is often more serious than the first.
How mushrooms fueled a scientist's flight out of North Korea
HWASEONG, South Korea (AP) — Lee T.B. fled North Korea not because he suffered from dire poverty or persecution at home, as many other defectors have. He did it for mushrooms, and to fulfill his wife's dying wish.
Stem cell scientist suspected of involuntary manslaughter
STOCKHOLM (AP) — A disgraced stem cell scientist is facing preliminary charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with two patients who died after windpipe transplants, Swedish prosecutors said Wednesday.
Centuries-old African soil technique could combat climate change - scientists
By Kieran Guilbert DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A farming technique practised for centuries in West Africa, which transforms nutrient-poor rainforest soil into fertile farmland, could combat climate change and revolutionise farming across the continent, researchers said on Tuesday. Adding kitchen waste and charcoal to tropical soil can turn it into fertile, black soil which traps carbon and reduces emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according to a study carried out by the University of Sussex in England. The soils produced by the 700-year-old practice, known as "African dark earths", contain up to 300 percent more organic carbon than other soils, and are capable of supporting far more intensive farming, said the anthropologist behind the study.
Frog Embryos Speed-Hatch to Escape Danger
A developing frog embryo in its jelly-like egg mass can be quite the escape artist: When predators come calling, the red-eyed tree frog embryo can detect the threat and drop out of its egg to safety in a matter of seconds, even though it normally wouldn't be ready to hatch for several more days. Karen Warkentin, study co-author and a biology professor at Boston University, reported the unusual behavior in red-eyed tree frog embryos in an earlier study published in 2005 in the journal Animal Behavior. Warkentin recorded the embryos' responses to different types of vibrations.
The Science of Mass Shooters: What Drives a Person to Kill?
Just days after a gunman opened fire in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, a complex and sometimes contradictory picture of his motivations is emerging. He called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to the jihadist group ISIS and its rival, the al-Nusra Front, according to the FBI. He was known to spew hatred against women, Jews, black people and gays, but apparently used gay dating apps and visited Pulse (the nightclub he would later attack) regularly for years, according to multiple people who knew him before the shooting.
Stegosaurus had bite like a sheep
By Matthew Stock Dinosaur experts have conducted the first detailed study of the Stegosaurus skull and found that it had a more powerful bite than its tiny, peg-shaped, teeth suggested. Professor Paul Barrett, dinosaur researcher at London's Natural History Museum, said advanced technology has given exciting new insights into dinosaur biology - something that would not have been possible several years ago. "Stegosaurus was actually an animal that could get up to 9 metres in length and weigh several tonnes," Barrett said while holding a Stegosaurus tooth.
NASA to set fire in space for science, safety
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An unmanned cargo ship pulled away from the International Space Station on Tuesday to stage the first of three planned NASA experiments on how big fires grow in space, an important test for astronaut safety. Previous experiments in space were limited to the incineration of samples no bigger than an index card, said David Urban, lead researcher for the Spacecraft Fire Experiment, or Saffire. "We tried for years to find a vehicle and a circumstance where this would work and initially we'd get a 'not on my spacecraft' reaction," Urban said during a NASA TV interview.
UN weather agency warns of more global warming in May
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. weather agency is warning of "fundamental change" afoot in the global climate and continued warming, accompanied recently by unusually high rainfall in parts of the US and Europe.