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NASA Highlights Science Launching on Next SpaceX Cargo Mission

NASA will host a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 8, to discuss research investigations launching aboard the next SpaceX commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station. Among the investigations are experiments with potential to fight human disease and a new autonomous spacecraft docking technology for testing.

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NASA Sees Tropical Cyclone Carlos Over La Reunion and Mauritius

Tropical Cyclone 04S formed north of La Reunion Island on February 4 and continued to track slowly toward the island. This ended an unusual drought of tropical cyclone formation in that part of the Indian Ocean that began in July 2016. When NASA's Terra passed over the newly-formed tropical cyclone imagery showed a concentration of strong thunderstorms around the center of the compact storm. The storm was later renamed Tropical Cyclone Carlos.

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Increasing the water table in agricultural peatland could hold key to reducing UK's greenhouse gas emissions

The research, led by scientists from the University of Sheffield, found increasing the level below which the ground is saturated with water – known as the water table – in radish fields by 20cm not only reduced soil CO2 emissions, but also improved the growth of crops.

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With Norway in Lead, Europe Set for Surge in Electric Vehicles.

On Europe’s northern margins, lightly populated Norway has been at the cutting edge of electromobility for years, even decades now. The capital of Oslo, like most of Norway’s cities and towns, boasts bus-lane access for electric vehicles (EVs), recharging stations aplenty, privileged parking, and toll-free travel for electric cars. The initiative began in the 1990s as an effort to cut pollution, congestion, and noise in urban centers; now its primary rationale is combating climate change. Today, Norway has the highest per capita number of all-electric [battery only] cars in the world: more than 100,000 in a country of 5.2 million people. Last year, EVs constituted nearly 40 percent of the nation’s newly registered passenger cars.

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African Nations and Scientists Sound Alarm Over Spread of Crop Pest

Scientists and government officials are growing increasingly concerned about the rapid spread of fall armyworm — an agricultural pest known to cause major damage to staple crops such as maize — across Africa in recent months. 

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Low-Cost Imaging System Detects Natural Gas Leaks in Real Time

Researchers have developed an infrared imaging system that could one day offer low-cost, real-time detection of methane gas leaks in pipelines and at oil and gas facilities. Leaks of methane, the primary component of natural gas, can be costly and dangerous while also contributing to climate change as a greenhouse gas.

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Lakes respond differently to nitrogen disposition

Nitrogen deposition caused by human activities can lead to an increased phytoplankton production in boreal lakes. The response of boreal lakes to nitrogen deposition will strongly depend on each lake’s content of organic carbon, which are predicted to increase with future warmer and wetter climate. This according to a thesis at Umeå University.

The worldwide increase of inorganic nitrogen deposition via fossil fuel combustion, fertilization and forestry has been intervening drastically with the Earths’ natural nitrogen cycle. Food webs of boreal lakes, that have historically received little nitrogen deposition until now, are expected to be especially susceptible to increases in inorganic nitrogen availability.

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A future for skiing in a warmer world

As the world struggles to make progress to limit climate change, researchers are finding ways to adapt to warmer winter temperatures — by developing environmentally friendly ways of producing artificial snow.

Chances are if you know anything about Norway, you know it’s a place where skiing was born.

Norse mythology describes gods and goddesses hunting on skis, and 4000–year-old petroglyphs from northern Norway include some of the earliest known drawings of people on skis. One of the most recognizable Norwegian paintings worldwide depicts two skiers in 1206 fleeing to safety with the country’s two-year-old prince, Håkon Håkonsson.

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SLAC Study Helps Explain Why Uranium Persists in Groundwater at Former Mining Sites

Decades after a uranium mine is shuttered, the radioactive element can still persist in groundwater at the site, despite cleanup efforts.

A recent study led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory helps describe how the contaminant cycles through the environment at former uranium mining sites and why it can be difficult to remove. Contrary to assumptions that have been used for modeling uranium behavior, researchers found the contaminant binds to organic matter in sediments. The findings provide more accurate information for monitoring and remediation at the sites.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2014, researchers at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) began collaborating with the DOE Office of Legacy Management, which handles contaminated sites associated with the legacy of DOE’s nuclear energy and weapons production activities. Through projects associated with the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act, the DOE remediated 22 sites in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico where uranium had been extracted and processed during the 1940s to 1970s.

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LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife

LED street lighting can be tailored to reduce its impacts on the environment, according to new research by the University of Exeter.

The UK-based study found predatory spiders and beetles were drawn to grassland patches lit by LED lighting at night, but the number of species affected was markedly reduced when the lights were dimmed by 50% and switched off between midnight and 4am.

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