• NASA's Voyager Spacecraft Still Reaching for the Stars

    Humanity's farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, achieve 40 years of operation and exploration this August and September. Despite their vast distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily, still probing the final frontier. Their story has not only impacted generations of current and future scientists and engineers, but also Earth's culture, including film, art, and music. Each spacecraft carries a Golden Record of Earth sounds, pictures, and messages. Since the spacecraft could last billions of years, these circular time capsules could one day be the only traces of human civilization.

    "None of us knew, when we launched 40 years ago, that anything would still be working, and continuing on this pioneering journey," said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at Caltech in Pasadena, California. "The most exciting thing they find in the next five years is likely to be something that we didn't know was out there to be discovered."

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  • New, more sensitive sensor for evaluating drug safety

    A new technique for evaluating drug safety can detect stress on cells at earlier stages than conventional methods, which mostly rely on detecting cell death. The new method uses a fluorescent sensor that is turned on in a cell when misfolded proteins begin to aggregate -- an early sign of cellular stress. The method can be adapted to detect protein aggregates caused by other toxins as well as diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. A paper describing the new method, by a team of researchers at Penn State University, appears in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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  • Carbon Conversion

    Chemists have figured out a new, more efficient way to create carbon-based fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2). In chemical reactions performed in the lab, a Caltech team has identified a new additive that helps selectively convert CO2 into fuels containing multiple carbon atoms—a step toward ultimately making renewable liquid fuels that are not derived from coal or oil.

    "The results were quite shocking," says Jonas Peters, Bren Professor of Chemistry at Caltech and director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, who jointly led the research in collaboration with Theodor Agapie, professor of chemistry at Caltech. "Usually, in these types of reactions with CO2, you see a lot of by-products like methane and hydrogen. In this case, the reaction was highly selective for the more desirable fuels that contain multiple carbons—such as ethylene, ethanol, and propanol. We saw an 80 percent conversion to these multi-carbon fuel products, with only 20 percent or so going into hydrogen and methane."

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  • NASA Spies Wind Shear Still Affecting Tropical Storm Nalgae

    Tropical Storm Nalgae can’t seem to get a break from vertical wind shear. The storm has been dealing with wind shear since it formed and NASA’s Terra satellite observed that was still the case on August 4.

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  • Seasonal Effects: "Winter foals" are smaller than foals born in summer

    Seasonal and diurnal rhythms determine the life cycle of many animal species. In equids this is not only true for wild species such as the Przewalski but season-dependent metabolic changes also exist in domesticated horses. Horses can reduce their metabolic activity during the cold season and thus reduce heat loss. The effects of such seasonal changes on pregnancy and foetal development, however, have not been investigated so far. Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna could now demonstrate that foals born in winter are smaller than herd mates born later in the year.

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  • NASA Sees High Clouds Fill Typhoon Noru's Eye

    NASA's Terra satellite passed over Typhoon Noru early on August 3 and saw that high clouds had moved over the eye.

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  • Two Weeks in the Life of a Sunspot

    On July 5, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory watched an active region — an area of intense and complex magnetic fields — rotate into view on the Sun. The satellite continued to track the region as it grew and eventually rotated across the Sun and out of view on July 17. 

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  • York researchers contribute to Canadian-led study detailing antimatter forensics

    A Canadian-led investigation involving York researchers has opened a new chapter in antimatter research.

    In a study published in Nature today (Aug. 3), the ALPHA Collaboration – a group of international physicists including physics Professor Scott Menary in the Faculty of Science at York University – reported the first detailed observation of spectral lines from an antimatter atom.

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  • Ongoing monitoring program finds potato psyllids but no evidence of bacteria that causes zebra chip disease

    University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dr. Dan Johnson and his team have been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid insect and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops.

    “We found hundreds of potato psyllids last year, but we have found under 10 so far this year and none have the bacteria that cause zebra chip,” says Johnson, who coordinates the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network.

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  • Lizard blizzard survivors tell story of natural selection

    An unusually cold winter in the U.S. in 2014 took a toll on the green anole lizard, a tree-dwelling creature common to the southeastern United States. A new study offers a rare view of natural selection in this species, showing how the lizard survivors at the southernmost part of their range in Texas came to be more like their cold-adapted counterparts further north.

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