• Gravity and Plants

    When one examines the roots of a plant, one sees a tangled mess of tendrils. It is well known that plant growth patterns are influenced by a variety of stimuli, gravity being one amongst many. On Earth plant roots exhibit characteristic behaviors called waving and skewing, which were thought to be gravity-dependent events. This is how the roots develop and grow in terms of direction and changes in direction. However, Arabidopsis plants grown on the International Space Station (ISS) have proved this theory wrong, according to a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Plant Biology: root waving and skewing occur in spaceflight plants independently of gravity. >> Read the Full Article
  • 100 Million Electric Miles: Chevy Volts Reach Milestone

    Chevrolet Volt owners collectively have driven more than 100 million all-electric miles since the vehicle went on sale two years ago this month. The average Volt owner travels more than 65 percent of the time in pure electric mode as the car was designed – only using the gasoline-powered generator for longer trips. By charging regularly, Volt owners drive approximately 900 miles, or a month and a half, between fill-ups. However, many Volt owners quickly exceed that average, based on an EPA-estimated 98 MPGe that puts electric-only range at 35 mpg city and 40 mpg on the highway. >> Read the Full Article
  • Reduce Fuel Cost Volatility By Purchasing More Efficient Vehicles

    High fuel prices sap economic growth, eat into profit margins and reduce discretionary budgets. The only thing worse for businesses than steadily increasing costs is uncertainty about future costs. However, today’s fuel prices have created conditions in which hybrid electric vehicles are cost-effective, sound business investments, and businesses that take action to increase the efficiency of their transportation fleets are directly reducing their fuel cost uncertainty. >> Read the Full Article
  • Other Worlds, Other Tectonics, Other Life

    Planets are warmed by their sun. Planets also has their own internal warmth that drives local volcanism and tectonics and helps keep water liquid and not frozen. Scattered around the Milky Way are stars that resemble our own sun—but a new study is finding that any planets orbiting those stars may very well be hotter and more dynamic than Earth and not due to their suns. That’s because the interiors of any terrestrial planets in these systems are likely warmer due to their radioactive composition than Earth—up to 25 percent warmer, which would make them more geologically active and more likely to retain enough liquid water to support life. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Race for Developing Plant-based Renewable Plastics

    The 20th century marked the great space race between Russia and the United States for domination in space exploration. Now the 21st century marks a new race: Coca-Cola and PepsiCo competing for leadership on plant-based renewable plastics. In March of 2010, PepsiCo announced the world's first PET plastic bottle made entirely from renewable plant-based resources ensuring production of a new 100% recyclable bottle in 2012. PET plastics are typically labeled with the #1 code near the bottom of the containers and are commonly used for soft drinks, salad dressings, water, etc. >> Read the Full Article
  • Views from Above: New Night-time NASA-NOAA Satellite Images Released

    Today scientists unveiled new night-time satellite images of planet Earth. Using a NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, the new photographs reveal more detail of our planet and man-made lights from outer space. With a new sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, which was launched last year, scientists can better observe the Earth's atmosphere and surface during night-time hours. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Dark Side Of Vesta

    The asteroids such as Vesta are relatively small but active in their own way. They too have a form of long term geologic weather. Data from NASA's Dawn mission show that a form of weathering that occurs on the moon and other airless bodies that have been visited in the inner solar system does not alter Vesta's outermost layer in the same way. Carbon-rich asteroids have also been splattering dark material on Vesta's surface over a long span of the body's history. The results are described in two papers released today in the journal Nature. Vesta's surface is covered by regolith distinct from that found on the Moon or other asteroids such as Itokawa. Regolith evolution is dominated by brecciation and subsequent mixing of bright and dark components. >> Read the Full Article
  • Manmade Hillslopes will Improve Global Climate Models

    What has six-hundred tons of volcanic rocks sitting in a giant steel tub, thousands of gallons of water spouting from a network of pipes, and 1,800 sensors scattering three identical hillslopes collecting information? If you guessed the world's only and largest manmade experimental watershed, then you're correct! Recently completed at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, the Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) is an engineering masterpiece where three 100 feet by 40 feet hillslopes will provide results used to improve global climate models and make predictions more realistic and reliable. >> Read the Full Article
  • Accurate flood forecasting gets closer

    Heavy rainfall and the problems of flooding in towns have never been far from peoples' minds or the news headlines over the past few weeks. Now scientists say that new research will help to accurately pinpoint which individual streets are most at risk from flooding during severe rainstorms. >> Read the Full Article
  • Milling Chemicals with no Solvents

    Traditionally new chemicals are made within a solvent solution. This aids in the active chemicals reaching one another. Solvents are flammable and often pose other hazards, For the first time, scientists have studied a milling reaction in real time, using highly penetrating X-rays to observe the surprisingly rapid transformations as the mill mixed, ground, and transformed simple ingredients into a complex product. This research, reported Dec. 2 in Nature Chemistry, promises to advance scientists' understanding of processes central to the pharmaceutical, metallurgical, cement and mineral industries – and could open new opportunities in green chemistry and environmentally friendly chemical synthesis. >> Read the Full Article