Using the 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, astronomers have captured an image of part of the gigantic nebula Gum 56. Gum 56, also known as IC 4628 or the Prawn Nebula, is a dense concentration of gas and dust ionized by the star cluster Trumpler 24. It lies within the [...] —> Read More
Two months after the New Horizon’s spacecraft nailed the Pluto flyby, it’s setting its sights on something new: a tiny icy object that sits in the asteroid belt past the dwarf planet.
NASA’s goal is to gather as much data as possible about this Kuiper Belt object (KBO), called 2014 MU69, while using fuel sparingly.
“This KBO costs less fuel to reach [than other candidate targets], leaving more fuel for the flyby, for ancillary science, and greater fuel reserves to protect against the unforeseen,” Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, said in a press release.
Stern said that 2014 MU69, identified as a good candidate with the help of Hubble telescope, is an ideal flyby target because of what it can teach us about the origins of the Kuiper Belt. At 100th of the size of Pluto, just 30 miles across, this KBO is likely similar to the building blocks that are thought to have come together to create the dwarf planet and other larger objects in the Belt.
“The detailed images and other data that New Horizons could obtain from a KBO flyby will revolutionize our understanding of the Kuiper Belt and KBOs,”said New Horizons team member John Spencer.
The craft will make four maneuvers toward the small icy object in late October and early November and could reach 2014 MU69 as early as January 1.
Previously on HuffPost Science: New Horizons Won’t Be The Only Spacecraft At Our Solar System’s Edge
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The first study to test the skills of FBI agents and other law enforcers who have been trained in facial recognition has found they perform better than the average person or even computers on this difficult task. The research suggests trained facial forensic examiners identify faces use analytical methods. CCTV, mobile phone images and automatic face recognition technology has made identification of suspects from facial images an important source of evidence. —> Read More
Certain exercises can reduce the gaps in our visual field, and may eventually help those with eye damage to see better
Inadequate national targets for curbing climate-altering greenhouse gases meant emissions would be ‘far above’ the level required to stave off disastrous global warming, analysts warned. —> Read More
Expedition 45 Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency (Kazcosmos) launched on the Russian Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft on Sept. 2, Kazakh time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station.
Counting is hard. But when it comes to research data, not in the way we thought it was (example 1, example 2, example 3. The Making Data Count (MDC) project aims to go further – measurement. But to do so, we must start with basic counting: 1, 2, 3… uno, dos, tres… —> Read More
Get around like Marty McFly (well, sort of…): $4,000 ‘Hoverboard’ is part Segway, part skateboard and reaches speeds of 16mph
The Hoverboard (pictured), from California-based Hoverboard Technologies, is expected to cost $4,000 (£2,620) when the board launches on Kickstarter on 17 September. —> Read More
To feed a global population of 9.1 billion people, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that food production will need to increase 70 percent by 2050. Moreover, 90 percent of this increase will have to come from intensification of agriculture — getting more crops out of the same amount of farmland — rather than expansion of cropland.
This is a huge challenge, because conventional intensification has relied on monoculture and its associated inputs — pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and fossil fuels — to achieve a decline in global hunger. As increases in crop yields level off, nearly 1 billion people continue to suffer from hunger around the world. Furthermore, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and obesity add to the triple burden of malnutrition faced by low-income nations. Yield gains provided uneven benefits across the globe, exacerbating food insecurity in regions where diets became less diverse and farmers lost their land to industrial agriculture.
These pressing challenges are the subject of new development goals, since the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire at the end of 2015. The proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will replace the MDGs and last until 2030. The second proposed SDG set forth by the UN aims to address all three aspects of global hunger — micronutrient deficiencies, malnutrition and overnutrition — necessitating creative approaches to sustainable development in agriculture that address the food system as a whole.
To really achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 — to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture — food production will need to be more environmentally and economically sustainable. “Ecological approaches such as intercropping and the use of non-synthetic fertilizers can be implemented,” says Dr. Brian Petersen, a researcher from Western Michigan University who interviewed 30 experts on ecological intensification. “Many of the experts believe —> Read More
Fifty million years ago, the Cowboy State was crawling with crocodiles. Fossil records show that crocs lounged in the shade of palm trees from southwestern Wyoming to southern Canada during the Cretaceous and Eocene. Exactly how the middle of the North American continent — far from the warming effects of the ocean — stayed so temperate even in winter months has long eluded scientists. —> Read More