Science

Gigantic dead finback whale discovered the Mediterranean

Gigantic dead finback whale discovered the Mediterranean

Last weekend officials discovered the carcass of an enormous finback whale in the Mediterranean Sea. The finback whale, or Balaenoptera physalus, is the second-largest animal species on Earth. It measured 65 feet long and is estimated to weigh more than 77 tons, one of the largest ever discovered.

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Biden appoints Steve Jurczyk as NASA’s Acting Administrator

Biden appoints Steve Jurczyk as NASA’s Acting Administrator

On January 20, and as expected, NASA's now-former administrator Jim Bridenstine stepped down from his role. Soon after, the Biden administration announced that NASA's Steve Jurczyk, who has been with the space agency for decades, will serve as acting administrator until a permanent replacement is found.

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Biden’s Moon rock has an incredible NASA back-story

Biden’s Moon rock has an incredible NASA back-story

A hunk of the moon was delivered to the Biden administration on January 20, 2021. At the request of the President of the United States, NASA delivered a container with a sample of the lunar surface for display in the Oval Office. This piece of our nearest space neighbor now sits in the most important office in the world, in the White House, "in symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach."

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MIT’s tiny 3D printed thruster uses ions for propulsion

MIT’s tiny 3D printed thruster uses ions for propulsion

Researchers at MIT have invented a small 3D printed thruster that emits a stream of pure ions. The thruster could be used as a low-cost and efficient propulsion source for miniature satellites in the future. The thruster is the first of its kind to be entirely manufactured using additive processes.

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University researchers say pesticides keep bees from sleeping

University researchers say pesticides keep bees from sleeping

Scientists from the University of Bristol have conducted research that shows common pesticides can prevent bees and flies from getting a good night's sleep. They say that just like humans, many insects need sleep to function properly. However, their sleep is impacted if they have been exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides, a common insecticide used worldwide.

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Saturn’s moon Titan estimated to have a sea at least 1000 feet deep

Saturn’s moon Titan estimated to have a sea at least 1000 feet deep

One of the places that many scientists believe could harbor life in our solar system is on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Titan has a gaseous atmosphere and scientists believe beneath that atmosphere is a sea of liquid methane known as Kraken Mare. Astronomers at Cornell have now estimated the sea of liquid methane is at least 1000 feet deep near its center.

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Penn State researchers have created a new battery for EVs

Penn State researchers have created a new battery for EVs

One of the biggest downsides to electric vehicles today for many car shoppers is range anxiety and how long it takes to recharge. A 000 of engineers from Penn State has begun investigations on a lithium iron phosphate battery with a range of 250 miles that can recharge in 10 minutes. While vehicles today can already drive more than 250 miles per charge, they can take hours to recharge in some instances.

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Gas-giant exoplanet WASP-107b has a surprisingly low core mass

Gas-giant exoplanet WASP-107b has a surprisingly low core mass

Researchers have been studying a gas-giant exoplanet called WASP-107b. During the study, they discovered the exoplanet's core mass is much lower than what was previously believed to be necessary to build up the immense gas envelope surrounding gas-giant planets. Research conducted by the Université de Montréal suggests that gas-giant planets may form more easily than previously believed.

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MIT scientists want to grow wood and fiber plant tissues in a lab

MIT scientists want to grow wood and fiber plant tissues in a lab

A group of researchers from MIT has proposed a way to grow certain plant tissues, including wood and fiber, in a lab. Their idea is in the early stages and is likened to cultured meat. Researchers see the ability to grow wood and fiber in a lab as an opportunity to streamline the production of biomaterials.

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Feline obsession with catnip and silvervine may help keep bugs away

Feline obsession with catnip and silvervine may help keep bugs away

It's no secret that (most) cats are obsessed with catnip and a somewhat lesser-known plant called silvervine. The plant materials often provoke a euphoric response in cats, resulting in behaviors like playfulness, meowing, and rolling out. That latter activity -- rolling on the silvervine and catnip -- may have a secondary, and quite useful, benefit for cats.

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SpaceX will turn two oil rigs into floating rocket launch pads

SpaceX will turn two oil rigs into floating rocket launch pads

Private space company SpaceX has purchased two deepwater oil rigs that will eventually be used as floating launch pads for its future endeavors. The purchases were made last year, according to a new report, and both are located near SpaceX's Starship facility in Texas. The rigs have been named Phobos and Deimos, the names of two Martian moons.

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NASA set fire to its ISS spacecraft – all for Artemis astronaut safety

NASA set fire to its ISS spacecraft – all for Artemis astronaut safety

NASA intentionally lit a fire in one of its spacecraft, turning the Cygnus that had just delivered supplies to the International Space Station into a laboratory to see how future disasters might impact crewed missions to the Moon and, later on, Mars. While space itself lacks the oxygen for fire to be an issue, crewed spacecraft like those NASA intends to use for its Artemis missions need to provide a breathable atmosphere for the astronauts onboard.

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