There's a flagpole atop the roof of Building 30 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, proudly streaming Old Glory in the sultry Texas summer wind. On the very first closed-door tour I got of the restored Apollo Mission Operations Control room more than a decade ago, my tour guide pointed out the flag as we entered the building's lobby. "That flag," he said, smiling, "flies whenever there is an American in space. Thanks to the International Space Station (ISS), NASA has had a flag up there continuously since 1998. I hope it'll be up there forever." … [Read more...] about Editorial: International Space Station’s viability beyond 2020 doubtful
"There is a very high possibility that by the end of the century, the Earth is going to be a very different place," study researcher Anthony Barnosky told LiveScience. Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley, joined a group of 17 other scientists to warn that this new planet might not be a pleasant place to live. … [Read more...] about Tipping Point? Earth Headed for Catastrophic Collapse, Researchers Warn
The slugs then discarded the penises (or at least the extended portion of them), similar to how geckos shed their tails. After about a day, the nudibranches were ready to mate again, at which point they projected the penis section that was previously hidden internally. One frisky slug actually had sex three times in three days. After the slugs finished with sex, and their cast-off penises, the spiral portion of the penis forms more cells that will eventually grow into the next penis, the researchers hypothesize. … [Read more...] about Hermaphrodite Sea Slug Mates With Throwaway Penis
Zoo officials at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., reported that many of their animals sought shelter or made distress calls in the minutes before a 5.8-magnitude quake struck the region on the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2010. Nocturnal snakes like copperheads came out of hiding, apes moved into the treetops and flamingos huddled tightly moments before the temblor was felt by zookeepers. … [Read more...] about Can Oarfish Predict Earthquakes?
"First, you have to find the whales," Irvine said. "These whales are huge, but the ocean is even bigger. A lot of days, you can just go out on a boat for days and not find anything. And since we use small boats, we can't operate in very bad weather — anything more than a 20 mph (32 km/h) wind — since we can't balance well in the boats to put tags on [the whales] when the water gets choppy. And to attach the tags, we have to get about 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) away from them, and whales spend 95 percent of their time underwater, so we have to wait for them to surface first." [In Photos: Tracking Humpback Whales] … [Read more...] about Blue Whales Roam Dangerously Close to Shipping Lanes