When the first astronomers turned their eyes to the heavens, tens of thousands of years ago, their view was unobscured by the glow of city lights. At night, a pristine black sheet stretched across an unreachable ceiling overhead. The centerpiece of this ancient nightscape was a flat grey disc that hung in the sky: the moon.We used to worship the moon, tell each other stories to explain its mysteries. In Australia, the Indigenous Yolngu people named it "Ngalindi," believing a full moon represented an indolent, pot-bellied man with several wives. As the moon cycled through its phases, the Yolngu believed Ngalindi's wives had taken to his body with their axes, slicing pieces away, leaving only a crescent slither. Similar stories abound in Aztec culture and the myths of ancient Mesopotamia, East Asia, India and Greece. But on July 20, 1969, we stepped onto a lunar sea and saw the moon's surface, up close, for the very first time. The ground was dead and cratered. Only dusty plains … [Read more...] about One small step: What will the moon look like in 50 years?
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In 2005, Rachel Straub was a college student returning home from a three-week medical service mission in Central America. Soon after, she suffered a brutal case of the flu. Or so she thought. “We were staying in orphanages,” she says of her trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. “There were bugs everywhere. I remember going to the bathroom and the sinks would be solid bugs.” She plucked at least half a dozen ticks off her body.Back in Straub’s hometown of San Diego, fevers and achiness tormented her for a couple of weeks. Her doctor suspected Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks, but a test came back negative, and at the time, the infection was almost unheard of in Latin America.For years, Straub struggled off and on with crushing fatigue and immune problems. She forged on with her studies. Dedicated to physical fitness, she started writing a book about weight training. But in late 2012, she could no longer push through her exhaustion.“My health … [Read more...] about New approaches may help solve the Lyme disease diagnosis dilemma
Billions of years in the future, our dead sun will morph into a giant cosmic jewel, a new study suggests. Like the vast majority of stars in our Milky Way galaxy, the sun will eventually collapse into a white dwarf, an exotic object about 200,000 times denser than Earth. To put that in perspective: A mere teaspoon of white-dwarf material would weigh about as much as an elephant, if you could somehow transport the stuff to our planet. Half a century ago, theorists predicted that white dwarfs solidify into crystal over time — and the new research has found that this is indeed the case. [Death of a Sunlike Star: How It Will Destroy Earth (Infographic)] "All white dwarfs will crystallize at some point in their evolution, although more massive white dwarfs go through the process sooner," study lead author Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay, a physicist at the University of Warwick in England, said in a statement. "This means that billions of … [Read more...] about The Sun Will Turn Into a Giant Crystal Ball After It Dies
caption China landing its Chang’e 4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon is an early phase of an ambitious program of space exploration. source Shayanne Gal/Business Insider China landed a spacecraft called Chang’e 4 on the moon’s far side for the first in human history. A rover and lander will study lunar geology, look for water ice, scan the night sky for radio bursts, and even grow silkworms. But Chang’e 4 is just one mission leading to a sample return, a crewed lunar landing, and maybe even the construction of permanent moon bases. The moon mission can be seen as yet another sign of the erosion of the US’ standing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. After several weeks of coasting through the void between Earth and its moon, China landed a space mission called Chang’e 4 on the lunar surface. However, Chang’e 4 didn’t touch down just anywhere: China parked the car-sized … [Read more...] about ‘This is more than just a landing’: Why China’s mission on the far side of the moon should be a wake-up call for the world
By Jeffrey BrainardJan. 3, 2019 , 8:00 AM Scientists in Europe and the United States face an uncertain political landscape in the new year, which could affect funding and collaborations. The threat is most acute in the United Kingdom, which plans to exit the European Union in March but has not settled on the terms of its departure. Some big research findings could share the headlines, however, including the first clear images of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy, from astronomers in an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope. Science's news staff forecasts other areas of research and policy likely to make news this year. CLIMATE SCIENCE All eyes on polar ice If you want to understand Earth's warming future, look to the poles. This year, scientists in two international projects will heed that call. In September, researchers will position a German icebreaker, the RV Polarstern, to freeze in Arctic sea ice for a year's stay. The ship will … [Read more...] about The science stories likely to make headlines in 2019