December 10, 2013 |
The lowest temperature recorded on Earth may have been logged in Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2010: a reading of 135.8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (or minus 93.2 degrees Celsius). That unfathomably frigid temperature reading, taken via NASA satellite, was part of an effort by American scientists to locate the coldest spot on the planet. Turns out, there are a string of extremely cold spots, pockets of unbelievable chill at high elevations in Antarctica. Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported the findings at a news conference Monday during the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco.
December 9, 2013 |
Billions of years ago, when early life was just taking hold on Earth, Mars was home to an ancient lake filled with the right chemical ingredients for life to thrive, scientists said Monday. Drilling into dry rock, NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered signs that Gale Crater was once watery, perhaps ringed with ice and snow, and could potentially have hosted an entire Martian biosphere based on a type of microbe found in caves on Earth. Such primitive organisms, called chemolithoautotrophs, feed on chemicals found in rocks and make their own energy.
December 8, 2013 |
There were 19 seconds left in the first half when the Staples Center crowd rose to its feet and roared. It's been nearly eight months, but everybody remembered what was happening next. Kobe Bryant had the basketball. His teammates stepped out of the way. This was his moment. This was his memory. This was his comeback. Well, sort of. Bryant's driving shot was partially blocked by Toronto's DeMar DeRozan, with Bryant crumpling to the floor and limping away as frightened fans gasped.
December 7, 2013
Re "Studies raise urgent climate alarms," Dec. 4 It's senseless to argue that burning fossil fuels isn't driving the rise of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to levels that scientific core samples show have not been seen in millions of years. Clearly the Earth's internal system of environmental balances can be pushed out of whack by human actions. Foolish farming practices caused the Dust Bowl, and it didn't take centuries. I hope we are not past the global warming tipping point.
December 3, 2013 |
With a thunderous roar, a 224-foot rocket carrying a massive satellite launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and blasted into outer space, hurtling over the Atlantic Ocean as it cut across the night sky. On Tuesday, Hawthorne rocket maker SpaceX lifted the SES-8 telecommunications satellite into orbit nearly 50,000 miles above the Earth. It was the first time that the company reached such a distance, which is about one-quarter of the way to the moon. Before the launch attempt, SpaceX said it would be the most challenging mission to date and technical issues cropped up early.
December 3, 2013 |
There's water in them thar planets - five massive “hot Jupiters” spied by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. But if you just thought "Life?!" think again. Despite the presence of water molecules in their atmospheres, none of these five planets is suitable to life as we know it. They are all gas giants, and they are all too close to their suns to sustain liquid water on their surfaces. These planets -- WASP-17b, HD209458b, WASP-12b, WASP-19b and XO-1b -- are tidally locked with their stars so that the same side of the planet always faces the star and is constantly bombarded with a powerful stream of solar radiation.
December 2, 2013 |
Scientists may have figured out why Jupiter's Great Red Spot -- the massive storm that's two to three times the size of Earth -- has stuck around for so long, and the finding may give us more insight into similar vortices on Earth and the formation of stars and planets. The Red Spot has been around for centuries, and scientists didn't know why. Their theories led them to believe the vortex should have disappeared after decades, not stuck around for hundreds of years. So Pedram Hassanzadeh, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and Philip Marcus, a professor of fluid dynamics at UC Berkeley, decided to try to figure out why the Red Spot had endured.
November 27, 2013 |
All it took to reach a more realistic estimate of how much fish is being harvested from the sea was one scientist with an Internet connection and an inquisitive mind. Researchers at the University of British Columbia used satellite imagery from Google Earth to discover that large fish traps in the Persian Gulf could be netting nearly six times more fish than official statistics report. The study began with a PhD student messing around on the Internet. ”I was just playing around with Google Earth, doing what most people do when they first get on, which is try to find their house,” said Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak, a doctoral student at the university's Fisheries Center and lead author of the study.
November 21, 2013 |
Is there life beyond Earth in our solar system? If there is, NASA's new chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, would like to find it. "If I had an unlimited budget, I would really be probing that question of life, because we know what the questions are, and we know what the destinations are," she said. Stofan was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Wednesday, attending meetings and speaking with the press. She landed NASA's top scientist job in August, but this was not her first visit to the campus in La Canada Flintridge.
November 15, 2013 |
"Anyone who writes about Druids and mysteriously coordinated landscapes," Graham Robb admits, "must expect to be treated with suspicion. " Indeed, although the Druids were the learned elite of the ancient Celts, they are better known today as the inspiration for such flaky goings on as the gathering at Stonehenge of ersatz Druids in white robes celebrating the summer solstice. (Stonehenge actually antedates the Druids by millenniums.) They seem an odd subject for the critically praised biographer of Balzac, Hugo and Rimbaud, a historian whose previous works seldom look back further than the French Revolution.