Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seeing the moon in a whole new light

International Observe the Moon Night is September 18, 2010. The goal of this event is to engage the local public and amateur astronomers to raise awareness of NASA's involvement in lunar research and exploration. Share the excitement of future exploration and host your own International Observe the Moon Night!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Man to attempt skydive from 23 miles up

A daredevil will soon attempt to break the world record for the highest skydive—set 50 years ago—and be the first human to freefall faster than the speed of sound, and from near the edge of space. Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is slated to attempt a jump from some 120,000 feet above the ground later this year. To attain this stratospheric height, Baumgartner will take a three-hour trip in a pressurized capsule raised aloft by a giant helium balloon. The record-setting skydive should help inform escape plans for astronauts and space tourists alike by extending the "safety zone" where making a bailout is still in the cards.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scientists discover new monkey species near Ecuador

A scientific expedition to the Colombian Amazon has revealed a new species of titi monkey. The cat-size creature is critically endangered because of rapid habitat loss and its small population. Research from 30 years ago hinted that a previously unknown primate species might be living in Colombia's Caquetá region, near the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border, but violence and insurgent fighting kept the area off limits for decades.

It was only recently that scientists of the National University of Colombia proved the rumors true when they discovered the new species.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Robot fish check water quality off the coast of Spain

In the wake of the oil-gushing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, these peculiar fish may soon be very, very popular around the world. Scientists are building a school of robot fish to be let loose off the northern Spanish port of Gijon next year to check on the quality of the water. Modeled to resemble carp and costing about $29,000 each to make, the fish are lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

The robots, the first of their kind, are equipped with tiny chemical sensors capable of detecting pollutants in the water. These let the fish hone in on the sources of hazardous pollutants, such as leaks from vessels or undersea pipelines, and transmit the data via wireless technology to expedite clean-up efforts.

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