European Mars probe destroyed after plunging to surface

A full-size model of the European ExoMars entry, descent and landing module, Schiaparell is seen during a press conference at the European Space Agency (ESA) Headquarters in DarmstadtImages taken by a NASA Mars orbiter indicate that a missing European space probe fell to the Red Planet's surface from a height of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.2 to 2.5 miles) and was destroyed on impact, the European Space Agency said on Friday. The disc-shaped 577-kg (1,272 lb) Schiaparelli probe, part of the Russian-European ExoMars program to search for evidence of life on Mars, descended on Wednesday to test technologies for a rover that scientists hope to send to the surface of the planet in 2020. The U.S. space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling Mars for about 10 years, took low-resolution pictures that show a bright spot that ESA believes is the 12-metre parachute that Schiaparelli used to slow down.

Posted on 21 October 2016 | 1:39 pm

Fact-Checking Trump: Can Abortions Really Happen on the 'Final Day' of Pregnancy?

Fact-Checking Trump: Can Abortions Really Happen on the 'Final Day' of Pregnancy?At last night's presidential debate, Donald Trump said abortions could happen "on the final day" of a pregnancy if Hillary Clinton becomes president, but experts say this is very unlikely and does not accurately reflect the reality of abortions in the United States. However, an abortion so late in pregnancy is "incredibly unlikely," said Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization. "That just isn't the experience around abortion that women have" in the United States, Nash said.

Posted on 21 October 2016 | 11:06 am

Heavy Marijuana Use May Be Bad for Your Bones

Heavy Marijuana Use May Be Bad for Your BonesPeople who regularly smoke large amounts of marijuana may be more susceptible to bone fractures than people who don't use the drug, according to a new study conducted in the United Kingdom. Researchers also found that the people in the study who used marijuana regularly tended to have thinner bones than the people who did not use pot. Having thinner bones might put people at higher risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which a person's bones become brittle and fragile, the researchers said.

Posted on 21 October 2016 | 11:05 am

Rich People Really Do Ignore You When They Walk By

Rich People Really Do Ignore You When They Walk ByWealthy people appear to spend less time looking at other human beings, compared with how much time people in lower social classes look at others, according to a new study that used Google Glass headsets to track people's gazes. Because the time people spend looking at something may be related to how much motivational relevance the object or person holds, the "findings make a compelling case that social classes differ in their judgments of other people's significance," the researchers wrote in their paper, published Oct. 3 in the journal Psychological Science. In the study, the researchers asked 61 people to wear a Google Glass headset while walking around in New York City.

Posted on 21 October 2016 | 11:05 am

At Mars, ExoMars Science Mission Goes on Despite Missing Lander

At Mars, ExoMars Science Mission Goes on Despite Missing LanderThe ExoMars 2016 mission is in business despite the apparent failure of its lander to touch down softly on the Red Planet Wednesday (Oct. 19), European Space Agency (ESA) officials stressed. The lander, known as Schiaparelli, seems to have deployed its parachute too early and fired its thrusters for an insufficient amount of time as it streaked through the Martian atmosphere Wednesday, ESA officials said. As Schiaparelli was experiencing its "six minutes of terror" descent, the second part of the ExoMars 2016 mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), was firing its main engine for more than two hours in a crucial orbit-insertion burn.

Posted on 21 October 2016 | 11:00 am

Spaceship carrying three-man crew docks with ISS, NASA TV reports

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying the crew of Shane Kimbrough of the U.S., Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Russia blasts off to the ISS from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome(Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts docked with the International Space Station on Friday, NASA TV reported, two days after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spaceship with NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko on board completed the docking maneuver at 0952 GMT. ...

Posted on 21 October 2016 | 6:44 am

Smart mouth: Chinese fish fossil sheds light on jaw evolution

An illustration shows the fish called Qilinyu that lived 423 million years ago during the Silurian PeriodBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bottom-dwelling, mud-grubbing, armored fish that swam in tropical seas 423 million years ago is fundamentally changing the understanding of the evolution of an indisputably indispensable anatomical feature: the jaw. "Now we know that one branch of placoderms evolved into modern jawed vertebrates," said study co-leader Zhu Min, a paleontologist at Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

Posted on 20 October 2016 | 5:03 pm

Scientists in Europe downplay likely loss of Mars lander

An employee stands in the control center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday Oct. 19, 2016. ESA and its Russian partner Roskosmos hope for the first successful landing on Mars. Their landing modul Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. Less than six minutes later it will have landed on Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover. Schiaparelli's mother ship ,TGO, will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars, (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)BERLIN (AP) — Scientists at the European Space Agency downplayed the likely loss of its Mars lander, saying Thursday that a wealth of data sent back by the experimental probe would help them prepare for a future mission to the red planet.

Posted on 20 October 2016 | 11:30 am

Spiders can 'tune' webs for good vibrations, researchers say

Dr. Beth Mortimer from the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford tests the web of the garden cross spiderSpiders can control the tension and stiffness of their webs to optimize their sensory powers, helping them locate and identify prey as well as partners, according to researchers at Oxford University. "Spiders use vibrations not only from prey which is caught in their web, where obviously it's important that they know ...where it is and what it might be," researcher Beth Mortimer told Reuters. "But vibrations are also important in courtship ... A lot of males will actually generate a very specific kind of musical pattern which the females can use to determine not only that they're a male but they're the right species and whether she might want to mate with them as well." Spiders can also use the information to assess their web's condition, she said.

Posted on 20 October 2016 | 9:45 am

'Planet Nine' Can't Hide Much Longer, Scientists Say

'Planet Nine' Can't Hide Much Longer, Scientists SayPlanet Nine's days of lurking unseen in the dark depths of the outer solar system may be numbered. The hypothetical giant planet, which is thought to be about 10 times more massive than Earth, will be discovered within 16 months or so, astronomer Mike Brown predicted. "I'm pretty sure, I think, that by the end of next winter — not this winter, next winter — I think that there'll be enough people looking for it that … somebody's actually going to track this down," Brown said during a news conference Wednesday (Oct. 19) at a joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) and the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Pasadena, California.

Posted on 20 October 2016 | 8:55 am