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MIT: "Largest of the Five Mass Extinctions Caused By Microbes" (Today's Most Popular)

 

 

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Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out — by far the largest of this planet’s five known mass extinctions. But pinpointing the culprit has been difficult, and controversial.

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"A Billion Miles Beyond Pluto" -- NASA New Horizons to Probe Unexplored Kuiper Belt Objects

 

 

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NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto.

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Harvard-Smithsonian CfA: "Did Life Spread Like an Epidemic Across the Vast Gulf of Interstellar Space?"

 

 

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We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. For example, did that life arise spontaneously? Or could it have spread from elsewhere? If life crossed the vast gulf of interstellar space long ago, how would we tell?

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Quasar Nearest to Earth Harbors Two Supermassive Black Holes

 

 

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Astrophysicists have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive black holes assemble their masses through violent mergers.

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Cosmic Collision Triggers Rebirth of a "Radio Phoenix"

 

 

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Astronomers have found evidence for a faded electron cloud "coming back to life," much like the mythical phoenix, after two galaxy clusters collided. This "radio phoenix," so-called because the high-energy electrons radiate primarily at radio frequencies, is found in Abell 1033. The system is located about 1.6 billion light years from Earth.

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"Metamorphosis" --The Evolution of Galaxies: The Basic Building Block of the Observable Universe

 

 

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A team of international scientists has shown for the first time that galaxies can change their structure over the course of their lifetime. By observing the sky as it is today, and peering back in time using the Hubble and Herschel telescopes, the team have shown that a large proportion of galaxies have undergone a major 'metamorphosis' since they were initially formed after the Big Bang.

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Image of the Day --The Spectacular Core of the Twin Jet Nebula

 

 

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The shimmering colors visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula. The new image highlights the nebula's shells and its knots of expanding gas in striking detail. Two iridescent lobes of material stretch outwards from a central star system. Within these lobes two huge jets of gas are streaming from the star system at speeds in excess of one million kilometers per hour.

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"Staggering" --Exploring the Limits of What Life Might Be Like in the Universe

 

 

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Bizarre creatures that go years without water. Others that can survive the vacuum of open space. Some of the most unusual organisms found on Earth provide insights for Washington State University planetary scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch to predict what life could be like elsewhere in the universe.

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First-Generation "Robot Scientist" to Search for Underlying Laws of Nature

 

 

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Everything that is changing around and within us - from the relatively simple motion of celestial bodies, to weather and complex biological processes - is a dynamical system. A large part of science is guessing the laws of nature that underlie such systems, summarizing them in mathematical equations that can be used to make predictions, and then testing those equations and predictions through experiments.

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New Insights Into "Snowball Earth" --"The Most Extreme Climatic Conditions Ever Known"

 

 

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The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published by scientists from the University of Birmingham. The researchers also found that the constant advance and retreat of ice during this period was caused by the Earth wobbling on its axis.

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