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October 2016
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December 2016

"Europa Bound?" --NASA/JPL's AI Empowered Robotic Submersibles



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"Truly autonomous fleets of robots have been a holy grail in oceanography for decades," Thompson said. "Bringing JPL's exploration and AI experience to this problem should allow us to lay the groundwork for carrying out similar activities in more challenging regions, like Earth's polar regions and even oceans on other planets."

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NASA: "Spotless!" --Sun at Lowest Level of Solar Activity Since 2011

 

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This week the sun was hitting its lowest level of solar activity since 2011 (Nov. 14-18, 2016) as it gradually marches towards solar minimum. This activity is usually measured by sunspot count and over the past several days the sun has been almost spotless.

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ESO: Neutron Star Provides First Observation of Strange Quantum Effect in Space

 

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By studying the light emitted from an extraordinarily dense and strongly magnetized neutron star using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence.

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StarTalk Radio With Neil deGrasse Tyson --Artificial Intelligence, Life on Exoplanets and Asteroid Mining

 

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Join StarTalk Radio for a panel discussion and questions from the audience that run the gamut from mutant cyborgs and artificial intelligence, to life on exoplanets and asteroid mining. You’ll hear about the potential for life on Proxima B, an exoplanet only 4 light years from Earth, and NASA’s efforts to avoid contaminating alien life, similar to Star Trek’s prime directive.

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Life on Early Earth Survived Without Oxygen --"Existed Two Billion Years Before Plants and Trees"

 

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"These are the oldest reported fossil sulfur bacteria to date," says Andrew Czaja, University of Cincinnati assistant professor of geology. "And this discovery is helping us reveal a diversity of life and ecosystems that existed just prior to the Great Oxidation Event, a time of major atmospheric evolution.

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New 'Species' of Galaxy Observed --"Faint Objects the Size of the Milky Way With 1,000 Times Fewer Stars"

 

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It has been a mystery, how galaxies so faint - containing up to 1000 times fewer stars than the Milky Way could still be just as large. Over the last year, researchers have observed some very faint, diffuse galaxies. The galaxies are as faint as dwarf galaxies, but are distributed over an area just as large as the Milky Way.

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NASA's Kepler Mission Reveals Our Solar System is Extremely Rare --"And We Have No Idea Why"

 

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Of the more than 2,331 confirmed planets and 4,696 planetary candidates the Kepler Mission has identified to date, only one system resembles our own with terrestrial planets near the star and giant planets set at a distance. 

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New NASA Alien Planet K2-3d Discovered --"Scientists Hope Detect Extraterrestrial Life Via Molecules in Its Atmosphere"

 

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A group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center among others has observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.

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NASA's “Operation IceBridge" --Antarctica's Melting Polar Ice Threatens Planet's Water Levels

 

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Antarctica is heading into austral summer, a period of rapid sea ice melt in the Southern Ocean. But this year, NASA's Operation Icebridge reports that the sea ice loss has been particularly swift and the Antarctic sea ice extent is currently at the lowest level for this time of year ever recorded in the satellite record, which began in 1979.

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