Dropped seeds from Kazakhstan got us modern apples

Dropped seeds from Kazakhstan got us modern apples

New research clarifies the genetic exchange that brought us today’s domesticated apples.Silk Road travelers, trading their goods and ideas across Eurasia, brought with them hitchhiking apple seeds, discarded from the choicest fruit pulled from wild trees. This early selection would eventually lead to the 7,500 varieties of apple that exist today.

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A giant cave on the moon could provide a potential human habitat

A giant cave on the moon could provide a potential human habitat

On October 5th, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Trump administration’s plan to return astronauts to the Moon. Looking to the long-term, NASA and several other space agencies are also intent on establishing a permanent lunar base there. This base will not only provide opportunities for lunar science, but will facilitate missions to Mars and beyond.

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Solar Eruptions Could Electrify Martian Moons

Solar Eruptions Could Electrify Martian Moons

Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos.

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Method to weigh galaxy clusters could help us understand mysterious ‘dark matter’ structures

Method to weigh galaxy clusters could help us understand mysterious ‘dark matter’ structures

The furthest galaxy ever observed is so far away that the starlight we now detect was emitted less than 500m years after the Big Bang. It has taken about 13 billion years to reach us. But there’s a lot of things about a galaxy that we can’t see. For example, we think galaxies are immersed within gigantic “halos” of an invisible substance dubbed dark matter. Scientists don’t actually know what dark matter is, but they know it exists because it has a gravitational pull on surrounding matter.

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Flowing water on Mars likely cold and frosty, says new study

Flowing water on Mars likely cold and frosty, says new study

Thanks to decades of exploration using robotic orbiter missions, landers and rovers, scientists are certain that billions of years ago, liquid water flowed on the surface of Mars. Beyond that, many questions have remained, which include whether or not the waterflow was intermittent or regular. In other words, was Mars truly a “warm and wet” environment billions of years ago, or was it more along the lines of “cold and icy”?

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Filters: a cigarette engineering hoax that harms both smokers and the environment

Filters: a cigarette engineering hoax that harms both smokers and the environment

Cigarette filters were initially introduced by the tobacco industry in the 1960s to make cigarettes “safer”. But we now know they provide no safety, no health benefits, and are a major cause of environmental littering.

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How we discovered gravitational waves from ‘neutron stars’ – and why it’s such a huge deal

How we discovered gravitational waves from ‘neutron stars’ – and why it’s such a huge deal

Rumours have been swirling for weeks that scientists have detected gravitational waves – tiny ripples in space and time – from a source other than colliding black holes. Now we can finally confirm that we’ve observed such waves produced by the violent collision of two massive, ultra-dense stars more than 100m light years from the Earth.

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Scientists find evidence of extreme methane storms on Titan

Scientists find evidence of extreme methane storms on Titan

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is a mysterious place; and the more we learn about it, the more surprises it seems to have in store. Aside from being the only body beyond Earth that has a dense, nitrogen-rich atmosphere, it also has methane lakes on its surface and methane clouds in its atmosphere. This hydrological-cycle, where methane is converted from a liquid to a gas and back again, is very similar to the water cycle here on Earth.

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Why astrophysicists are over the moon about observing merging neutron stars

Why astrophysicists are over the moon about observing merging neutron stars

When LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, first detected gravitational waves from merging black holes, it opened up a new window in astrophysics and provided the most powerful confirmation yet of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Now LIGO has done it again, together with the Virgo interferometer, this time by observing merging neutron stars – something astrophysicists had known must happen but had never been able to detect definitively until now.

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An Alternate Universe: Our Cosmos May Have Been Spawned by a Hypermassive Black Hole

An Alternate Universe: Our Cosmos May Have Been Spawned by a Hypermassive Black Hole

The most accepted theory of the origin of the universe is still the Big Bang. The theory proposes the universe started from a small singularity (the gravitational kind), then began to expand over the succeeding 13.8 billion years. Although this expansion has its own issues, a bigger question remains: what preceded the Big Bang?

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