31 Oct 2014
By Alex Dobuzinskis MOJAVE Calif. (Reuters) - A suborbital passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight on Friday at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one crew member and seriously injuring the other, officials said. The crash of the vehicle, undergoing its first powered test flight since January over the Mojave Desert, 95 miles (150 km) north of Los Angeles, came days after another private space company, Orbital Sciences Corp, lost a rocket in an explosion moments after liftoff in Virginia. ...
31 Oct 2014 9:44pm GMT
Virgin Galactic's suborbital space plane SpaceShipTwo crashed today (Oct. 31) in California during a rocket-powered test flight that resulted in the death of one pilot and injuries to the other one, a Kern County Sheriff's Department representative has confirmed. SpaceShipTwo - which is built by the company Scaled Composites for Virgin Galactic - "suffered a serious anomaly" after its rocket motor ignited, leading to the crash of the spacecraft. One of the pilots parachuted out of the prototype spaceliner, and the other pilot perished during the failed flight, Ray Pruitt, the sheriff's office spokesman, confirmed. The test flight began today at around 12:19 p.m. EDT (1619 GMT), when SpaceShipTwo and its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo were cleared for takeoff from California's Mojave Air and Space Port, according to NBC News' Alan Boyle.
31 Oct 2014 8:48pm GMT
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - Heeding a lesson from history, designers of a new generation of U.S. rockets will include escape systems to give crew members a fighting chance of surviving launch accidents such as the one that felled an unmanned Orbital Sciences Antares rocket on Tuesday. The U.S. space agency NASA bypassed escape systems for the now-retired space shuttle fleet, believing the spaceships to be far safer than they turned out to be. The illusion was shattered on Jan. ...
31 Oct 2014 7:23pm GMT
Virgin Galactic's suborbital space plane SpaceShipTwo suffered a serious malfunction during a rocket-powered test flight over Mojave, California, today (Oct. 31) resulting in the loss of the spacecraft. The SpaceShipTwo passenger spacecraft experienced an unspecified anomaly after igniting its rocket motor shortly after the vehicle separated from its carrier plane WhiteKnightTwo. "Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today," Virgin Galactic officials said in a statement on Twitter today.
31 Oct 2014 7:10pm GMT
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - As Orbital Sciences picks up the pieces, literally and figuratively, after its high-profile rocket launch explosion, accident investigators are looking closely at a potential first-stage engine problem. Technical data relayed from Orbital's Antares rocket before and after Tuesday's liftoff from Wallops Island, Virginia, show everything was fine until the rocket's ascent stopped 15 seconds into the flight, the company said in a status report issued late Thursday. ...
31 Oct 2014 5:26pm GMT
In a photo contest that honors all things small, it's tough to beat a shot of a rotifer: A view into the mouth of one of the tiniest animals on the planet won the top prize in this year's Nikon Small World competition. Rotifers rank among tardigrades as the smallest creatures in the animal kingdom. The winning photo, captured by Rogelio Moreno, a programmer and self-taught microscopist from Panama, shows the open mouth of a rotifer surrounded by a heart-shaped corona, or a crown of cilia that sweep water into its maw. Moreno watched the rotifer for hours, waiting for the right opportunity to snap a shot of the constantly moving creature at the moment it opened its mouth, according to Nikon.
31 Oct 2014 5:05pm GMT
Unlike Dracula or Frankenstein, these Halloween monsters aren't based on a literary resource. In fact, the modern conception of a zombie dates back to 1968, in a movie that doesn't so much as use the word: George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead." "He didn't call them zombies, and he didn't think about them as zombies," said Ozzy Inguanzo, a screenwriter and author of "Zombies on Film: The Definitive Story of Undead Cinema" (Rizzoli, 2014). Since then, the walking undead have wormed their way into video games, comic books - and even the classics (witness 2009's novel "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
31 Oct 2014 4:19pm GMT
Autumn is a time for leaf peeping, jack-o'-lanterns and pumpkin pie. The bright orange globes are the quintessential symbols of the season, and spooky jack-o'-lanterns have become a staple of Halloween celebrations everywhere. Pumpkins are perhaps the oldest domesticated plants on Earth, with archaeological and botanical evidence suggesting that people cultivated pumpkins as far back as 10,000 B.C., said Cindy Ott, an American studies professor at Saint Louis University in Missouri, and the author of "Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon," (University of Washington Press, 2012).
31 Oct 2014 3:08pm GMT
Halloween isn't just an occasion to put on zombie makeup and binge-eat candy. From an analysis of racist costumes to an assessment of the hazards of egg throwing, here are a few strange chapters from the annals of Halloween science. They made her watch clips from "The Ring," "The Shining," "The Silence of the Lambs" and other horror movies.
31 Oct 2014 11:14am GMT
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The crash of an unmanned Orbital Sciences Antares rocket is a "wake-up call" to the U.S. space community about the need to develop a new U.S. rocket engine, the head of Boeing Co's defense division said on Thursday. Chris Chadwick, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said the failure of the rocket on Tuesday was a "sad and tragic" reminder that the space business was complex and difficult, but he did not expect a lasting setback to the overall industry. The incident underscored growing concerns about U.S. ...
31 Oct 2014 2:26am GMT
30 Oct 2014
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A skin-eating fungus that infiltrated Europe through the global wildlife trade is threatening to inflict massive losses on the continent's native salamanders including extinction of whole species and could do the same in North America, scientists say. An international research team said on Thursday the fungus, first detected in Europe last year, has killed salamanders in the Netherlands and Belgium and is expected soon to reach other European nations. They said it is closely related to another fungus that already has wiped out some amphibian species. ...
30 Oct 2014 7:59pm GMT
By Daniel Wallis (Reuters) - An Arizona school board has voted to remove information about contraception methods from a biology textbook after a conservative majority decided it fell afoul of a state law that says materials should give a preference to childbirth or adoption over abortion. The members of the Gilbert Public Schools board, which covers at least 38 schools and 39,000 students mostly in Chandler and Mesa, voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to excise two pages from "Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections. ...
30 Oct 2014 7:56pm GMT
29 Oct 2014
When a private rocket exploded just after launch Tuesday (Oct. 28), science experiments developed by students, professional researchers and private companies went up in smoke. The private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket was expected to launch the company's unmanned cargo-carrying Cygnus spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday evening. "We do want to express our disappointment that we were not able to fulfill our obligation to the International Space Station program and deliver this load of cargo, especially to the researchers who had science on board and the people that were counting on the various hardware and components that were going to the station," Orbital Executive Vice President Frank Culbertson said during a news conference after the rocket failure.
29 Oct 2014 11:47pm GMT
NASA's bold asteroid-capture mission is an expensive distraction that does little to advance the agency's overarching goal of getting humans to Mars, one prominent researcher argues. For the past 18 months, NASA has been working on a plan to drag an entire near-Earth asteroid, or a boulder plucked from a large space rock, into lunar orbit using a robotic probe. NASA officials say this "Asteroid Redirect Mission," or ARM, will help develop the technologies and know-how required to send astronauts to Mars, which the space agency hopes to accomplish by the mid-2030s. "The principal reason that ARM makes no sense is that it is a misstep off the path to Mars," Binzel told Space.com.
29 Oct 2014 6:33pm GMT
They may be small, but new lab-grown miniature human stomachs could one day help researchers better understand how the stomach develops, as well as the diseases that can strike it. Using human stem cells and a series of chemical switches, researchers grew stomachs measuring 0.1 inches (3 millimeters) in diameter, in lab dishes, according to a report published today (Oct. 29) in the journal Nature. "It was really remarkable to us how much it looked like a stomach," said researcher Jim Wells, a professor of developmental biology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Growing a miniature stomach had its hurdles.
29 Oct 2014 6:32pm GMT
28 Oct 2014
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservationists said on Tuesday they have brought giant tortoises found on the Galapagos island of Espanola back from the brink of extinction, gaining a foothold strong enough to allow humans to leave the reptiles alone. The tortoises can care for themselves," said James Gibbs, a vertebrate conservation biology professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry who led the study. Located in the Pacific about 600 miles (1,000 km) west of Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago is home to an array of unusual creatures that helped inspire Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection following his 1835 visit. Española giant Galapagos tortoises, their scientific name is Chelonoidis hoodensis, measure 3 feet (1 meter) long with a saddle-backed shell.
28 Oct 2014 9:57pm GMT