Astronomers using both ground- and space-based telescopes have discovered a new kind of asteroid that sports not one, but six comet-like tails, and has been described as looking something like a rotating lawn sprinkler.
P/2013 P5 was first spotted with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at the top of Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii, in August and then followed up with more detailed observations using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 1:23 pm
By Andrew Prince
The National Geodetic Survey doesn't often get the opportunity to take detailed measurements of the massive stone obelisk that sits in the middle of Washington, D.C.
But a 2011 earthquake in nearby Mineral, Va., damaged the Washington Monument enough that to repair it, the tower had to be wrapped in scaffolding. That gave surveyors access to the very top of the structure.
Legend holds that the length of a woolly bear caterpillar's color bands can be used to forecast how severe the winter weather will be. The myth dates back to colonial American folklore but was popularized by a 1948 study. SciFri finds out if there's any truth to the lore, and what the caterpillar's fuzzy bristles are really used for.
This week, India launched Mangalyaan, its first robotic mission to orbit Mars and probe its atmosphere. Only Russia, Europe, and the U.S. have successfully orbited the planet. Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor in national security affairs, and planetary scientist Bruce Jakosky discuss the Indian space program, as well as NASA's upcoming mission to the Martian atmosphere.
Echinacea, vitamins, and other dietary supplements have become a $5 billion industry, but the products don't need to be pre-approved by the FDA before they go on the market. How do we know what is really in our supplements? What regulations are currently in place? How can we keep ourselves safe and informed?
Since its appearance in the U.S. seven years ago, white-nose syndrome has decimated bat populations across eastern North America. Scientists say they've determined the culprit--a soil-dwelling fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans--and now they're investigating novel ways to stop it, including antifungal bacteria.
Forget dissecting frogs and building potato batteries. High school students today are learning genetic engineering--and some are even redesigning life. Bioethicists and the FBI have taken note and are rethinking biosecurity for the synthetic biology revolution.