Planetary exploration hit in NASA budget
The Orion deep space exporation vehicle, seen in January.
February 13th, 2012
04:49 PM ET

Planetary exploration hit in NASA budget

So, NASA’s proposed budget for 2013 is sort of a good news, bad news proposition.

The good news is that it could have been a lot worse. If it stands, the space agency will have just under $18 billion, a little less than last year.

So what’s the bad news? Planetary exploration would fall by $300 million. As expected, Mars exploration is getting hit hardest, a whopping $226 million cut, about 38%. In its budget statement the agency says, “NASA is taking a fresh look at robotic Mars exploration.”

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Filed under: News
Fish scales may inspire body armor
Despite the piranha's sharp teeth, it can't break through the scales of the arapaima.
February 13th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Fish scales may inspire body armor

A huge fish that is impervious to piranha attacks could become the inspiration for a new class of ultratough composite materials.

Its scales are so tough that piranha teeth crack when they chomp down onto them. Each scale is coated with a rock-hard mineral material, but they have soft cores made from strings of stretchy protein. The fish is called the arapaima, and it's native to Brazil.

“You often find this in nature, where you have something hard on the outside, but it rides on something softer that gives it toughness,”  Marc Meyers, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, said in a statement.

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Filed under: On Earth

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