June 14th, 2012
05:07 PM ET

Neanderthals could have been Europe's first cave artists

The first modern humans in Europe perhaps did more than hunt and gather.  They may have been artistically inclined, according to a new study.

Scientists involved in the research, to be released Friday in the journal Science, found cave art that dates back thousands of years earlier than previously thought.  The team of researchers said the findings imply the paintings were created either by the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or, perhaps, by Neanderthals.

"This currently is Europe's oldest dated art by at least 4,000 years," said archaeologist and lead author of the study Alistair Pike in a press conference to reporters.

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Filed under: News
June 14th, 2012
04:32 PM ET

Solving the mystery of black holes

Editor's note: Meg Urry is the Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy and chairwoman of the department of physics at Yale University, where she is the director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. This article was written in association with the Op-Ed Project.

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) – In Ballroom E of the Den'aina conference center here Wednesday, a small group of astronomers and journalists listened to the NASA feed from Kwajalein island, between Hawaii and Australia, where a Pegasus rocket aboard an L1011 plane was about to launch the NuSTAR space telescope. I was there as a member of the science team for NuSTAR, which is part of NASA's Small Explorer program

Many years in the making, NuSTAR carries an important scientific instrument designed to look for energetic X-rays from cosmic sources like black holes and exploded stars.

Most of us know about X-rays used for diagnostic imaging of broken limbs or for security scans at the airport. They are a high-energy form of light, energetic enough to penetrate clothing or flesh.

Rover bound for intriguing crater on Mars
Curiosity, NASA's most advanced rover, will search Gale Crater for evidence of life as we know it on Mars.
June 14th, 2012
09:50 AM ET

Rover bound for intriguing crater on Mars

Curiosity, NASA's rover bound for Mars, is set to touch down in August. Now, scientists say they know with even more accuracy where it will land.

The summer landing will be the start of a Martian road trip that will take months or possibly a year as Curiosity makes its way toward its final destination, the Gale Crater, said Curiosity contributor James Wray, an assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"The most important thing perhaps is that we are steering to a different place in Gale Crater, which is a giant mountain of sedimentary rock," Wray said. Unlike Curiosity's predecessors, Opportunity and Spirit,  "We are going with the intention of having to drive a long distance before even getting to what we want to study because the mountain is too steep," Wray said.

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Filed under: In Space • Mars

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