September 28th, 2012
06:11 PM ET

Why Goodall studies chimpanzees

CNN iReporter Chris Morrow interviewed legendary chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall.

Goodall says we are closer to chimpanzees biologically and behaviorally than any other animal, so learning more about them gives us insights into our evolutionary past.

"We also learn to be a little humble, and realize we are part of, and not separated from, the rest of the animal kingdom," Goodall said.


Filed under: On Earth
September 28th, 2012
09:44 AM ET

Rover finds evidence of ancient water on Mars

If the Curiosity rover had been sent to Mars in ancient times, it might have found itself sinking in a stream.

The 2,000-pound super-rover, which made its now-legendary landing on Mars on August 6, has come across stones in conglomerate rock suggesting that water must have flowed there in the past.
One such rock outcrop is called Hottah, after Hottah Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories.

It looks like someone took a jackhammer and lifted up a sidewalk, said John Grotzinger, lead scientist for the Curiosity mission, at a press conference Thursday.

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Filed under: In Space • Mars
September 26th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Baby pictures: NASA photo shows earliest stages of universe

Imagine if you got a glimpse into the earliest stages of your life. Seeing yourself as a baby, throwing tantrums, sleeping, playing and later growing up would be interesting, right?

NASA is experiencing that very sensation after obtaining a photo showing the farthest and thus, earliest reaches of the universe.

The photo is called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, and was created by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs of the same patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Though it focuses on a small field of view, it reveals 5,500 galaxies that were previously unseen.

The faintest of those galaxies is one-ten billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see on its own, NASA says.

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Filed under: In Space
The Seagull Nebula
September 26th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

The Seagull Nebula

This image, taken by the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) La Silla Observatory shows the gas cloud Sharpless 2-292, part of the stellar nursery nicknamed the Seagull Nebula.

This image shows the 'head' of the Seagull Nebula. The overall nebula spans about 100 light-years, and is about 3700 light-years from Earth.


Filed under: In Space • Light up the screen
Icy molecules a clue to our origins
Equipment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, right, mimics the extremely cold temperatures at the edge of a solar system.
September 24th, 2012
12:26 PM ET

Icy molecules a clue to our origins

Scientists think that water and organic molecules come together in the coldest places in space to begin the chemical reactions necessary for organics to evolve into prebiotic molecules molecules that are precursors of life. Ice and organics could have hitched a ride to Earth on comets and asteroids, where they could have formed the building blocks of life as we know it.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are trying to better understand that process, and how life may have formed on Earth, by firing lasers at icy carbon-laden molecules in a lab.

Principal scientist Murthy Gudipati explained to CNN by e-mail: "In the cycle of formation, evolution, and death of stars, two key components of life (as we know of it): water and organic matter, evolve intimately with the third component energy (radiation) at every stage of this cycle even at the coldest regions of the universe."

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Filed under: Discoveries • On Earth
Last Minute Inspection
September 24th, 2012
12:06 PM ET

Last Minute Inspection

"Sept. 24 marks the 82nd birthday of John W. Young, the only astronaut to fly aboard the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle spacecraft. In this 1965 photo, Young is going through last-minute checks before the mission's March 23 launch. Young was the pilot on this flight, which was commanded by original astronaut Gus Grissom."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
September 22nd, 2012
07:00 AM ET

14-year-old gets photos from space

A Lego man encased in a homemade weather balloon ended his journey to the edge of space on a New Hampshire driveway, bringing with him a trove of atmospheric data as well as stunning images of the curvature of the Earth.

The balloon, which landed on August 25, is the brainchild of a 14-year-old student named Jack Miron from Bedford, New Hampshire.

He didn’t know that NASA is using this technology for telescope research and studying the atmospheres of Mars, Venus and beyond.

His sights were set instead on an eighth-grade science project.

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Oldest tooth filling may have been found
Beeswax on this ancient jawbone indicates the earliest evidence of theraputic dentistry
September 19th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

Oldest tooth filling may have been found

We all know the drill: Slip up on your regular brush-and-floss routine, and you may end up at the dentist's office with a cavity that needs to be filled. But what people did about their toothaches thousands of years ago?

Scientists in Italy have discovered what may be the earliest evidence of therapeutic dentistry performed on a human.

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One reports the discovery of a beeswax filling on the left canine of a 6,500-year-old human jawbone from Slovenia. It is housed at the Natural History Museum of Trieste, Italy.

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September 19th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

NASA's last space shuttle on nostalgic flight to retirement home

The space shuttle Endeavour began its final aerial show on Wednesday, thrilling spectators across the southern United States before completing the first stage of its transcontinental voyage in Houston.

After a two-day delay due to unfavorable weather, Endeavour began its flight from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles, where the now-retired spacecraft will be displayed.
Endeavour, along with Discovery, Enterprise and Atlantis, became museum pieces after NASA ended its 30-year shuttle program in July 2011.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • News
Los Angeles prepares for space shuttle retirement
September 19th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Los Angeles prepares for space shuttle retirement

Los Angeles County, California, isn't like outer space. It doesn't have a lot of room for a space shuttle to move around.

The numbers say it all: Some 265 trees, 202 street lights, seven power poles, six traffic lights, two overhead signs, and two railroad crossing arms have been removed from the 12-mile route that Space Shuttle Endeavour will travel next month to its retirement home at the California Science Center, according to the Los Angeles mayor’s office.

While engineers finished their work making the shuttle safe for public viewing, city workers in California have been busy making the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles suitable for an orbiter to pass through.

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