February 28th, 2013
05:26 PM ET

Tito: Mission to Mars is possible

CNN's Erin Burnett spoke to millionaire Dennis Tito about his ambitious plan to send a middle-aged married couple to the Red Planet. Check out the video, above.

Read more about Tito's plan


Filed under: In Space • Mars
Planet of sound: Meteor blast resonated around Earth
A large chunk of a meteor that exploded over Russia is found in a lake on Friday, February 15.
February 28th, 2013
09:43 AM ET

Planet of sound: Meteor blast resonated around Earth

By Matt Smith, CNN

The meteor that exploded over the steppes of southwestern Russia sent a low-frequency rumble bouncing through the Earth, giving scientists new clues about the biggest cosmic intruder in a century.

The big boom over Chelyabinsk on February 15 also produced a wave of sound thousands of times lower than a piano's middle C - far below the range of human hearing, according to the international agency that watches for nuclear bomb tests. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization said that sound wave showed up on sensors from Greenland to Antarctica, making it the largest ever detected by its network.

Scientists then used that wave to calculate the size of the small asteroid that plunged to Earth, said Margaret Campbell-Brown, an astronomer at Canada's University of Western Ontario.

FULL STORY from CNN.com

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Filed under: News
Black holes rapidly spinning and twisting spacetime
Scientists analyzed X-ray light to determine the spin of the black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 1365.
February 27th, 2013
05:37 PM ET

Black holes rapidly spinning and twisting spacetime

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter.

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

Scientists have been able to pin down the most accurate estimate yet for how fast a supermassive black hole is spinning. The answer is "fast": near the speed of light.

The black hole in question is more than 2 million miles across, with a surface traveling near the speed of light. It is at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 1365 and is the equivalent of about 2 million solar masses. Don't worry, this black hole not an imminent danger to us, given that it's in a galaxy 60 million light years away.

FULL POST

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Filed under: News
Warming climate could mean bigger blizzards, less snow
Southwest Airlines employees guide a plane into the gate at Midway International Airport in Chicago on Tuesday, February 26. Back-to-back storms have hit the Great Plains, which is still digging out from last week's weather.
February 27th, 2013
03:45 PM ET

Warming climate could mean bigger blizzards, less snow

OK, go ahead and get the "Where's my global warming?" jokes out of your system. With the U.S. Midwest trudging through its second blizzard in a week, we understand.

But while it may seem contradictory at first, scientists say bigger blizzards fit the pattern they expect to see from a changing climate.

The immediate meteorological cause of the back-to-back snowstorms is a colder-than-normal mass of air that's been hovering over the central United States, combined with an amped-up jet stream that's been dipping south from Canada. That makes conditions ripe for major snowstorms after a warmer-than-normal January for most of the Lower 48.

FULL STORY on CNN.com

February 27th, 2013
02:50 PM ET

Group aims to send 2 humans on Mars mission in 2018

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter for more space and science updates.

By John Zarrella, CNN

If newly unveiled plans pan out, a man and a woman may represent humanity on one journey that has never been attempted before: a mission to Mars.

“It’s incredibly feasible. It’s not crazy talk," Taber MacCallum, CEO of Paragon Space Development Corp., told CNN.

MacCallum and millionaire Dennis Tito announced their plans Wednesday to send a couple of earthlings on a 501-day trip in a spacecraft that would fly by the red planet. The proposal was unveiled at the National Press Club in Washington.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Mars • News • the Moon
How pretty flowers deceive insects
Darwin's orchid, shown above, attracts the hawk moth of Madagascar.
February 27th, 2013
08:00 AM ET

How pretty flowers deceive insects

By Sally Holland, CNN

The red roses of Valentine's Day have withered, and the yellow daffodils of spring have yet to bloom, so it's orchids that are having their time in the spotlight at the Smithsonian in Washington.

The orchids on display in an exhibit called Orchids of Latin America are strikingly vivid and manipulative.

"It is believed that at least a third of all orchids engage in some kind of deception," said Tom Mirenda, an orchid collections specialist at the Smithsonian Gardens.

FULL POST

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Filed under: On Earth
February 25th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Will an asteroid hit Earth?

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" weighs in on whether an asteroid will be a threat to Earth in the future. Check out the video above.


Filed under: In Space
February 22nd, 2013
03:11 PM ET

Astronauts chat in Google+ Hangout

NASA hosted its first Google+ Hangout with astronauts on the International Space Station, allowing Earthly onlookers to ask questions by video.

Astronauts Kevin Ford, Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn answered questions, such as how they prepare for medical emergencies.

The answer is that they have on-board medical kits with everything from aspirin to an IV to a defibrillator. But if there were a real problem with one of the crew members, the Soyuz shuttle would act as an ambulance, they said.

The clip above shows the part of the video chat about dealing with medical problems. NASA also posted the full conversation, lasting more than an hour, on YouTube:

Read about this in Spanish on CNN Mexico

More from Light Years: Peter Gabriel hears his song from space

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Filed under: In Space • Voices
February 22nd, 2013
02:26 PM ET

Peter Gabriel hears his song played from the International Space Station

British singer Peter Gabriel got a brief serenade from a member of the International Space Station crew on Wednesday during a visit to Mission Control in Houston.

Canadian Chris Hadfield, Expedition 34's flight engineer, strummed a few chords of Gabriel's hit "In Your Eyes" during a nearly 12-minute chat with Gabriel and his family.

Hadfield told Gabriel that he recorded two songs in space. The first, co-written with his brother, is a "space Christmas carol" called "Jewel in the Night." The second, a space-to-Earth collaboration with Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, is called "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)."

Click on the video above to hear Hadfield's performance.

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Filed under: In Space • People in Orbit
How to kill a killer asteroid
February 22nd, 2013
10:42 AM ET

How to kill a killer asteroid

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @nova_safo 

The meteor that wreaked havoc in Russia last week, shattering windows around a 50-acre area and injuring 1,200 people, was not as big as the asteroids that Dr. Bong Wie of Iowa State University is worried about. He is researching how to stop one of the 400 asteroids scientists have discovered, which have some chance of crashing into Earth and potentially destroying a city.

Wie has gotten NASA’s attention with a plan that seems right out of the Hollywood blockbuster "Armageddon." He is working on a plan to bury a nuclear bomb into a potentially deadly asteroid and blow it up into tiny pieces.

Listen to the full story at CNN Radio's blog Soundwaves.

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Filed under: In Space
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