Dear Light Years followers,
This blog burst onto the scene when the last NASA shuttle launched in July 2011. There were only three people involved in CNN Light Years at that time – myself, former CNNer Sophia Dengo and former CNN.com U.S. editor Audrey Irvine.
The shuttle program was ending, but a new era for science and space coverage on CNN.com had dawned. We quickly figured out what you, our audience, would want to read: The latest discoveries, the coolest research, weird animals, random geekiness. We gave it to you in an accurate and easy-to-understand format. And we'll keep doing that – just not on this blog.
Today we are closing CNN Light Years as a blog, but we will have the same high-caliber science reporting elsewhere on CNN.com. In our U.S., World, Health and Technology sections, we will continue to lead - as we've done in the past - with stories about new planets, climate change, prehistoric marvels and more.
We hope that you will visit CNN.com to learn something new every day, and keep participating in the conversations that we have around this marvelous universe in which we live.
Writer/Producer, CNN Light Years
By Ben Brumfield, CNN
To get through the long, tedious hours sitting in the fossil archives at the University of California-Berkeley, Jason Head would listen to the hypnotic sounds of The Doors.
So when he happened upon one of the biggest lizards that ever walked on land, he found it fitting to name it after the band's frontman, Jim Morrison - the original Lizard King.
But that's not what makes this find interesting. It's what the existence of the "Bearded King Morrison" tells us about the effects of climate change that's intriguing.
Dr. Irwin Goldstein isn't squeamish about describing operations on private parts. He remembers, for instance, that he performed his first penile implant on a patient in 1976. "I just did one yesterday," he added.
Goldstein, 63, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine and director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital, has had a long career providing medical help to those with sexual problems. He has worked on understanding the physiology of the male erection, and has played key roles in the development of drugs for both male and female sexual dysfunction.
An asteroid is whizzing past Earth on Friday - and it's traveling with its own moon in tow.
1998 QE2, as NASA has named it, will not come anywhere near enough to collide with our world.
The closest it will come is about 3.6 million miles away - that's over 15 times the distance to our moon. It will reach that point just before 5 p.m. ET.
But it's giving astronomers the "best look at this asteroid ever," NASA said.
Remember when woolly mammoths roamed the planet? No? Well don't worry if you missed the last ice age - scientists have moved one step closer to possibly bringing the beasts back to life with the discovery of liquid blood in a well-preserved mammoth carcass in Siberia.
Researchers from the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk found the 10,000-year-old female mammoth buried in ice on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the coast of northeast Russia.
Scientists say they poked the frozen creature with a pick and dark liquid blood flowed out.
A dinosaur from the Middle-Late Jurassic period, found in China, gives scientists new understandings of how birds evolved, according to a Wednesday report from the journal Nature.
The newly discovered species is called Aurornis xui. "Aurora" is Latin for "daybreak" or "dawn." Ornis is Greek for "bird." The last part of the name, xui, honors paleontologist Xu Xing.
The dinosaur lived about 150 million years ago, said Pascal Godefroit, lead author and researcher at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels.
A Russian rocket docked late Tuesday with the International Space Station, bringing two space veterans and a rookie astronaut one step closer to a long stay orbiting the Earth.
The three - Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, American astronaut Karen Nyberg and Italian Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency - will spend the next six months at the space station until their scheduled departure in mid-November.
By Jason Moon, CNN
A meteoroid struck the surface of the moon recently, causing an explosion that was visible on Earth without the aid of a telescope, NASA reported Friday. But don't be alarmed if you didn't see it; it only lasted about a second.
"It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before," said Bill Cooke, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.
NASA astronomers have been monitoring the moon for the past eight years, looking for explosions caused by meteoroids hitting the lunar surface. It's part of a program to find new fields of space debris that could hit Earth. NASA says it sees hundreds of detectable lunar meteoroid impacts a year.
Nuclear scientists in Switzerland recently dropped some antimatter. The world didn't blow up, but there were some tiny explosions.
Scientists are hoping the experiment will teach them more about how the universe developed after the Big Bang.
Physicists with ALPHA Collaboration research group are trying to figure out how antimatter interacts with gravity, and if it produces "antigravity," says the group's founder, Jeffrey Hangst.
Their experiment mirrors the way Sir Isaac Newton came up with the law of gravity in the late 17th century.
Legend has it that an apple fell off a tree and hit the English nobleman on the head.
Newton got to thinking how gravity made the apple speed up as it fell.
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
Scientists in Uruguay announced that they had genetically modified sheep such that the animals glow green in ultraviolet light. Click through the gallery above to learn more!
Light Years strives to tell the stories of science research, discovery, space and education. This is your go-to place on CNN.com for today’s stories, but also for a scientific perspective on the news and everyday wonders. Come indulge your curiosity in all things space and science related, brought to you by the entire CNN family.
July 19thAtlas V launch of US DOD MUOS-2 satellite, notable for large "551" config of Atlas
Aug 3rdJapanese HTV-4 flight to ISS on cargo supply mission
Aug 14thSpaceX launch of Canadian satellite in the first launch from their new Vandenberg facility, and first launch of upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle
Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
SeptemberSoyuz TMA-08M flight returning Expedition 36 crew from ISS to Earth (Kazakhstan)
Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
recurringfirst powered test flights of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo commercial vehicle, to be used by Virgin Galactic for sub-orbital tourism