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Science Ticker

A roundup of research and breaking news

Science News Staff

Science Ticker


Science Ticker

The Parker Solar Probe has launched and is on its way to explore the sun

By November, the car-sized spacecraft should be surfing the sun’s atmosphere and collecting data

Parker Solar Probe launching

REACH FOR THE SKY  The Parker Solar Probe took off from Cape Canaveral in the wee hours of August 12.

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is officially on its way to the sun.

After a one-day delay, the probe took off into a dark, cloudy sky over Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket at 3:31 a.m. EDT on August 12.

“Here we go,” said 91-year-old solar physicist Eugene Parker, the spacecraft’s namesake, as he watched the launch. Parker proposed the existence of the solar wind, a stream of charged particles flowing away from the sun, in 1958. The Parker Solar Probe is the first NASA spacecraft named for a living scientist.

The craft will spend the next six weeks making its way toward Venus, where it will use that planet’s gravity to direct itself toward the sun. Six weeks after that encounter, in early November, it will make its first close approach to the sun. On each of its 24 orbits, the probe will spend a few days within the sun’s corona before swinging back out to cold, dark space and transmitting data to Earth.

Scientists expect to receive the first data in December on the sun’s electromagnetic environment, charged particles and hot moving plasma. The data will help unlock solar mysteries that have vexed astronomers for decades, including why the sun’s corona is so much hotter than its surface and how the solar wind accelerates into space.

WE HAVE LIFT-OFF Watch as the Parker Solar Probe launches on its historic journey to the sun.

NASA
Health,, Animals,, Microbes

Rat lungworm disease is popping up in the mainland United States

By Leah Rosenbaum 9:00am, August 3, 2018
A disease caused by a parasite endemic to Asia sickened at least 12 people in eight states in the continental United States from 2011 to 2017.
Health

A new Ebola species has been found in bats in Sierra Leone

By Leah Rosenbaum 5:42pm, July 27, 2018
A sixth species of Ebola has been found, but we don’t know if it can cause disease in humans.
Health,, Neuroscience

Publicity over a memory test Trump took could skew its results

By Leah Rosenbaum 11:00am, July 16, 2018
Many media outlets reporting on President Trump’s cognitive assessment test could make it harder for doctors to use the exam to spot dementia.
Science & Society

Most Americans think funding science pays off

By Emily DeMarco 3:18pm, July 5, 2018
About 80 percent of U.S. adults say that federal spending on scientific and medical research provides value in the long run, a new survey finds.
Genetics,, Anthropology,, Animals

North America’s earliest dogs came from Siberia

By Bruce Bower 2:12pm, July 5, 2018
North America’s first dogs have few descendants alive today, a study of ancient DNA suggests.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science,, Technology

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrives at the asteroid Ryugu

By Maria Temming 2:58pm, June 27, 2018
The Hayabusa2 spacecraft says “hello” to near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.
Astronomy

‘Oumuamua may be a comet, not an asteroid

By Emily Conover 1:00pm, June 27, 2018
The solar system’s first known interstellar visitor doesn’t appear to be the asteroid that scientists thought it was.
Neuroscience,, Animals

How domestication changed rabbits’ brains

By Tina Hesman Saey 3:00pm, June 25, 2018
The fear centers of the brain were altered as humans tamed rabbits.
Neuroscience,, Psychology,, Science & Society

Splitting families may end, but migrant kids’ trauma needs to be studied

By Laura Sanders 5:39pm, June 20, 2018
The long-term effects of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border need to be studied, scientists say.
Physics

The Large Hadron Collider is getting an upgrade

By Emily Conover 2:01pm, June 15, 2018
Revamping the accelerator’s equipment will increase the rate of proton collisions.
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