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Science Ticker

Asteroid Day is a chance to learn about space and plan for disaster

asteroid 1999 JD6

Radar mapping revealed two lobes of a 2-kilometer-long asteroid (designated 1999 JD6) when it buzzed Earth on July 25, 2015. Asteroid Day on June 30 raises awareness of run-ins with such rocks.  

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Asteroid enthusiasts, rejoice! Thursday, June 30 is your day to remind the world that humankind is just one impact with a space rock away from annihilation (or, at the least, a very bad day).

Asteroid Day, started in 2015, brings together scientists, artists and concerned citizens to raise awareness of the hazards of asteroid impacts and build support for solutions that might avert disaster from the skies. Events are planned at museums, science centers and other locations around the world.

The date coincides with the anniversary of the most powerful impact in recorded history, when a roughly 40-meter-wide asteroid crashed near Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908. The run-in flattened about 2,000 square kilometers of forest and released about 185 times the energy of the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima. Estimates vary, but such collisions happen roughly once every several hundred to 1,000 years.

Health,, Microbiology

This week in Zika: vaccine progress, infection insights

By Meghan Rosen 4:31pm, June 28, 2016
Vaccine candidates for Zika virus take a step forward, birth defects span spectrum of problems and doubts about Zika’s link to microcephaly may be extinguished by new reports from Colombia.
Planetary Science

Jupiter shows off its infrared colors

By Christopher Crockett 5:30am, June 28, 2016
Jupiter glows with infrared light in new images taken in preparation for the July 4 arrival of the Juno spacecraft.
Animals,, Paleontology

Insect debris fashion goes back to the Cretaceous

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, June 24, 2016
Ancient insects covered themselves in dirt and vegetation just as modern ones do, fossils preserved in amber suggest.
Animals,, Neuroscience

Baby birds’ brains selectively respond to dads’ songs

By Helen Thompson 6:00am, June 22, 2016
The neurons of young male birds are more active when listening to songs sung by dad than by strangers, a new study finds.
Microbes

Tests turn up dicey bagged ice

By Laura Beil 5:56pm, June 17, 2016
Tests of bagged ice found that 19 percent exceeded recommended thresholds for bacterial contamination.
Biomedicine,, Physiology

Stem cells from pig fat aid in growing new bone

By Cassie Martin 6:30am, June 16, 2016
Scientists transform fat stem cells into bone and grow new jaws for minipigs.
Animals,, Genetics

City living shortens great tits' telomeres

By Helen Thompson 12:22pm, June 15, 2016
Great tits raised in urban nests have shorter protective caps on their chromosomes than those raised in rural nests.
Health,, Microbiology

WHO: Very little risk that Brazil’s Olympics will speed Zika’s spread

By Meghan Rosen 5:49pm, June 14, 2016
Olympics not likely to hasten international spread of Zika virus, according to WHO analysis that includes data from previous mass gatherings.
Animals

Lemurs sing in sync — until one tries to go solo

By Helen Thompson 4:00pm, June 14, 2016
Indris, a lemur species in Madagascar, sing in synchrony and match rhythm, except for young males trying to stand out.
Climate,, Oceans

The ‘super’ El Niño is over, but La Niña looms

By Thomas Sumner 5:10pm, June 9, 2016
The 2015–2016 El Niño has officially ended while its meteorological sister, La Niña, brews.
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