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Science Ticker

Life after Pluto: New Horizons to head for Kuiper belt boulder

New Horizons will buzz a boulder in the Kuiper belt, seen in this artist’s illustration, on January 1, 2019.

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With Pluto receding in the rear view mirror, New Horizons now has its sights set on a second target. Pending final approval by NASA, an icy boulder dubbed 2014 MU69 — over 1 billion kilometers beyond Pluto — will be graced by the spacecraft’s presence on January 1, 2019, space agency officials announced August 28.

The next stop lives deep in the Kuiper belt, a ring of frozen debris past Neptune that is left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. New Horizons will fire its engines four times in late October and early November to send it on its way. 

Health

Kidney transplants may benefit from a slightly chilled donor

By Sarah Schwartz 11:35am, July 31, 2015
Transplanted kidneys performed better when taken from organ donors whose bodies were intentionally cooled after death.
Immune Science

Experimental MERS vaccine battles virus in mice and monkeys

By Sarah Schwartz 6:30am, July 30, 2015
Select viral proteins and DNA can combat the MERS virus in mice and monkeys.
Animals,, Physiology

Stink bug moms are color conscious when it comes to their eggs

By Sarah Schwartz 5:36pm, July 24, 2015
P. maculiventris moms control the color of their eggs, seemingly pairing darker eggs with darker surfaces.
Materials

Stretchy fiber keeps electrons flowing

By Andrew Grant 5:04pm, July 23, 2015
Folded layers of carbon nanotubes allow an elastic fiber to conduct electrical current when stretched.
Animals

Boas kill by cutting off blood flow, not airflow

By Ashley Yeager 6:00pm, July 22, 2015
Boas actually kill by constricting blood flow of their prey, not suffocating them, as scientists previously suspected.
Oceans,, Climate

Blooming phytoplankton seed clouds in the Southern Ocean

By Beth Mole 2:00pm, July 17, 2015
Booming phytoplankton populations spark cloud formation in the Southern Ocean.
Health,, Microbes,, Microbiology

Mosquitoes can get a double dose of malaria

By Tina Hesman Saey 11:44am, July 17, 2015
Carrying malaria may make mosquitoes more susceptible to infection with a second strain of the parasite that causes the disease.
Neuroscience,, Human Development

Bundles of cells hint at biological differences of autistic brains

By Sarah Schwartz 9:20am, July 17, 2015
Using miniature organoids that mimic the human brain, scientists have identified developmental differences between autistic children and their non-autistic family members.
Neuroscience

How screams shatter the brain

By Laura Sanders 12:00pm, July 16, 2015
The acoustical properties of screams make them hard to ignore, a new study suggests.
Astronomy

Exploding star breaks record for brightest supernova

By Christopher Crockett 9:53am, July 9, 2015
A recent supernova shines with the light of 600 billion suns.
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