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  • News

    Famous Martian meteorite younger than thought

    The oldest known Martian meteorite isn’t so old after all. Though it’s still the oldest chunk of Mars scientists have ever found, new research suggests the Allan Hills meteorite — officially known as ALH84001 — is about 400 million years younger than previously estimated.

    A new analysis published in the April 15 Science pegs the meteorite’s age at a mere 4.091 billion years...

    04/15/2010 - 14:02 Atom & Cosmos
  • News

    Embryo transfer technique could prevent maternally inherited diseases

    Researchers have developed a technique that could help prevent a number of incurable genetic diseases that affect an estimated one in 6,000 people.

    The technique targets diseases stemming from mutations in the DNA of energy-producing organelles, called mitochondria, which are akin to cellular batteries. Mutations in mitochondrial DNA can lead to many different human diseases, including...

    04/14/2010 - 14:25 Body & Brain, Genes & Cells
  • News

    Physicists untangle the geometry of rope

    Researchers have unraveled the mathematics that keeps ropes from unwinding.

    The trick lies in the number of times each strand in a rope is twisted, say Jakob Bohr and Kasper Olsen, physicists at the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby. Their paper was posted online April 6 at arXiv.org.

    In a traditional rope, each individual strand is twisted as much as...

    04/13/2010 - 16:39 Materials, Physics, Numbers, Matter & Energy, Chemistry
  • News

    Backward planets may have flipped into place

    A bevy of backward-orbiting exoplanets could challenge theories of planet formation, new research suggests. The planets’ wonky orbits might also rule out the presence of Earthlike bodies in some planetary systems.

    The wrong-way planets got where they are by cartwheeling over their stars’ heads, Andrew Collier Cameron of the University of St Andrews in Scotland proposed in...

    04/13/2010 - 16:10 Atom & Cosmos
  • News

    Mapping the fruit fly brain

    WASHINGTON — A new computer-based technique is exploring uncharted territory in the fruit fly brain with cell-by-cell detail that can be built into networks for a detailed look at how neurons work together. The research may ultimately lead to a complete master plan of the entire fly brain. Mapping the estimated 100,000 neurons in a fly brain, and seeing how they interact to control behavior,...

    04/12/2010 - 11:22 Body & Brain, Genes & Cells
  • News

    Colliding dust grains charge each other up

    It’s the ultimate love-at-first-sight story: In the middle of the desert, hundreds of miles from anything else, lonely sand grains meet up in a crowd and decide to electrify each other. Sparks fly.  Physicists have long puzzled over why sand grains and other small particles can build up electrical charges as they collide with one another, sometimes to the point of discharging...
    04/11/2010 - 13:13 Physics
  • News

    Briny deep basin may be home to animals thriving without oxygen

    Back Story | Tough Creatures

    The claim is startling and the evidence indirect, but marine biologists seem open to the idea that multicellular animals can live without oxygen.

    Three species of loriciferan, a creature that sounds and looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, appear to go their whole lives without oxygen, researchers report online April...

    04/09/2010 - 17:11 Genes & Cells, Life & Evolution
  • News

    Newfound neighbor to solar system is a cool slacker

    The solar system is surrounded by a bunch of abject failures, a new discovery suggests. Astronomers have found the nearest known brown dwarf, or failed star, residing about 9 light-years from Earth.

    That places this brown dwarf among the 10 closest stellar or substellar systems to the solar system, researchers report in an article posted online April 5 (http://arxiv.org/...

    04/09/2010 - 15:33 Atom & Cosmos
  • News

    Fruit flies turn on autopilot

    View a video of a fly 'swimming' through the air.

    Fruit flies turn in midair with a shrug of their shoulders.

    A new analysis shows that the flies’ aerial gymnastics are driven by wing joints that act like wind-up toys, letting the bugs whirl around almost automatically.

    Insights from the study, which was published online April 5 in Physical Review Letters,...

    04/09/2010 - 12:01 Life & Evolution, Matter & Energy, Physics
  • News

    Partial skeletons may represent new hominid

    Nearly 2 million years ago, an adult and a child walking through the South African landscape somehow fell through openings in a partly eroded, underground cave and died. Today, that fatal plunge has led to their identification as representatives of a new hominid species — and a contentious debate among paleoanthropologists over the pair’s evolutionary relationship to modern humans.

    ...

    04/08/2010 - 11:30 Anthropology, Humans & Society