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24 Apr

The buzz surrounding the race to Mars has mostly focused on what explorers will do once they get there. But astronauts will spend significant time aboard the spacecraft transporting them there, leading to long-overdue speculation about plans for a shuttle.

Boeing recently unveiled its own plans for both a shuttle and a lunar outpost. The outpost has a dual purpose. First, it will reside in the Moon’s orbit, serving in a capacity similar to NASA’s Space Station. Secondly, the outpost will serve as a resting place for vehicles on their way to Mars when those missions finally begin. Not only are Boeing’s concepts visually appealing, but they use solar electric propulsion technology, making them a winner with environmentalists.

22 Apr

The average lifespan is now 78.8 years, according to the CDC, but some people live an active life well beyond that age. This group of active seniors has earned the name “Super Agers” not for their long lives, but because they remain sharp-minded well into their golden years.

A new study attempts to learn more about these Super Agers to potentially help others live longer, more active lives. Researchers scanned the brains of Super Agers and noted some key differences compared to their peers. Most notably, their brains aged twice as slowly as elderly people who don’t fit the “Super Ager” category.

20 Apr

To be fair, the bovine in question was already dead. But the badger's feat proved nonetheless impressive.

Weighing in at a fraction of his adversary -- one estimate pegged the cow as being four to five times the badger's size -- the badger managed to bury the entire cow carcass over a five-day period.

It all happened in the Great Basin Desert of Utah, reports LiveScience, and just happened to be caught on a time-lapse video that had been set in motion to observe the antics of birds that pick at carcasses.

Turns out that the badger's efforts to dig a hole around the dead cow and then bury it had reportedly never been seen before in a wild setting.

18 Apr

The 3,000-flower display, known as the "Flower Mirror," responds to human movements by blooming as people pass in front of it.

A Japanese department store, Daimaru, has installed 800 motors in a major display window. The engines' collective job: To sprout a layer of darker flowers over the lighter colored varieties.

As Mashable reports, "Each time someone walks past, sensors detect their silhouette, and the corresponding flowers open in bloom."

The display also has the capability of mirroring back a variety of pre-programmed patterns, shapes, or texts -- like a set of letters which, one at a time, spell out the name of the store itself.

Measuring 16 by 10 feet, the display was installed in honor of the department store's 300th anniversary. Its life was fairly short, lasting only until the end of March at the store's Kyoto and Tokyo outlets.

16 Apr

As scientists continue to explore the possibility that water once existed on Mars, new evidence suggests that an asteroid strike may have once caused tsunamis on the red planet. For tsunamis to have taken place, water must have been present, so if this theory plays out, it could further the thinking that bodies of water once existed on the planet.

The research centers on a spot called the “Lomonosov crater,” long connected to debris having slid over the spot during a geographical shift. However, new thinking presents the theory that the crater was created by the impact of the asteroid hitting the planet, causing 150-mile waves.

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