Science

Space
3:49 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

To Infinity And Beyond: Would-Be Astronauts Keep Faith In Uncertain Era

A child poses for a picture in front of an astronaut space suit at the Kennedy Space Center on the eve of the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour July 14, 2009 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 3:58 pm

Space exploration has stirred imaginations and piloted hopes and dreams, but the future of space travel looks very different from the age in which Neil Armstrong made it to the moon.

Since NASA is no longer doing manned missions, astronaut hopefuls have turned their sites on the private sector.

Private Adventurism

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Environment
4:03 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Is The Earth Cooking Up A Super Volcano?

Plosky Tolbachnik volcano erupts in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula on Jan. 6, 2013. It's not a so-called "super volcano," but every million years or so scientists say the Earth burps up volcanoes that can erupt for thousands of years.
Alexander Petrov AP

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 7:38 am

Every few million years or so, the Earth burps up a gargantuan volcano.

These aren't like volcanoes in our lifetimes; these "super volcanoes" can erupt continuously for thousands of years. While they might be rare, you'd best look out when one hits.

The ash and volcanic gases from these volcanoes can wipe out most living things over large parts of the planet. Michael Thorne, a seismologist at the University of Utah, has some clues about what causes these big eruptions.

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NPR Story
4:05 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

Vultures Beware: Virginia Town Targets Flock Of Unwanted Visitors

Turkey vulture droppings can strip paint, kill grass and sicken pets. The droppings also smell really bad.
Holly Kuchera iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 6:34 am

It sounds like a horror story: Every few years, usually in the winter months, residents of the town of Leesburg, Va., come home from work to find their backyards overrun with turkey vultures. Not just a few birds, but hundreds of them. Everywhere.

Lt. Jeff Dube is with the town's police department. For a whole week, he spent every evening driving around town, looking for the latest vulture hotspots.

"They like Leesburg. There's really no rhyme or reason. Every three to five years they come back en mass, like this year, 2- to 300," Dube says.

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Krulwich Wonders...
3:59 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Yes, Cats Know How To Fall On Their Feet. But These Guys Do It Better

Agence Nature Science Source

The champ has met its challenger.

Drop a cat and it will swing its head to a horizontal, rearrange its rear, arch its back, splay its legs, and — amazingly often — land on its feet.

This is what cats do. They're famous for it. But now they have a rival.

This is an aphid.

Aphids spend their days sucking sap from leaves. Those leaves can be high off the ground. "High" of course, being a relative term, but think of it this way: Five feet high up is 381 aphids tall. Which is why things get so dicey when a ladybug comes by.

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Technology
12:16 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Automakers Drive Towards Hydrogen Cars

Toyota and BMW have formed an alliance to work on fuel cell cars. So have Daimler, Ford, and Nissan, with hopes of having cars on the road by 2017. But why now, and what obstacles still stand in the way? Jennifer Kurtz discusses the current state of hydrogen fuel technology.

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