World News

New images show NASA spacecraft’s historic landing and sample collection on asteroid

New images taken by the OSIRIS-REx mission show the historic first touchdown of a NASA spacecraft on the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft collected a sample that will be returned to Earth in 2023. In the images, which were stitched together to show the spacecraft touching down, the spacecraft’s robotic arm appeared to crush some…

This super-beetle can survive being run over by a car — and help with engineering problems

Scientists developing new materials are studying an unlikely source of strength: a beetle that can withstand being run over by a car. Researchers from Purdue University and the University of California, Irvine, studied the aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — Phloeodes diabolicus — to understand the secret behind its strength. “If you take any beetle,…

The first space station crew to launch during a pandemic has returned to Earth

After launching to the International Space Station on April 9, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner returned to Earth on Wednesday, October 21. The crew launched just weeks after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 as a pandemic, making them the first crew to launch to space under such…

NASA mission successfully touched down on asteroid Bennu

After orbiting the near-Earth asteroid Bennu for nearly two years, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched down and reached out its robotic arm to collect a sample from the asteroid’s surface on Tuesday. That sample will be returned to Earth in 2023. To achieve this historic first for NASA, a van-size spacecraft had to briefly touch…

Orionid meteor shower peaks tonight

The Orionid meteor shower will peak in the early morning hours of October 21, sprinkling remnants of Halley’s Comet in Earth’s atmosphere to create a dazzling display. The moon’s faint waxing crescent phase will allow for optimal viewing. And if you can’t see the meteor shower on October 21, experts advise looking up during the…

Betelgeuse, the unusually dimming star, is smaller and closer than scientists thought

The red giant star Betelgeuse, which was thought to be on the brink of a supernova explosion, is still revealing more secrets, even after the Hubble Space Telescope helped solve the mystery of why it has looked a little dimmer than usual. The star, which is visible in the Orion constellation, is actually smaller and…

Asteroid Bennu is about to play ‘tag’ with a NASA spacecraft

A NASA spacecraft will play a game of tag this week with a near-Earth asteroid. The mission will attempt the agency’s first sample collection from an asteroid that will be returned to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been orbiting the asteroid Bennu since late 2018. The mission — which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource…

When this creature faces deadly radiation, glowing is the only option

Deadly levels of radiation won’t stop this creature from shining bright. This newly discovered strain of tardigrade can protect itself from lethal levels of ultraviolet light through glowing, according to a recent study published in The Royal Society journal. The tardigrade found to have this trait is called the Paramacrobiotus BLR strain. It was first…

Arrest of former defense minister shatters trust in Mexico’s armed forces

The general’s speech was forceful and unequivocal, his demeanor somber and severe. Impeccably dressed in full military uniform, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, then Mexican Secretary of Defense, spoke before a group of thousands of Mexican soldiers under his command on a spring day in April 2016 at Military Camp Number One, near Mexico City. “Those who…

Coronavirus could drive the last nail into the mink fur trade

As coronavirus tears through the world’s mink farms, the pandemic is accelerating the shuttering of a controversial industry. Earlier this month, the Danish government ordered the country’s mink farms to cull more than 1 million of the animals following a series of Covid-19 outbreaks, and thousands of mink have died at farms in the US…

A British supermarket launched a chicken nugget into space

Astronauts, chimpanzees and now a chicken nugget. Scientists have launched plenty of people and things into space, but a British supermarket is the first to send up a piece of breaded protein. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Iceland Foods Ltd., commonly known as Iceland, sent a chicken nugget into the cosmos. In a video released…

A 12-year-old found a 69 million-year-old dinosaur fossil while hiking with his dad

Nathan Hrushkin has wanted to be a paleontologist for as long as he can remember, and the 12-year-old has already made a significant discovery. He found a partially unearthed dinosaur fossil while hiking with his dad this summer at a conservation site in the Horseshoe Canyon in the Badlands of Alberta, Canada. “It’s pretty amazing…

Mexico’s former defense minister arrested on federal drug charges in Los Angeles

A former Mexican defense minister was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on drug and money laundering charges, accused of taking bribes in exchange for permitting a cartel known for wholesale violence to operate with impunity in Mexico, federal prosecutors said Friday. General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Secretary of National Defense in Mexico from 2012 to…

Cows prefer to co-moo-nicate in person, research suggests

Cows don’t make video calls but if they did, chances are they’d hate them just as much as most of us do. The farm animals prefer face-to-face chat, new research from Austria suggests. Cows are more relaxed after being spoken to directly by a live human rather than when listening to a recorded voice via…

Eight nations sign NASA’s Artemis Accords that guide cooperative exploration of the moon

Eight countries have signed on as founding member nations to NASA’s Artemis Accords during the 71st International Astronautical Congress this week. Those nations include Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. NASA released the Artemis Accords in May to establish a framework of principles…

Governments are using the pandemic to crack down on digital rights, report finds

In their fight against the coronavirus, some governments are introducing digital surveillance and data collection tools that could pose a lasting threat to citizens’ rights, according to a new report by research institute Freedom House. The Freedom on the Net 2020 report, an assessment of 65 countries released Wednesday, found that the pandemic has accelerated…

Will vulnerable Republicans cut Trump loose to save themselves?

Joe Biden might win the White House simply because he’s not Donald Trump. The President’s talent for shooting himself in the foot has allowed his Democratic rival to avoid some scrutiny of what a Biden presidency might actually look like. But the former vice president is getting jammed over his refusal to say whether he…

Mexico identifies two women who may have received non-consensual surgeries in ICE detention

Mexico has identified two women who may have been subjected to non-consensual surgeries while detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The finding is part of a larger Mexican investigation into allegations of improper medical care for detained migrant women at ICE’s privately-run Irwin Country Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. In a statement released…

NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonauts launch to the space station

Just a few weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of a continuous human presence in space, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov launched for a stay on the International Space Station. The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan occurred at 1:45 am ET on Wednesday. The trio’s…

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is ready for a 2nd ‘bucket list’ trip to the space station

Just a few weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of a continuous human presence in space, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov are scheduled to launch for a stay on the International Space Station. The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan is scheduled for 1:45 am ET…

This rare ‘peacock’ star system in our galaxy is doomed to explode

A rare star system has been found in our Milky Way galaxy, but it’s doomed to end in a massive explosion. The star system, which looks like a cosmic pinwheel, is located 8,000 light-years from Earth. But it’s so rare that astronomers never expected to find a star system like this in our galaxy. It’s…

Covid-19 is worsening homelessness and housing insecurity. Here’s how you can help

World Homeless Day is October 10, and now more than ever, those experiencing homelessness need to be protected from a two-pronged threat — Covid-19 and cold weather. According to UN-Habitat, 100 million people worldwide are homeless, and at least 1 billion live in inadequate housing or overcrowded informal settlements. These already high numbers are surging…

The Nobels honored 4 women this year. But the awards still lack diversity

Four women were honored during this year’s memorable Nobel Prize week. But the prestigious award still has a diversity problem. Of 931 individuals and 28 organizations to have won the prize since the awards began, just 16 are Black. No Black winners were named in 2020. Twelve Black people have won the Peace Prize, three…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, October 9

Donald Trump’s physician has cleared him to resume public engagements on Saturday, saying the President “has completed his course of therapy for Covid-19.” But many questions about his health remain unanswered. Crucially, Trump and his doctors are still refusing to say when the President last tested negative for the virus, making it difficult to know…

World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize for fight against ‘hunger as a weapon of war’

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its “efforts to combat hunger” and its “contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which presented the award in Oslo on Friday, also described the organization as “a driving force in efforts to prevent…

Iran’s legendary classical singer and composer Mohammad-Reza Shajarian dies

Iranians around the world flooded their social media accounts with tributes, songs and poetry dedicated to legendary Iranian singer and composer Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, who died from complications due to a long standing battle with kidney cancer on Thursday. “Our nightingale has flown to another tree,” Iranian-American U.S. based musician Farid Shafinury said about Shajarian’s passing…

The Antarctic ozone hole is one of the largest and deepest in recent years

The ozone hole that typically grows over the Antarctic each September and October has become one of the largest and deepest in recent years — just one year after scientists recorded its smallest size since it was discovered. The 2020 ozone hole grew rapidly from mid-August and had grown to about 9.2 million square miles…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Thursday, October 8

“They knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you.” Joe Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, did not mince words when prosecuting the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic during the vice presidential debate last night. “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of…

Greatest hits of past vice presidential debates

The highlight reel of vice presidential debates is not a long one — but it is glorious in its own way. As the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris got underway on Wednesday, we took a look back. Adm. James Stockdale was an American hero; he was shot…

The UK’s Prince William launches Nobel-like prize for the environment

Britain’s Prince William is dedicating $65 million to create a new environmental award, in an effort to inspire solutions to some of the Earth’s most pressing challenges. Starting in 2021, the Earthshot Prize will be awarded annually to five people, organizations or groups for solutions to the five “earthshot” objectives: protecting and restoring nature, cleaning…

‘Superhabitable’ planets could be better for life than Earth

Earth is the only planet we know of so far to host life, but it may not be the best place for life when compared with “superhabitable” planets, according to a new study. And as scientists search for other planets outside of our solar system, called exoplanets, that could host life, planets much like Earth…

Canada will ban single-use plastic items by the end of next year

Travelers to Canada should not expect to see some everyday plastic items starting next year. The country plans to ban single-use plastics — checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and even foodware made from hard-to-recycle plastics — nationwide by the end of 2021. The move is part of a larger effort by the…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, October 7

President Donald Trump keeps downplaying the coronavirus even after it killed more than a million people around the world and left him hospitalized for three days. He has now claimed Covid-19 is “in most populations far less lethal!!!” than the flu. That’s not true. Here are the facts. In just eight months, Covid-19 has killed…

Last month was the hottest September ever, breaking last year’s record

Searing heat in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and several other pockets of the world made last month the hottest September ever, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service has announced. The Earth’s average temperature was 0.05 degrees Celsius (0.09 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the previous record, which was set last September. Of the nine completed…

How a toothless, parrot-like dinosaur thrived 69 million years ago

A toothless, two-fingered dinosaur was able to thrive more than 68 million years ago due to the parrot-like species‘ remarkable ability to adapt, scientists have discovered. Multiple skeletons of the Oksoko avarsan, a feathered omnivorous dinosaur that grew to 2 meters in length, were dug up in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia by researchers from…

Draconid meteor shower 2020: How and when to watch

Keep an eye on the night sky this week to see “the dragon” in action. The Draconid meteor shower is expected to peak on the evening of October 7. However, stargazers recommend looking up on the evenings of October 6 and 8 as well, according to EarthSky. Look out for the Draconid meteor shower in…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, October 6

President Donald Trump and most of his inner circle have been recklessly breaking public health guidelines for months. They were mostly getting away with it until a major outbreak started in the White House last week. Here is just a brief overview of some of their recent failures. The US Centers for Disease Control and…

Dogs’ brains aren’t hardwired to care about human faces

Dogs aren’t hardwired to care about human faces, a new study has found, and there’s no area in their brain designed to distinguish between the back or front of someone’s head. Researchers measured brain activity in dogs and humans as they showed them videos of faces and backs of heads, a press release from Eötvös…

Turning to dirt for antibiotics in the fight against superbugs

Think about aphids — those little, green, garden-destroying bugs. The bane of the begonia. But aphids exist in an ecosystem. Which is to say, those little suckers have enemies. When gardeners see aphids, it’s often ladybugs to the rescue. There is another plague out there right now: the antibiotic-resistant bacteria currently making a home in…

There’s 14 million metric tons of microplastics sitting on the seafloor, study finds

It is well documented that large quantities of plastic enters the oceans every year, polluting the seas, littering beaches and endangering wildlife. And that plastic pollution has been found even in the most remote regions of Earth, such as Antarctica or in the deepest parts of our oceans. But relatively little is known about the…

Mars is closer to Earth in October than it will be for another 15 years

If you spied a fiery red star close to the full moon over the weekend, it was actually Mars shining its bright red light in the night sky. The planet will be visible at night throughout October, rising the highest in the sky around midnight each evening. It will shine in the east each evening…

New toilet designed using astronaut feedback arrives on the space station

Humans have been living, working and conducting science experiments on the International Space Station for nearly 20 years. But even this feat of engineering needs upgrades sometimes, like a new toilet. Among the 8,000 pounds of supplies arriving at the International Space Station Monday at 8 a.m. ET was a new space toilet. Officially called…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, October 5

President Donald Trump has — according to an attending Walter Reed physician — put people’s lives at risk with his decision yesterday to stage a drive-by to greet supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated for Covid-19. “Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to…

New Caledonia says ‘non’ to independence from France

New Caledonia voted against independence from France on Sunday for a second time in two years. More than 53.2% of voters said they wanted their territory to remain French, delivering a result that French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed “with a deep sense of gratitude” and “humility,” in a solemn address from the Elysée Palace in…

Hubble watches as an exploding star fades away

The Hubble Space Telescope has served as a spectacular set of eyes on the universe for more than 30 years, looking into the past and witnessing the life cycle of stars and galaxies. Given the vastness of the universe and its wealth of countless stars, Hubble has captured its share of supernova images. It’s estimated…

First photo of a black hole supports Einstein’s theory of relativity

The first image of a black hole, captured in 2019, has revealed more support for Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The new finding has suggested his theory is now 500 times harder to beat. Einstein’s theory, or the idea that gravity is matter warping space-time, has persisted for a hundred years as new astronomical…

Merkel, Putin, Netanyahu and other leaders wish Trump well after positive Covid-19 test

Leaders from across the world sent messages of goodwill to US President Donald Trump and wife Melania on Friday after the bombshell news that both had tested positive for coronavirus. Trump’s announcement comes as nations battle the pandemic and keep a close watch on what will be a crucial election for the entire planet. Here’s…

Can nature heal itself? What the pandemic has shown us

In the dark early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when a death toll of 1 million was still unimaginable, there was one bright spot: nature appeared to be healing. With humans under lockdown, stories circulated about unusual animal sightings, like wild goats taking over a town in Wales — and then became a joke about…

Global democracy is in crisis during the coronavirus pandemic, report finds

Democracy is in crisis worldwide as governments take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to tighten controls and conduct human rights abuses, according to a new report by research institute Freedom House. The report, released Thursday, identified 80 countries where freedoms have deteriorated, many of them nations with repressive or authoritarian governments like China and Cambodia,…

‘Extreme’ exoplanet found orbiting hot blue star

Taking a second glance in space can be rewarding, especially when a closer look reveals a weird exoplanet. An ultra-hot exoplanet with searing temperatures that can turn iron from a solid to a gas has been detected orbiting a star 322 light-years away in the Libra constellation. The observation was made by the European Space…

Canadian boy rescued by police using night vision from a helicopter

Police in Ontario, Canada, used a helicopter, night vision technology and canine teams to find a 6-year-old special needs boy who went missing in a forest near his house. On September 22, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a call from a panicked mother, according to social media posts. “My son, who is special needs, who…

Insect-inspired robots that can jump, fly and climb are almost here

Picture a robot. Did you envision a giant machine assembling cars, Data from “Star Trek,” C-3PO from “Star Wars” or “The Terminator”? Most of us would probably think of something massive — or at least human size. But a whole arm of robotics is focusing on bug-size ‘bots (and smaller). It’s not just the size…

Cardinal proclaims innocence after resigning in Vatican financial scandal

One of the Vatican’s powerful cardinals has resigned from his post amid a growing financial scandal. Giovanni Angelo Becciu says he was accused of embezzlement and proclaimed his innocence during a press conference on Friday, the day after he was effectively fired by Pope Francis. Becciu served as the “substitute” in the Vatican’s Secretariat of…

Radiation on moon’s surface measured for the first time, study says

When the next astronaut to reach the moon walks on the lunar surface in 2024, she’ll face radiation levels 200 times higher than on Earth. While Apollo mission astronauts carried dosimeters to the moon to measure radiation, the data was never reported. The first systematically documented measurements of radiation on the moon were undertaken in…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, September 25

Europe is at a “decisive moment” in dealing with its second wave of Covid-19 infections, and the buck falls on its citizens to prevent the deaths and economically ruinous lockdowns seen this spring, the European Union’s Health Commissioner warned yesterday. A false sense of security has developed over the summer. Deaths are still well below…

China says US has ‘created enough troubles for the world’ as UN spat continues

China’s Ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday that the US has “created enough troubles for the world already” as the two nations continued to spar over the coronavirus pandemic during a tense meeting of the UN Security Council. US Representative to the UN Kelly Craft criticized China over what she said was a “decision…

Leaders spar at UN General Assembly amid global crisis

World leaders gathered virtually Tuesday for this week’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), with the UN’s historic 75th anniversary overshadowed by strongmen leaders, fraying relations and a sense of intensifying international crisis. The summit was forced online this year due to the pandemic and the 14-day quarantine regulations in New York City. Covid-19 loomed heavily…

This bird tells rivals like it is by using its feathers to make a chirping noise

Birds can chirp, birds can fly and now scientists have new evidence that birds can communicate with each other using sound made with their feathers. A species called the fork-tailed flycatcher, or Tyrannus savanna, vibrate their feathers very quickly to produce a sound, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Integrative and Comparative…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, September 22

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly dropped new guidance from its website about airborne transmission of the coronavirus yesterday, just days after publishing it. The agency said a draft version was posted in error, before it had gone through the normal review process, and reverted to its previous guidance, which does not…

Americans think the UN is doing a good job. Japanese people disagree

As the United Nations turns 75, a majority of people in 14 developed nations approve of the international body’s work in eight key areas, including fighting coronavirus, promoting action on climate change and building peace. And despite years of UN-bashing by American politicians and pundits, it’s Japan, not the United States, that has the lowest…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, September 21

“Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in an updated guidance page on its website. Scientists have noted the likelihood of the transmission of coronavirus through viral particles in the air for months, pushing health agencies to acknowledge it. The…

What to expect at the UN General Assembly in the time of Covid-19

What if the world’s most powerful people threw a gigantic international party and no one showed up? This week is the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) — normally the Super Bowl of international diplomacy. But thanks to a global pandemic, make that “digital diplomacy” without star players in the corridors at UN headquarters in New…

Oldest animal sperm discovered in 100-million-year-old amber

Scientists have found the oldest sample of animal sperm, concealed in a 100 million-year-old piece of amber. Paleontologists discovered the sample in the reproductive tract of an ancient female crustacean encased in resin — one of several samples of ostracods from Myanmar. The previously unknown species of crustacean, now named Myanmarcypris hui, resembles a modern…

This is how we should build on Mars, scientists say

If we make it to Mars, we’re not going to be able to bring everything humankind needs to stay for an extended period of time — or to construct colonies on the red planet. In order to build shelters and manufacture tools, astronauts may only need to bring one key ingredient — with minerals in…

Giant planet found orbiting a dead white dwarf star

For the first time, a planet has been discovered orbiting a white dwarf, also known as a dead star. This exoplanet, a planet outside of our solar system, is the size of Jupiter and it’s known as WD 1586 b. This giant exoplanet zips around the star remnant, which is about the size of Earth,…

This previously unknown mass extinction gave rise to dinosaurs, scientists say

The asteroid strike that doomed the dinosaurs is an event that many people are aware of. It wiped out more than three-quarters of all life on Earth 66 million years ago. But it was only one of the Big Five mass extinctions the planet has experienced since living organisms evolved 3.5 billion years ago, and…

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