A new gene-editing tool called CRISPR could help treat, erase or cure some of mankind's worst genetic diseases and defects, including blindness, Huntington's Disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and some forms of cancer. In 2012, Dr. Jennifer Doudna of the University of California-Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umeå University in Sweden discovered what is known as the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technique. It was a monumental discovery: The technique is arguably the most effective way for the human race to "hack" nature.
Researchers studied the communication between brain areas and found that those concerned about their fellow humans are happier compared to those who tend to care more about themselves. Helping others gives people a "warm glow." University of Zurich neuroeconomists worked with international researchers for the study, published Tuesday in Nature Communications. Here's how the experiment worked: 50 participants were told they would receive a sum of money within the next few weeks, which they should spend.
South Africa's agricultural department confirmed on Wednesday two more outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu have been detected on commercial layer farms in the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Two previous outbreaks of avian flu in recent weeks have also been detected in South Africa, including on a farm belonging to poultry producer Astral. Neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana suspended poultry imports from South Africa following the initial outbreaks of avian flu.
For the better part of the next year, these students will have a taste of the rigours of being onboard a space station. On Sunday, four students from the Beijing's University of Aeronautics and Astronautics embarked on a 200-day stay in a space station simulator. SEE ALSO: Chinese spacecraft returns after flying around the moon The students will live in the locked bunker named the Lunar Palace, which measures 160 square meters (1,720 square foot), and is meant to simulate living conditions in a space-based laboratory. The students will live solely on the resources in the bunker, getting oxygen from plants and recycling urine to produce drinking water. "We've designed it so the oxygen [produced by plants at the station] is exactly enough to satisfy the humans, the animals, and the organisms that break down the waste materials," Liu Hong, the project's principal architect told
. The team will also have to deal with the mental challenge of being locked out from the rest of the world. "They can become a bit depressed," said Liu. "If you spend a long time in this type of environment it can create some psychological problems." Image: AFP/Getty Images"We did this experiment with animals...we want to see how much impact it will have on people," Liu added. For now, the Beijing students appeared upbeat about the project. "I'll get so much out of this," Liu Guanghui, a PhD student said. "It's truly a different life experience." Image: AFP/Getty ImagesThe station is part of China's bid to cement its position as a space-faring nation. China announced last year that it planned to be the first country to land a probe on the far side of the moon, adding that it wanted to launch its first Mars probe by 2020. The nation also hopes to send people to the moon by 2036. WATCH: China's big, beautiful, green 'vertical forests' will suck up toxic smog
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A curious monkey with a toothy grin and a knack for pressing a camera button is back in the spotlight as a federal appeals court weighs Wednesday whether an animal can hold a copyright to photo selfies.
Long before you take that first sip of an ice-cold beer, the ingredients that went into that beverage had to ferment for weeks. Now University of Washington chemist Alshakim Nelson is hoping a 3-D printer can speed things along. Nelson, along with UW researchers Abhijit Saha, Trevor Johnston and Ryan Shafranek, produced a hydrogel as thick as peanut butter that’s composed mostly of water, but also contains a yeast-infused polymer that makes up 30 percent of the mixture. The traditional way of making beer involves adding yeast cells to a stew of barley, water and other ingredients, then letting them… Read More
An American spacecraft has taken the first high resolution photographs of Jupiter's most extraordinary feature, after soaring close to the crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot. Nasa's Juno probe passed just 5,600 miles (9,000) kilometres above the massive storm system which is wider than the Earth and may have been raging for more than 350 years. The close fly-by was completed during Juno's sixth scientific orbit of the solar system's biggest planet. The craft, which is specially strengthened to withstand Jupiter's ferocious radiation, gathered a wealth of data and images during the encounter which are being beamed to Earth. A combination of views of the Great Red Spot Credit: NASA/SWRI/MSSS AND NASA Juno principal investigator Dr Scott Bolton, from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, said: "For generations people from all over the world and all walks of life have marvelled over the Great Red Spot. "Now we are finally going to see what this storm looks like up close and personal." Jupiter's Great Red Spot from an altitude of 9866.1 km above Jupiter's surface Credit: NASA / JPL / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt The 10,000 mile (16,000 km) wide Great Red Spot has been observed since 1830 but is thought to have existed for hundreds of years longer. In more recent times it has appeared to be shrinking. Juno swooped close to Jupiter and passed directly above the Great Red Spot on July 10, said the American space agency. An illustration of NASA's Juno spacecraft in orbit above Jupiter's Great Red Spot Credit: NASA/Reuters The spacecraft was launched on August 5 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. On July 5 at 3.30am UK time, Juno logged exactly one year in Jupiter orbit, having travelled a total of 71 million miles (114.5 million kilometres) around the gas giant. Early results from the mission have shown Jupiter to be a turbulent world with a complex interior structure, energetic polar auroras and huge polar cyclones.
With a new Congressional Budget Office score on the latest rewrite of the Republican health care bill expected next week, the White House launched an attack on the nonpartisan group. It disputed projections that 22 million more Americans would be without health insurance under the previous version of the bill, as compared to keeping Obamacare.
When the Islamic State (ISIS) took over Iraq’s second-largest city in 2014, one of its first acts was to kill any Mosul resident who merely thought differently. Now compare that murder spree on individual conscience to what has happened since Iraqi forces recaptured the city on July 9. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promises to create stability for Mosul and extend the political unity among Iraqi leaders in fighting ISIS.
When President Trump takes his place as guest of honor on the Champs-Élysées on Friday to watch US soldiers march with French troops in France’s annual Bastille Day parade, he will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the US entering World War I. As war was raging in Europe, American President Woodrow Wilson was campaigning for reelection with the slogan, “He Kept us out of War/ America First.” Some of the bloodiest battles of the war – in fact, of history itself – were playing out.
With his rainbow-tinted aviator glasses, Vietnam-era jungle hat, and American flag sleeveless shirt, Tony Carraway comes across as a patriot the way Hunter S. Thompson did: on his own terms, without apology. A reservist pilot in Conyers, Ga., who flies twin-props in support of domestic Army maneuvers, he turned to President Trump after watching what he saw as years of Democrats starving the military of funding. Recommended: How much do you know about Texas?
A baby panda in Japan has survived its crucial first 30 days, zoo officials said Wednesday, as fresh video showed the cub at one month old. At 30 days, she tipped the scales at 1,147.8 grammes (2 pounds, 8 ounces) and measured 29.5 centimetres (11.6 inches) in length. "She's steadily growing," zoo director Yutaka Fukuda told reporters.
3D TV is dead. Buried. Done. Or so it seemed. Though 3D TV technology was assumed to be a dream of the past, researchers think they can revive the technology with a new glasses-free algorithm-based 3D hardware and software. And maybe they can. Research coming out of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) recently demonstrated something called Home3D, a combination of updated parallax barrier display technology and a chip-based algorithm that can instantly convert 2-channel stereoscopic video (old-school 3D) into rich, 4K-display-ready 3D video that supports eight (or more) glasses-free viewing angles. SEE ALSO: Dude discovers his airport selfie with Jessica Alba is displayed in a deli he's never been to “By converting existing 3D movies to this format, our system helps open the door to bringing 3D TVs into people’s homes,” lead researcher and postdoctoral student Petr Kellnhofer said in a release. It's an ambitious dream — 3D TVs making a regular appearance in people's homes. That door has been opened and, ostensibly, closed, with manufacturers abandoning 3D TV technology and consumers showing little-to-no interest in home 3D content. When I interviewed him last week, Kellnhofer acknowledged the shifting interest in 3D displays. However, he continued, "We believe the main problem is not to make such a display, the main problem is how to use such a display." To build a Home3D prototype, Kellnhofer and his team started with a 40-inch LCD display and added a foil parallax barrier between the LCD panel and the display glass. The barrier is black but has hundreds of diagonal slits cut into it. The space between each slit is sub-pixel level or fewer than 3 pixels. On the software side, Kellnhofer's algorithm uses contrast information in the source video to decide which sub-pixels to hide and which to show, which allows the 3D display to create a depth effect, instantly deciding how much depth to add. Kellnhofer, who worked with MIT professors Fredo Durand, William Freeman, and Wojciech Matusik, as well as postdoc Pitchaya Sitthi-Amorn, former CSAIL postdoc Piotr Didyk, and former master’s student Szo-Po Wang on Home3D, will present their findings this month at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, California. Unlike earlier iterations of glasses-free 3D TVs, which require you to stand directly in front of the display to see the 3D effect, or those that track your view to adjust the 3D image, Home3D supports over half a dozen viewing angles and HD-quality video, which means you could have eight people sitting around your Home3D TV, all having the same 3D experience. If the same technology were applied to an 8K display, the display would, according to Kellnhofer, support even more viewing angles. “The researchers have used several clever algorithmic tricks to reduce a lot of the artifacts that previous algorithms suffered from and they made it work in real-time,” said Stanford University Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Gordon Wetzstein in a release. Wetzstein was not involved with the study. Parallax display technology is not new, but the Home3D's algorithm is, Kellnnhofer noted. And he believes it can be ported directly to any display or even gaming console where the graphics processing unit could support the technology without the addition of extra silicon. It's for this reason that Kellnhofer believes Home3D is much more practical and natural than previous 3D TV solutions. Home3D provides a fully automatic 3D viewing experience, with the TV's algorithm controlling when the parallax mask is on or off. "You don't even have to think about it," said Kellnhofer. "You don't have to target, 'Oh, now I will watch a 3D movie.'" MIT CSAILs glasses-free 3D solution isn't perfect. There's an occasional ghosting effect where an object that appears in one spot is also faintly visible in another. Kellnhofer explained that that's caused either by low contrast images that lack depth information or when people move from one viewing zone to another. "They could be in the unlucky spot where you see double images," he said. Kellnhofer said space films like Sandra Bullock's
Gravity are particularly effective on their Home3D technology. Basically, anything CGI where the 3D information is more clearly defined (and the contrast levels tend to be higher) works well. Even though Kellnhofer is still working on finalizing the prototype, he believes that Home3D could be commercialized rather quickly, especially since manufacturers already have experience with integrating 3D support technologies. In fact, consumers have already seen similar technologies in shipping products "Remember, [HTC] EVO 3D cellphone had a switchable 3D mask," said Kellnhofer. Now he just has to convince and industry that's leaving home 3D far behind. WATCH: This giant kinetic sculpture is actually a shape-shifting human face
When plant and animal species go extinct, it's usually a clear sign that humans have messed up. We've over-hunted, destroyed habitats, polluted waterways, and altered the climate by burning fossil fuels, wiping species off the planet for good. We tend to study extinctions to understand just how much we have disrupted the planet's ecosystems. But in a new scientific study published on Monday, scientists said we're not paying nearly enough attention to the "prelude" to global extinction — as in, the dwindling population sizes and ranges of existing species that can be a warning sign of a bigger extinction event to come. SEE ALSO: 800 wildlife species at risk from Trump's 'beautiful' border wall As with extinctions, these declines have serious consequences for the natural systems we all depend on for clean air and water, food, and shelter. "This is the case of a biological annihilation occurring globally, even if the species these populations belong to are still present somewhere on Earth," Rodolfo Dirzo, the study's co-author and a biology professor at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, said in a press release. TROPICAL FOREST LOGGING HAS CONTRIBUTED TO POPULATION DECLINES IN MANY ANIMALS, INCLUDING THE BORNEAN GIBBON, KNOWN FOR ITS WHOOPING CALL.Image: GERARDO CEBALLOS/UNAMFor their analysis, published in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dirzo and his colleagues mapped the ranges of 27,600 species of birds, amphibians, mammals, and reptiles worldwide. The sample represents nearly half of all known land-based vertebrate species. Scientists estimated that, of these species, nearly one-third of the vertebrates are declining in population size and range. Shrinking ranges mean animals — especially migratory species — have less room to hunt, breed, and hunker down. As ranges decline, population numbers also dwindle, pushing a species closer to the edge of extinction. Tropical regions saw the greatest number of decreasing species, particularly in south and southeast Asia. In Thailand and Myanmar, for instance, illegal hunting and logging of rosewood trees has drastically reduced the population of Indochinese tigers. Indonesia's Sumatran orangutan has lost roughly 60 percent of its habitat as farmers burn and drain swamp forests to produce palm oil. Temperate regions had similar or higher proportions of decreasing species compared to tropical regions, according to the study. A Kakapo flightless parrot seen in January 2011.Image: Shane McInnes/REX/ShutterstockDirzo and his co-authors also looked at 177 well-analyzed mammal species and examined population losses between 1990 and 2015. Within this group, all have lost 30 percent or more of their geographic ranges. Some had been hit especially hard: more than 40 percent of the species have lost over 80 percent of their ranges. "It is a prelude to the disappearance of many more species and the decline of natural systems that make civilization possible," Gerardo Ceballos, the study's lead author and an ecology professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said in the press release. Monday's research adds to the broader scientific debate about the "sixth extinction" — which is likely happening to the planet right now, and might be the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs disappeared 66 million years ago. During Earth's 4.5-billion-year history, five major extinction events have wiped out nearly all the species on the planet, the geological record shows. Asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts were likely to blame for those past events. Asian giant softshell turtle.Image: YOEUNG SUN/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETYHowever, this sixth mass die-off is largely due to human activities, such as population growth, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change. In their paper, Dirzo, Ceballos, and Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich suggested that billions of animal populations that once roamed the Earth are gone. A separate 2016 study by World Wildlife Fund said global populations of vertebrates have declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. The authors of Monday's paper said their research shows "Earth's sixth mass extinction has proceeded further than most assume." They added that the steep population declines amount to a "massive erosion of the greatest biological diversity" in Earth's history. WATCH: China's big, beautiful, green 'vertical forests' will suck up toxic smog
One of the largest icebergs ever recorded — measuring about the size of Delaware and containing a volume of ice twice the size of Lake Erie — has broken free from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in northwest Antarctica, according to scientists monitoring the region. The iceberg weighs about a trillion tons, according to a team of researchers affiliated with a U.K.-based research project, known as Project MIDAS. While the iceberg calving event itself is likely mostly natural, it nevertheless threatens to speed up the already quickening pace of ice melt in the region due in large part to global warming. The iceberg is about 2,200 square miles in area, or about the size of Delaware, Project MIDAS researchers said in a blog post on Wednesday morning. It will likely be designated "A68" by officials who track the movement of icebergs to avert shipping accidents. SEE ALSO: Impending Antarctic iceberg is the size of Delaware, and extends 700 feet below the surface "The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than 12 percent, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever," the researchers wrote. Breaking news! The iceberg has fully detached from Larsen C - more details to follow soon pic.twitter.com/pdSxDuAGjR — Project MIDAS (@MIDASOnIce) July 12, 2017 Scientists have watched since 2014 as a fissure in the ice carved out a slice of the Larsen C Ice Shelf as if someone were taking a giant X-Acto Knife to the ice. "The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict," says Adrian Luckman, a professor at Swansea University and lead investigator of the MIDAS project. "It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters." Satellite images from ESA show the LarsenC Iceberg breaking off Antarctica.Image: Stef LhermitteThe iceberg itself won't add to sea level rise, since it has already been floating in the water like an ice cube in a glass. But it may have significant consequences down the road by weakening the overall ice shelf and limiting its ability to hold back inland glaciers whose runoff does contribute to sea level rise. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is located in the Antarctic Peninsula, which is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. While scientists have hesitated to pin this particular iceberg calving event to global warming specifically, the trends across parts of Antarctica, as well as the Arctic, are clear. The Larsen C Ice Shelf seen with the iceberg carved out in top right of the image.Image: esaIce shelves are retreating and weakening as sea and air temperatures climb, and mountain glaciers are speeding their path to the sea faster than predicted just several years ago. The result will be more significant and rapid sea level rise that will threaten the viability of coastal megacities, from Miami to Mumbai. The Larsen C iceberg event has been one of the most closely-observed iceberg calving events in history, with data from a synthetic aperture radar aboard the European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite providing scientists with detailed observations of the motion of the sea and land ice in that region. Other ESA satellites and NASA platforms have also aided scientists in keeping track of this iceberg. The radar onboard the Sentinel-1 satellite is able to detect subtle changes in ground movements and is used for both studying melting glaciers and ice shelves as well as earthquakes and other geological phenomena. Scientists affiliated with a UK-funded research project known as Project Midas kept the closest tabs on the region, with researchers from NASA and other institutions also providing their expertise. When viewed from the air, the fissure in Larsen C stretched all the way to the horizon, and was wide enough that you'd need a plane to cross it — with sections reaching at least 1,500 feet wide. NASA Suomi VIIRS panchromatic image from July 12, 2017, confirming the calving.Image: project midasThe iceberg could last for several years, depending on whether it breaks up into smaller pieces or holds together, according to Mark Drinkwater, who directs the mission science division at ESA. He said there have been instances of icebergs that have circumnavigated the continent of Antarctica, and this iceberg won't melt quickly unless it moves far to the north near milder waters. While the iceberg will not raise sea levels, it will alter the ocean waters in its vicinity by adding freshwater to the sea. It also can affect weather conditions nearby, and pose a danger to shipping routes, depending on its location, Drinkwater said.. How unusual is this? Cracks and calving of ice from the front of an ice shelf are normal occurrences. Shelves are fed by glaciers and ice streams coming from the interior of the continent. They advance into the ocean until a calving event takes place. The calving of an iceberg from an ice shelf in Antarctica would normally not be newsworthy, but because of the place where it occurred, the size of the iceberg, and the rapidity with which this went from a crack identified in 2014 to the calving event this week, this particular event is concerning to scientists who study the region. Closeup image of the Larsen C Ice Shelf rift on Nov. 10, 2016.Image: nasa.“This is a single piece, which is remarkable I guess because of it’s somewhat biblical proportions,” Drinkwater said. Frequent, large calving events at the neighboring Larsen B Ice Shelf presaged that shelf's disintegration in 2002. The Project MIDAS team has published research showing that the calving of this iceberg would reduce the size of Larsen C by more than 10 percent of its area, and leave its front at its most retreated position on record. "This event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula," the researchers wrote in a blog post. The new position of the ice front, which is where the floating ice shelf meets the land-based ice behind it, is likely to be less stable than the previous configuration. This could speed Larsen C's demise, and make the ice sheet follow in the ill-fated footsteps of Larsen B, whose 2002 collapse was a wakeup call to scientists and the public that these massive ice structures can change quickly and seemingly without warning. “Although this is a natural event, and we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change, this puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position," said Martin O'Leary, a Swansea University glaciologist and participant in the MIDAS project, in a statement. "This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history. We’re going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable.” Larsen B Ice Shelf seen on Jan. 31, 2002, with arrows pointing to the edge of ice shelf.Image: nasa Larsen B Ice Shelf after the disintegration on March 7, 2002, with arrows showing the retreat of the edge of the shelf and shelf remnants extending from it.Image: nasa Other ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula have either disintegrated or begun thinning and retreating as well, reflecting the rapid warming rates in the region. "The demise of ice shelves in the Peninsula is well-documented and related to climate warming," said Eric Rignot, a professor of Earth System Science at University of California at Irvine and a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In fact, Larsen C is one of the last ice shelves in this region still standing. Larsen A disintegrated in 1995, Larsen B in 2002, the Wilkins Ice Shelf continued to break up through at least 2013, and according to Rignot, Larsen C and the George VI Ice Shelf are "not looking good." It may take years for us to know the fate of Larsen C, however. Rignot said the crack in was able to propagate rapidly across part of Larsen C because the overall ice shelf has been retreating, and also thinned by at least 50 meters, or about 160 feet, in the past 20 years. Despite losing such a large amount of ice at once, Larsen C is not likely to collapse right away, if at all, Rignot says. The shelf's compressive arch, which helps stabilize it, is still a few kilometers inland, he said. However, another big calving event after this one could doom Larsen C. Were they each to slide into the sea, the glaciers held back by Larsen C would raise global sea levels by about 1 centimeter, or 0.4 inches. This is larger than that associated with the loss of Larsen B, which held back just 4 millimeters, or 0.15 inches, in sea level rise potential. Scientists like Rignot have been sounding the alarm about ice shelf instability in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as well. A collapse there could produce far greater amounts of sea level rise than similar events in other parts of the continent. "As the wave of warming awake regions of Antarctica located farther south, the ice shelves will unleash larger amounts of land ice into the sea," Rignot said. "This is the big story that people need to think about. What we are seeing right now does not have major consequences for sea level tomorrow, but it is part of a story where the sources of sea level awakened by climate warming get bigger and bigger with time." According to Robin Bell, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the iceberg should be viewed in the broader context of the changes taking place on our planet. "It shows that we’re able to watch our planet shift and move much better than we used to, and we know that this is a part of the planet where temperatures are changing more than anywhere else, and [where] the first wakeup call that things could happen fast occurred.” “It’s really the trends that matter, not an individual iceberg,” Bell said. WATCH: It's official, 2016 was Earth's warmest year on record
By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up. The one trillion tonne iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey. The iceberg, which is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Delaware or the Indonesian island of Bali, has been close to breaking off for a few months.
The commander in chief tweeted that his son did “a good job” defending himself on Fox News amid the growing firestorm over emails showing he had sought incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks during the Freedom Summit in Greenville, S.C., on May 9, 2015. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Wednesday that Congress should pad the budget for President Trump’s border wall by cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and food stamps. On CNN’s “New Day,” King was asked if he was comfortable with $1.6 billion of taxpayer money being allocated to fund the border wall, particularly in light of Trump’s signature campaign promise that Mexico would pay for 100 percent of it.
Christopher Wray, President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, vowed in his confirmation hearing Wednesday to be fully independent from the executive branch if confirmed and said he had not discussed the firing of his predecessor, James Comey, with the White House. “If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice. Full stop,” Wray said in his opening statement.
“Someone close to the president needs to get everyone connected with that campaign in a room and say, ‘From the time you saw ‘Doctor Zhivago’ until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single one of those.’”
An orphan baby wombat who warmed the hearts of the world in a viral Facebook video viewed 40 million times has turned one, with his latest exploits also proving a huge hit. George was still in his mum's pouch when she was hit and killed by a car last year. Luckily, a passer-by found the scared animal and delivered him to the Australian Reptile Park near Sydney.
With about 44,000 farms stretched across 14.5 million acres of farmland, Arkansas ranks No. 16 in the U.S. for cash receipts, with soybeans and rice bringing in nearly $2.63 billion of the total $8.9 billion, ...
A NASA spacecraft, Juno, has successfully peered into the giant storm raging on Jupiter, known as the Great Red Spot, and its first pictures should be out in days, the US space agency said Tuesday. "My latest Jupiter flyby is complete!" said a post on the @NASAJuno Twitter account. The unmanned spacecraft came closer than any before it to the iconic feature on the solar system's largest planet, the gas giant Jupiter.
Australia has bought back most of a contentious mining licence issued for a huge Chinese-run coal mine near prime agricultural land, officials said Wednesday, but farmers are still not happy. Chinese company Shenhua was granted the original exploration licence for the Aus$1.0 billion (US$770 million) Watermark mine near Gunnedah in New South Wales state in 2008 by a previous Labor government. Large-scale mining in rural areas as well as foreign ownership of key agricultural and mineral assets are sensitive topics in Australia, with Canberra knocking back several sales in recent years citing national interest.
A trillion-tonne iceberg - one of the largest on record - has broken away from an ice shelf in Antarctica. Researchers have been monitoring a huge crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, which had left a vast iceberg more than four times the size of London or a quarter the size of Wales "hanging by a thread". Scientists announced on Wednesday that the rift had finally completed its path through the ice, causing the 2,200 square mile (5,800 square kilometre) iceberg to snap off. A massive section of Larsen-C ice shelf calving off the glacier in a satellite image released by the European Space Agency Credit: ESA The calving of the iceberg reduces the size of the Larsen C Ice Shelf by around 12 per cent and will change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever, the team from the Swansea University-led Midas project said. The iceberg, which is now likely to be named A68, broke away at some time between Monday and Wednesday. The final breakthrough was detected in data from Nasa's Aqua MODIS satellite instrument. Professor Adrian Luckman, of Swansea University, said: "We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometres of ice. An image from NASA shows the Antarctic Peninsula's rift in the Larsen C ice shelf Credit: AFP "We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg. "The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict. It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. From 6 July to 12 July, #Sentinel1 caught the final days and eventual full break-off of the berg. #LarsenCpic.twitter.com/2kVVjx4Syk— ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) 12 July 2017 "Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters." Although the iceberg weighs a trillion tonnes, it was already floating before it calved away so will have no immediate impact on sea level. While the researchers said the calving was a "natural event", it put the ice shelf in a vulnerable position. A huge crack had left the Larsen C Ice Shelf 'hanging by a thread', scientists said Credit: JOHN SONNTAG/AFP There are concerns that Larsen C could follow the example of its neighbouring ice shelf Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 after a similar event. Dr Martin O'Leary, a Swansea University glaciologist and member of the Midas project team, said: "Although this is a natural event, and we're not aware of any link to human-induced climate change, this puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position. Nasa Suomi VIIRS panchromatic image from July 12 2017, confirming the calving Credit: Nasa "This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history. We're going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable." Prof Luckman added: "In the ensuing months and years, the ice shelf could either gradually regrow, or may suffer further calving events which may eventually lead to collapse - opinions in the scientific community are divided. "Our models say it will be less stable, but any future collapse remains years or decades away." If the shelf loses much more area, it could result in glaciers which flow off the land behind speeding up their path to the ocean, which could have an eventual impact on sea levels - though at a very modest rate, the scientists said. Larsen C Ice Break Growth of Larsen C's rift size
A large portion of an ice shelf that was said to be “hanging by a thread” last month has broken off from the Antarctic mainland, creating one of the world’s largest icebergs according to a report by British Antarctic research group Project MIDAS. It is 5,800 square kilometers, making it nearly twice the size of Rhode Island.