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Scientists dressed horses as zebras to figure out why they have stripes

Horse in zebra print. Photo: T. Caro (2019) Why do zebras have stripes? Evolutionary biologists have proposed many possible theories, such as camouflage or vision aids to identify individual zebras. But in recent years pest control has emerged as the main explanation for zebra strips. Researchers led by Tim Caro, an evolutionary ecologist at UC Davis, set out to test …

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Israeli moon mission SpaceIL to launch on SpaceX rocket

SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, is launching the first private lunar lander. If the moon mission succeeds, the effort will bear lasting significance for Israel and its growing space industry. But if everything works as planned, Israel will become the fourth nation to ever land on the moon surface. (Japan, India and Europe have crashed probes in …

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These physicists finally decided why microwave ovens light

A grape meets a hydrogel bullet and sparks fly. All images courtesy of Hamza Khattak "It is a truth universal who acknowledged that a pair of grape halves exposed to intense microwave radiation will kick and ignite a plasma." The literature elevation will notice that the above quotation is a riff on the famous first line of Jane Austens Pride …

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We are only 140 years away from the climate that caused a planet-wide extinction

Photo: Getty People have driven atmospheric carbon dioxide to invisible heights in our short (geological) existence. But give us a few generations, and our geological impact on the planet will be clear. New findings released on Wednesday show that at present emission allowances, we are just five generations away from creating an atmosphere that has not been seen for 56 …

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Hubble's show in Neptune moon that may have been repeatedly reborn

Enlarge / An artist's concept of the tiny moon Hippocamp. They compiled a massive record of discovery. Among the newly found objects and phenomena were a large collection of small moons orbiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Most of these were beyond the ability of Earth-based hardware to image at the time — we actually had to see them. Since …

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NASA, SpaceX looks ready to finally launch Crew Dragon capsule to ISS

SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule gets ready before an unscathed test flight. SpaceX Delays and space flights are close companions. NASA has several times already launched the launch date for the SpaceX Demo-1 uncrowded test flight in the Crew Dragon canister, but new details make it sound like March 2 could finally go time. NASA shared mission information on Wednesday, including …

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Correlated nucleons can solve 35-year-old mystery

Physicists develop a universal function that suggests that proton neutron pairs in the nucleus, as shown here, can be responsible for the EMC effect. Credit: DOE is Jefferson Lab A careful review of data taken at the Energy Department Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has revealed a possible link between correlated protons and neutrons in the nucleus and a 35-year …

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New Horizons finds Ultima Thule has an unexpected, leveled form – Spaceflight Now

The researchers' understanding of the form of Ultima Thule, officially known as the 2014 MU69, has changed since New Horizon's spacecraft's January 1 fly-by. Imagery linked down by the probe in recent weeks suggests that Ultima Thule's two lobes have a flatter shape than the spherical projection suggested by the aerodrome's first images. The dotted blue line marks the remaining …

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Sleepless flies lived long lives. Why not us?

Sleep – the absurd, amazing habit of losing consciousness for hours at the end – is so universal over the animal kingdom that we usually assume it is important to survive. Now, scientists who have repeatedly disturbed sleep on more than a thousand fruit flies have reported that less slumber may be necessary to sustain life than previously thought, at …

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