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Test flight for SpaceX's massive Starship rocket reaches space, explodes again

Starship explodes

The second launch of SpaceX's uncrewed Starship rocket, the largest and most powerful craft on Earth, went farther than the first attempt in April but exploded after about 12 minutes into flight.

The Starship, which lifted off about 8:04 a.m. ET from SpaceX’s private Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville on the Gulf of Mexico, had a stage separation and reached space. But ground crew lost communications with the rocketship after nine minutes, reported.


No Daddy Shark in sight: Zoo greets a cute shark pup after apparent parthenogenesis

by shark worn without a daddy

What if the song "Baby Shark" stopped after just two stanzas?

For non-fans of the catchy tune, that might sound like a dream. For a real-life Mommy Shark in Illinois, it's reality: She produced a baby without a Daddy Shark.

The epaulette shark pup hatched this summer at Brookfield Zoo, just west of Chicago. Its mother has been at the zoo since 2019; in that time, she's never shared a tank with a male.

It's a rare case of parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction, according to the zoo.


Parts of Iowa, Nebraska, and New York could see the northern lights Sunday night

Northern Lights to be seen in east

Parts of Midwest and Northeast states may be able to see the northern lights Sunday night, according to an alert sent by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

Forecasts by the Prediction Center show that residents as far south as Nebraska and central Iowa may be able to see the aurora borealis if conditions permit. The expansion of the lights is influenced by a coronal mass ejection from the sun sparking a strong geomagnetic storm.

NASA describes coronal mass ejections as "huge bubbles of coronal plasma threaded by intense magnetic field lines that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours." The space agency says they often look like "huge, twisted rope" and can occur with solar flares, or explosions on the sun's surface.

The view line for the astral occurrence will recede on Monday, as forecasts show that the southernmost reaches of the view line will clip central Minnesota.


Climate scientists are working with indigenous tribes

Climate scientists working with indigenouos tribesach summer, Frank Ettawageshik would spend most of his time outdoors, sleeping outside, right on the ground. Today, he balks at the thought.

"I was 35 or so before I ever saw a tick," says the 74-year-old executive director of the United Tribes of Michigan, a Native American advocacy group. Now in northern Michigan, he says, "there's ticks all over the place".

Ettawageshik belongs to the Anishinaabe people, whose members are from the Great Lakes. His own Tribal Nation is the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, who have lived in the northwestern shores of Michigan's lower peninsula for centuries. Besides the spread of ticks, a phenomenon exacerbated by rising temperatures, they've witnessed the struggling populations of whitefish in nearby Lake Michigan and the gradual changes in harvests from the sugar maple tree, whose name in Odawa is "niinatig" — meaning "our tree". Research suggesting warmer temperatures might force sugar maples out of Michigan add to Ettawageshik's concerns. "Our tree is going to be moving away from us," he says.


A science experiment in the sky attempts to unravel the mysteries of contrails

Inside NASA DC-8 Airborne labIt was a six hour flight that officially didn't go anywhere, but could help usher in a new chapter of aviation sustainability.

A high altitude series of science experiments over the course of a few weeks in October tested different kinds of aviation fuels and studied the effects of contrails – those thin, wispy cloud-like lines you sometimes see behind planes. USA TODAY got a front-row seat to the cutting-edge research a few days before the mission concluded on Nov. 1.


Joro spiders, huge and invasive, spreading around eastern US, study finds

Joro spiders here to stay

The latest species of spider found in the U.S. are huge, brightly colored and travel in a method described as "ballooning." And, according to new research, they're spreading out to new states around the country.

Researchers at Clemson University published a study on Joro spiders, coming to the conclusion that the species is spreading rapidly beyond the South Carolina area, and data shows they could inhabit most of the eastern U.S.


This scientist developed a soap that could help fight skin cancer. He's 14.

Heman Bekele

Heman Bekele is not your typical high school student. Rather than spending his free time playing video games or staring at his phone, this 14 year-old from Fairfax, Virginia was calling professors and conducting experiments, all to invent a product he hopes could help change the world.

His goal is to create a soap that could treat skin cancer, and to make it affordable for everyone who needs it.

His work won him the grand prize in this year's 3M Young Scientist's Challenge, a competition that encourages kids to think of unique ways to solve everyday problems.

Bekele's award-winning soap was inspired by his childhood in Ethiopia before moving to the United States at the age of 4. The soap delivers cancer- fighting drugs via lipid nanoparticles – which work to activate the body's immune cells to fend off cancer.


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