Wednesday, Oct 04th

Last update10:11:52 PM GMT

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Scientists will unleash an army of crabs to help save Florida’s dying reef

Crabs released to save Florida reefs

With giant pincers and rough, spider-like legs, Caribbean king crabs don’t look like your typical heroes. Yet these crustaceans may be key to solving one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems: the decline of coral reefs.

In recent decades, warming seas, diseases, and other threats have wiped out half of the world’s corals and 90 percent of those in Florida. And this past summer, the problem accelerated. A devastating heat wave struck the Caribbean, pushing the reef in the Florida Keys — the largest in the continental US — closer to the brink of collapse.

The decline of coral reefs is an enormous problem for wildlife and human communities. Reefs not only provide habitat for as much as a quarter of all marine life, including commercial fish, but they also help safeguard coastal communities during severe storms. Simply put, we need coral reefs.


An annular solar eclipse is coming to parts of the U.S. in October

Annual Solar eclipse coming in October

Get your eclipse glasses ready!

Next month the moon will pass between Earth and the sun, treating viewers here on our planet to a solar eclipse.

For some, this will be an annular solar eclipse. That occurs when the moon is at or near the furthest point its orbit and appears small in the sky, and its transit in front of the sun will look like a black circle on the gleaming star.

In the U.S., the annular eclipse on Saturday, Oct. 14 will be visible in parts of Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, according to NASA.

It will begin in Oregon at 9:13 a.m. PDT and end in Texas at 12:03 p.m. CDT.


NASA’s first asteroid samples land safely in Utah

Asteroids land in Utah

NASA’s first asteroid sample landed safely on Earth on Sunday morning near Salt Lake City.

The sample, which is a capsule of rocks and dust from asteroid Bennu, was released in a flyby of Earth by NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft, which released the sample around 63,000 miles above the surface of the planet, NASA said in its announcement. The sample landed nearly four hours later in a targeted area of the Department of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range near Salt Lake City.

The sample was taken by helicopter to a temporary clean room where it was connected to a continuous flow of nitrogen to keep out contaminants from Earth, leaving the sample pure for research.

Scientists estimate the capsule holds at least a cup of rubble but will not be sure until the container is opened in the coming days, according to The Associated Press, which said the sample marks the biggest haul from beyond the Moon.


NASA releases 'baby picture' of a star that will grow up to be much like our sun

NASA releases image of new star that will be like our sun

Ever wondered what the Sun looked like in its infancy?

A new image from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured what Earth's sun looked like when it was only a few tens of thousands of years old.

The image of Herbig-Haro 211 (HH 211), released by NASA on Sept. 14, shows the outflow of a young star. "An infantile analogue of our Sun," NASA said in a statement.

Located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Perseus, HH21 has only about 8% of the Sun's mass. A Class 0 protostar, meaning the nascent star is less than 100,000 years old, "eventually will grow into a star like the Sun," Webb Space Telescope wrote on its website.

The stunning, high-resolution image, with shades of blue and pink erupting from a dark center, shows the luminous region surrounding the newborn star, known as a Herbig-Haro object. As the new star ejects gas jets, these winds collide with neighboring gas and dust, producing the colorful outflow we see in the image.


NASA calls on the American public to help in the hunt for UFOs

Bill Nelson, NASA UFO chief

NASA is calling for a “government-wide approach” to collect data on UFOs, and is even asking the public to use smartphone apps to help identify mysterious aerial craft.

The report released Thursday morning comes a year after NASA formed a group of experts to examine how information about UFOs, which the government officially calls unidentified anomalous phenomena, is collected by the government and private sector. The study is based on unclassified reports and sightings and is separate from a Pentagon effort to collect information on UFOs.

By using sensors from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites and commercial remote-sensing technology, Washington could create “a robust and systematic data acquisition strategy within the whole-of-government framework,” according to the report.

It also added that “artificial intelligence and machine learning are essential tools for identifying rare occurrences.”


'A promising step:' NASA says planet 8.6 times bigger than Earth could support life

NASA says exoplanet could support life

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has uncovered evidence of a possible ocean world larger than Earth with conditions that have the potential to support life.

The exoplanet known as K2-18 b was first discovered in 2015 more than 120 light-years from Earth during the space agency's K2 mission. But Webb's enhanced technology compared to previous space telescopes recently allowed scientists to more closely examine the star-orbiting planet beyond our solar system.

And what they found was nothing short of remarkable.

Observations in 2019 with Webb's predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, previously indicated that the exoplanet — 8.6 times bigger than Earth — could be a "Hycean" world with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and a surface covered by ocean water. Now, a new investigation with the Webb telescope has revealed traces of carbon-bearing molecules in K2-18 b's atmosphere, including methane and carbon dioxide, NASA said Monday.


How to see a newly-discovered green comet this week, before it vanishes for 400 years

How to see Green Comet Nishimura

A newly-discovered green comet is zipping by Earth and is now visible for the first time in more than 400 years.

Comet Nishimura was discovered by amateur Japanese astronomer Hideo Nishimura on Aug. 11 and named after him.

Nishimura first spotted it by taking long exposure shots using a Canon digital camera and a telephoto lens.

When our solar system first formed, huge amounts of debris were left over. So what we see as a comet is a chunk of dirty ice that remains from that time.

Comets typically stay far away from the sun, frozen and impossible for us to see. But every once in a while, one will come in toward the sun.


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