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Since 1970, this is the first time NASA is getting funding for building nuclear propulsion system for it space vehicles. The good thing is that NASA didn’t even request any money for this type of program. The money NASA is receiving is about $125 million for research in this program. This grant is a part of NASA’s $22.3 billion budget approved by Congress.


Nuclear powered space rockets will play significant part in getting humans to Mars. It will also cut travel time to Mars and ultimately missions beyond Mars.

Congress has already tasked NASA with 2024 Moon landing so this program for nuclear propulsion system is critical for 2024 landings.

Vice President Mike Pence told the National Space Council in March “As we continue to push farther into our solar system, we’ll need innovative new propulsion systems to get us there, including nuclear power”

As of now NASA hasn’t revealed any plans for this type of nuclear programs but we are expecting some news soon.

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A teenager who sued his school after being excluded for not being vaccinated against chickenpox has come down with chickenpox. After an outbreak of chickenpox in a high school in Kentucky in March, the Northern Kentucky Health Department banned students from attending class unless they could prove they were vaccinated or immune to the disease.


Jerome Kunkel made headlines earlier this year after he sued the Kentucky Health Department over the issue, having been told by his Catholic school that he couldn't play basketball for the school team as a result of the policy.

Kunkel's family object to vaccines on moral grounds. His father said at the time that the decision was "tyranny against our religion, our faith, our country".

Read more here.


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UNICEF believes no child should die of a preventable disease. That’s why we provide vaccines for 45% of the world’s young children. They support vaccination programmers in over 95 countries. It’s a huge job that’s only possible through the sheer determination of thousands of volunteers and health professionals.

These 14 photos show the incredible lengths they’ll go to keep children safe from disease.










Read more here.

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A new report has warned there's an existential risk to humanity from the climate crisis within the coming decades, and a "high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end" over the next three decades unless urgent action is taken.

The report, published by Australian thinktank the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, outlines an apocalyptic scenario that could see conditions "beyond the threshold of human survivability" across much of our planet by 2050. Their analysis calculates the existential climate-related security risk to Earth through a scenario set 30 years into the future.


The report refuses to downplay its bleak assessment of what could happen, warning of "an existential risk to civilization [..] posing permanent large negative consequences to humanity that may never be undone, either annihilating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtailing its potential."

The authors argue we are now in a unique situation with no precise historical equivalent, with temperatures unlike anything humanity has ever experienced, and a population of nearly 8 billion people. This requires us to work towards avoiding catastrophic possibilities rather than looking at probabilities, as learning from mistakes is not an option when it comes to existential risks. 

With that in mind, they propose a plausible and terrifying "2050 scenario" whereby humanity could face irreversible collapse in just three decades. So, here goes:

2020-2030

Governments fail to act on the evidence that the Paris Agreement isn't enough to keep Earth's temperature from rising, and will "lock in at least 3°C of warming". As projected by previous studies, carbon dioxide levels have reached 437 parts per million, which hasn't been seen in the last 20 million years. The planet warms by 1.6°C (2.8°F).

2030-2050

Emissions peak in 2030 and are reduced. However, carbon cycle feedbacks and the continued use of fossil fuels see temperatures rise by 3°C (5.4°F) by 2050.

2050

By 2050 there's a scientific consensus that we reached the tipping point for ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic well before 2°C (3.6°F) of warming, and for widespread permafrost at 2.5°C (4.5°F). A "Hothouse Earth" scenario plays out that sees Earth's temperatures doomed to rise by a further 1°C (1.8°F) even if we stopped emissions immediately.


Read more here.
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No matter if you enjoy taking or just watching images of space, NASA has a treat for you. They have made their entire collection of images, sounds, and video available and publicly searchable online. It’s 140,000 photos and other resources available for you to see, or even download and use it any way you like.

You can type in the term you want to search for and browse through the database of stunning images of outer space. Additionally, there are also images of astronauts, rocket launches, events at NASA and other interesting stuff. What’s also interesting is that almost every image comes with the EXIF data, which could be useful for astrophotography enthusiasts.



When you browse through the gallery, you can choose to see images, videos or audio. Another cool feature I noticed is that you can narrow down the results by the year. Of course, I used some of my time today to browse through the gallery, and here are some of the space photos you can find:



What I love about NASA is that they make interesting content for average Internet users. They make us feel closer and more familiar with their work and with the secrets of the outer space. For instance, they recently launched a GIPHY account full of awesome animated gifs. It’s also great that photography is an important part of their missions, and so it was even before “pics or it didn’t happen” became the rule. The vast media library they have now published is available to everyone, free of charge and free of copyright. Therefore, you can take a peek at the fascinating mysteries of space, check out what it’s like inside NASA’s premises, or download the images to make something awesome from them. Either way, you’ll enjoy it!



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The American biologist Edward Osborne Wilson known as "the father of sociobiology" argues that the Earth is suffering "a death through a thousand injuries" because of religion and that it should disappear for the benefit of human progress.





In the most recent edition of New Scientist , Wilson explained that his next book would analyze the future of humans and Earth.


The Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist warned that people had not yet realized that the "tribal structure" had been destroying the planet with "a thousand cuts," according to a partial transcript obtained by the International Business Times.

The Pulitzer, awarded by the University of Columbia, are annual awards for newspapers, magazines and digital coverages. In newsrooms like The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Pulitzer are considered the pinnacle of every journalistic career.

"All ideologies and religions have their own answers for the big questions, but these are often linked as a dogma to some kind of tribe," he said. "Religions in particular present supernatural elements that other tribes, other religions, can not accept ... And every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving and charitable, disparages all other tribes. What drags us is religious faith ".

"Humans all over the world have a strong tendency to wonder if a god is watching them or not. Virtually all people wonder if they will have another life, "Wilson continued. «These are the things that unite humanity».

But he said that "the transcendent search has been hijacked by the tribal religions."

"Then I would say that, for the sake of human progress, the best we could do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious religions. But certainly not eliminating the natural yearnings of our species nor raising these big questions ".

Wilson, who was raised as a Baptist in Alabama, has said he "walked away" from Christianity, but does not refer to himself as an atheist.

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European Southern Observatory (ESO) officials have finally confirmed that they have discovered a new exoplanet candidate named Proxima b inside the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri - a red dwarf star in our closest neighbouring star system, Alpha Centauri. This is gigantic news, because it means an Earth-like planet could lie just 4.2 light-years away from us, and has the potential to support life. Further research is needed to confirm the characteristics of its atmosphere and the possibility of liquid water on its surface, but the team already has plans on how to get us there.


"Many exoplanets have been found and many more will be found, but searching for the closest potential Earth-analog and succeeding has been the experience of a lifetime for all of us," team member Guillem Anglada-Escudé from Queen Mary University of London told the press today.

Named Proxima b, the exoplanet candidate orbits Proxima Centauri - a red dwarf that lies within the Alpha Centauri star system in the constellation Centaurus. This is the closest star system to Earth, making Proxima b the closest Earth-like exoplanet ever found.

"It’s really exciting because the proximity, it can’t get any better," said one of the team, Michael Endl, from the University of Texas at Austin.

The team, which includes researchers from the ESO and a program called the Pale Red Dot campaign, was able to find the new planet candidate by observing Proxima Centauri during the first half of 2016, and comparing their data with previous observations from the past 16 years, collected by telescopes all over the world.

In collating 16 years worth of data, they found enough statistical evidence for the existence of Proxima b.

"I kept checking the consistency of the signal every single day during the 60 nights of the Pale Red Dot campaign. The first 10 were promising, the first 20 were consistent with expectations, and at 30 days the result was pretty much definitive, so we started drafting the paper!" said Anglada-Escudé.

What we know about Proxima b so far is that it's roughly 1.3 times the size of Earth, and there's a good chance it's rocky. It orbits roughly 4.3 million miles (6.92 million kilometres) from Proxima Centauri, and takes about 11.2 days to complete its orbit.

Its surface temperature is about -40 degrees Celsius, and there's also the possibility that it harbours a survivable atmosphere and liquid water on the surface - something that would be key for life to form on the planet.

Further observations are needed to confirm this, but fortunately, the team says Proxima b is in range of probes, which means one day in the not-so-distant future, we could send a spacecraft out there to take pictures.

The research team also plans teaming up with Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, who already announced a US$130 million project called Starshot earlier this year that will send tiny spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in hopes of finding life.

The Starshot team hopes to get their tiny spacecraft out to Alpha Centauri within the next 30 years. As their project continues, as well as the ESO’s, we will hopefully figure out much more about Proxima b.

"Proxima b is indeed our neighbour," says the team, "so let us get used to it."

The team's findings were published in the journal Nature.
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In a galaxy not so far away, a German professor has transformed an observatory into a giant R2-D2 because why the hell not. Dr. Hubert Zitt, a professor at the Zweibrücken University of Applied Sciences, is an expert in electrotechnology and Star Wars. Although Zitt only received a doctorate for his knowledge in the field of systems theory of electrotechnology, yeah I have no idea what that is either, he is famous for the lectures he delivers in Star Wars. 

According to Bored Panda, the science-fiction fan decided to give the Zweibrück Observatory of the Natural Science Association a makeover, painting it to look like Star Wars‘ adorable robot R2-D2.


Recruiting his father-in-law Horst Hell, painter Klaus Ruffing and several of his students, Zitt transformed the observatory in September 2018, much to the delight of Star Wars fans.


Sharing an image of a Jawa standing outside the observatory, one person wrote on Instagram: ''On the grounds of the FH in Zweibrücken the students have had a reason to be happy for a few weeks. In collaboration with their Prof Hubert Zitt they have painstakingly transformed the dome of the observatory into the Star Wars droid R2-D2.' So I think that part can be really proud. A galactic strong result. May the force be with you!!!''

I bet Zitt is excited to see the latest Star Wars film, Episode IX, which is hitting cinemas later this year.


Ever since the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi in 2017, fans have been eagerly awaiting any clues as to what they can expect from the next installment. The upcoming blockbuster will bring to a close the latest trilogy of the main Star Wars film franchise.

Now, Disney hurry up and drop the trailer, I can’t cope with the suspense!

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Beth Moon—a photographer based out of San Francisco—traveled around the globe to capture some of that magic. Her trip took her to different places and allowed here to record some of the most remarkable ancient trees that she found.

Her unforgettable trip took her to countless places; the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.


She dared go where many others would not in order to take that perfect photograph. Some trees she photographed grow in isolation, on remote mountainsides, private estates, or nature preserves; others maintain a proud, though often precarious, existence in the midst of civilization.





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Astronomers just publicized details of mysterious signals originating from a distant galaxy. These signals were picked up by a telescope in Canada. The real origin of the radio waves is still unknown. So far astronomers have detected 13 fast radio bursts. These are called FRBs. These repeating signals were very usual, as it was coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.



This kind of signals were recorded before but it was recorded by a different telescope.

Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia (UBC), said: "Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there. And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles - where they're from and what causes them."

The research paper has been published in the journal Nature. You can read the complete article here.

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