This is a Hubble Space Telescope composite image of a supernova explosion designated SN 2014J in the galaxy M82. At a distance of approximately 11.5 million light-years from Earth it is the closest supernova of its type discovered in the past few decades. The explosion is categorized as a Type Ia supernova, which is theorized to be triggered in binary systems consisting of a white dwarf and another star which could be a second white dwarf, a star like our sun, or a giant star. Astronomers using a ground-based telescope discovered the explosion on January 21, 2014. This Hubble photograph was taken on January 31, as the supernova approached its peak brightness. Because of their consistent peak brightness, Type Ia supernovae are among the best tools to measure distances in the universe. They were fundamental to the 1998 discovery of the mysterious acceleration of the expanding universe. A hypothesized repulsive force, called dark energy, is thought to cause the acceleration.
Since landing on the Red Planet in 2012, the Mars Curiosity Rover has been has been analyzing the planet's atmosphere and measuring its chemical components. Curiosity has recently detected concentrated spikes of methane, a gas normally released by microbial organisms here on Earth, which may indicate the presence of life on Mars. Scientists have yet to identify the source of the methane gas, which may be trapped in ice on the planet's surface or released from underground fissures due to mechanical or thermal stress. Most of the Martian atmosphere consists of carbon dioxide, with methane measuring about 0.7 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). Comparatively, Earth's atmosphere contains about 1,800 (ppbv) of methane.
NASA is testing an unmanned version of a newly developed crew capsule to be used in conjunction with a more powerful rocket that will debut in the next few years. The technology currently in development would be designed to send astronauts past the International Space Station to other planetary bodies such as the Moon and Mars. The Orion capsule launch is the first step in testing the vehicle's heat shielding and re-entry parachutes, as it withstands temperatures of around 3,600°F while traveling around 20,000mph.
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The New York Times Writes:
By using a DNA “bar code” of 23 short snips from the genes of parasites that cause malaria, scientists can now often quickly determine where they originated, British researchers report.
The information could be useful in fighting local outbreaks, which may be caused by parasites from other parts of the world. And it should be possible to make a test kit that will get that information from a spot of dried blood in two hours — far less time than is needed to sequence a whole genome. More...
An article in Science Daily News says: It is generally well known that men have an overall shorter life expectancy compared to women. A recent study shows a correlation between a loss of the Y chromosome in blood cells and both a shorter life span and higher mortality from cancer in other organs. More...