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Grace mission launches to weigh Earth's water

Grace mission launches to weigh Earth's water

Science
A joint US-German mission has gone into orbit to weigh the water on Earth. The Grace satellites are replacing a pair of highly successful spacecraft that stopped working last year. Like their predecessors, the new duo will circle the globe and sense tiny variations in the pull of gravity that result from movements in mass. These could be a signal of the land swelling after prolonged rains, or of ice draining from the poles as they melt in a warming climate. The satellites were launched on Tuesday aboard a SpaceX rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California. It will take a number of weeks to prepare and test the spacecraft before they can start gathering data. Space lasers to track Earth's ice Europe plans Sentinels expansion ...
New ESA image reveals massive stellar nursery

New ESA image reveals massive stellar nursery

Science
May 21 (UPI) -- A new image captured by the Herschel Space Observatory and shared by the European Space Agency on Monday showcases a massive stellar nursery located 12,000 light-years away. The G305 complex, which hosts a variety of star-forming hotspots, is located near the Coalsack Nebula. In the night sky, the region is situated within the Southern Cross, or Crux constellation. While G305 is home to many bright, newborn stars, the star-forming region is surrounded by dark clouds of molecular gas and dust. These swirling layers of star-forming materials block out the light of newborn stars, causing the region to appear as a splotch of dark black against the starry backdrop of the Milk Way. As revealed in the new Herschel image, the blue light of the complex's most intense star-forming ...
Global warming linked with rising antibiotic resistance

Global warming linked with rising antibiotic resistance

Science
May 21 (UPI) -- New research suggests rising temperatures are encouraging antibiotic resistance in cities across the United States. Until now, health researchers assumed antibiotic resistance was primarily the result of overprescription and overuse. But a new study suggests climate change is also to blame. "The effects of climate are increasingly being recognized in a variety of infectious diseases, but so far as we know this is the first time it has been implicated in the distribution of antibiotic resistance over geographies," Derek MacFadden, an infectious disease specialist and research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital, said in a news release. "We also found a signal that the associations between antibiotic resistance and temperature could be increasing over time." MacFadden and ...
Seeds of hope: The gardens springing up in refugee camps

Seeds of hope: The gardens springing up in refugee camps

Science
"Syria is green," says Aveen Ismail. "But here it was like a desert until we started growing plants and trees." The 35-year-old fled Damascus with her family in 2012. She now lives in the Domiz Camp in Northern Iraq, where roses, lemon trees and marigolds have sprung up amid the concrete and dust."Creating a garden was a way for us to heal and remind us of home," she says.Alfonso Montiel of the Lemon Tree Trust has sat down in many of the tiny green spaces at the camp."You'll see in some cases it's full of roses," he says. "The first question you ask yourself is, why not food?"Flowers, says Montiel, give a sense of the passage of time. "It gives them a sense of hope. It gives a sense of control of their environment." The Lemon Tr...
Scientists detect oxygen legacy of first stars

Scientists detect oxygen legacy of first stars

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Astronomers have made the most distant ever detection of oxygen.They observed it in a galaxy of stars that existed just 500 million years after the Big Bang. But what is really fascinating is that this oxygen can only have been produced in an even older group of stars that would have dispersed it when they died and blew themselves apart. That means we could be witnessing the traces of events that occurred a mere 250 million years after the Big Bang. Scientists reporting in the journal Nature say this takes us back into the theorised epoch known as Cosmic Dawn when the Universe was first bathed in light.The team cannot see this critical period directly - it is beyond the capability of current technol...