Kepler-452b: NASA Mission Discovers ‘Older, Bigger Cousin’ to Earth

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NASA on Thursday announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the most Earth-like planet ever found. Located 1,400 light-years from our planet, NASA called it “Earth 2.0,” because it’s the first small, rocky planet discovered in the habitable zone of a G star similar to our sun.

“We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, bigger cousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment,” said Jon Jenkins, the Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The planet is 5 percent farther away from its star than Earth is to the sun, making for a slightly longer year of 385 days, but gets similar light because its sun is 20 percent brighter than our own.


!!!!!EarthsCousin1An artist’s concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger in diameter. NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle



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Incredible Octopus Behavior Nearly Caused Scientist To Drown From Laughing

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It doesn’t take a backbone to be a genius — or a master of the comedic arts, apparently.

An octopus has been captured on film exhibiting one of the most remarkable (and amusing) examples of tool usage in the animal kingdom. Footage shows the eight-limbed animal literally walking along the ocean floor carrying two halves of a broken coconut shell beneath his arms, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

But this tentacled one knows exactly what he’s doing.


!!!!!incredibleOctopus1Octopus in coconut shell



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New Horned Dinosaur Species Called ‘Most Striking’ Ever Discovered

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Say hello to one of Triceratops’ oldest relatives.

Scientists recently discovered the fossilized bones of a striking new species of horned dinosaur in southern Alberta, Canada. The 200-plus fossils are believed to have belonged to four specimens of Wendiceratops pinhornenis–three adults and one young dino.

According to the researchers, W. pinhornenis lived about 79 million years ago. Measuring about 6 meters (20 feet) in length and weighing more than a ton, it sported a parrot-like beak suited to eating scrubby plants. And while the dinosaur likely had a wide frill extending from its neck and horns over the eyes, its most bizarre feature was the giant horn on its nose. It’s the earliest known example of a tall, upright nose horn in the horned dinosaur family.


!!!!!NewHornedDinosaur1Wendiceratops pinhornenis. (Credit: Secret Location Agency)



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A Host of Cool Science Gifs

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These Gifs are astoundingly elegant.


There is Flammable Matter in Smoke

(it’s not just nothingness, obviously)

via Imgur



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How 3-D printing helped a Canadian rooster strut again

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A rooster found in Calgary earlier this year had lost its feet. Frostbite was probably the culprit, but whatever the reason, the bird couldn’t really get around that well.

“He just had stumps to walk on. More or less, he was hopping,” Daniel Pang, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary, told the Calgary Herald. “We had concerns of physical damage, that he wouldn’t be able to exhibit normal behaviours for a rooster … and he wouldn’t be able to get away from predators or dangerous situations.”

So Pang decided to help out the little guy. He got a hand from Mark Ungrin — and from the 3-D printer that Ungrin, another assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the university, had in his lab.


Just look at this little champion. (Riley Brandt/University of Calgary)



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Dazzling New Pluto Photos Are The Best Ever Taken Of The Icy Dwarf Planet

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One day after its historic flyby of Pluto and almost a decade since its launch, NASA’s New Horizons space probe has delivered what we’ve all been waiting for: eye-popping photos of the dwarf planet and its moons.


!!!!!Charon1Most detailed map yet of Pluto’s biggest moon, Charon. The New Horizons craft found that it has a canyon four to six miles deep, along with cliffs and troughs, according to Cathy Olkin, deputy project scientist with the New Horizons mission.



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Climate scientists find surprising reason for faster Arctic meltdown


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Relatively few tropical storms ever make it as far north as Greenland, the ice-covered island that straddles the Arctic Circle east of Canada. But the ones that do appear to be inflicting serious damage — and not just to Greenland.

A study published Monday shows that warm, tropical air masses are accelerating the melting of Greenland’s ice sheets, exacerbating a problem that already is contributing to rising sea levels around the globe.
The Greenland Ice Sheet currently covers more than 650,000 square miles, an area three times the size of Texas. Previous studies have documented rapid melting on the periphery of the ice sheet, which is losing mass at a rate 30 percent faster than in the late 1970s.

But the new research shows that tropical systems that hit Greenland in the autumn months cause a sharp spike in thawing. Unusually warm topical air and…

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