Oldest Animal Life on Earth Found? - Scientists have discovered the world's oldest known animal fossils, dating to 650 million years ago. - The fossils, likely sponges, push back the fossil record for animals by about 70 million years. - The sponges existed before, and probably after, a severe "Snowball Earth" event that covered much of the globe in ice. Animals have been on Earth for at least 650 million years, suggest recently found primitive sponge fossils from South Australia. This discovery pushes back the fossil record for animals by about 70 million years, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. SEE ALSO: Top 10 Longest Living Animals
2012 Skywatching Events Guide & 2012 Venus Transit This story was updated on Jan. 2. As the year 2011 comes to a close, some might wonder what is looming sky-wise for 2012? What celestial events might we look forward to seeing? Unbelievable comet pictures from the space station The International Space Station's commander has again seen the grandeur of comet Lovejoy in new pictures taken from the orbiting outpost, this time also capturing the Earth's horizon and background stars in exquisite detail. These shots were snapped Thursday, two nights after NASA astronaut Dan Burbank serendipitously witnessed comet Lovejoy rising from behind the Earth as the station orbited 250 miles above the planet and the following night after producing this pictures. Spaceflight Now+Plus subscribers can download and save the stunning high-definition television video of the comet encounter. Photo credit: NASA
Dreams Make You Smarter, More Creative, Studies Suggest Here's more evidence that sleep, including napping, can make you smarter. Dreaming may improve memory, boost creativity, and help you better plan for the future, new research suggests. In a recent study, people who took naps featuring REM sleep—in which dreams are most vivid—performed better on creativity-oriented word problems. Lawrence Krauss: Life, the Universe and Nothing Video Log in Get Smart Cynthia Yildirim Lawrence Krauss: Life, the Universe and Nothing Lawrence Krauss is a professor in the Department of Physics at Arizona State University.
logy Magazine The Earth wobbles. Like a spinning top touched in mid-spin, its rotational axis fluctuates in relation to space. This is partly caused by gravitation from the sun and the moon. At the same time, the Earth's rotational axis constantly changes relative to the Earth's surface. On the one hand, this is caused by variation in atmospheric pressure, ocean loading and wind. These elements combine in an effect known as the Chandler wobble to create polar motion.
Martian Environment Is Ideally Suited For Crop Farming, Study Says If we ever decide to colonize Mars, it might be fairly simple to grow crops in that red soil, according to a new study. Mars' reduced gravity could let us use less water and fertilizer than we do on Earth. Visions of future space farms usually involve greenery thriving inside hydroponic systems, but as bio-geo researchers Federico Maggia and Céline Pallud note, using old-fashioned soil has plenty of advantages. Soil-based agriculture can use settlers' waste for fertilizer; it can sequester carbon and produce oxygen; and it's a reliable way to biologically filter water, for instance. The problem is that Mars is not Earth, gravitationally speaking. Gravity affects the rate at which water and nutrients flow through soil, and plants have evolved to these constraints.
Wallpaper Search Picture Album Wallpaper Show Titles Applying and removing HubbleSite wallpaper Email list: Inbox Astronomy RSS feed: NewsCenter HubbleSite iPhone App Rare Sight! See All 7 Planets in the Night Sky This Week This week presents a rare opportunity to see all the major planets of the solar system in a single night. Just after sunset tonight (Dec. 21) the two brightest planets will be shining, weather permitting. Venus, the brightest, rides low in the southwest just above the setting sun. AMPERE, The First System for Tracking Space Weather in Real Time, Goes Live The solar flare that slammed into Earth's atmosphere earlier this month was a prescient reminder that solar weather -- though sometimes beautiful -- can have serious impacts on the Earth. So perhaps the timing is right for something like AMPERE, the first space-based system capable of monitoring the Earth's immediate space environment in real-time. The system is the first step in a process that will enable around-the-clock monitoring and eventual prediction of solar and space weather and its effects on Earth.
How Far Away is the Sun? Another Visualization. - Brad BlogSpeed Alright, this one’s a doozy. After the reasonable popularity of last week’s scale picture that illustrated the distance between the Earth and the Moon, I just had to take things to the next logical level. Today I’ve reduced the scale, and increased the image size dramatically, to represent one astronomical unit (AU), or the distance between the earth and the Sun