A rocket malfunction that forces astronauts to evacuate after its launched may sound like a plot straight out of a Hollywood movie. However, that is precisely what happened to Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague on October 11, 2018. Fortunately, the “movie” had a happy ending with both scientists returning to Earth safely.
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Natural blue light, which lies in the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye, has several health benefits. These include regulating the body’s circadian rhythm, boosting alertness, and increasing one’s overall feeling of wellbeing. However, the same cannot be said about the stronger artificial blue light, which has permeated our households by way of digital devices such as televisions, smartphones, laptops, and gaming systems. Previous studies have shown that extended exposure causes eye strain, fatigue, headaches, and sleeplessness. Now, new research by Ohio’s University of Toledo (UT) has found that the blue-tinted screens of our addictive gadgets may be accelerating macular degeneration – a condition that results in significant vision loss, eventually leading to blindness.
Yellowstone Park officials were thrilled when the Ear Spring geyser suddenly came to life on September 15, 2018. Visitors fortunate enough to be in the area, watched in awe as the hot pool’s largest eruption since 1957, caused sprays of steaming 200 degree Fahrenheit (93 degree Celsius) water to leap as high as 30 feet (9 meters) in the air. However, the joy turned to shock when employees discovered that in addition to the expected rocks and dirt, the geyser had also ejected human-generated trash.
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, made history on September 21, 2018, when its unmanned probe Hayabusa2 successfully landed two moving robots, collectively called MINERVA-II1, on asteroid Ryugu’s surface. A few weeks later, on October 2, the spacecraft repeated the feat by deploying a third, slightly bigger, rover called the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT). The information collected from the primitive asteroid could help shed light on the origins of our solar system and how the first life forms arose on Earth.
The Klondike region in Canada’s Yukon territory, which is famous for its gold mines, was once home to a large variety of animals. They included the long-extinct saber-toothed cats and woolly mammoths, as well as creatures like gray wolves, whose descendants still roam the Arctic territories. Hence, it is not uncommon for miners to stumble upon fossilized remains of the Ice Age inhabitants while unearthing the precious metal. However, the mummified remains of a caribou calf and wolf pup, unveiled in Dawson City, Yukon on September 13, 2018, are among the oldest-known specimens found with perfectly preserved skin, muscle, and hair. The wolf pup is also the only one of its kind discovered to date.
The Southeastern nation of Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, is no stranger to earthquakes, many of which trigger tsunamis – powerful waves capable of immense destruction. However, the towering 18-foot wave that crashed into the island of Sulawesi on September 28, 2018 is one of the deadliest to hit the country in recent years.
Found all the way from New England to West Texas and northern Mexico, copperhead snakes, which get their name from their reddish-brown heads, are the most commonly seen snakes in North America. Hence, a sighting of the venomous reptile is not earth-shattering news, unless, of course, you happen to find one with two heads! Believe it or not, that is what a Woodbridge, Virginia homeowner stumbled upon while tending to her flowerbed on September 20, 2018.
While the volcanoes on Earth eject fiery lava, ash, and smoke, those on Ceres, a dwarf planet that orbits between Mars and Jupiter, have been spewing out ice throughout its history. The chain of events leading to the discovery began in 2015 when NASA’s spacecraft Dawn, sent to explore the asteroid belt where Ceres resides, captured some high-resolution images of its icy, rocky terrain. On the dwarf planet’s crater-covered surface, was a solitary 4km (13,000 feet ) tall mountain.