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Scientists have a new plan for finding extraterrestrial life in our Solar System -

Scientists have a new plan for finding extraterrestrial life in our Solar System

Humanity hasn't even scratched the surface of exploring the Milky Way galaxy, much less the rest of the universe, but when it comes to our own Solar System, we have a pretty good idea of what's here. We know there's no space-faring races hiding out in the craters of Mars or silently spinning inside of Jupiter's great red spot, but there's still the chance that life exists in our little planetary backyard outside of Earth, and researchers have a new strategy that could help us find it. The target? Saturn's ice-covered moon, Enceladus.

A new paper from Jay Nadeau and his team of researchers from Caltech, published in the journal Astrobiology, breaks down a new imaging technique that could provide scientists with the tools they need to detect and identify microscopic life in space — more specifically, microbes hiding in the water of Saturn's frozen moon.

Enceladus is completely encased in ice, which doesn't sound like a very hospitable place for life to take root, but the good news is that there's water under its frozen surface. We know this because images of the planet taken by NASA's Cassini probe have shown massive jets of water being spewed out from between cracks in its icy shell, and because Enceladus is so small, its gravitational pull isn't strong enough to keep the water vapor from flying off into space. That makes the job of sampling the water much easier, but NASA would still need the right tool for the job.

Nadeau and his colleagues have proposed a solution in the form of a holographic microscope specifically designed to detect microbial life and differentiate between tiny living organisms and specks of dust and debris that would also likely litter the sample.

"It's harder to distinguish between a microbe and a speck of dust than you'd think," Nadeau says. "You have to differentiate between Brownian motion, which is the random motion of matter, and the intentional, self-directed motion of a living organism." In testing, the new microscope system has proven capable of doing just that, and while further testing and implementation remains on the to-do list, it's a promising start for a technique that could provide the first evidence of extraterrestrial life.


Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:01:22 -0400

The Galaxy Note 8’s secret weapon might be…a Bluetooth headset? -

The Galaxy Note 8’s secret weapon might be…a Bluetooth headset?

Samsung’s second-worst-kept secret of the year will launch on August 23rd, the company has now confirmed. That was a date that was first mentioned in Galaxy Note 8 rumors earlier this year.

However, we already think we know everything about the new flagship, which should be a Galaxy S8 variation featuring a few extra tricks. The Galaxy Note 8 will have a dual camera lens on the back and a built-in stylus, as well as stylus-centric features baked into Android.

A new report indicates there may be one thing that’ll differentiate the Galaxy Note 8 from the Galaxy S8: a new Bixby accessory.

Samsung is working on a Bluetooth headset, ETNews reports, and development may be done in time for the Galaxy Note 8’s launch. The device might be released alongside the Galaxy Note 8 in September, and it may be bundled with the phablet. Samsung, however, hasn’t decided on how to sell it. It’s likely that it’ll be available as a standalone product in the future, regardless of how Samsung commercializes it at launch.

The headset is supposed to help users communicate with Bixby, and features proprietary noise canceling technology, the report notes.

A Samsung representative did confirm the existence of the product, and the fact that it’s made for easier interaction with Bixby, but said the company could not disclose any release date information about the product.

It’s unclear how much it’ll cost, and there are no images of this Bixby headset for the Galaxy Note 8.


Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:00:15 -0400

The Latest: Abortion restrictions in health bill questioned -

The Latest: Abortion restrictions in health bill questionedWASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican attempts to overhaul the nation's health care laws (all times local):


Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:51:40 -0400

U.S. general told Syria's YPG: 'You have got to change your brand' -

U.S. general told Syria's YPG: 'You have got to change your brand'One of America's most senior generals said on Friday he instructed the Kurdish YPG militia to change its "brand" a day or so before it unveiled an alliance with Syrian Arabs in 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces. The recounting by U.S. Army General Raymond Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command, offered a glimpse into the mechanics that preceded a major rampup in U.S. support to the Kurdish fighters despite fierce opposition from NATO ally Turkey. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of PKK militants waging an insurgency on Turkish soil, and has sharply criticized U.S. support to the group, which has increased over time.


Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:29:55 -0400

Visa issues take spotlight after Burundi teens exit event -

Visa issues take spotlight after Burundi teens exit eventWASHINGTON (AP) — The big controversy leading up to the FIRST Global international robotics competition in Washington was whether a team of girls from Afghanistan would be able to participate, after their initial visa applications were denied.


Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:08:48 -0400



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