Art credit: The Crafty Chemist    Via: AsapSCIENCE

The smell of rain

Art credit: The Crafty Chemist



Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Potentially Support Life
Astronomers have discovered a planet about the size of Earth,
orbiting its star in the zone where oceans of liquid water would be possible.


A study of the newly-found planet indicates it could have an Earth-like atmosphere and water at its surface. The planet Kepler-186f is the fifth planet of the star Kepler-186, 490 light-years away.

The planet has 1.11 times the Earth’s mass. Its radius is 1.1 times that of Earth. Kepler-186f orbits at 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers) from its parent star. Its year is 130 Earth days. 

The planet orbits Kepler-186, an M-type dwarf star less than half as massive as the sun. Because the star is cooler than the sun, the planet receives solar energy less intense than that received by Mars in our solar system, despite the fact that Kepler-186f orbits much closer to its star.

I can’t put into words how much I love infographics. 


A diver swimming between two tectonic plates - Iceland

Haven’t posted a good atheist video in a while, but in 11 minutes, Sam covers a few things that I would say are most important and influential towards my reasons for non-belief. 

Sam Harris destroys catholicism

Kepler-186 and the Solar System

This diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is half the size and mass of the sun.

The Kepler-186 system is home to Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star in the habitable zone-a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signals a significant step toward finding a world similar to Earth.

The size of Kepler-186f is known to be less ten percent larger than Earth, but its mass and composition are not known. Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130 days, receiving one-third the heat energy that Earth does from the sun. This places the planet near the outer edge of the habitable zone.

The inner four companion planets each measure less than fifty percent the size of Earth. Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d and Kepler-186, orbit every 4, 7, 13 and 22 days, respectively, making them very hot and inhospitable for life as we know it.

The Kepler space telescope infers the existence of a planet by the amount of starlight blocked when it passes in front of its star. From these data, a planet’s radius, orbital period and the amount of energy recieved from the host star can be determined.

The artistic concept of Kepler-186f is the result of scientists and artists collaborating to imagine the appearance of these distant worlds.

NASA Ames manages Kepler’s ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with JPL at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes the Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

More information about the Kepler mission is at

"Houston, we’ve had a problem."

On this day in 1970, Apollo 13 safely returned to Earth after disaster struck the mission.

About 56 hours after launching, an oxygen tank exploded in the command module and critically damaged it. This not only canceled the planned moon landing, it threatened the lives of the astronauts. They evacuated into the lunar module, which was not equipped to be used as a lifeboat. The LM was designed for 45 hours of use, but the crew would require about 90.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and the crew had to improvise the module’s CO2 removal system. To conserve water, the crew only took in about a fifth of what they needed; about 6 ounces per day. The inadequate batteries were preserved by shutting off all non-essential functions on the LM, including heat.

On top of everything else, the crew had to correct their trajectory from a lunar landing to a free-return course, which the LM was not designed to do. Commander James Lovell used the position of the sun to aid in his calculations and fired the LM’s burners to successfully alter their course.

After days of being cold, exhausted, and dehydrated, the crew safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.


April 17, 1970 — The astronauts of Apollo 13 make it home, safe and sound.

Published April 17th, 2014

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the first validated Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a distant star, an area where liquid water might exist on its surface.

The planet, Kepler-186f, is ten percent larger in size than Earth and orbits its parent star, Kepler-186, every 130 days. The star, located about 500 light-years from Earth, is classified as an M1 dwarf and is half the size and mass of our sun.

For more information about this discovery, please visit
For more information about NASA Ames, please visit

New Fossil Provides Insight Into Shark Evolution

A spectacular new fossil find is overturning ideas about the evolution of sharks.

Watch any Jaws movie and you’ll understand why scientists have presumed that these eating machines have remained unchanged from their ancestral condition. But turns out, sharks are not “living fossils” that have retained their primitive anatomy and prehistoric “sharkiness” over millions of years. As simple and perfect as they seem, modern sharks have evolved many new adaptations over time.
Older theories about gill-structure evolution — which provided the basis for understanding jaw evolution — relied on modern cartilaginous fish (like sharks and rays) and bony fish (which includes today’s tunas and oarfishes). 
Now, a well-preserved, 325-million-year-old shark-like fossil from Paleozoic Arkansas shows how the skeletal structure that supports the gills of a very early shark resembles bony fishes much more than it does modern sharks. The fossil of the new species Ozarcus mapesae is the earliest identified cartilaginous fish where the entire gill skeleton is preserved intact in its natural position (in three dimensions, not flattened the way we usually find sharks fossils). 
Photo credit: A 3D reconstruction of the skull of Ozarcus mapesae. The braincase in light grey, the jaw is in red, hyoid arch is blue, and gill arches are shown in yellow / AMNH/A. Pradel
Using high resolution CT scans of the early shark fossil, a team led by Alan Pradel and John Maisey from the American Museum of Natural History found that it combines characteristics from both cartilaginous and bony fish. 
“Sharks are traditionally thought to be one of the most primitive surviving jawed vertebrates. And most textbooks in schools today say that the internal jaw structures of modern sharks should look very similar to those in primitive shark-like fishes,” Pradel says in a news release. “But we’ve found that’s not the case. The modern shark condition is very specialized, very derived, and not primitive.”
This is the fossil pictured from two different views (scale bar is 10 millimeters.) “There’s enough depth in this fossil to allow us to scan it and digitally dissect out the cartilage skeleton,” Maisey says
Fish have these structures called visceral branchial arches, which are serially arranged, jointed endoskeletal supports that are internal to the gills. The scans revealed how the gill arches (yellow, above) of the fossil are arranged like bony fishes. The most recent common ancestor of jawed vertebrates must have possessed some elements that were more bony fish-like than shark-like. 
Additionally, the arches were separated by small bits of cartilage that are found in some species of bony fish and their relatives but previously unknown in any living or extinct cartilaginous fish. 
The basal shark’s blend of traits indicates that modern sharks have acquired features through evolutionary innovation. And if we want to learn more about our first jawed ancestors (yes, humans have jaws too), we might have to turn bony fishes rather than modern sharks.
The work was published in Nature this week. 
[AMNH via Science]
Images: AMNH/A. Pradel (top) & AMNH/F. Ippolito (middle)

via All Science, All the Time

Stars are colossal fusion reactors, burning hydrogen into helium. As the nuclei fuse lighter elements into heavier elements, massive amounts of energy are released. A new game sets you the task of nucleosynthesis, building hydrogen into iron, and it’s surprisingly fun.

"The game is a stellar variant of 2048, where you fuse elements together along the reaction pathways that power stars." (Read: you’ll never get another thing done)

Play it here:

The Contortionist - Exoplanet (Full Album)

In honor of our new celestial friend, Kepler-186f, located 500 light years away from Earth. 

Kepler Team Announces Discovery of Earth-Sized Planet in Habitable Zone

Since its launch in the spring of 2009, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has been hunting exoplanets. The holy grail being a planet that is essentially like ours in terms of size, composition, and habitability: an Earth-twin. While we still haven’t found a planet that exactly fits that bill, Kepler has now confirmed the discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet in its star’s habitable zone. The announcement was made at a press conference and the findings have been published in Science.

Kepler-186f is about 40% larger than Earth and orbits an M dwarf star around 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The star is about half of the size and mass of our sun, and it takes Kepler-186f about 130 Earth days to complete a revolution. On the outer edge of the star’s habitable zone, the planet receives about a third of the radiation from its parent star as we do from ours. 

Life as we know it requires the presence of liquid water, so a planet with the potential for life would be not too close to the star (which would be too hot and the water would be vapor) yet not too far away (where it would be too cold and the water would be ice). Habitability requires a “Goldilocks Zone” where conditions are just right.

"We know of just one planet where life exists — Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth," said Elisa Quintana, lead author of the paper. "Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward."

Co-author Thomas Barclay added: “Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has. Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth.”

Determining the composition of planets out in the habitable zone isn’t as easy as those who are incredibly close to the star, because there isn’t as much radiation from the parent star available to determine what is or isn’t getting absorbed. While previous findings have indicated that Kepler-186f is a rocky planet, further analysis must be done before any definitive conclusions can be made.

Real-Life Joffrey Smiles About ‘Game of Thrones’ Purple Wedding *CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

The happy couple: Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) head down the aisle on “Game of Thrones.”

Looks like even Jack Gleeson — the actor who played Joffrey Baratheon on Game of Thrones — is happy his character died.

The terrible boy-king kicked the bucket on Sunday’s episode, poisoned by pie and/or wine, but fans (and most of the other characters) weren’t the least bit concerned. After all, we hated Joffrey as much as Joffrey loved Joffrey.

But an Instagram picture posted by Gleeson’s friend on Tuesday proves that the actor was a-okay with his unexpected passing.


It also proves that he’s good at photobombing, thumbs-up signs and bleeding from the eyes.

Gleeson, now 21, plans to retire from acting now that his reign on the Iron Throne has finished, he tells Entertainment Weekly.

While You Were Slaving Away At Work, A Canvas Of A Blue Background And White Line Sold For $44 Million


I’m one of those that just doesn’t get “art”….

While You Were Slaving Away At Work, A Canvas Of A Blue Background And White Line Sold For $44 Million

The painting, titled “Onement VI,” was illustrated by Barnett Newman, an abstract expressionist painter. Newman’s work was sold for a whopping $43.8 million, to be exact, at a Sotheby’s auction.

“Newman overwhelms and seduces the viewer…

Your Daily FML….This one has upset a few people. For good reason? lol