Scientific Discovery

NASA's GRAIL Spacecrafts to orbit the Moon starting this New Year’s Eve

Artist concept of GRAIL sending information back to Earth - credit credit: NASA/JPL

(Best Syndication News) - NASA will be studying the lunar composition from crust to core with two spacecraft that will start orbiting the Moon on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The Grail-A spacecraft will enter the Moon’s orbit starting on December 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm PST, and Grail-B spacecraft will begin orbit on January 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm PST.

The twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecrafts were launched on September 10, 2011, and has been traveling toward the moon every since. The two spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around the moon. The solar powered spacecrafts will take measurements such as the gravity field in detail on the moon. The GRAIL spacecrafts will also help scientist determine the structure of the lunar interior from its crust all the way to the core.

Recycling Christmas Cards and Wrapping Paper to make Biofuel

Christmas Presents - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - Scientist from the Imperial College London studied the benefits of recycling all the Christmas wrapping paper and holiday cards and turning it into a biofuel. Their study estimated that in the UK alone, 1.5 billion cards, and 83 square kilometers are thrown out during the holiday season.

The scientists estimate that the trash could be turned into around 5 – 12 million liters of biofuel. That is plenty of fuel. They illustrate their point by saying that all that fuel could transport a bus for up to 18 million kilometers. That could be a lot of fuel for cars to use.

Scientists Detect Largest Black Holes in Nearby Galaxies

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(Best Syndication News) Astronomers say they have discovered the two largest black holes to date using telescopes at the International Gemini Observatory (Hawaii and Chile), the Keck (Hawaii), and McDonald (Texas) observatories.

The black holes were found in nearby galaxies roughly 300 million light years from Earth. The scientists estimate that the black holes have the equivalent mass of 10 billion suns.

Astronomers believe that nearly all galaxies have a black hole at their center, and the size of the black hole may be related to the size of the galaxy. Supermassive black holes are the largest type of black holes in a galaxy.

Mohave Ground Squirrel not a threatened Species

Squirrel - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - The Mohave ground squirrel (Spermophilus mohavensis) is not a threatened or endangered species according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They determined that the desert animal did not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the subject after receiving a petition from Defenders of Wildlife and a private citizen requesting the species be protected.

The Mohave ground squirrel habitat is found in the desert scrub brush and in Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert. The squirrel is found in Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. The animals make their homes underground where they spend most of the year. They do have population fluctuations because of rainfall. If the season is dry, they might not reproduce at all.

Walgreens completes 100th rooftop Solar Panel Array Install

credit: Walgreens

(Best Syndication News) - Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (NASDAQ:WAG) announced today that they have reached a milestone of 100 stores with rooftop solar panel installations. The 100th store was equipped with a solar panel array in Mason, Ohio.

Walgreens first began installing solar panels on their stores and distribution centers’ rooftops starting in 2007. The company has installations in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, and Oregon. Walgreens plans to have 130 rooftop solar panel installations completed by the end of this year.

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