December 27th, 2007

Ancient Wonders

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The hanging gardens are said to have stood on the banks of the Euphrates River in modern-day Iraq, although there's some doubt as to whether they ever really existed.
 
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International Activity

International Robotic Rivalry in Space
It has to be some sort of record. At no time over the five decades of sending robot craft into the space have so many spacecraft been on duty at such a variety of far-flung destinations or en route to their targets.
 
Ballistic buckshot of science gear is now strewn throughout the solar system — and in some cases, like Voyager hardware — have exited our cosmic neighborhood to become an interstellar mission. But the march of time has also meant that more nations have honed the skills and know-how to explore the solar system. For example, Europe has dispatched probes to the Moon, Mars and Venus — and their Rosetta spacecraft is on a 10-year journey to investigate a comet in 2014.
 
Meanwhile, Japan's Kaguya and China's Chang'e 1 lunar orbiters have each just settled into an aggressive campaign of surveying the Moon. India is set to orbit the Moon in 2008 and the German space agency is also prepping for a future robotic lunar mission as is the United Kingdom.
 
All this action at the Moon — including the rekindling of Russian and U.S. lunar missions — bodes well for bolder ventures ever-deeper into the solar system by multiple nations. And there are other signals stemming from all this outbound traffic.
 
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Fear

Can Fear Be Forgotten?
If fear really is all in our heads, Joseph LeDoux thinks he can eliminate it. The first step is to block out our memories.

 
After a two-decade-long pursuit into the depths of the brain neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux has shown that it's possible to eliminate deep-seated fears. All you have to do is remove the memory that created it.
 
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Quote of the Day

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
 
-Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)-

Image of the Day

NGC 488

The Race is On: A near-perfect spiral galaxy lies 90 million light years away, its bluish arms containing rings of star formation. Stars within NGC 488 complete circular orbits at a speed of 205 miles per second (330 km/s), edging out the stars traveling at 137 miles per second (220 km/s) within our own Milky Way. Despite the high speeds, the concentric rings of star formation remain stable.