Freelance writer, dog lover, Coloradan, fan of Mars. Chronicler of night & its inhabitants, from astronomers to bats. Blog:

How Zombie Spiders Are Enslaved As Wasp Nursery Builders — Parasitic wasps are horrible things. They inject their quarry with chemicals that turn them into zombies, forcing the host animal to do their bidding. A new study has some insight into how a species of spider is forced to build a nursery for tiny wasp babies, ensuring their survival after the spider is killed.

Aliens Exist, and We Should Avoid Them At All Costs, Says Stephen Hawking — Stephen Hawking believes we should fear aliens, which would probably come to Earth in search of resources and bent on our destruction. The venerated cosmologist says in a new Discovery Channel series that he thinks aliens exist, but we should do everything we can to avoid meeting them.

It's Incredible We Knew About Cecil the Lion at All — ​Cecil the lion, who met his untimely demise at the hands of an American dentist (sending the internet into a fit of rage), was hardly a domesticated cat-but he did wear a collar. He was one of a few African animals outfitted with special tags that track and report their locations, helping conservationists keep tabs on their dwindling populations.

Finding Out How Boa Constrictors Kill (It's Not How You Think) — It's a nighmarish situation: A gigantic snake slowly curls around your body, enveloping you in its slithery embrace. You begin seeing stars, and start gasping for breath. But your life will not end because you're suffocating. Actually, it's more like you're having your insides squeezed shut.

Musk Reveals Cause Of SpaceX Explosion — A failed steel strut holding down a canister of helium probably caused SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket to explode shortly after liftoff last month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said today. But the Dragon capsule riding on that rocket, bound for the International Space Station, would likely have survived if only software had been programmed to unfurl its parachute.

How Ancient Spiders Weaponized An Arachnid Version of Insulin — Venom contains powerful and highly targeted neurotoxins, allowing spiders, snakes and other predators to immobilize their prey and make for an easier meal. In many snakes, venom jump-starts the digestive process along with keeping the predator safe from a wriggling, often larger quarry. Spider venom isn't thought to play a major role in helping arachnids eat.

Sunlight could whip up water to slake lunar settlers' thirst — Read more: Click here to read the original, longer version of this story. Sunrise at the Tycho crater, as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) THIRSTY moon settlers might enjoy a drink with the help of the sun.

Sunlight could whip up water to slake lunar settlers' thirst — Thirsty moon settlers might enjoy a drink with the help of the sun. At sunrise, its warmth drives water molecules from the lunar soil - ripe for harvest with the right know-how. Since 2009, several lunar probes have found indirect evidence of abundant water on the moon by looking for hydrogen, since the element is present in water molecules.

Listening to meteorites hitting Mars will tell us what's inside — Planets are just like people: what they reveal on the outside can help you read what's going on inside. Space rocks bombarding Mars's surface could soon be telling us about seismic activity deeper down. Sometime in the past, the Red Planet had a global magnetic field and active volcanoes, and it may also have had plate tectonics and underground tremors called marsquakes.

Pluto's strange family of moons are locked in a mysterious waltz — Pluto's moons have a dark side. Kerberos, one of the dwarf planet's five satellites, appears darker than its kin - and three of its siblings are locked in a rare dance, raising questions about how they formed.
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Aug 13, 2015

RT @NASASunEarth: .@rboyle31 on astrospheres—bubbles around stars made by stellar wind, like our heliosphere:

Jul 18, 2015

RT @CIFAR_News: Vibrating stars could reveal elusive ripples in space-time @rboyle31 CIFAR Associate Fellow Joseph Silk

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