Portrait for @SpaceCowboy
Jack of all Trades 25 Pentribution Club
“Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.” ― Neil Armstrong
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Science • Animals
Gorillas at Californian Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19
Gorillas at Californian Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Global

Gorillas can contract Covid-19. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California. These are the first gorillas in the United States to be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump signs Covid relief and government funding bill, averting government shutdown
Trump signs Covid relief and government funding bill, averting government shutdown
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

President Trump unexpectedly signed the $900 billion Covid relief package into law on Sunday, averting a federal government shutdown. The bill extends unemployment benefits for millions and grants a one-time stimulus check of $600 for each eligible individual instead of the $2000 he initially demanded by Trump.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Six men indicted in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor
Six men indicted in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor
Credit: Julia Pickett, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A federal grand jury has indicted six men – Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta – with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the U.S. attorney’s office for western Michigan said on Thursday. Harris's lawyer, Parker Douglas, stated his client pleaded guilty as "there was no actual conspiracy to kidnap Governor Whitmer."

Science • Space
ARTEMIS: NASA Has Picked Astronauts for new Moon Mission
ARTEMIS: NASA Has Picked Astronauts for new Moon Mission
Credit: NASA

We're going back to the Moon! 18 astronauts, nine of them women, are training for NASA's upcoming Artemis missions to travel to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars. The group includes the first woman who will walk on the lunar surface in 2024.

Science • Space
SpaceX schedules Starship high-altitude test flight for the upcoming week

SpaceX's biggest is about to go higher. The CEO of space company SpaceX, Elon Musk, has announced that their biggest rocket prototype the Starship SN8 is ready to go on a 15-kilometer high test flight in the next week.

Science • Space
NASA has managed to contact Voyager 2 after repairs and upgrades to radio antenna
NASA has managed to contact Voyager 2 after repairs and upgrades to radio antenna
Credit: CSIRO / via Wikimedia Commons

NASA has successfully contacted the Voyager 2 spacecraft for the first time since March. The Deep Space Station 43 in Canberra, Australia, is the only radio antenna that is able to contact and command the Voyager 2, which is now 43 years old, and has been under maintenance to receive repairs and upgrades since March. Now it has successfully re-contacted the spacecraft and Voyager 2 has confirmed the signal and executed the commands that had been sent.

Work on the radio antenna is expected to wrap up in February.

Science • Space
24 super-earths discovered by scientists
24 super-earths discovered by scientists
Credit: unsplash.com / The New York Public Library

What is better than earth? 24 super habitable plants that scientists at the Washington State University have discovered now.

They specifically defined "superhabitability criteria" and checked 4,500 exoplanets against these to find the ones that could, in theory, be more habitable than our earth. While none of the 24 planets meets all of the defined criteria, one meets four of them which possibly makes it a better earth than our Earth.

Science • Animals
T-Rex skeleton for sale
Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to be auctioned
Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to be auctioned Credit: CHRISTIE’S

You could soon own a T-Rex skeleton. One of the world's biggest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons, nicknamed Stan, will be auctioned off on October 6. The skeleton could fetch a record price, with estimates as high as $8 million.

Until its auction, the approximately 67-million-year-old Stan can be viewed at Christie's in New York.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Scientific American endorses Joe Biden, first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history
Scientific American endorses Joe Biden, first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history
Credit: Scientific American, Logo

For the first time in its 175-year history, the science magazine Scientific American endorses a presidential candidate, stating the editors felt "compelled" to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

"Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly," the magazine's editors wrote in a statement published on their website. "The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science [...] The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science."

Science • Space
Solar Cycle 25 has begun
This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019).
This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019). Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun is starting over. NASA reports that Solar Cycle 25 has begun in December 2019, signaling an increase in space weather that could impact the Earth's power grid, airlines and astronauts in space. Roughly every 11 years, the sun completes a solar cycle of various activity measures in the number of sunspots on the solar surface.

"As we emerge from solar minimum and approach Cycle 25’s maximum, it is important to remember solar activity never stops; it changes form as the pendulum swings," said Lika Guhathakurta, solar scientist at the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.