Koko: Gorilla who mastered sign language dies in California

Koko the gorilla, who is said to have been able to communicate by using more than 1,000 hand signs, has died in California at the age of 46.

Instructors taught her a version of American Sign Language and say she used it to convey thoughts and feelings.

The abilities of the gorilla, who also apparently understood some spoken English, were documented by animal psychologist Francine Patterson.

She adopted and named pets, including a kitten she called All Ball.

Read the Full Story on BBC.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)


Mysterious Mars rock formation explained

The Medusae Fossae Formation rises near the equator of Mars. The soft rock has been carved by wind erosion into a collection of ridges, valleys and striking mesas. It’s massive. It’s strange. And scientists are now tracing its origin to explosive volcanic activity in Mars’ deep past.

NASA has referred to Medusae Fossae as “an enigmatic pile of eroding sediments.” UFO enthusiasts once spotted what they believed to be a UFO there, which is mainly a testament to the exotic shapes formed in the wind-blasted area.

Read the Full Story on CNET.


Tall tale: study reveals that giraffes are four species, not one


Genetic research on the world’s tallest land animal has found that there are four distinct species of giraffe, not just one as long believed, with two of them at alarmingly low population levels.

Scientists on Thursday unveiled a comprehensive genetic analysis of giraffes using DNA from 190 of the towering herbivores from across their range in Africa.

The genetic data showed that four separate species of giraffes that do not interbreed in the wild inhabit various parts of the continent.


Read the full article Here!


Museum of Science Fiction Project Status Update No. 8, Q4 2015

museum of science fiction

These guys have sure kept themselves busy!

  • Announced the CubeSat Competition
  • Announced the Journal of Science Fiction
  • Received three CarMax matching grant awards
  • Installed the Future of Travel exhibit at National Airport
  • Released the iOS Mobile App
  • Signed a NASA Space Act Agreement
  • Announced Escape Velocity for 2016
  • Exhibited at Awesome Con 2015
  • Ben Bova joined our advisory board
  • Supported Disney’s Tomorrowland opening
  • Built the Virtual Museum of Science Fiction
  • Morgan Gendel came to Brooklyn for Lectures
  • Installed the Architectural Designs exhibit in Brooklyn
  • Opened the Minecraft Server for Informal Learning
  • Supported NASA with Comet Hitchhiker Concept
Read their full list Here!

Mars May One Day Have A Ring System Like Saturn

mars with water

Interesting news from IFL Science:

Phobos is getting closer and closer to Mars, and it’s liking the fall so much that it might just put a ring on it. Astronomers think that in 20 to 40 million years, Phobos will break apart, giving the Red Planet a ring comparable with the outer planets of the Solar System.

According to the research, published this week in Nature Geoscience, Phobos is being pulled apart by Mars’ gravity. The closer it gets to the Red Planet, the more intense these forces will be. If the moon breaks apart before it enters the Martian atmosphere, it would create a long-lived ring system, capable of remaining stable for millions of years.

Read the full story Right Here!


Chimps Have the Mental Capacity to Cook, Study Shows


Science keeps discovering that Chimps are far closer to us than we may suspect, and here’s another good example:

Paris (AFP) — Chimpanzees and humans share some of the basic brain skills needed for cooking, a finding that may explain a turning point in the story of mankind, a study said Wednesday.

Experiments at a chimp sanctuary suggest a common ancestor imparted these cognitive abilities to apes and humans alike, it said.

Read the full story at Yahoo News


Nasa Searches for Alien Life


A new bold initiavie has been started by NASA in hopes of finding signs of life on other planets. The new program is called NExSS and brings together a team of experts across numerous fields with hopes of analyzing over 1,000 planets outside our solar system.

“This interdisciplinary endeavor connects top research teams and provides a synthesized approach in the search for planets with the greatest potential for signs of life,” Jim Green, NASA’s Director of Planetary Science, said in a news release. “The hunt for exoplanets is not only a priority for astronomers, it’s of keen interest to planetary and climate scientists as well.”

Read the full article at Huffington Post


Earth’s Mantle New Layer Potentially Discovered by Geologists

Earth's Mantle New Layer Potentially Discovered by Geologists

Looks like Pellucidar may be more real than we thought!

Have geologists just discovered a new layer of Earth’s interior?

A new study suggests that a previously unknown rocky layer may be lurking about 930 miles beneath our feet — and evidence suggests that it’s significantly stiffer than similar layers, which could help explain earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Source: Huffington Post