Nasa TESS launch: How the agency’s latest satellite could help us find proof of alien life

tess 1 - Nasa TESS launch: How the agency’s latest satellite could help us find proof of alien life

We might be about to find thousands of new planets – some of which could be just like ours Nasa is about to launch one of its most important satellites. TESS – or the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite – will search for alien worlds. It will not help us find whether there is extraterrestrial life there, but it will go one step towards it. And even before we find our potential galactic neighbours, we could discover thousands of exciting new planets. TESS will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, starting…

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Breakthrough migraine drug works where other treatments have failed, trial finds

migraine - Breakthrough migraine drug works where other treatments have failed, trial finds

Patients who had exhausted four different types of migraine preventing drug saw attacks fall by half A new migraine treatment, the first for 20 years, could halve the number of debilitating attacks suffered by patients who have exhausted all other treatments. Last year a major clinical trial showed weekly injections of the drug, erenumab, resulted in sufferers having three to four fewer “migraine days” per month. The latest study looked at patients who were the most difficult to treat and have tried as many as four different types of preventative treatments to…

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Aurora Australis lights up New Zealand skies

1524286194091 - Aurora Australis lights up New Zealand skies

The awe-inspiring Aurora Australis, also called the Southern Lights, were shining above New Zealand on Friday night. Here are some of the stunning pictures people captured. Stargazer? Send us your photos of the aurora: newstips@stuff.co.nz READ MORE: * Chasing the Southern Lights in New Zealand * How to take great photos of the Southern Lights * Dunedin hosts world’s first commercial flights to see the Southern Lights  * ‘Super massive’ aurora expected over New Zealand  

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Roger Hanson: The best astro-photograph ever

1524185170925 - Roger Hanson: The best astro-photograph ever

 There are several candidates for the most impressive astronomical photographs ever taken. For example, the first photograph of a person on the Moon (1969); the first picture of the Earth taken from the surface of the Moon (1969); Mars Rover Curiosity’s photograph of the distant earth taken from the surface of Mars (2014); the detailed photographs of the planets and some of their moons captured by the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft as they flew by, and the Pale Blue Dot photograph (1990) of a tiny Earth taken by Voyager…

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Nasa’s newest planet hunter satellite launches successfully

1524108953484 - Nasa’s newest planet hunter satellite launches successfully

Nasa’s newest planet hunter was launched Wednesday evening (Thursday NZT) on a Space X Falcon 9 rocket. At the moment the spacecraft lifted off, astronomers knew of nearly 4,000 alien worlds outside our solar system. During the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite’s planned two-year mission, scientists expect, it will increase that number by a factor of five. Among the new discoveries, they hope, will be a rocky world with an atmosphere that can be probed for signs of life. “This is opening an entirely new window on the universe,” said MIT…

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Great Barrier Reef ‘cooked’ by marine heatwave: study

1524097006356 - Great Barrier Reef ‘cooked’ by marine heatwave: study

Corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have a lower tolerance to heat stress than expected, contributing to a permanent transformation of the mix of species in some of most pristine regions, a team of international researchers has found. The scientists examined the impact of the 2016 marine heatwave that alone caused the death of about one-third of the Great Barrier Reef corals, mostly centred on the northern third section. They studied how much abnormal heat triggers bleaching, the additional heat that killed the corals, and the accumulation needed to cause “an ecological…

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Repeat drink driver’s crash injuries have taught him a lesson, court told

1524030682046 - Repeat drink driver’s crash injuries have taught him a lesson, court told

A recidivist drink driver blamed a wandering dog for the pre-dawn accident that seriously injured himself and three passengers, a court heard. Toani Mark James had been speeding at up to 125kmh along a narrow and unlit country road towards Hāwera, South Taranaki at 5.30am on September 12. ​James, 31, and his three passengers had been drinking together and had gone for a drive to the beach, police prosecutor sergeant Steve Hickey said. He came over the brow of a hill on Denby Rd where the road cut down and right, but James’ car failed to make the turn and he lost control. He swerved off the road,…

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Māori and Pasifika youth crime rates drop less than Pākeha

1524029863416 - Māori and Pasifika youth crime rates drop less than Pākeha

While fewer young people are committing crimes overall, youth offending rates for Māori and Pasifika have not been dropping at the same rate. The first Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report shows Māori and Pasifika youth increasingly make up the greatest proportion of young people who appear in Youth Court. The rate of offending for children (aged 10-13 years) has fallen by 59 per cent, and offending by young people (aged 14-16 years) has dropped by 63 per cent, between 2010 and 2017. During that time, the rate of offending by…

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Nicotine lozenges used as currency in prisons

1524199490052 - Nicotine lozenges used as currency in prisons

Nicotine lozenges are being used as currency in prisons, which has led to cases of some inmates bullying and intimidating others in an effort to get their lozenges. New Zealand prisons went smokefree in 2011 and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) lozenges were offered to those with a nicotine addiction as a replacement. But prisoners in the Reclaim Another Woman (RAW) programme, which works with Māori female recidivist offenders, said the lozenges had become a type of currency, or bartering tool, in the highly controlled prison environment. RAW chief executive Annah…

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Former foster carer jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing children

1524028554105 - Former foster carer jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing children

“I hate you and I hope you burn in hell,” a sex abuse victim told former Child, Youth and Family Services (CYF) caregiver Rex Lawrence Wilson before he was jailed for 12 years. The 64-year-old’s two victims – he was found guilty at an eight-day Christchurch District Court jury trial in January – both read emotional victim impact reports at his sentencing in the same court on Wednesday. Judge Paul Kellar said the two women, now aged in their 20s, had been done “incalculable harm” over six years of his offending….

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