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Vice President Pence: America will send astronauts to the moon again

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to bringing America to the forefront of space travel and exploration, vowing to put another American on the moon and to send people to Mars and beyond.

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“We will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” Pence said while addressing the National Space Council in its first gathering in more than two decades.

“The moon will be a stepping stone, a training ground, a venue to strengthen our commercial and international partnerships as we refocus America’s space program toward human space exploration.”

Pence, several cabinet secretaries and White House advisers gathered in the shadow of the shuttle at the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to chart a new path in space -- government, commercial and military -- for the country. It was the first meeting of the National Space Council, revived after it was disbanded in 1993.

The NSC has been tasked with reviewing American policies, creating long-term goals for the space program and coordinating national space activities. The strategy shared by Pence on Thursday and in an op-ed he penned for The Wall Street Journal appeared to focus heavily on human space flight, economic development and national security, reported.

The vice president said Thursday that by strengthening America’s position on the final frontier, officials will also be strengthening the nation’s position back on Earth.

“Today, more than ever before, our nation’s prosperity, security and identity depend on American leadership in space,” Pence said.

No humans have been on the moon since Apollo 17 in December 1972. Only 12 men have set foot on the moon, all have been Americans.

Past presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush proposed returns to the moon and then going on to Mars. Barack Obama rerouted the moon plan to an asteroid as a first-stop with Mars as the goal. All plans had lack of money keep them from coming true, said space expert Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation. He wasn't part of the council meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wondering if your partner's cheating? You can tell by their voice, study says

Wondering if you’ve got a cheater on your hands?

Just listen to them speak. According to a new report, you can detect infidelity by a person’s voice.

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Researchers from Albright College and Penn State recently conducted an experiment, published in Evolutionary Psychology, to determine the connection between speech and infidelity.

To do so, they examined the recorded voices of 10 men and 10 women counting from one to 10. All voices were from heterosexual, white and unmarried individuals who were committed relationships. 

Researchers even created two versions of the samples -- a high-pitched one and a low-pitched one -- to assess if tone played a role in their analysis. They then scouted participants, who did not know the people from the audio or their backgrounds, to listen to the voices.

They found that listeners “rated the voices of those who had a history of cheating as more likely to cheat,” the study said. 

They were also able to mostly distinguish the cheaters from the noncheaters despite the different pitches.

While the researchers couldn’t pinpoint why the participants were able to detect infidelity, they attributed their finding to factors including clarity of articulation and personality traits.

“For example, masculine males tend to display less clarity in their speech and show phonetic patterns indicative of masculinity, which in turn could be associated with infidelity threat,” the study said. “Extroverts show greater variation in fundamental frequency, greater voice quality, and fewer silent pauses … and high extroversion strongly predicts infidelity.”

Researchers are hoping to conduct more experiments with larger sample sizes for further investigation.

Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full study here

When this asteroid comes close to earth, NASA has plans straight out of the movies

An asteroid is set to brush past Earth in a few weeks, and NASA is preparing a cool defense test in response.

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According to Newsweek, TC4 will fly as close at 27,000 miles to the Earth, about one-eighth of the distance between the Earth and the moon, giving scientists the opportunity to test its planetary defense systems in the event an asteroid or other hazardous object makes its way toward Earth. The asteroid is expected to pass the Earth on Oct. 12.

>> On Here are the amazing records astronaut Peggy Whitson recently broke in space

“Scientists have always appreciated knowing when an asteroid will make a close approach to and safely pass the Earth because they can make preparations to collect data to characterize and learn as much as possible about it,” explained Dr. Michael Kelley, a scientist working on the TC4 observation campaign, according to the Daily Mail. “This time we are adding in another layer of effort, using this asteroid flyby to test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing our capability to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid threat.”

Scientists first began tracking TC4 in 2012.

Researchers help man regain consciousness after 15 years in vegetative state

Doctors have restored a man’s consciousness after he spent 15 years in a vegetative state, the New York Daily News reports.

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The French man, 35, was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) after a car accident when he was 20. Doctors and researchers determined that the key to helping the man regain consciousness lay in his vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve, which runs through the abdomen, chest, neck and brain. Dr. Angela Sirigu of the Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod in Lyon, France, led a team to implant a device in his chest that would stimulate his nerves.

>> On A mother’s 42-year quest to find her baby son’s remains ends in tragedy

The man showed improvement within a month. He was able to physically respond to external stimuli six months later. However, doctors say that the man is not fully recovered.

“He is still paralyzed; he cannot talk, but he can respond. Now he is more aware,” Sirigu explained, according to the Guardian. He has been able to track objects with his eyes, move his head toward a person speaking to him and even cry upon hearing his favorite song.

The study successfully served as further evidence that a person has the potential to survive a vegetative state lasting longer than 12 months, which are usually thought to be lost causes.

Read more here.

These are the last images ever taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft

After a remarkable 20-year voyage in space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its grand exit Friday as it disintegrated into Saturn’s atmosphere.

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According to scientists at NASA’s Deep Space Network in Canberra, Australia, Earth received Cassini’s final signal at 7:55 a.m. ET.

One minute earlier, the spacecraft entered Saturn’s atmosphere from about 1,190 miles above the planet’s cloud tops at a speed of approximately 70,000 miles per hour.

At that point, the beloved NASA spacecraft burned up and shortly came apart, officially becoming a part of Saturn itself.

>> Related: NASA responds to 9-year-old’s application for planetary protection job

Scientists chose this dramatic, fiery send-off because they didn’t want to risk Cassini colliding with any of Saturn’s moons.

But it was a bittersweet goodbye for Cassini.

Launched in October 1997, the $3.2 billion collaborative mission between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency led to a number of monumental discoveries, especially during the Cassini spacecraft’s 13-plus years on Saturn.

>> Related: NASA says it’s not running a child slave colony on Mars

On Thursday, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took its final images before plunging to its death Friday morning.

Astronomers pick up radio signals from space

A series of unexplained radio signals were discovered from a source in a galaxy three billion light years away, WJZ reported.

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Scientists with the Breakthrough Listen initiative said they detected 15 repeating, fast radio bursts coming from the same mysterious source they recorded in 2012. In 2015, the same source became the first object to record a repeating radio burst.

The Aug. 26 discovery also comes from the only source whose location has been positively confirmed in space, WJZ reported. The dwarf galaxy signal that was found in is much smaller than the Milky Galaxy, with about half the number of stars in it.

“The possible implications are two folds,” Dr. Vishal Gajjar of Breakthrough Listen said. “This detection at such a high frequency helps us scrutinize many of FRB 121102’s origin models.”

Researchers at Harvard said the signals’ power could be making it easier for astronomers to find than others in the cosmos.

“Previously we thought there wasn’t much emission at high or low frequencies, but now it looks like there is,” said Professor Avi Loeb at Harvard University. “It’s twice as high as the typical frequency that was previously claimed for this repeater.”

Elon Musk unveils sleek space suit for SpaceX astronauts bound for Mars

Elon Musk unveils sleek space suit for SpaceX astronauts bound for Mars

The new space suit designed by SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk isn’t just elegant. It’s super functional, too.

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Musk revealed a photo of the suit on Instagram Wednesday, worn by a SpaceX engineer.

It wasn’t a mock-up version, either. It was the real deal.

In fact, Musk added that the suit has already been tested to double vacuum pressure, though building a suit with both the aesthetic appeal and functionality was no easy feat.

The pressure suits, meant to be worn by astronauts riding SpaceX’s Dragon capsule (and not actually for them to walk out on) put an elegant twist on the classic space suit worn by NASA astronauts for ages.

The Dragon spacecraft made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and then safely return the cargo to Earth. The capsule was initially designed to carry humans.

According to the SpaceX website, the company is currently refining the capsule for NASA astronauts to fly in.

The Dragon spacecraft’s first manned test flight is expected as early as 2018.

No, Earth will not experience 15 days of darkness

It's time to set the record straight on a recent fake claim involving Venus and Jupiter that's causing concern.

In recent days, rumors have been spinning around that Earth will experience 15 days of darkness this November. The reports, which cite a fake NASA document, incorrectly claim that from 2:50 a.m. Nov. 15 to Nov. 30, the Earth will go dark (and not just for a few minutes – but days).

>> Solar eclipse 2017: Did you damage your eyes looking at the eclipse? Here are some symptoms

Now, the silly reasoning behind this is that Jupiter and Venus will “come in close proximity of each other,” which somehow causes a reaction with the sun and theoretically causes the sun to go out.

Well, no need to worry because this theory is nonsense and has absolutely no scientific reasoning behind it. Our planet will NOT experience 15 days of darkness. But for fun, here is a list of things that could happen if we did experience just a week of complete darkness:

>> On Complete coverage of the solar eclipse

• You would first notice it would get pretty cold, pretty quickly (since there is no sun to heat the surface and atmosphere on earth)• No sun means no photosynthesis and those cold temperatures sure wouldn’t help anything grow (so I guess no more plants or food for us!)• Finally, if the sun decided to take a vacation for a week – the gravitational effect on us and other planets would be monumental. Without gravity, our planet would just float off into space.

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But again, no need to worry, there will not be a blackout for days on end. The closest thing we will ever get to this is another solar eclipse like we experienced Monday.

Humorous warning to protect horses during eclipse goes viral

An animal rescue organization in Florida had a humorous solution for protecting horses during Monday’s solar eclipse, and it has gotten plenty of support online.

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Heartland Rescue Ranch of Panama City shared a photo of a horse with a bra strapped around its face, covering its eyes, KDVR reported.

The original Facebook post has been shared more than 180,000 times since Aug. 17.

Staring at the sun is always dangerous, but even more so during an eclipse.

Missouri newlyweds say ‘I do’ during eclipse

For newlyweds Samantha and Cameron Kuhn, Monday’s marriage was out of this world.

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The couple celebrated their wedding vows with family and friends within the path of totality of the solar eclipse that crossed the United States.

“Being able to do the wedding on the day of the solar eclipse couldn’t be any more perfect,” bride Samantha Kuhn, 28, told ABC News.

Their wedding ceremony included special eclipse-viewing glasses, and their wedding invitation had a celestial theme.

After completing their vows, the bride and groom joined their guests, all wearing certified glasses, in a field behind the altar to take in the total eclipse.

Samantha Kuhn said she has been a big fan of the universe since she was in the third grade and even wanted to be an astronaut, ABC News reported.

“Once I realized the planets were out there and we were all suspended in this solar system, I couldn’t wrap my head around it but I loved that. It completely fascinated me,” she said last week.

“The coolest part about this, the eclipse is kind of like a time stamp,” Cameron Kuhn told ABC News. “It will stand out in everybody’s memories even more.”

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