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NASA finds evidence of 10 new Earth-size planets that could have life

NASA unveiled its most comprehensive findings from its Kepler space telescope mission Monday, including the discovery of 219 new exoplanets, 10 of which are similar in size to Earth and could potentially have life.

The results are part of the final catalog of data released from Kepler’s first four years in space (2009-2013) and boosts the total of exoplanets in the galaxy to 4,034.

The 10 rocky, Earth-size planets orbit “in their star's habitable zone,” (the so-called “Goldilocks zone”) meaning they could potentially support liquid water, Kepler scientist Mario Perez said at a news conference Monday in Silicon Valley, California.

>> RELATED: Follow NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions 

The presence of liquid water is considered a key ingredient to the existence of life.

“Many of the new planet candidates are likely to have small rocky cores enveloped by a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, and some are thought to be ocean worlds,” NASA shared in its Tumblr blog.

The Kepler data set is the only set containing a catalog of these near Earth-sized planets with roughly the same orbit, according to Perez.

>> RELATED: Amazing NASA photos through the years 

“Are we alone? Maybe Kepler today has told us indirectly, although we need confirmation, that we are probably not alone,” Perez said.

Only three planets in our solar system are within the habitable zone of the sun: Mars, Venus and Earth. “I would only want to live on one of those," Kepler research scientist Susan Thompson told CNN.

Kepler’s latest findings only account for a tiny part of the galaxy (a patch of sky in the Cygnus constellation) and before it launched, scientists expected the frequency of Earth-like planets to be about 1 percent of the stars, Alan Boss, astronomer at the Carnegie Institution, told ABC News.

>> Read more trending news

But according to Kepler scientists, the number is closer to 60 percent.

As Kepler’s first mission comes to a close in 2018, scientists are calling its finality a new beginning.

“It’s amazing the things that Kepler has found,” Thompson said in a press conference. “It has shown us these terrestrial worlds, and we still have all this work to do to really understand how common Earths are in the galaxy.”

Read NASA’s full news release.

Study: Broccoli extract lowers blood sugar for type 2 diabetes patients

Here’s another reason to eat your greens.

>> Read more trending news 

A powder containing a chemical found in broccoli sprouts is capable of lowering blood sugar levels of persons with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Wednesday by Science Transitional Medicine.

The powder contains a highly concentrated dose of sulforaphane, according to study co-author Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” Rosengren told New Scientist. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 percent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.”

Rosengren and his colleagues conducted a 12-week experiment, with 97 people with type 2 diabetes taking either the sulforaphane powder or a placebo, The Scientist reported. Most of the participants continued to take metformin, a drug used to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Rosengren’s team discovered that the broccoli extract was able to reduce the participants’ blood glucose level by 10 percent compared to those who took the placebo, The Scientist reported.

“More research is needed to see if this repurposed drug can be used to treat type 2 diabetes, as it was only tested in a small number of people and only helped a subset of those who are taking it,” said Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK. She told New Scientist that “for now, we recommend that people continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.”

SpaceX launches 1st recycled supply ship to International Space Station

SpaceX successfully launched its first recycled supply ship on Saturday afternoon, bound for the International Space Station.

>> Read more trending news

The historic launch marked the 100th from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX’s Falcon rocket lifted off from the launch complex at 5:07 p.m. It was topped with the Dragon capsule, which was loaded with nearly 6,000 pounds of scientific research and station supplies. It will rendezvous Monday with the ISS, according to NASA.

It is the second time the Dragon has been sent to NASA’s orbiting outpost. The Associated Press reported that the capsule was sent in 2014 to supply the ISS. It was refurbished afterward for an unprecedented second trip.

“SpaceX hopes to slash launch costs by reusing its rockets and capsules,” according to the AP. “For now, savings are minimal because of all the inspections and tests performed on the already flown parts.”

Dragon will stay connected to the ISS until early July to allow astronauts time to unpack the spacecraft and refill it with completed experiments and hardware no longer necessary onboard, according to NASA.

The Falcon was first expected to liftoff Thursday, but the date was pushed back due to severe weather.

Large iceberg close to splitting from Antarctic shelf

Scientists said a crack in an Antarctic ice shelf soon will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

In the last six days, the break in the Larsen C Ice Shelf has grown by 10.5 miles and is now 8 miles from the edge of the ice, Reuters reported.

“The rift tip appears to have turned significantly toward the ice front, indicating that the time of calving (breaking away) is probably very close," Adrian Luckman, lead researcher in UK-based research team Project MIDAS, said in a statement.

“I would expect it to occur quite rapidly, within days or weeks," Dan McGrath, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey who has studied the ice sheet extensively, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The 1,930-square mile chunk of ice is part of the fourth largest shelf in Antarctica. When it breaks off, it will shrink the land mass of Larsen C by 10 percent, Reuters reported.

“If Larsen C were to collapse, it would be concerning for its own reasons, but the contribution to global sea level rise would be very small, something in the centimeters," McGrath told Reuters.

Must-see: 'Faceless fish' found for first time in more than a century

The so-called “faceless fish” was last seen less than a decade after the end of the Civil War, in 1873. The animal was finally brought to the surface again earlier this month when an Australian research vessel discovered one lurking nearly three miles deep.

>> See the fish here

Dr. Tim O’Hara, the chief scientist on the Australian ship, told The Guardian on Wednesday that “the little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can’t see any eyes, you can’t see any nose or gills or mouth. ... It looks like two rear-ends on a fish.”

>> Watch a video about the 'faceless fish'

>> Read more trending news

Their expedition has proven to break miles of scientific ground. The 27 scientists aboard estimate that “about a third” of the specimens that they bring aboard are “completely new to science.” But it wasn’t all good news, the crew claims that they’ve found “hundreds of years of debris” on the ocean floor, only months after a scientific voyage reported surprising levels of pollution in the Mariana Trench.

Scientist discovers snakes that engage in 'coordinated hunting'

The latest scientific discovery sounds like something out of a horror movie.

A scientist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has discovered a species of snakes that hunts in packs.

Vladimir Dinets found that the Cuban boa engages in "coordinated hunting," CNN reported. Dinets made the discovery while studying the snakes and how they hunt fruit bats in Cuba.

>> Read more trending news

Dinets said the snakes form a fence by hanging from the roofs of caves before dawn and after sunset, maximizing their ability to capture bats as they exit and enter the caves.

In the study, Coordinated Hunting by Cuban Boas, published in February in Animal Behavior and Cognition, Dinets notes that this is the "first scientifically documented case of coordinated hunting by snakes."

Cicadas pop out of the ground early in some parts of U.S.

The big green bugs that make a deafening sound are back.

Cicadas have popped out of the ground early this year and are starting to show up in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest, as well as the South and East Coast.

First you see their skin. Then you hear their call. 

>> Swarms of cicadas expected soon in Southeast

It's the unmistakable sound, and evidence the cicadas are back. 

"I think they're really gross," said Ashley Gilbert of Kettering, Ohio.

"They're a little scary, kind of prehistoric looking so they're a little startling," said Melissa Todd of Riverside, Ohio. 

The fragile brown casings could be from Brood X – some of these 17-year cicadas reportedly are arriving four years early – or the annual dog-days-of summer cicadas that have arrived several weeks ahead of time. 

>> Read more trending news

According to the Gardener's Network, Brood X cicadas span the following states: Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia.

Whichever kind they are, cicadas don't bite and don't cause much harm to trees. Their loud sounds and startling movements is all most will have to deal with.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Newly discovered dinosaur named after 'Ghostbusters' creature

Calling all “Ghostbusters” fans! Scientists just unearthed a 75 million-year-old dinosaur that bears a striking resemblance to a monster from the 1984 film. 

>> Read more trending news

The new discovery was found in Montana, and scientists gave the creature the name Zuul after the villainous beast from the movie. 

Want to learn more about the species? Click here to watch a video about the dinosaur.

Sonic boom rocks Central Florida

A sonic boom shocked Central Floridians early Sunday morning after the Air Force landed a secret military aircraft at Kennedy Space Center.

>> Read more trending news 

The U.S. Air Force tweeted Sunday “The Air Force #X37B #OTV4 has returned from obit and landed safely at @NASAKennedy.”

The X37B is an unmanned secret military shuttle, which has been orbiting the Earth for more than 700 days, the Air Force reported.

The landing marks the first time the X-37B has landed at KSC using the same Shuttle Landing Facility runway as NASA’s manned orbiters.

The U.S. Air Force said, "X-37B program is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft that performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.”

Swarms of cicadas expected soon in Southeast

Southerners with a keen sense of sound and a watchful eye for insects are in for a surprise as swarms of cicadas and their overpowering hums make their way to the Southeast any day now.

These insects, also called “17-year locusts,” are notorious for disappearing for several years (in this case, 17) and reappearing “at force” in intervals, according to National Geographic

The 17-year brood, Brood VI, is estimated to hatch this month in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, according to the Gardener’s Network.

>> Read more trending news

This brood probably won’t be back until 2034, but Brood X is estimated to hatch in 2021 (though they may emerge as early as this year in some parts of the United States, according to USA Today).

University of Georgia entomologist Nancy C. Hinkle said people may first notice shed cicada skins on trees and poles, and later notice the red-eyed insects flying around trees and bushes.

According to Hinkle, the bugs aren’t particularly harmful to animals and plants but could occasionally pierce plant stems.

However, massive swarms of the insects crowded in a single area could potentially damage young trees.

The undigested remnants of the cicadas could also be harmful to dogs and are known to upset their stomachs, according to the New York Times.

In 2016, some areas saw densities of 1.5 million periodical cicadas per acre, the Washington Post reported.

“They’ll be out as one of the natural wonders of nature. Watch them, enjoy them and they’ll be gone in about a month,” John Cooley from the University of Connecticut ecology and evolutionary biology department said. 

After the periodical cicadas have tapered off, Cooley said, the summer cicadas will be on their way.

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