The State of Private Space Flight—Good Luck Elon Musk

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Good news—private, corporate space flight company Orbital ATK successfully docked their spacecraft with the international space station last month. Good news—Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard spacecraft managed to land itself on a launch pad in recent weeks.

Not so great? Elon Musk’s SpaceX craft has been grounded since it exploded during what Musk called a ‘rapid, unscheduled disassembly’ while attempting a landing earlier this year. But the Falcon 9 rocket has been updated, and now sits on a Cape Canaveral pad awaiting launch tomorrow night.

So maybe NASA’s not up to as much as it once was. But, given the strides countries like China and India have made in the last year—and the progress made by private interests…it may be that our dreams of a future in space are more realistic than ever before.

That’s all good news to me.

For more, check out: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/spacex-scheduled-to-return-to-flight-sunday-and-attempt-another-dramatic-landing-this-time-on-land

Nessie Makes Tracks

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(Image from Reuters)

Researchers recently uncovered 170 million-year-old fossilized tracks made by a heard of colossal sauropods crossing Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

The tracks, some as much as two feet across, indicate these were massive beasts—maybe 50ft in length and weighing up to 20 tons. Perhaps they were early cousins of brontosaurs or Diplodocii?

Although recent finds suggest sauropods were able to support their own terrific weight on land, this pack had been wading through the depths of the lagoon. Maybe feeding? Maybe avoiding predators?

It’s too soon to say.

But, huge reptilian beasts trekking across prehistoric Scotland…makes you wonder what’s hanging around that loch all these years later…

Check out the article at: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/12/04/giant-footprints-in-scotland-reveal-the-dinosaurs-that-once-roamed-there.html

 

Volunteer fossil hunter scoops the pros—finds giant dinosaur bone!

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You don’t have to be a PhD. to make an amazing dinosaur discovery. This week paleontologists confirmed that volunteer bone hunter, Kay Fredette, has discovered the largest Apatosaurus femur ever found.

While helping on a dig in Colorado she and another volunteer unearthed the colossal bone (6ft 7inches long) which scientists say came from the leg of a dinosaur that was 80 to 90 long.

And this isn’t her first big find either… in recent years Kay has bagged a handful of sauropods, and even well-preserved dinosaur skin.

 

Check out the story here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/volunteer-finds-apatosaurus-femur_n_5522631.html

RIP, Digby

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So crushing, it’s hard to even write about. Our wonderful giant bear, Digby has passed away. The 165lb Dane-mastiff with the colossal heart, opened up our lives and gave us so much love.

He was taken far too soon.

Now, everywhere I turn I see either a reminder of him or a hole where he should be.

The smiles, the paws, the best days we had together—I’ll never forget.

 

I miss you, old friend.

Mary Anning – the Dorset Dinosaur Hunter

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Mary Anning – the Dorset Dinosaur Hunter

The greatest fossil hunter the world has ever seen was a woman who lived more than two hundred years ago in Dorset, England. Mary Anning, also known as the monster hunter, was responsible for discovering ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and the first recognized pterosaur fossil in England. She got her start combing the beaches of the Dorset coast with her father—and though he died when she was only eleven, she got her passion for the strange beasts captured in the rock of her native county from him.
Check out her fascinating story here:

http://www.strangescience.net/anning.htm

Plant-eating Giant Dinosaurs Survived in the Canadian Arctic

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Plant-eating Giant Dinosaurs Survived in the Canadian Arctic

Arctic journal reports that the vertebra of a duck-billed hadrosaur from the cretaceous period found in the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut suggests that the giant herbivore made its home in the hostile northern region year-round. In fact, the bone found on Axel Heiberg Island is the northern most fossil find ever recorded.
Although the average Arctic temperature was fifteen degrees warmer than today, the hadrosaurs still had to contend with a complete absence of daylight for almost half the year. The relative cold and lack of a plant-life meant a tough life for the hardy duck-bill. Mostly they would have scavenged twigs, decaying wood and fungi to survive. And migration was impossible because the island on which the fossil was found was cut off from the rest of North America by two seas.
It seems the more we learn about dinosaurs in the fossil record the more surprising and extreme they become. You go dinosaurs!
Check out the full story here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/04/hadrosaur-northernmost-dinosaur-nunavut_n_5094151.html
image: Getty Images

Real life fossil cowboy turns a keen eye into big finds

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Real life fossil cowboy turns a keen eye into big finds

Real life cowboy Clayton Phipps rides the Montana Badlands with a shovel and a GPS device hunting for dinosaur fossils. Along with his partner, former flooring salesman Mark Eatman, he has made some of the biggest amateur finds in recent years.
A T. rex tooth worth $10,000.
A Stygimoloch (that he calls a horned, ‘freaky critter’) that went for $100,000.
And the famous dueling dinosaurs which are expected to fetch $7 million at auction in Manhattan.
He credits his success to his keen fossil hunter’s eye, honed over the years to spot anomalies in the Hell’s Creek landscape. He can pick out a lump of black rock that turns out to be a piece of ankylosaur armor and in his home dino-lab he spends hours using X-Acto knives, debonder and a dentist’s microblaster to remove the rock and dirt around the specimen.
Whether you’re a former ranch-hand or a flooring salesman, keep your eyes open when you’re in the field—that next big find could be at your feet.

Check out the full story at: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/the-dinosaur-cowboy-20140224

(Photograph by Jose Mandojana)