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If you took a moment to look up at the solar eclipse yesterday (with safety glasses, we hope), then you know it's an experience like no other. Some called it breathtaking, others actually teared up at the moment of totality. A solar eclipse (and especially seeing it at totality) is so awe-inspiring, in fact, that one couple has spent more than half of their 48-year marriage chasing the feeling again and again.
America made the most of its special treat on Monday. For a mere hour and 33 minutes on Monday, the United States was the chosen place on Earth for the new moon’s shadow to fall as it aligned with the sun. This total solar eclipse wasn’t just a celestial event, it was a huge opportunity for science education and money-making that America seized with gusto.
Creating tools and supplements from your own waste may not be the first choice for astronauts, but thanks to scientists, it could be about to become a solid number two. Researchers have proven that it is possible to harvest vital molecules from urine, faeces and exhaled breath which can be repurposed into 3D printable plastics or nutrients. Astronauts cannot take a lot of spare parts into space because every extra ounce adds to the cost of fuel needed to escape Earth's gravity. Tim Peake explains how to use the toilet in space 01:03 But in a project funded by Nasa, scientists at Clemson University in South Carolina have discovered that different strains of yeast can break down human waste into useful products. One strain, when fed with urea from untreated urine and CO2 from exhaled breath produces omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to heart, eye and brain health. Another has been engineered to make polyester polymers. Those polymers could then be used in a 3-D printer to generate new plastic parts. So if a tool was lost on a spacewalk, a new one could simply be printed from the molecules extracted from waste. Missing parts could be printed in space using human waste Credit: Alamy "If astronauts are going to make journeys that span several years, we'll need to find a way to reuse and recycle everything they bring with them," Dr Mark Blenner, of Clemson University. "Atom economy will become really important. Having a biological system that astronauts can awaken from a dormant state to start producing what they need, when they need it, is the motivation for our project.” Researchers are hoping the project will eventually allow astronauts to live for large amounts of time in space. Already Nasa and the European Space Agency are planning to establish bases on the Moon and further afield, but being in space for months or years at a time will require far more recycling of waste. Elon Musk wants to found a colony on Mars Credit: REUTERS Mario Anzuoni Elon Musk, the SpaceX founder has also laid out plants for a major colony on Mars within the next 50 years, and has warned that humans will need to leave Earth to avoid a ‘doomsday event’ such as an asteroid strike. For now, the engineered yeast strains can produce only small amounts of polyesters or nutrients, but the scientists are working on boosting output. They're also looking into applications on Earth, in fish farming and human nutrition. For example, fish raised via aquaculture need to be given omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which could be produced by the team’s yeast strains. The research was presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting.
See Vox’s collection of photos of the solar eclipse and the people who watched it around the country. Monday’s solar eclipse was truly an American experience, visible as a partial eclipse from all 50 states and as a total eclipse from a 70-mile-wide sliver of 14 states. While total solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth about every 18 months, it has been 38 years since the last total solar eclipse passed through the United States, and 99 years since the last coast-to-coast eclipse.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court Monday revived a lawsuit that seeks to block construction of a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan over concerns about its impact on the Okinawa dugong, an endangered marine mammal that resembles a manatee.
By Harriet McLeod and Lee van der Voo CHARLESTON, S.C./SHERIDAN, Oregon (Reuters) - As millions of awestruck Americans cast their gaze skyward on Monday at the extraordinary sight of a total solar eclipse, one Connecticut man had his eyes set firmly on a different prize. Joseph Fleming, 43, went down on one knee in the darkness near the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina, and asked Nicole Durham to marry him. The first total eclipse in a century to sweep across the United States from coast to coast inspired Americans to make marriage proposals, hold family reunions and take time from work to witness with wonder one of the cosmos' rarest phenomena.
It's really difficult to explain what I just saw. I'm a space reporter. I know the science: The moon moved in front of the sun from Earth's perspective, blotting out our nearest star's light and plunging us into an eerie twilight here in Lenoir City, Tennessee. I get it. That's what happened. Still. The feeling of experiencing this event is something that I'm going to be parsing out for a long time to come. SEE ALSO: The moon literally blocked the sun on Twitter My family and I got here at around 8 a.m. ET, fearful of traffic and other snags that might hold us up from making it to our appointed spot in Lenoir City before totality would occur, at 2:33 p.m. ET. Our conversations for the past two days have been obsessive discussions about the weather, food choices, the number of people heading to the lake house where we're going to watch, and traffic. Also, more talk about traffic. Checking out the sun, safely.Image: miriam kramer/mashableWe hung around for hours, socializing, eating, and blogging (well, I was reporting for Mashable while everyone else was drinking and eating, but that's neither here nor there). Then at around 1 p.m., the real excitement began. People started running outside, eclipse glasses in hand, to watch as the moon encroached on the sun. Through the glasses, it looked like a bite was being taken out of the orange star, and then the bite got bigger and bigger, over the course of an hour and a half. Once we hit about 30 minutes from totality, things started getting weird. The dappled sunlight through the trees.Image: Miriam kramer/mashableThe shadows of the trees took on a different look, and it was noticeably cooler that the typical 90-degree Fahrenheit heat of a Tennessee summer. And the light was fading. Fast. Crickets began chirping and cicadas woke up early. It sounded and looked like evening was falling. Looking through the glasses, it was clear the sun was disappearing, our moon slowly but inexorably closing in over its face, blocking its light. Shadow bands appeared, waves of light that look like heatwaves swirling as twilight and totality descends. Just before totality, Venus appeared as a bright dot not far above the horizon. It was around that time that I started feeling nervous. My nerves were beyond my control, or understanding. The sun was disappearing, and knowing all the science behind the event didn't help me. The total solar eclipse was freaking me out. And then suddenly, just like that, the sun was gone. Shouts of "glasses off" started to spread around the grassy lakeside area where we were positioned. Just as suddenly as the sun disappeared, the moon was there, clear as day, surrounded in the hazy glow of the sun's outer atmosphere, only visible to us, thanks to our only natural satellite's uncanny ability to blot out the star in our sky. We were in totality. Venus started to shine more brightly, Jupiter appeared, and Mercury could be seen just next to the moon. We all take the sun for granted. It shines with its heady brightness every day, disappears every night before making its reappearance the next morning. But there was nothing that prepared me for what it would be like to experience the disappearance of the sun in the middle of the day. It takes an event like this to drive home the point that we're all just tiny specks on the face of a rock flying through space. Yet sometimes, if we're lucky, that smallness allows us to experience something truly amazing. WATCH: The 2017 solar eclipse is finally here
President Donald Trump enjoyed the eclipse Monday like millions of Americans. Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, wrote in a White House pool report that at about 2:39 p.m., as the eclipse was reaching totality, he gestured to the crowd and pointed to the sky, causing an aide to yell "don't look." Afterward, at about 2:41 p.m., Trump did put on glasses and gazed up at the sky alongside the first lady and his son Barron for about 90 seconds. The internet lit up instantly, because organizations and scientists have spent the past few days begging people not to view the partial eclipse with the naked eye because it could damage their retinas.
Millions of Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast ...