Travel

Ancient Irish Tomb Big Draw at Winter Solstice

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 7, 2006   View Article

From December 19 to 23—if the weather cooperates—20 lucky people a day will crowd into an ancient Irish monument’s main chamber. There, they’ll bathe in 17 minutes of light put off by the rising sun on the shortest days of the year.

This year about 28,000 people applied to take part in the ritual at the Newgrange monument, located in the Irish countryside in County Meath, reports the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center.

New Icing Warning System for U.S. Airplanes Debuts

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 6, 2006   View Article

Beginning today pilots will have more reliable information about the threat of dangerous icing conditions as they fly across the continental U.S.

The information could save the airline industry more than $20 million a year in aircraft damage and fuel by guiding pilots away from areas in the atmosphere where icing can take place, according the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.

Moon Base Announced by NASA

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 4, 2006   View Article

NASA plans to construct a solar-powered outpost at one the moon’s poles, officials with the U.S. space agency announced today.

The lunar base is expected to be permanently staffed by 2024.

The outpost concept was chosen over a competing strategy similar to the 1960s and ’70s Apollo program—a series of brief trips to the moon.

Unique Mosses Spur Conservation, Ecotourism in Chile

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 14, 2006   View Article

A biosphere reserve on the southern tip of South America owes its existence, in part, to the diversity of mosses found there.

The Cape Horn Archipelago, a chain of wind-battered islands in the southernmost reaches of Chile, contains only a few tree species but a bounty of rare and unique mosses, according to William Buck, the curator of bryophytes at the New York Botanical Garden.

Quieter Aircraft to Take Cues From Birds, NASA Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 22, 2006   View Article

Bird-inspired technologies may be the key to dampening aircraft noise around airports, according to a NASA scientist.

“We are learning to make aircraft more like Mother Nature,” said Dennis Huff, chief of the acoustics branch at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Shuttle’s Human Experiments Pave Way for Moon, Mars Voyages

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 17, 2006   View Article

The space shuttle Discovery successfully finished its latest voyage today, touching down at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 9:14 a.m. local time.

But science experiments started during the 13-day mission will continue.

Throughout their nearly two weeks in space, the crew kept diaries of their sleeping habits and filled containers with various bodily fluids.

The tasks were part of experiments designed to help better prepare astronauts to stay healthy during long-distance space flights to the moon and Mars.

Alien Species Invading Antarctica, Experts Warn

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 6, 2006   View Article

Golf in Antarctica, anyone?

You can’t set a tee time just yet, but a type of grass favored for putting greens—annual bluegrass—has taken root on King George Island, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the icy continent.

Scientists are not amused.

“Sooner or later, invasive species do become a big problem,” said Maj de Poorter, an invasive-species researcher at Auckland University in New Zealand.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach