Natural Sciences

CU-Boulder instrument set to launch to the moon

A $6 million University of Colorado Boulder instrument designed to study the behavior of lunar dust will be riding on a NASA mission to the moon now slated for launch on Friday, Sept. 6, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Feather colors may be for more than just looks: Hue can affect bird health

For female North American barn swallows, looking good pays healthy dividends.

A new study conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder and involving Cornell University shows the outward appearance of female barn swallows, specifically the hue of their chestnut-colored breast feathers, has an influence on their physiological health.

Oldest North American petroglyphs dated to at least 10,500 years ago

A new high-tech analysis led by a University of Colorado Boulder researcher shows the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, which are cut into several boulders in western Nevada, date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago.

Set by the sun: An escape from electrical lights synchs our circadian clocks to the solar day

A weeklong wilderness escape from the electrical lights that illuminate most of our daily lives is enough to reset our internal circadian clocks to synchronize with sunrise and sunset, according to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder.

NASA mission involving CU-Boulder discovers particle accelerator in heart of Van Allen radiation belts

Using data from a NASA satellite, a team of scientists led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and involving the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, a region of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe known as the Van Allen radiation belts.

CU study shows how early Earth kept warm enough to support life

Solving the “faint young sun paradox” -- explaining how early Earth was warm and habitable for life beginning more than 3 billion years ago even though the sun was 20 percent dimmer than today -- may not be as difficult as believed, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

The West is getting dustier, says CU-Boulder study

The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down.

CU-Boulder prof to lead NASA campaign to study North American air quality

A University of Colorado Boulder professor is leading a major NASA airborne science campaign this summer that will probe weather patterns and air pollution over a vast expanse of North America that have potential global climate consequences.

Water-rock reaction could create enough 'food' to sustain life on Mars or in Earth's ocean crust

A chemical reaction between iron-containing minerals and water may produce enough hydrogen “food” to sustain microbial communities living in pores and cracks within the enormous volume of rock below the ocean floor and parts of the continents, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

CU-Boulder helps tap crowds to digitize museum records of bugs and plants

Inside the natural history museums of the world are billions of animal and plant specimens from birds, fish and beetles to flowers, mushrooms and grasses, all stacked, stored and preserved in jars and collection drawers.

The rich and diverse collections could be critical to understanding how the Earth’s biodiversity is changing in the face of a growing human footprint — if only the information were easily accessible.

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