Space is closer than you might think -- about 62 miles up, only a little farther away from you than San Jose is from San Francisco. Heck, you can get halfway to space in a balloon.
The hardest part about space, it turns out, isn't so much getting there as staying there. That's where the idea of orbiting comes into play. Once you accomplish the hard work of getting a spacecraft into orbit, you can get years of use out of it as it loops more or less effortlessly around the planet on its own invisible track.
Orbits are "roadways in space," said Ajmal Yousuff, a Drexel University professorwho studies aerospace vehicles. "You place a vehicle in space, and it stays there."
George Lucas, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Warwick Davis and more honor the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films.
David Prowse,who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies, has died at 85, the actor's family and management team confirmed on Saturday evening. Prowse's death is "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world," his agent Thomas Bowington told the BBC.
"David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character," Star Wars creator George Lucas said in a statement on Sunday. "He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader's presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace."
Prowse was best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film trilogy that included A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Legend has it Prowse was given alternate lines to say in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi so the big reveal in the movies would be kept secret.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio hopes three of his quarterbacks will be cleared Tuesday to return to work and said that additional discipline is still "on the table'' for Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles.
The Broncos were without their entire quarterback depth chart for Sunday's 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints as Lock, Rypien and Bortles, who is on the practice squad, were all designated "high-risk'' close contacts to Jeff Driskel, who tested positive Thursday for COVID-19. The four quarterbacks were determined to have broken protocols by not wearing masks at all times or social distancing properly, including in a Tuesday meeting with Driskel.
Lock, the team's starting quarterback, issued an apology on social mediabefore Sunday's game and said he made an "honest mistake, but one that I will own.''
One of biology's biggest mysteries has been solved using artificial intelligence, experts have announced.
Predicting how a protein folds into a unique three-dimensional shape has puzzled scientists for half a century.
London-based AI lab, DeepMind, has largely cracked the problem, say the organisers of a scientific challenge.
A better understanding of protein shapes could play a pivotal role in the development of novel drugs to treat disease.
The advance by DeepMind is expected to accelerate research into a host of illnesses, including Covid-19.
Their program determined the shape of proteins at a level of accuracy comparable to expensive and time-consuming lab methods, they say.
Iran believes Israel and an exiled opposition group used a remote-control weapon to shoot dead top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday.
Security chief Ali Shamkhani said the attackers had "used electronic equipment" when Fakhrizadeh's car was fired on east of the capital Tehran.
He was speaking at the funeral of the scientist Israel accused of secretly helping to develop nuclear weapons.
Israel has not publicly commented on the allegations of its involvement.
In the early 2000s, Fakhrizadeh played a crucial role in Iran's nuclear programme but the government insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.
It has been subjected to crippling Western sanctions aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons.
A California zoo is appealing for the public's help after two endangered birds were stolen from their cages.
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo said security footage showed a person cutting through locks and escaping with the pair stuffed in a duffle bag.
The birds both appear on a list that identifies species at high risk of global extinction.
The alleged bird bandit made off with a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo and a Nicobar pigeon, the zoo said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species classifies the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo as "critically endangered" - its third highest category of concern - and lists the Nicobar pigeon as "near threatened".
The stolen birds are elderly long-term residents of the zoo and were taken from the Australian Asian Aviary before the facility opened on Sunday morning.
Right now, Newsmax TV is trying to outfox Fox News.
No media outlet has done more to bolster President Trump over the past four years than Fox News. Yet the acknowledgment by Fox's reporters, anchors and even many opinion hosts that Democratic nominee Joe Biden won the election has provided an opening for the network's much smaller rival to peel off Trump's fans.
"It was an organic thing across social media and elsewhere," Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy said in an interview. He said the message was: "Take a look at Newsmax. Their coverage is more fair."
"More fair" meaning more willing to deny political reality.
Arizona and Wisconsin certified their results Monday, giving President-elect Joe Biden a win in two more states where President Trump has contested the election. Trump allies have pledged to continue court challenges in the two states.
The action came as Biden forged ahead with plans for his presidency, announcing a committee to organize his Jan. 20 inauguration and formally unveiling his economic team. Biden was also set to get his first President’s Daily Brief, a classified compilation of information from intelligence agencies, though it was not announced whether he had yet received it. Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris received the briefing, at the Commerce Department.
For someone poised to become the ultimate insider as the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines spent her formative years more as a hipster and an outsider.
An only child raised on the West Side of New York, she spent her teenage years helping care for her ailing mother, who died when Haines was 15. As soon as she finished high school, Haines set out on a series of adventures. She began with a stint at an elite judo academy in Japan, earning a brown belt.
Her next stop was the University of Chicago, where she studied theoretical physics, a highly competitive department dominated by men.
"She bought a used Cessna and rebuilt the avionics herself and tried to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and crash-landed near the Newfoundland coast," said David Priess, a former CIA officer who has written extensively about the agency's leaders.
The aborted trip wasn't a total disaster. Her co-pilot and flight instructor, David Davighi, later became her husband, and they launched an independent bookstore and cafe in a gritty part of Baltimore in the 1990s.
She also loved rebuilding cars and airplanes, and eventually learned to fly.
(Reuters) - Moderna Inc will apply for U.S. and European emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine on Monday after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns, the company said.
Moderna also reported that its vaccine’s efficacy rate was consistent across age, race, ethnicity and gender demographics as well as having a 100% success rate in preventing severe cases of a disease that has killed nearly 1.5 million people.
The filing sets Moderna’s product up to be the second vaccine likely to receive U.S. emergency use authorization this year following a shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech which had a 95% efficacy rate.
“We believe that we have a vaccine that is very highly efficacious. We now have the data to prove it,” Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks said. “We expect to be playing a major part in turning around this pandemic.”
WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After a Thanksgiving weekend when the number of people traveling through U.S. airports reached its highest since mid-March, a top government official said on Monday some Americans could begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations before Christmas.
U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine could be authorized and shipped within days of a Dec. 10 meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration tasked with reviewing trial data and recommending whether it warrants approval.
A vaccine from Moderna Inc could follow a week later, he said, after the company announced on Monday it would apply for U.S. and European emergency authorization. Final trial data showed the vaccine to be 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19, comparable with Pfizer’s results.
“So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas,” Azar said on CBS’ “This Morning.”
The US Congress on Monday began a two-week sprint to rescue the federal government from a possible shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, the first major test since the election of whether Republicans and Democrats intend to cooperate.
Government funding for nearly all federal agencies expires on Saturday 11 December.
Congressional negotiators have made progress on how to divvy up around $1.4tn to be spent by 30 September 2021, the end of the current fiscal year, according to a House of Representatives Democratic aide.
But more granular details are still unresolved and votes by the full House and Senate on a huge funding bill may come close to bumping up against that 11 December deadline.
The San Francisco 49ers will play two home games in Arizona after new coronavirus regulations put in place by officials in northern California forced the team to find a temporary new home.
The news came as Covid-19 continues to ravage the NFL. The Denver Broncos were forced to play a back-up wide receiver at quarterback on Sunday after their regular signal-callers were affected by the virus, while the New Orleans Saints were fined heavily for failing to follow mask protocols. All NFL team facilities are closed on Monday and Tuesday because of the rise in Covid-19 cases across the United States, in addition to the “understanding that a number of players and staff celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with out-of-town guests,” according to a league statement released on Friday.
Donald Trump has been losing Twitter followers since he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden – while the Democratic president-elect has been adding them.
According to Factbase
, a website dedicated to tracking Trump’s public utterances, the president has lost 133,902
followers since 17 November while the president-elect has gained
In a Sunday tweet, the CNN host and media reporter Brian Stelter said that while Twitter followers were “surely not the most important metric in the world”, it was “still worth noting: for the first time since 2015, Trump is consistently losing followers”.
Factbase, he pointed out, had “measured small declines for 11 days in a row”.
Trump has 88.8 million followers, to whom he continues to tweet baseless claims of electoral fraud and all-out conspiracy theories surrounding his loss to Biden.
His most recent message at the time of writing accompanied video of a crowd at a rally and said: “NO WAY WE LOST THIS ELECTION!”
Abuja, Nigeria – Security forces and volunteer vigilante groups in northeastern Nigeria are searching to find people still missing after dozens of civilians working in rice fields were slaughtered by armed men over the weekend.
Locals say they recovered 43 bodies after Saturday’s attacks in villages near Maiduguri, the capital of the restive Borno state, which has been plagued by an armed campaign for more than 10 years.
Amid divergent figures, the United Nations late on Sunday amended an earlier statement putting the death toll at 110 people to say that “tens of civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded” in the “brutal” assault that was led by men on motorcycles.
In the statement, Edward Kallon, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, also cited “reports that several women may have been kidnapped” and called for their immediate release and return to safety.
Gaza City – Naela Abu Jibba, 39, a mother of five, is among hundreds of women in Gaza who could not find jobs in an economy on the brink of collapse.
So she decided to create her own and became the first female taxi driver in the Gaza Strip – taking only women passengers to their destination inside the besieged enclave.
Abu Jibba recently graduated from a university in Gaza and had hoped to find work in an office. “I got married at a young age and after my children grew up I joined the university to study social sciences in order to find a job with its certificate,” she said.
However, with Gaza blockaded by both Israel and Egypt, the economy is in tatters and finding any work is a struggle.
The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip was 45.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Among women, the jobless rate climbed to 62.1 percent in quarter one, up from 57.3 percent in the last quarter of 2019.
President Macron is aiming to pass laws that would restrict protests, protect police and fight radical Islam. But facing increased public pressure, politicians have said they plan to revise a controversial security bill.
Public demonstrations have been a rare sight in protest-prone France since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
But over the weekend, many felt it was time to make their voices heard again. Between 133,000 and 500,000 people — according to the police and organizers, respectively — demonstrated in more than 70 cities across France against a proposed security law, even though the country is still under partial lockdown.
Read more: French battle for freedom of speech: 'It's all about the principle'
The new law is meant to increase police protections, particularly through article 24, which would make it a criminal offense to publish images of on-duty officers with the intent of harming their "physical or psychological integrity." On Monday, however, a parliamentary majority appeared to bow to public pressure, saying it now planned a "complete rewrite" of the controversial section.
"The bill will be completely rewritten and a new version will be submitted," said Christophe Castaner, head of the LREM party of President Emmanual Macron, which has a majority in the National Assembly.
The 7-second night-sky glow was likely an asteroid fragment entering the atmosphere, according to the German Aerospace Center. Some 90 witnesses across the country notified sightings to Europe's "fireball network.”
The bright streak lasted 5-to-7 seconds, ending in a jade color and breaking into two smaller blips, a witness at Siegen near Bonn told the "fireball network" run by Berlin's Technical University (TU) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
"Most probably it was an asteroid fragment that had entered the atmosphere," said DLR fireball expert Dieter Heinlein, positioning Saturday evening's eye-catcher roughly over Kassel city in central Germany.
Within hours, some 90 sightings were notified to the network, said Professor Jürgen Oberst, head of planetary geodesy at Berlin's TU, on Sunday.
The regional Rheinische Post (RP) newspaper carried a motorist's dashboard camera footage of the brief flyby over the Rhine River metropolis.
"A very bright fireball from Düsseldorf-Ludenberg in the [easterly] direction toward Mettmann. Broke into many parts. Local time 18:40," the observer told RP.