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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, May 18 2017

A space probe makes a spectacular performance during its final days. Scientists discuss the difficulties in using mice as stand-ins for humans. And SpaceX takes on an unusual mission. It's Earthy Thursday, our segment about science and Earth-related news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

For years the Cassini-Huygens probe launched by NASA has provided value information about the gas giant Saturn and its moons. Now, it's primed for one final mission, which will end in its destruction while providing new data never before recovered. Learn more over at Scientific American.

Something that's not generally realized is that by climatological definitions we're actually in an ice age. Specifically, a period during which there is permanent, year-long ice located near the poles. However, that may not be true for very much longer. If global warming continues at its current rate, summer ice in the Arctic and Antarctic may soon be a thing of the past.

Mice (along with their relatives rats) are among the most popular research subjects in behavioral and medical science. However, they're not perfect analogues for humans which has caused some scientists to wonder if there might be a way to "improve" them. More on the story at Discover Magazine.

Scientists made headlines a few weeks ago when they debuted an "artificial womb," that allowed a sheep fetus to be carried through the last stage of its prenatal development outside of the mother's body. Some have wondered if such tech might be employed for humans? But uteri aren't likely to become obsolete any time soon.

Most payloads launched into space are utilitarian: satellites used for communication or research for the most part. But not all payloads are so. SpaceX recently announced they will be launching a very different package into space: the ashes of several deceased individuals who wanted their remains scattered in space.

Top image by Randy Jirtle and Dana Dolinoy

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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