News From Our Blog

NASA Makes New Discovery in Outer Limits of Solar System

There’s a new addition to the neighborhood!

NASA researchers have discovered an object whose orbit is beyond the known edge of our solar system. The possible dwarf planet’s orbit stretches farther than Pluto and beyond Sedna, which was previously believed to be farthest object in the solar system.

This discovery shows scientists that the outer-limits of the solar system are not the “vast wasteland” they were once thought to be, and there is much more out there to explore.

Image description: Scientists from the Smithsonian Institute discovered a new species of mammal — the olinguito — the first carnivore species to be discovered in either North America or South America in 35 years.
According to the Smithsonian:

The olinguito is the smallest member of the raccoon family. It has thick, woolly fur that is denser and more colorful (orange or reddish brown) than its closest relatives, the olingos. Its head and body length is 14 inches long (355 mm), plus a tail 13-17 inches in length (335-425 mm), and it weighs 2 pounds (900 grams). Males and females are similar in size.
DIET: The olinguito mainly eats fruit, but may also eat some insects and nectar.
BEHAVIOR: These solitary animals live in trees and are mostly nocturnal. It is an adept jumper that can leap from tree to tree in the forest canopy. Mothers raise a single baby at a time.
HABITAT: The olinguito is found only in cloud forests of the northern Andes Mountains
RANGE: Ecuador and Colombia, at high elevations  (5,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level).

Learn more about decades of research that went into the discovering the olinguito.
Image from the Smithsonian.
Read about olinguito in Spanish.

Image description: Scientists from the Smithsonian Institute discovered a new species of mammal — the olinguito — the first carnivore species to be discovered in either North America or South America in 35 years.

According to the Smithsonian:

The olinguito is the smallest member of the raccoon family. It has thick, woolly fur that is denser and more colorful (orange or reddish brown) than its closest relatives, the olingos. Its head and body length is 14 inches long (355 mm), plus a tail 13-17 inches in length (335-425 mm), and it weighs 2 pounds (900 grams). Males and females are similar in size.

DIET: The olinguito mainly eats fruit, but may also eat some insects and nectar.

BEHAVIOR: These solitary animals live in trees and are mostly nocturnal. It is an adept jumper that can leap from tree to tree in the forest canopy. Mothers raise a single baby at a time.

HABITAT: The olinguito is found only in cloud forests of the northern Andes Mountains

RANGE: Ecuador and Colombia, at high elevations  (5,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level).

Learn more about decades of research that went into the discovering the olinguito.

Image from the Smithsonian.

Read about olinguito in Spanish.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s Last Flight

Video description

Yesterday, the Space Shuttle Discovery made its last flight around Washington, D.C. before heading to its permanent home at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.

Video transcript

CAROLINE, 4TH GRADE STUDENT: I’m here to see the space shuttle fly in.

INTERVIEWER: What is your favorite planet?

CAROLINE: Saturn.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, why Saturn?

CAROLINE: Because I like to study its rings.

INTERVIEWER: When the shuttle gets to the museum do you plan to go visit?

CAROLINE and HER DAD: Yes.

[Background noise of people talking and cameras going off as the shuttle flies by.]

INTERVIEWER: Where did you see the shuttle in the sky?

CAROLINE: I saw it there, and there and there and there.

INTERVIEWER: What did you think? Was it big? Was it small?

CAROLINE: It was huge!

INTERVIEW: Can you believe it’s been up in space so many times?

CAROLINE: Yea!

NARRATOR: To learn more about the space shuttle, go to NASA.gov/shuttle and the Air and Space Museum’s page discovery.si.edu.

For more information about space and science, visit Kids.gov.

Image description:  The first tubeworms found in the Atlantic Ocean were discovered in August by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using remotely operated submarines.
Tubeworms are unlike most other forms of life on Earth, which rely on energy from the sun.  Instead, these creatures are chemosynthetic, getting their energy from chemicals that rise in the hot water of hydrothermal vents in the ocean.
Photo by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Image description: The first tubeworms found in the Atlantic Ocean were discovered in August by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using remotely operated submarines.

Tubeworms are unlike most other forms of life on Earth, which rely on energy from the sun. Instead, these creatures are chemosynthetic, getting their energy from chemicals that rise in the hot water of hydrothermal vents in the ocean.

Photo by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration