Tuesday, July 21, 2015

White-Nose Syndrome Among Bats

Little Brown Bat with White Nose Syndrome BY1556
A little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) affected by White nose syndrome hanging at Greeley Mine in Stockbridge, Vermont. White-nose syndrome is a disease affecting hibernating bats, named for the white fungus (Geomyces destructans) that appears on the muzzle and other body parts. WNS is associated with extensive mortality of bats in eastern North America. First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, WNS has spread rapidly across the eastern United States and Canada, and the fungus that causes WNS has been detected as far west as Oklahoma.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pluto and Charon

Today is an historic day in space exploration. After a nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to the outer edge of our solar system, NASA's unmanned New Horizons spacecraft has reached Pluto. This makes the U.S. the first country to send spacecraft to every planet in our solar system.



These images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, were captured in the days leading up to New Horizons closest approach. Data and images gathered over the next weeks and months will reveal more about these bodies than has ever been known before.

Science Source is your source for stellar imagery from all of NASA's missions, past and present.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bee in Flight BY7124
A bumblebee (Bombus grisecollis) in flight. Bumblebees are important pollinators. As the bee sucks nectar from the flower, it rubs against the stamens - picking up grains of pollen. Each pollen grain contains a male gamete which, when deposited on another plant of the same species, can fertilize an ovule and produce seeds. Bumble bees are sociable but have relatively few members in their colonies; often fewer than 50 individuals. They feed on nectar and gather pollen for their young. They are one of the few insects able to regulate their temperature, using both solar radiation and internal cooling and warming mechanisms.