UW hosts student robotics challenge Friday to mark 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander.

This Saturday will mark a half century since the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon and two U.S. astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked its surface. At the University of Washington, the NASA-funded Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, or NEESP, is marking the occasion with a robotics challenge for middle and high school students from across the state. 

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Instability in Antarctic ice could make sea levels rise rapidly

Glacier in Antarctica

One of the biggest sources of concern for scientists regarding climate change is the uncertainty surrounding melting ice sheets in the Antarctic causing rising sea levels. New research coauthored by University of Washington Earth and Space Sciences professor Gerard Roe used mathematical analysis and computer models to make projections of future sea levels, pointing to ice sheets growing unstable and flowing into the ocean sooner than expected. 

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Coral reefs shifting away from equator, new study finds

Corals under kelp

Coral reefs are retreating from equatorial waters and establishing new reefs in more temperate regions, according to new research published July 4 in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. The researchers found that the number of young corals on tropical reefs has declined by 85% – and doubled on subtropical reefs – during the last four decades. As climate change warms the ocean, subtropical environments are becoming more favorable for corals than the equatorial waters where they traditionally thrived. 

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Super salty, subzero Arctic water provides peek at possible life on other planets

In recent years, the idea of life on other planets has become less far-fetched. NASA announced June 27 that it will send a vehicle to Saturn’s icy moon Titan, a celestial body known to harbor surface lakes of methane and an ice-covered ocean of water, boosting its chance for supporting life. On Earth, scientists are studying the most extreme environments to learn how life might exist under completely different settings, like on other planets. 

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Laura Prugh wins Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Laura Prugh

Associate Professor Laura Prugh of the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences received the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early career scientists and engineers. This award is bestowed to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology, according to the White House. 

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