Pokémon Go Earth Day Clean Up event happening April 22, will offer in-game rewards

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Pokemon Go logo large

Earth Day is happening this month, and Pokémon Go is hosting a special event to celebrate.

The first Pokémon Go Earth Day Clean Up will happen on April 22. On that date, all players will get access to a special avatar item. As more people play the game on that date, unique in-game rewards will open up:

  • 1,500 Trainers – Unlock 2x catch Stardust for Ground, Water, and Grass-type Pokémon will be unlocked for 48hrs
  • 3,000 Trainers – Unlock 3x catch Stardust for Ground, Water, and Grass-type Pokémon for 48 hrs will be unlocked for Trainers around the world.

Players can also donate to the Mission Blue Foundation, a group that works to protect the oceans.

Pokémon Go players will be able to participate in clean-up events that will be held around the world. There will be 37 events in 12 countries, including the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, the U.K., France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

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Out Now: ‘Ava Airborne’, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’, ‘MLB Manager 2018’, ‘Simon the Sorcerer’, ‘Salad Hunt’, ‘Golfing Over It’, ‘Merge Gems!’, ‘Trick Shot 2’, ‘Woodways’, ‘Shot Online Golf’ and More

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It’s time once again to round up all the best new iOS game releases of the past 7 days. As is the case with mobile, I’m still struggling to keep up with all the new games that launched last week, and the week before, and the week before that, and… you get the idea. This week is certainly not one to play catch-up with, as there’s tons of great stuff hitting the App Store this week. Ava Airborne is the latest from the makers of Hopiko and PKTBALL, and it’s an absolute gorgeous experience. Then there’s the long-awaited game adaptation of Ken Follett’s 1989 novel The Pillars of the Earth, and iOS ports of the ’90s point-and-click adventure series Simon the Sorcerer. Truly an eclectic week! So check out the full list of games below and let us know which ones you’ll be picking up.


 

Ava Airborne

iTunes Description

Ava believes she can fly. Immerse yourself in this thrilling journey across a beautiful yet hazardous skyline. Weave between giant bomb-balloons, dive into turbo-charged catapults, bounce off trampolines and launch up into the clouds. Just never touch the floor.

Defy gravity. With style.

Lovingly crafted by the multi-award winning British indie studio Laserdog, Ava Airborne lets you master the sky with anything you can find: cardboard wings, rocket-propelled boots, an old umbrella, or even a jet-fuelled trombone.

Forum Thread: Ava Airborne (by Laser Dog/Playstack)


Big Kidd Games: Farm Life

iTunes Description

Farm Life is a fast paced survival farming game. Find tools in the shed; farm, eat, kill, and stay alive.

Forum Thread: Big Kidd Games: Farm Life (by Rickey Darren Hottage)


Bio Block

iTunes Description

Take control of a fork lift in an unstable environment in an all new puzzle game

Experience a new type of puzzle game with over 60 challenging levels

Simple one touch controls and fantastic graphics!

Lift and move blocks, raise platforms, use lift and avoid enemies!

360 degree camera controls allow you to explore each visually beautiful level

Install and try this new puzzle game now!

Forum Thread: Bio Block (by Entity3 Limited)


Blocky Snakes

iTunes Description

Why did the snake cross the road?
Wait, that’s another story…

But now, get ready to hop into the world of the BLOCKY SNAKES!

A funny, challenging 3D game, where you can relive your memories with a classic hit! Slither through your way in a maze of obstacles! Eat fruits and frogs to be the biggest snake and gain more score! Dash through breakable blocks, deactivate traps! Collect coins and play with the Snake Crane to win new characters!

Forum Thread: Blocky Snakes (by Csaba Szilagyi)


Dame Tu Cosita Challenge

iTunes Description

Dance be in the groove and show your best dancing moves. Green Alien is attacked by raining bombs. How long can you survive this mayhem.

Simple game play avoid the bombs and collect the coins. Progress through the challenging levels and try to be the best dancing green alien in this galaxy.

Forum Thread: Dame Tu Cosita Challenge (by Volkan Kutlubay)


DanMachi – Memoria Freese

iTunes Description

Join millions of fans of the fantastically popular anime – “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” – in its first-ever fully-localized mobile RPG, Memoria Freese!

Memoria Freese transports you to the world of Orario where you can build your own powerful team to battle through a sprawling dungeon! Play in a dynamic timeline that changes everything from environments to character dialogue depending on the time of day you play!

Forum Thread: DanMachi – MEMORIA FREESE (by Ellation, Inc.)


Dungeon of Minos

iTunes Description

Move dungeon maze with your finger!
Can you avoid the minotaurs?
Includes over 100 stages and boss attack!

Clear in 1st move for 3 stars!
or 2 moves? 3 moves? It’s ok, you can clear!

Explorer & minotaurs moves the same way.
Let’s connect the path to guide the explorer!

Forum Thread: Dungeon of Minos (by seonghoon lym)


Escape & Avenge

iTunes Description

You’re trapped in the dungeon of a medieval town. The king imprisoned you and killed the wizard–your magical friend and accomplice–for trying to overthrow the crown. At least that’s what the note on the wall says. You can’t remember anything, including who you are or how you got here. Can you escape the dungeon, return to the castle, and avenge your friend’s death?

Forum Thread: Escape & Avenge (by HangZone)


FireworkDigCat

iTunes Description

Digging hard
Collect minerals!

Make wonderful fireworks with minerals
Try your own special experience.

Forum Thread: Firework DigCat (by 3cat games)


Golfing Over It

iTunes Description

· Golf your way up to the top of a surreal mountain.
· Listen as Alva explains why he made such a cruel game.
· Fall all the way back to the bottom.
· And if you manage to get to the top?
· Will that make you feel good?
· Will you feel that it’s all been worth it?
· I think you will.

Based on 2017’s hit “Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy”.
Bennett Foddy himself has played this game and has given it his blessing.

Forum Thread: Golfing Over It (by Carlos Navarro Estrella)


Grow Survivor

iTunes Description

You are a survivor of the Apocalips.
Hunt the Zombies and study vaccines and save the world

Pixelstar’s Clicker game ‘ Grow Survivor ‘ has arrived!

Simple manipulation!! And addictive!

Click on the screen to kill the zombies.

Gather Materials to Craft Weapons!

Forum Thread: Grow Survivor (by PIXELSTAR)


Hedgehogs Commandos

iTunes Description

World of Hedgehogs in danger. War is comming.
Spiteful UFOs seized the hedgehog commune. Four hedgehog fighting commandos will not give them any chance to destroy it.

Be the fifth member of the team. Destroy alien’s bases! Save your friends!

Use the commandos’ features to seize and destroy aliens’ bases.
You won’t be able to clean the commune from hateful aliens without rationality, speed and agility.

Forum Thread: Hedgehogs Commandos (by Alexander Bogachev)


Kansen

iTunes Description

Inspired by ataxx and hexxagon games, the goal of the game is to make your pieces constitute a majority of the pieces on the board at the end of the game, by converting as many of your opponent’s pieces as possible.

There are three game modes in Kansen: Online, Hotseat, against AI.

Forum Thread: Kansen (by Geeky Raccoons)


Luft: Onward and Upward

iTunes Description

Try and make your way off a planet with a tragic history in this platformer that takes advantage of the touch screen for controls. Collect gems and unlock new characters for new ways to play. How high can you make it?

Forum Thread: Luft: Onward and Upward (by Legion Works Games LLC)


Merge Gems!

iTunes Description

Merge Gems! gives you the power to merge rocks into beautiful gems! Merge and match rocks, gold and more and enjoy the sparkle and shine of gems.

The concept of the game is simple – you’ve got a box of gems, and your only objective is to match and merge them to make them as splendid as possible. Every so often, you’ll be gifted a new gem – and the faster you tap on the ​box at the bottom of the screen, the faster the gems will appear. Start matching the same rocks and gems and find the diamonds in the rough!

Forum Thread: Merge Gems! (by Gram Games)


MLB Manager 2018

iTunes Description

Guide your favorite Major League Baseball franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2018, officially licensed by MLB and the MLBPA, is based on the award-winning Out of the Park Baseball series.

MLB Manager 2018 features a living world that uses the same realistic simulation engine found in Out of the Park Baseball, the best-selling and best-rated baseball management game of all time. Each MLB team in the game features its actual 40-man projected 2018 Opening Day roster. The player ratings are based on the ZiPS player projection system created by famous baseball analyst Dan Szymborski.

Forum Thread: MLB Manager 2018 (by Out of the Park Developments)


Monster RPG 3

iTunes Description

Monster RPG 3 is a fantasy old-school/Japanese-style Role Playing Game (JRPG.) Monsters have reawakened in the land, and two friends are on a mission to find the source. Along the way they’ll meet some interesting characters and fight in turn-based battles. Unique Vampire attacks complement the classic-style combat. A chip-tune soundtrack synthesized in real time sets the tone as the heroes save the day in unconventional fashion.

Forum Thread: Monster RPG 3 (by Nooskewl)


OIL

iTunes Description

OIL is a game about digging for oil in early 1900’s America. It’s a two player game that you play against a computer player or with your friend on the same device. OIL is a tense digital board game that plays a lot like battleships with a major oil mining twist! Unlike battleships, in OIL you and your opponent share the same play-space and compete for the same oil. Use your strategic mastery to beat your opponent and show who is the best oil miner! Influenced by the film ‘There Will Be Blood’, OIL focuses on the competition of oil mining in the iconic setting of the American oil boom of the early 1900’s.

Forum Thread: OIL (by Wee Door)


Piece of the Pie Pursuit

iTunes Description

Domino’s Piece of the Pie Pursuit puts you right at the center of the machine seen in our TV commercial. Do you have what it takes to beat all six unique levels in the ultimate game for pizza fanatics? If you do, you’ll find yourself this much closer to getting your hands on real-world, piping hot pizza. That’s right. Beat this game. Get a one-time prize in the form of Piece of the Pie Rewards® bonus points toward free Domino’s pizza.

Each section of this connected machine will challenge your skills in fun new ways. Guide your pizza cutter car along a boost-filled track in a race against the clock. Use pizza sauce Spoodle catapults to reach crazy heights. This physics-based game has it all. There’s nothing else like it.

Forum Thread: Piece of the Pie Pursuit (by Domino’s Pizza)


The Pillars of the Earth

iTunes Description

Based on Ken Follett’s world-bestseller, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ retells the story of the village of Kingsbridge in a whole new interactive way. Play as Jack, Aliena and Philip and change the events of the book through exploration, decision-making and dialogues. This interactive novel is released in three ‘books’, containing 7 chapters each.

12th century, England: In a time of great poverty and war, a small town begins the construction of a cathedral to claim wealth and security for its people. In their struggle to survive, lives and destinies intertwine. Philip the monk becomes prior of the small abbey of Kingsbridge. At the same time, a boy called Jack is raised in the woods by his outlawed mother. His apprenticeship as a stonemason paves his way to become a gifted master builder. Together with the disgraced noblewoman Aliena, Jack and Philip begin the construction of one of the greatest cathedrals England will ever see.

Forum Thread: The Pillars of the Earth (by Daedalic Entertainment)


Pixel Survival World

iTunes Description

Pixel Survival World is a game where you and your allies will battle and defend against monsters. Protect your game, protect your friends and acquire epic loot in your battles. Much like a tower defense game, you will need to defend the Heroes Gate from destruction. You will encounter dangerous monsters, but as a Hero, you and your comrades will survive in the world of Pixel Survival World.

There are many different game modes found within the Pixel Worlds which you and your friends can enjoy. Different difficulty worlds will have different monsters and loots for you to gather. Secret pets, items, npcs, secret pixel worlds are scattered throughout the game.

Forum Thread: Pixel Survival World (by Cowbeans Inc.)


Play Shark

iTunes Description

“Play Shark” looks like terrible game, but it is funny and cute. Sharks have lots of teeth, you will try to play them. Don’t be eaten by them!

“Play Shark” is easy to learn, but hard to master. Touching screen will send players falling to bridge where sharks are waiting. Grasp the opportunity, you will not be eaten by sharks. Each survived warrior will receive a star. Five-star warrior can be bitten by a shark once. Ten or more stars can kill a shark.

Now, Let’s play sharks!

Forum Thread: Play Shark (by LI YIN JIAN)


Poker Puzzle Panic

iTunes Description

Poker Puzzle Panic is a round based, simon-says, poker themed puzzle game.

Traditional playing cards are arranged on a 5×5 grid waiting for you to connect them into a poker hand. Try to survive as many rounds you can, while the announcer dictates which poker hand you need to make and how long you have to make it. The further you progress the harder it gets! Use power ups and get the most points to place higher on the global leaderboard. And for the completion-ist, do your best to unlock all 30 achievements and find all 41 hidden hands.

Poker Puzzle Panic is also a great way to learn all the different poker hands. Great for beginners or poker masters!

Forum Thread: Poker Puzzle Panic (by Travis Fincaryk)


Rival: Crimson x Chaos

iTunes Description

Chaos has returned to the world of Kel. Will you side with the Crimson or Chaos? Build the ultimate team and Lead them into the spoils of victory!

Defend your arena against players from around the world in the next generation of strategy and tower defense.

Forum Thread: RIVAL: Crimson x Chaos (by Section Studios)


Robin Hood: Sherwood Sniper

iTunes Description

Join the epic battle agains the forces of the evil Sheriff in Robin Hood – Sherwood Sniper. Using your archery skills to battle the Sheriff’s men deep in Sherwood Forest, conducting raids and using precision bow and arrow shots to turn the tide of the battle. Uses touch mechanics to allow for precise aiming, and a physics engine to simulate arrow movement.

Forum Thread: Robin Hood: Sherwood Sniper (by Silver Elm Systems LLC)


Salad Hunt

iTunes Description

A family friendly FPS with cartoony weapons and destructible environments. Arcade rail-shooter gameplay in a simplified mobile format.

You are The Chef and discover that salad ingredients have come alive as cute, but mischievous characters that are ruining your kitchen! Toss whatever you can find at them to save what remains of the kitchen, or just destroy everything in the process.

Forum Thread: Salad Hunt (by Salad Hunters)


Shatterbrain

iTunes Description

Draw shapes to solve challenging physics puzzles. From the creator of the #1 hit puzzle game, Brain It On!

◆ Dozens of brain busting physics puzzles, with more being added all the time
◆ Multiple ways to solve each puzzle, can you find the best solution?
◆ Compete on the leaderboards for the fastest time or best solution

Forum Thread: Shatterbrain (by Orbital Nine Games)


ShotOnline Golf: WC

iTunes Description

Introducing Shot Online Golf: World Championship, bringing the world of golf to the palm of your hand. Featuring superb graphics, realistic gameplay, 1v1 real-time challenges along with many skills and items, Shot Online Golf: World Championship is the ultimate mobile golf game. If you love the thrills and tension of real golf, this is the game for you!

Forum Thread: Shotonline Golf:WC (by WEBZEN INC.)


Shut the Window

iTunes Description

Shut the Window is a one touch game where you have to close as many open windows as possible before the timer runs out. Inspired by real windows of Amsterdam, play through 10 handcrafted illustrations. Frustratingly fun, each design has its own charm. Try not to pull your hair out playing it.

Beautiful and addictive one touch game.
Breathtaking Illustrations inspired by real windows of Amsterdam.
Frustratingly fun. Makes you keep coming back for more!
No IAP, no monetization strategy, no currencies.
Share screenshots of your favorite windows and high scores with friends.

Forum Thread: Shut the Window (by Pixel Drop Studios)


Simon the Sorcerer

iTunes Description

There are some things that kids just shouldn’t have to put up with. Being transported to some weird dimension full of goblins, dwarves, swamplings, stupid wizards and sleeping giants is definitely one of them.
After escaping a “welcoming party”, Simon discovers that he has been brought on a quest to rescue the wizard Calypso from the evil sorcerer Sordid.

In the last 25 years, the ‘Simon the Sorcerer’ game series has made millions of players fall in love with Simon.
Now you can relive the renowned original adventure in a whole new way!

Forum Thread: Simon the Sorcerer (by MojoTouch & Adventure Soft)


Simon the Sorcerer – Mucusade

iTunes Description

Just when he thought his life was regaining some semblance of normality, Simon’s wonder years are once again turned upside down when the evil sorcerer Sordid returns from the grave with only one thing on his mind – revenge! Sordid reconstructs his Fortress of Doom and sends a magical wardrobe to fetch Simon, but it accidentally ends up on the doorstep of Calypso, the wizard Simon had to save in the first game. Simon then starts to look for a special fuel that can power back the wardrobe and get him home.

Journey with Simon through this inevitable sequel to the best selling Simon the Sorcerer, as he manages once more to get stuck in a land of twisted fairytales, recycled gags and carbon dated clichés! With a cast of thousands (mostly woodworm) and enough Swampy Stew to keep an underprivileged country sick for a year, this classic adventure will keep you well entertained until we manage to make another sequel.

Forum Thread: Simon the Sorcerer 2 (by MojoTouch & Adventure Soft)


Spinning Pong

iTunes Description

A simple but strongly addictive game that was created during one evening!
Do you remember pong consoles? Enjoy playing the pong-like game by turning your iOS device. Have a lot of fun!

Forum Thread: Spinning Pong (by Dariusz Socha)


Street Food South East Asia

iTunes Description

You inherit your fathers street food hawker stall which has been part of the family for generations and you need to bring it back prosperity. Along the way you set out to expand your hawker stall empire and become a Street Food tycoon. Something that your father was never able to accomplish.

Street Food South East Asia brings back all the simple gameplay from the original but with new RPG gameplay elements.

Forum Thread: Street Food South East Asia (by Tomosan Studios)


Tetrun

iTunes Description

Experience a real parkour flow! Endless fun begins. Do not stop with a falling dice and show your best!

– climb as high as possible and discover all levels
– avoid falling dice
– show the best combo
– overcome your friends
– unlock all tricks
– learn all gestures

Forum Thread: Tetrun (by Cableek)


Trick Shot 2

iTunes Description

Simply get the ball in the box. How hard can it be?

Trick Shot 2 – Infinity brings brand new challenges and a fully featured level editor to create, play and share your own levels, in fact, every level in the game was created using the built in editor!

Forum Thread: Trick Shot 2 (by Jonathan Topf)


Uncivil War

iTunes Description

Collect hundreds of cards and build the ultimate deck in this free indie trading card game (TCG). Fans of TCG will love the depth, challenge and tactics of the online multiplayer PVP duels, and the offline PVE campaign. Build a deck strategy and defeat your enemies on the field of card battle.

Based on the classic War card game, and inspired by the American Civil War, this free trading card game (TCG) is well balanced and highly accessible, but requires deep strategic deckbuilding to win the card war!

Forum Thread: Uncivil War TCG (by Iron Horse Games)


Windrose: Origin

iTunes Description

A brand new puzzle game!

Anyone can finish a level, but you should finish it with the minimum number of moves to get the maximum score. If you want to reach 3 stars on each level you should make your moves cleverly.

Forum Thread: Windrose: Origin (by Baris Araci)


Woodways

iTunes Description

Woodways is a puzzle game in which you control all characters at once. Guide different animals to their destination, each with its own attributes and ways to interact with the environment. Travel through various areas with new mechanics and visuals, filled with all sorts of combinations of layouts and characters.

Forum Thread: Woodways (by Stav Goldstein)


Woven Words

iTunes Description

It all fits together in this unique brain-twister!

The Woven Words puzzle grids come in all different shapes and sizes,
and when you’re done every row and every column will spell out
complete words! Each game board is a mix of letters and blank tiles.
Can you find the right letters for the blank tiles so that every line spells
a word both down and across?

Forum Thread: Woven Words (by Blue Ox Family Games)


ZoroMe

iTunes Description

ZoroMe is a 3D-puzzle game with dice that challenges to the limits of the player’s mind!

Experience rich content with simple gameplay!

A rainbow die will help you get astronomical scores!
100 points?
1,000 points?
1,000,000,000 points??

Compete with players from across the world for a higher score!

Forum Thread: ZoroMe (by UUUM Co)


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Niantic Announces ‘Pokémon GO Earth Day Cleanup’ Events All Over the Globe

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While Pokémon GO might not be working out to the huge crowds it used to at launch, there are still plenty of people who still play the game all over the world. Continue reading
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Counterclockwise: smartwatches are cooler in space than on Earth

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The Timex Datalink was co-developed with Microsoft and first launched in 1994. Since then, many astronauts and cosmonauts have used a Datalink. That’s so cool, but it seems that for a long time, smartwatches were more popular in space than they were down here on Earth. The Datalink models were fairly limited in what they can do. You can set up many alarms (which the astronauts loved), store text notes and even run basic apps, transferred from a computer. Astronaut James H. Newman (right) wears the Timex Datalink 50 model 70502 on STS-88 Some makers tried watch phones – e.g….

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Point-and-Click Adventure ‘Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth’ Arriving on iOS Next Week

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Last year Daedalic Entertainment adapted Ken Follett’s 1989 historical fiction novel The Pillars of the Earth into video game form, and after being well-received on both PC and console the game is now making its way to iOS next week. The game adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth takes the form of a point-and-click adventure game, and splits the roughly 1000 page novel into 21 different chapters spread across three different “books” or episodes. So far only the first two books have been released, with the third and final book scheduled for launch in the coming months. For the iOS release just the first book, which contains 7 chapters and is titled From the Ashes, will be arriving next week with mobile versions of both book 2 and 3 to arrive at some point after. You can see what the game is like in the following trailer.

Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth Book 1 – From the Ashes will cost $ 4.99 on iOS and will feature: “Interactive storyline events that can be changed, influencing the fates of its characters; Key decision points with meaningful, emotionally-engaging story choices; Over 200 hand-painted backgrounds featuring faithful rendition of 12th century life; Three main playable protagonists, plus two extra playable characters; And an orchestral soundtrack by the FILMharmonic Orchestra, Prague.” The game will also require devices with 2GB of RAM or more, so at least iPhone 6s or higher or iPad Air 2 or higher are required. It all seems quite awesome for adventure game fans, so look for The Pillars of the Earth Book 1 on iOS next week on April 4th.

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China’s spiraling space station will plunge to Earth in about a week

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After a couple years of anticipation, China’s first human space station — Tiangong-1 — will drop out of its orbit in about a week and plunge into Earth’s atmosphere. The European Space Agency has pinpointed the vehicle’s reentry date to sometime between March 30th and April 2nd, with the event most likely happening on April Fools’ Day. Once the station descends, it will finally put an end to all of the anxiety over the location of this vehicle’s landing.

Tiangong-1’s fall has caused a lot of concern because China no longer has control of the space station. The country’s engineers can’t just fire up the vehicle’s engines again and deposit it over open ocean. Tiangong-1 is pretty heavy, too. It weighed nearly 19,000 pounds (8,500…

Continue reading…

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Flat Earth advocate finally launches his homemade rocket

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For years, "Mad" Mike Hughes has not only insisted that the Earth is flat, but has maintained he could prove it by launching himself into space with his own rocket. He even claimed to have launched a homebrew rocket in 2014, but didn't have evidence…
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There’s A New Kind of Aurora on Earth, And its Name is Steve

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Steve is a narrow, east-west running ribbon of purple light, sometimes slivered with green.

And it looks nothing like the wispier, wider curtains of other auroras.

Aurora-chasers in southern Canada who first spotted it started calling the mysterious streaks “Steve” after a joke in a 2006 animated film. Between 2015 and 2016, these citizen scientists sent some of their photos to Elizabeth MacDonald, a NASA space physicist, through her playfully-named citizen science platform Aurorasaurus. After looking at over 30 reports, she knew that something different was going on.

Normally, auroras occur when energized particles from the sun interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. But at didn’t explain Steve’s purple streaks. Different physics must be at play, MacDonald concluded.

But scientists didn’t know what made Steve special until July 2017, when, just by chance, one of the European Space Agency’s Swarm satellite set up to study the Earth’s magnetic field, happened to pass right over an area where the mysterious purple streaks were showing up.

Using Swarm data, MacDonald and her colleagues found that Steve appears when solar particles are moved rapidly from east to west by the interaction of both electrical and magnetic fields. This interaction only happens at points around 60 degrees north of the equator. Researchers have known about this flow of hot, fast-moving particles since the 1970s. They’re usually given the (way less fun) name of sub auroral ion drift, or SAID — but scientists never knew that there was any visual phenomena associated them. Luckily, MacDonald’s team decided to keep the more fun name by way of an acronym: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE).

It was only thanks to smartphones and high-quality digital cameras in the hands of passionate citizen scientists that physicists were able to realize what’s been under our noses — or, rather, over our heads — all along.

The post There’s A New Kind of Aurora on Earth, And its Name is Steve appeared first on Futurism.

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NASA’s portable antennas help bring space data back to Earth

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Spacecraft don't usually have much flexibility when it comes to sending data back to Earth: they either have to venture within range of a dedicated ground station or offload it by returning to the planet. NASA may soon have a more flexible option: it…
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After a Year Away from Earth, Scott Kelly’s “Space Genes” Set Him Apart From His Twin

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Scott and Mark Kelly are identical twin brothers. They’re also both former astronauts. Scott spent a year living in the International Space Station, while Mark was here on Earth. The Twin Study, as it was called, was an effort to help scientists understand the effects of extended time in space. NASA already has as pretty good grasp of what happens to the body after six months on the ISS. But the effects after a year are far more important if we’re going to eventually send people to Mars, and beyond.

Though Scott Kelly returned to Earth in March 2016, scientists are still running the data to figure out the effects on his body and mind. At the 2018 Investigator’s Workshop for NASA’s Human Research Program in January, NASA released its findings, revealing that Scott returned safely, but something about his gene expression had changed.

NASA measured Scott’s metabolites, cytokines and proteins before, during, and after his mission. Researchers learned that spaceflight is associated with oxygen deprivation stress, increased inflammation, and dramatic nutrient shifts that affect gene expression.
Furthermore, Scott’s telomeres (the ends of chromosomes that shorten as people get older) become longer while in space, but shortened again within 48 hours of Scott returning to Earth.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery is the change to Scott’s genes. 93 percent remained unchanged after the year-long stay in space, but the remaining 7 percent — referred to as “space genes” — were expressed differently (the DNA itself wasn’t fundamentally altered, as some headlines stated and The Verge notes). These changes might have long-lasting effects on the immune system, DNA repair, bone formation networks, hypoxia (oxygen deficiency in tissue), and hypercapnia (an abundance of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream). 7 percent might sound insignificant, but in fact it amounts to several hundred of genes.

Expect more findings from the Twin Study in the near future, starting with an integrated summary paper NASA will publish later this year. NASA states a “series of smaller papers grouped by related research areas” will also be released this year.

The results of Scott Kelly’s year-long mission will help space agencies all over the world prepare astronauts for longer stints in space. NASA says Kelly’s work is a “stepping stone” to a three-year mission to Mars.

Hopefully, by the time the mission begins, NASA’s Mars lander will have told us much more about the Red Planet. That way, the astronauts will have a better idea of what to expect.

The post After a Year Away from Earth, Scott Kelly’s “Space Genes” Set Him Apart From His Twin appeared first on Futurism.

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