Could This X-Ray Signal Shine Light on Dark Matter?

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Two spacecraft have detected a possible signal of dark matter, the mysterious, invisible stuff that makes up most of the material universe.

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton satellite spotted a spike of X-ray emission coming from more than 70 different galaxy clusters. While the origin of the X-rays remains unclear at the moment, they could be generated by the decay of a certain type of dark-matter particle, scientists said.

"We know that the dark matter explanation is a long shot, but the payoff would be huge if we're right," study lead author Esra Bulbul, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a statement. "So we're going to keep testing this interpretation and see where it takes us." [Gallery: Dark Matter Throughout the Universe]

Lucy in Space With Diamonds

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Astronomers aren't being poetic when they say this star is a diamond.

Scientists have identified what is possibly the coldest white dwarf ever detected. In fact, this dim stellar corpse is so cold that its carbon has crystallized, effectively forming a diamond the size of Earth, astronomers said.

Bypassing the Spinal Cord.

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Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb. Burkhart is the first of a potential five participants in a clinical study.

"It's much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we're actually bypassing electrical signals," said Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle. "We're taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles."

The Light Through the Clouds of Jupiter

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Jupiter's largest moons don't go completely dark when the giant planet blocks their sunlight, astronomers have found.

The discovery could reveal more about Jupiter's mysterious upper atmosphere, which the researchers suspect is responsible for keeping the moons lit when they are not directly illuminated by the sun. This research could also help scientists better understand the atmospheres of alien planets, study team members said.