Dead bodies move around in graves during decomposition for a year - Business Insider - Canadanewsmedia
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Dead bodies move around in graves during decomposition for a year – Business Insider

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An archaeologist works over an uncovered skeleton at the Viminacium site, around 100km east from Belgrade, Serbia August 8, 2016.Djordje Kojadinovic/Reuters

  • Using time-lapse photography, scientists in Australia have discovered that corpses move around for at least a year after death.
  • The research showed that — over the course of 17 months — decomposing corpses’ arms moved upward and outward from their original placement at the body’s side.
  • Understanding how corpses’ limbs change positions during the decomposition process could help inform criminal investigations. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The dead may not always rest in peace, new research shows. For more than a year after death, corpses move around “significantly,” and this finding could be important for forensic investigations.

Researchers at an Australia-based decomposition research facility — colloquially known as a “body farm”, a term some scientists find disrespectful — made the startling discovery after using time-lapse cameras to film decomposing corpses.

For 17 months, a camera at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) has been taking overhead images of a corpse every 30 minutes during daylight hours. And for the duration of the research, the corpse has continued to move.

“What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body,” medical scientist Alyson Wilson of Central Queensland University told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Some post-mortem movement was expected in the very early stages of decomposition, she explained, but the fact that it continued for the entire duration of filming was a complete surprise.

“We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out,” Wilson said.

“This knowledge could be significant in unexplained death investigations.”

FILE PHOTO: An American archaeology student unearths a skeleton during excavation works at the first-ever Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon National Park in southern Israel June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File PhotoAn American archaeology student unearths a skeleton during excavation works at the first-ever Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon National Park in southern Israel June 28, 2016.Amir Cohen/Reuters

Using time-lapse photography to study corpse behavior

In fact, it could change how scientists analyze and interpret crime scenes, particularly when human remains have been undiscovered for some time.

Until now, unless there was evidence that a body had been moved — either by animals or people — forensic scientists generally would assume that the position of a discovered body is the position at time of death.

Since Wilson’s research is the first use of a time-lapse camera to study human decomposition, this is also the first evidence that assumptions about a body’s position at the time of death may not be true.

A paper describing the discovery that corpses are rather more lively than expected has yet to be published, but this research follows up on Wilson’s previous work, which was published in the journal Forensic Science International: Synergy earlier this year.

In that study, Wilson and her colleagues used a time-lapse camera to track the decomposition of a corpse for six months. The researchers compared the images to a system of classifying different levels of body decomposition in order to determine how long the person had been dead for — which is called the post-mortem interval.

The system neatly matched the time-lapse photographs, adding to the system’s validity as a forensic tool; additionally, the team’s results validated the usefulness of time-lapse cameras in forensic research.

Knowledge of how a corpse moves after death could inform criminal investigations

Based on these findings, it appears that if enough corpses are studied with long-term time-lapse photography to generate statistical data on bodies’ movements after death, that knowledge could be used to analyze crime scenes with greater accuracy in the future.

Such a database would provide information on the ways in which people are likely to move, which in turn could allow forensic scientists to reconstruct the position the body was in at the time of death. In turn, that could help investigators determine out what happened.

crime sceneAn investigator examines the soil at a crime scene.Edw/shtuterstock

“They’ll map a crime scene, they’ll map the victim’s body position, they’ll map any physical evidence which is found, and they can understand the cause of death,” Wilson told AFP.

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Billionaire Bezos unveils plans to land humans on Moon, with a little help from some old friends – The Register

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Blue Origin and industry vets eye a slice of NASA’s lunar lander largesse

Richest person in the world, Jeff Bezos, yesterday pitched NASA a team mostly made up of the usual suspects to build a lunar lander for the agency’s ambitious 2024 boots-on-Moon goal.

Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, Bezos announced the “national team”, of which his Blue Origin would be the prime contractor (naturally). The members consist of Lockheed Martin for the Ascent Stage, Northrop Grumman for the Transfer Element and Draper providing the guidance and navigation systems.

“We could not ask for better partners,” intoned the billionaire, which is fair enough. After all, elements of all the companies in the team-up worked on the Apollo program back in the day (although those engineers will have long been put out to pasture.)

The Transfer Element will guide the stack from lunar orbit to close to the Moon, from whence the Descent Element will conduct a powered descent. Lockheed Martin’s ascent module will then send the freshly minted Moonwalkers back into space.

Blue Origin will also be building the descent element of the lander, which uses the company’s BE-7 engine. The powerplant, Bezos said, is fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen and as well being “highly throttleable” and developing 10,000 pounds of thrust.

The BE-7, of course, has yet to actually leave the test stand. Bezos told the audience that to date, the company had managed 13 minutes of test time, including a three-minute continuous firing.

That same engine, Bezos added, would be used by Northrop Grumman in the transfer element of the lunar lander stack.

Bezos unveiled the Blue Moon lander back in May and the announcement of the National Team is an indicator that it will take more than one company to meet the 2024 goal. It will also reassure those within NASA nervous about flinging cash at a company that has yet to even make Earth orbit, let alone do anything in deep space.

And NASA has lots of experience in giving money to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman after all.

Grumman, of course, built the original Apollo Lunar Module back in NASA’s glory days while Draper provided the guidance systems for the Moon missions.

These days, Northrop Grumman provides NASA with ISS cargo services and is working on both the boosters for the eternally-delayed Space Launch System and the habitat for the agency’s Lunar Gateway.

Draper has continued to work on precision guidance, although there is a delightful hole to tumble down in researching the Apollo guidance units, particularly efforts to fire up the old things once more. Naturally, the hand-woven circuitry of the Apollo era won’t feature this time around.

NASA is due to select two contractor teams in late 2020 to actually build the lander, having asked for proposals (and deleted certain reusability requirements in the rush to 2024). ®

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Bezos's Blue Origin partners with Lockheed, others on moon lander – Financial Post

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WASHINGTON — U.S. billionaire Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday his space company Blue Origin has signed agreements with Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and research and development organization Draper for development of its lunar lander designed to help NASA put humans on the moon by 2024.

Blue Origin’s so-called Blue Moon lunar lander, unveiled by Bezos in May, is in development and sits at the center of the space company’s ambition to ferry humans into deep space and land key contracts from the U.S. space agency for space exploration.

“I’m excited to announce that we put together a national team to go back to the moon,” Bezos, founder and CEO of online retail giant Amazon, said at the International Astronautical Congress.

The four companies, with Blue Origin as the lead contractor, plan to submit a proposal for the lander to NASA under its Artemis lunar program, an accelerated mission to the moon kickstarted in March by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Bezos called the partnerships a “national team” whose history in space exploration fits the Blue Moon’s mission. Lockheed is separately developing the moon-bound astronaut capsule named Orion. Northrop helped NASA build the Apollo lunar landers in the 1960s. Draper, a not-for-profit research and development organization, built NASA’s navigation computers for Apollo lunar landers. (Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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A giant full beaver moon set to dazzle Metro Vancouver skies – Vancouver Courier

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While it is getting darker earlier in Metro Vancouver, this month’s full beaver moon promises to illuminate the night sky.

The November full moon is thought to have derived its funny name because it occurred during the optimal time to trap the furry creatures. In fact, both colonial Americans as well as the Algonquin tribes referred to it as such.

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“Why this name? Back then, this was the month to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs,” reports Farmer’s Almanac.

While it is commonly known as the beaver moon, it was also called the Full Frost Moon by other North American Tribes.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the moon will be fullest during the day on Tuesday, Nov. 12. However, Vancouver stargazers will still be able to see the nearly-full moon in all her celestial glory the night before (Nov. 11) as well as later that night (Nov. 12).

What’s more, this full moon casts long, hauntingly beautiful shadows in the Northern Hemisphere. They are similar to those cast by the midday summer sun, as the moon is extremely high in the sky during this time.

Stargazers should opt to travel as far away from city lights as possible in order to avoid light pollution that will obscure the clarity of heavenly bodies. While this works best the in more remote places, anywhere that has a higher elevation will also provide more ideal viewing conditions.

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