Articles about science

Artist's impression of Juno overflying Jupiter. Pic: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Jovial NASA says Juno flyby a success

It was a hats-in-the-air weekend at NASA, with the agency announcing its Juno probe's first close-up Jupiter fly-by was a success. The probe has now started the agonisingly slow process of downloading the data collected on its Sunday swoop (closest approach was 13:44 UTC, August 28; adjust as your local timezone dictates). …

Robot babies fail in role as teenage sex deterrents

Robot babies have been found to be an ineffective educational tool for those hoping to prevent teenaged pregnancies. “Infant simulators”, to give the robo-babies their proper name, are anatomically correct dolls that require burping, feeding, rocking to sleep and produce Code Brown and Code Yellow alerts in their pants. The …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Aug 2016

No, we haven't found liquid water on Mars, says NASA

The idea that seasonal dark streaks on Mars indicate the presence of liquid water turns out to be a dry argument. NASA last year advanced a theory that dark gullies called recurring slope lineae (RSL) that appear during the Martian summer were evidence of liquid water on Mars, albeit liquid water bonded to mix of salty …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Aug 2016
NIST's compact gyroscope

NIST spins atomic gyroscope to allow navigation without GPS

The United States' National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) thinks it can use a cloud of atoms as a gyroscope. The point is navigation: the agency reckons the little gyro is part of work on ultra-precise navigation for applications like space and submarines. It measures rotation by analysing patterns of “ …

Physicists believe they may have found fifth force of nature

A team of physicists has released tantalizing evidence claiming that there may be a fifth force of nature, according to a paper published in Physical Review Letters. "If true, it's revolutionary," said Jonathan Feng, lead author of the study and professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. "For …
Katyanna Quach, 16 Aug 2016

Juno shoots 'Marble Movie' of Jupiter

NASA has gifted blinded space fanciers another glimpse of Jupiter through its Juno cameras. The images were snapped as the Juno probe swings back towards Jupiter in the first of two long elliptical orbits it will use to slow itself down before getting down to serious snapping. NASA says it would not have ordinarily taken the …
Darren Pauli, 12 Aug 2016
hidrys camera looking at a rocket plume

NASA test foiled by rocket shaking power cord loose from camera

Video NASA has built a new camera that can show what's going inside the plume of hot gases produced by rockets, but the device failed during a test because “the sheer power of the booster shook the ground enough for the power cable to be removed from the power box.” Aside from that SNAFU, the new High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS- …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Aug 2016

Email proves UK boffins axed from EU research in Brexit aftermath

Following anecdotes of British scientists being axed from EU-funded projects, one academic has revealed actual evidence of UK boffins being dumped from Euro research efforts in the Brexit aftermath. Paul Crowther, interim head of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield, today leaked an email confirming colleagues …
NASA image of Io

Jovian moon Io loses its atmosphere every day

If you've ever resented crunching frost underfoot on a cold morning, spare a thought for Jupiter's moon Io: when it's in eclipse, the frost on the ground is a big chunk of its atmosphere. That's the conclusion of research that looked at Io's atmosphere: when it passes behind Jupiter, Io cools down from a balmy -235°F (-148°C) …

'The box' Bones uses to fix any ailment on the Enterprise? Yup, it's real

Researchers at MIT's electronics division have developed a small mobile medical laboratory that could help bring vaccines to remote impoverished areas, battlefields, and space. The reactor is a shoebox-sized biopharmaceutical station that could drop the cost of producing vaccines and diabetes treatments, delivering treatments …
Darren Pauli, 2 Aug 2016

NASA puts lenses through a different drill to stare at the Sun

NASA Goddard boffins and engineers have taken inspiration from the Fresnel lens to craft a “photon sieve” they hope will help them observe the processes that heat the sun's corona. The diffraction that gives a Fresnel lamp its soft edges is also handy for gathering light. NASA's post here explains that after passing through …
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

Brit Science Minister to probe Brexit bias against UK-based scientists

Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, has announced that that he has set up an email account to receive evidence that UK scientists have been discriminated against after Brexit. A confidential survey of the UK’s Russell Group universities found cases where British researchers were being asked to give …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Jul 2016

By Juno! NASA delivers first new snaps from Jupiter

NASA has released the first images captured by the Juno probe. The space agency says the image below was captured on July 10th from a distance of “4.3 million kilometers … on the outbound leg of its initial 53.5-day capture orbit.” The probe's “JunoCam”, a colour, visible-light camera, collected the image. While it may …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jul 2016
DSS 35 deep space telescope

SETI mulls reboot: Believing the strangest things, loving the alien

SETI (the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) is both exciting and disappointing: exciting because of peoples' eternal wish for someone else to be out there; and disappointing because life proves so hard to find. The SETI Institute's Nathalie Cabrol is wondering whether the whole idea needs something of a reboot, a …

fMRI bugs could upend years of research

A whole pile of “this is how your brain looks like” fMRI-based science has been potentially invalidated because someone finally got around to checking the data. The problem is simple: to get from a high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scan of the brain to a scientific conclusion, the brain is divided into tiny “voxels”. …

Boffins boggle, baffled by blobs deep inside the Earth

Scientists have revealed new data about two giant blobs at the edge of the Earth's core, larger than continents and possibly older than any rock on the planet. Unlocking the mystery of the blobs, known as thermochemical piles, could help reveal clue about the Earth's formation, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. A team of …
Darren Pauli, 1 Jul 2016
NASA image of the covert black hole

Mystery black hole hides by curbing its appetite

A well-known radio source has turned out not to be the galaxy it's been classified as for 20 years, but a surprisingly quiet black hole. The discovery is causing a bit of buzz among astrophysicists because it suggests there could be thousands or millions more “covert” black holes out there waiting to be discovered. It took …

PAC slams for lack of evidence-based science investments

The Public Accounts Committee has advised the UK government to take a more evidence-based approach when deciding spending on science projects, according to a report published today. The report comes at a time when the future of science funding hangs in the balance after the UK voted to leave the European Union. The EU gives …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Jun 2016

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