Science > More stories

Neil Armstrong's Lunar suit

SPACESUIT, once FOUND ON MOON: Crowd action saves it for the public

The very suit in which pioneering 'naut Neil Armstrong made his historic moonwalks is to go on show to the public – thanks in large part to a successful crowdfunding appeal for half a million bucks that will bankroll the exhibition. The Smithsonian Institution said earlier this month that it hoped to raise the cash to fund the …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jul 2015

Boffins' audacious plan to blow up aircraft foiled by bomb-proof bag

Forsaken planes have been used in a series of boffinry experiments this week to test whether a bag lined with bomb-proof material could withstand an explosive blast. A group of international scientists and academics from the University of Sheffield – backed by the European Commission and run by a consortium of businesses and …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jul 2015
Hair ice in a forest near Moosseedorf, Switzerland (Credit: Christian Mätzler)

Boffins go to FUNGI town: Riddle of 100-year-old HAIRY, ICY dead wood finally cracked

Strange "hair ice" found sprouting on old wood has finally been explained by scientists: it's caused by fungi. For nearly a century, boffins have been baffled by the odd hairy phenomenon. It grows on dead wood during humid winter nights when air temperatures fall a little below zero degrees centigrade. A crack team of …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Jul 2015

MEGABOFFIN Stephen Hawking to rattle off answers online for MORE THAN A WEEK

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking will be, as of Monday, answering questions posted on Reddit for more than a week. It will apparently be the longest AMA (Ask Me Anything) session in the history of the freeloading commentblurt site, which will no doubt appreciate the publicity boost from Hawking after a tough month for the …
Team Register, 25 Jul 2015

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Southern biscuits and gravy

Our call for reader post-pub nosh neckfiller suggestions continues to bear fruit, and for your wobbly dining consideration today we present "biscuits and gravy", courtesy of Robbin Nichol. According to Robbin, this stodgetastic delicacy – of 1996 movie Sling Blade fame – "is a big thing in some Southern States in the US and …
Lester Haines, 25 Jul 2015
Pluto bumper sticker

YOW! Pluto STUNS boffins with HAZY, SHRINKY atmosphere

Pics and vid The latest New Horizons data blurt from the Kuiper Belt has yet again left astroboffins' flabbers gasted, this time because of its sensational revelations regarding the atmosphere of frosty freezeworld Pluto. Details about the dwarf planet's extraordinary surface have also been revealed by NASA, with flowing nitrogen ice …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jul 2015
Neil deGrasse Tyson

YOU! DEGRASSE! It's time to make Pluto a proper planet again, says NASA boffin

Those who feel that Pluto has always been a planet and jolly well ought to be one again have received a boost - this time from a top NASA boffin, albeit a slightly biased one. "It's very hard not to call an object with this level of complexity in its geology, and such complex seasons, a planet," said Alan Stern, New Horizons' …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jul 2015
Credit: Julius T. Cstonyi

Slippery, slimy find: LEGGY, WRIGGLY fossil shows SNAKES weren't legless. Or ARMLESS

A strange fossilised snake possessing four limbs which it could use for walking or gripping things has upset the applecart in the world of palaeo-snake boffinry. The fossil in question had actually been excavated some time ago in Brazil, which had been part of the ur-continent Gondwana at the time the leggy snake was alive, …
Lewis Page, 24 Jul 2015
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/D.Fox et al.; Illustration: NASA/D.Berry

SPLAT! STAR THWACKED, GUTS flung into space at 15 per cent of LIGHTSPEED

In perhaps the most violent punch that has ever been witnessed by humanity, a speeding pulsar has smashed right through a disk of matter bulging from the middle of a hefty star and blown a massive chunk of it guts into interstellar space at a significant fraction of light speed. That's according to top space boffins peering …
Lewis Page, 24 Jul 2015
Windbot

ROBOT SEEDS to be scattered into upper atmosphere of JUPITER: NASA scheme

Jupiter and Saturn - mighty gas giants of the Outer System beyond the asteroid belt. How to explore them, given that their lower atmospheres are a roiling, superheated, overpressurised hell? Answer: flying robots which would use the energy of the medium in which they travel to stay high up in the survivable layer. The so- …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jul 2015
Kepler 452b

NASA: 'Closest thing yet to ANOTHER EARTH' - FOUND

Pics NASA boffins say they have found the closest thing yet to another Earth – Kepler-452b. Apparently the Valeria*-esque planet has heavy gravity, such that should humans ever colonise it they would become immensely strong. "This is the closest thing we've yet found to another Earth," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis chief …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jul 2015
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) by night, under the Magellanic Clouds

Galactic BIRTH: ALMA peers THIRTEEN BEELLLION years into Dawn of Time Itself

Far back - quite literally into the earliest mists of time, when cold hydrogen fog cloaked the birth pangs of the early universe - the galaxies were born. Now, top boffins have pierced that fog and snapped a live action pic of one such galactic birth. Astronomers refer to this period, apparently, as the Epoch of Reionisation. …
Lewis Page, 23 Jul 2015
Exoplanet around a star

NASA briefing in HOURS: 'We are upon the CUSP of finding ANOTHER EARTH'

Updated Everyone knows the Kepler space telescope, whose six year mission (so far) has seen it discover many planets orbiting other stars - the task it was specifically built for, indeed. Now, it would seem, it has found something unusually important, as NASA has announced major press briefing on Kepler for later today. All the space …
Lewis Page, 23 Jul 2015

SPACE FARMER 'nauts arrive safely at International Space Station

Three fresh 'nauts have arrived at the International Space Station, bringing it up to its regular complement of six - and clearing the way for the first off-Earth farming. The arriving 'nauts are NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui. The trio took off from Baikonur …
Lewis Page, 23 Jul 2015
Reconstruction of past climate. Credit: Insititute of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

SCORCHIO! This JUNE was the SIXTY-SIXTH HOTTEST on record

The press is full of reports that Planet Earth is undergoing it's hottest year EVER - that the first half of 2015 is the hottest first half yet seen, according to the NOAA among others. Is it true? In fact the contiguous US saw the tenth hottest first half of a year since 1880, when the NOAA database begins. Only such recent, …
Lewis Page, 23 Jul 2015
Credit: Speedy Gonsales / Edward S Curtis CC 3.0 Attribution Share-Alike Unported

Were the FIRST AMERICANS really FIRST? MYSTERY of vanished 'Population Y'

A long-vanished race of humans, whose descendants now survive only among certain indigenous peoples in Australasia and in the Amazon jungles, may have been the true, original Native Americans, according to new genetics research. The clue to the existence of this mysterious "Population Y" has been found by boffins probing the …
Lewis Page, 23 Jul 2015
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

Intelsat to FCC: For the love of satellites, STOP ELON MUSK!

Elon Musk wants to use his commercial SpaceX rockets to put satellites into orbit that will bring broadband to the next billion, but one of SpaceX's own customers has thrown a wrench into the works. Musk's plan involves encircling the globe with a few thousand high-capacity, low-latency satellites that the Tesla Motors boss …
Neil McAllister, 23 Jul 2015

AI finally understands primitive sketches – aka marketing presentations

Artificial intelligence scientists have developed a neural-network that understands incomprehensible scrawled drawings of the sort created by children, marketing departments, architects, design creatives, and so on. The academic developers of the "Sketch-a-Net" software proudly boast that their brainchild is actually better at …
Lewis Page, 22 Jul 2015
Pluto

PEAK PLUTO: Stunning mountain ridge snapped by New Horizons craft

Photos Photographs of alien mountain ranges, weird splotches and more are still coming in from the New Horizons space probe as it hurtles beyond the orbit of Pluto: the craft is slowly beaming back oodles of data gathered during its flyby of the dwarf iceworld. For starters, Pluto's moon Nix features what the space agency is calling …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2015

べーコンはどこですか? demands post-pub nosh fan

Our recent foray into the remarkable world of Hawaiian-Japanese fusion post-pub cuisine prompted some entertaining commentard chatter. Spam musubi on a plate Amid teary-eyed recollections of Spam fritters and pink blancmange, wit 1980's_coder delivered an inevitable but nonetheless highly agreeable verdict on Spam musubi, …
Lester Haines, 22 Jul 2015

Oi, #tubby! You are what you Tweet, boffins find

Boffins from the USA and Australia have constructed a “Lexicocalorimeter” that parses social media for mentions of food, discovering a correlation between people's wellbeing, and the foods and activities they mention on Twitter. In an ArXiv paper titled Gauging public health through caloric input and output on social media ( …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2015
Terminator

Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

Surgery on humans using robots has been touted by some as a safer way to get your innards repaired – and now the figures are in for you to judge. A team of university eggheads have counted up the number of medical cockups in America reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2000 to 2013, and found there were …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jul 2015
Pluto

The Register's resident space boffin: All you need to know about the Pluto mission

Dwarf planet or not, every schoolchild still learns the name "Pluto" as the ninth and final Sun-orbiting body alongside the eight undisputed planets - and now a spacecraft of the human race has finally visited the remote iceworld. From the very first data that reached the ground, the colossal effort was clearly worthwhile, …
Geraint Jones, 21 Jul 2015

Arctic ice EMBIGGENS, returns to 1980s levels of cap cover

The Arctic ice cap has not, contrary to the predictions of climate alarmists, completely disappeared: in fact it has been growing rapidly, increasing by an entire third just in 2013 and more since. "It would suggest that sea ice is more resilient perhaps. If you get one year of cooler temperatures, we've almost wound the clock …
Lewis Page, 21 Jul 2015
SpaceX plans for future launcher development. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

Rocketry upstart SpaceX has said it's new "Falcon Heavy" launcher – which will be the most powerful on Earth when it comes into service – has been grounded by further delays. The news comes as part of a briefing given by SpaceX chief Elon Musk and other company executives outlining their plans following the explosion of a …
Lewis Page, 21 Jul 2015
Engineer aboard Das Boot U-96 responds to telegraphs

Rise of the swimming machines: US sub launches and recovers a drone

The US Navy has successfully launched and returned an underwater drone during an undersea mission in the Mediterranean. Virginia-class attack submarine the USS North Dakota (SSN-784), was deployed to the Mediterranean for two months. She returned to base on Monday after a successful test of her drone-launching capability, …

An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one MEEELLION miles out

NASA has released a splendid new pic from the DSCOVR satellite, newly arrived at point L-1 a million miles sunward from Earth. An epic e-pic from EPIC. DSCOVR's full name is the Deep Space Climate Observatory, so dubbed for its position at the Lagrange point one million miles away on a line from the Earth to the Sun, where …
Lewis Page, 21 Jul 2015

What goes up, Musk comedown: Falcon rocket failed to strut its stuff

A steel strut which failed under much less load than it was rated to carry was the cause of the recent mid-air explosion of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station, according to SpaceX chief Elon Musk. In a teleconference with journalists, Musk said that the 2ft (60.96cm) long and one inch (2.54cm) …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2015
Neil Armstrong's Lunar suit

Neil Armstrong's MOON spacesuit: One small donation from you - one giant leap for Mankind

The Smithsonian Institution has launched a bold attempt to raise $500,000 from the public so that it can exhibit the historic spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong for the first landing on the Moon. The Washington DC organization marked the 46th anniversary of Apollo 11's touchdown on the Moon by creating a Kickstarter campaign to …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jul 2015

Comet-invader Philae goes silent, mothership Rosetta forced to retreat

The European Space Agency (ESA) has all but lost contact with its Philae lander on Comet 67P – and attempts to reestablish communications are being hampered by the rock itself. Philae, which was dropped off onto the comet from its mothership Rosetta, has more or less been silent for 11 days. Rosetta, which still orbits Comet …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2015
monsters_vs_aliens_648_v2

Russian billionaire: GET me the ALIENS ON THE PHONE. Do it NOW

Humanity's quest to discover intelligent aliens resident in other star systems has received a big boost from well-known Russian biz overlord Yuri Milner, who has splashed $100m on the search with the endorsement of famous boffin Stephen Hawking. A project he calls Breakthrough Listen will give SETI researchers access to the …
Jennifer Baker, 20 Jul 2015
Pluto

Dwarfworld PLUTO may not have a real DOG on it - but it does have a TAIL

Dwarf planet Pluto has a "tail", according to the latest information from the New Horizons probe - a plasma tail caused by the solar wind. New Horizons carries a tool called the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument that, as the craft swung behind Pluto last week, was asked to sniff around for signs of charged particles …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jul 2015
Quenching Coma Galaxies

STARS SNUFFED in massive galactic whodunit

It's generally accepted by astronomers that dark matter makes up roughly 27 per cent of the known Universe – but in a galactic cluster 300 million light years away, that proportion is all skewiff. Simulations carried out by ICRAR (International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) doctoral student Cameron Yozin using big iron …

What makes our planet's clouds? Tiny INVISIBLE CREATURES. True story

How are clouds formed on Earth? If you didn't answer "tiny marine organisms floating in the sea, perhaps better known as one of the main foods consumed by blue whales," then you were wrong. Boffins at the University of Washington (UoW) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory believe that microscopic organisms drifting in …
Team Register, 19 Jul 2015
Goonies film still: truffle shuffle

Science sub spots lost Revolutionary-era SHIPWRECK

A submersible carrying out scientific research on the deep ocean bed off the Carolina coast has happened across an unexpected bonus: a Revolutionary-era shipwreck that nobody had known lay in the area. The wreck was sighted a week ago when researchers from Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jul 2015
Pluto

NASA boffins peer at Pluto: Could it be ... is that ... OATMEAL?

Pics NASA has released the latest data sent back by its New Horizons probe and it includes images of smooth, segmented plains, possible hydrocarbon deposits and our first look at Pluto's moon, Nix. Youtube Video Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons team, explained at a press conference on Friday that NASA had …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2015

FEMALE BLOOD-SUCKERS zero in on human prey by smelling our BREATH

Deadly female blood-suckers have been shown to zero in on their living prey by sniffing out the CO2 emitted in exhaled breath, according to new experiments. The blood-drinking femme fatales in question are not, perhaps unfortunately, Kate Beckinsale style heavily beweaponed lady vampires clad in a variety of form-fitting …
Lewis Page, 17 Jul 2015
Zhenyuanlong suni fossil

WINGED VELOCIRAPTOR 'from HELL': Closest thing ever to a real DRAGON?

So who says there has never been any such thing as dragons? Scientists today have announced details of a newly-discovered dinosaur that was more than a bit like the dragons of legend. Nature Scientific Reports brings us news that the skeleton depicted below represents “an aberrant and rare animal compared to the vast majority …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2015

Happy NukeDay to you! 70 years in the shadow of the bomb post-Trinity

Pics and vid At 5:30am on July 16, 1945, American and British scientists watched the detonation of the world's first nuclear weapon and mankind entered the atomic age. Youtube Video The Trinity test was the high point of the Manhattan Project, the Allied powers' plan to develop an atomic bomb before the Germans or Japanese managed it. The …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2015

Space Station 'nauts dive for cover from flying Soviet junk

The International Space Station's crew sought refuge in the orbiting science lab's lifeboat on Thursday after NASA warned the habitat could be hit by flying satellite debris. Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Scott Kelly crammed themselves into the Soyuz podule that's attached to …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2015
Credit: ESO/L. Benassi

Ideal solar system for SECOND EARTH found – and it's just 186 light-years away

There are hundreds of known exoplanets - worlds in orbit around other stars than our own Sun. The trouble is, because of the means used to detect them, that they tend to be big and very close to their faraway suns - and thus, sadly, not potential Earthlike habitable worlds. But that may have changed today. Excited astronomers …
Lewis Page, 16 Jul 2015

Did speeding American manhole cover beat Sputnik into space? Top boffin speaks to El Reg

As any space enthusiast knows, beachball-sized Sputnik was the first manmade object to orbit the Earth after it was launched by the Soviets in October 1957. But it's possible the US managed to put an object into space a few months before that. In 1956, astrophysicist Dr Robert Brownlee was asked by his boss at the Los Alamos …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2015