Science > More stories

Darkness to fall over North America from a total solar eclipse

America will witness, for the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse stretching from coast to coast on August 21. The Sun, Moon and Earth will sit perfectly in a line. The Moon will block out the Sun, making the solar corona, a crown of hot plasma, visible. A shadow of darkness will be cast over the Earth in a 70-mile ( …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Jun 2017

No, really. You can see through walls using drones and Wi-Fi

Video Drones can perform three-dimensional imaging of objects through walls using Wi-Fi, a team of researchers demonstrated for the first time. Chitra Karanam, a PhD student, and Yasamin Mostofi, a professor at the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presented their …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jun 2017
Black hole - spaghetti visualisation. Artist's impression.  NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

Melbourne Uni hoping to hoist tiny telescope to look at BIG explosions

A couple of years after it was first conceived, a Melbourne University-led infrared astronomy cubesat proposal called SkyHopper is gathering momentum. Vulture South found itself intrigued by a simple question, which we found time to put to one of the project's founders, astrophysicist Dr Katie Mack: what useful astronomy can …

Medicxi launches $300m European late-stage life sciences fund backed by Google company

Venture capital group Medicxi has announced a $300m late-stage life sciences fund that is backed by Novartis, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Verily Life Sciences, the healthcare division of Google's holding company Alphabet. The Medicxi Growth 1 (MG1) fund will invest in European biotechnology groups looking to run …
OUT-LAW.COM, 20 Jun 2017

NASA's Kepler space telescope finishes its original mission catalog

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has finished cataloging possible planets in the direction of the Cygnus constellation. At a news conference today, NASA astrobuffs announced that the telescope has identified 219 new planet candidates. Ten are about the size of the Earth and are in the “Goldilocks zone” – they’re at the magic …

Is your research hot or not? US boffins create ‘Tinder for preprints’

Boffins have created an app that lets users rate academic preprints and find people with similar academic tastes - and hope to use the results to spot trends in academic publishing. Jeff Leak, associate professor of biostatics at the Johns Hopkins University and a member of the institution’s data science lab, says the app, …
Rebecca Hill, 19 Jun 2017
pizza

Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Elon Musk has published his blueprint for “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” by establishing a self-sufficient city on Mars. Elon Musk's Mars colonisation plan in a nutshell Musk reckons humanity needs to get off-planet before an extinction event comes along and that Mars is the best candidate for that effort: Venus …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2017

You wait ages for a sun, then two come along at once: All stars have twins, say astroboffins

Nearly all stars, including our Sun, are born from hot, dense molecular clouds and come in pairs, according to a paper to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Binary star systems are common in space. It was estimated that up to 80 per cent of massive, bright O‑type and B‑type stars are locked …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Jun 2017

As you head off to space with Li-ion batts, don't forget to inject that liquefied gas into them

In 1991, Sony launched the world’s first commercial lithium-ion battery... and since then the design hasn’t changed all that much. Now, new research suggests that incorporating liquefied gas can allow lithium-ion batteries to work at much lower temperatures than previously possible. Lithium-ion batteries are cheap, pretty …
Andrew Silver, 16 Jun 2017

Just like knotted-up headphones: Entangled photons stay entwined over record distance

Pairs of entangled photons created on a satellite orbiting Earth have survived the long, perilous trip from space to ground stations. Crucially, they are still linked despite being picked up by receivers over 1,200km (745mi) apart – the longest link ever seen before. “This is a scientific breakthrough,” says Rupert Ursin, a …
Andrew Silver, 16 Jun 2017
A dentist examining teeth

Fear the dentist? Strap on some nerd goggles

Wearing a virtual-reality headset in the dentist's chair could make you more relaxed, a new study suggests. "We know lots of people are scared of dentists," says Sabine Pahl, a psychologist at England's Plymouth University, who worked on the project. Previous research has shown that virtual reality can make kids calmer when …
Andrew Silver, 14 Jun 2017
Voyager mission logo

Voyager 1 passes another milestone: It's now 138AU from home

Voyager 1 has just ticked off another milestone: on Tuesday it reached 138 astronomical units from Earth, or about 20,600,000,000km from the planet on which you're (presumably!) reading this story. It's not an achievement that will be widely noticed or celebrated, because every kilometre it travels sets a new record for the …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jun 2017

It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

A flatworm sent to the International Space Station has sprouted two heads, an anomaly that never happens in the wild, according to a paper published in the journal Regeneration. Flatworms may not look particularly interesting at first. But lop one to pieces and it’ll magically grow a new head and tail to become a different …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Jun 2017

Curiosity drills into the watery origins of Mars

The Martian rock samples dug up by NASA's Curiosity robotic rover show that there is a wide diversity of minerals, allowing scientists to piece together the planet's past. The results have been published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Elizabeth Rampe, first author of the study and NASA researcher at the …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jun 2017

We're not saying we're living in a simulation but someone's simulated the universe in a computer

A team of researchers has created the largest virtual model of our universe, complete with billions of galaxies, to probe the effects of dark energy and dark matter. The ambitious project took about three years to complete. A group of astrophysicists from the University of Zurich (UZH) developed their code, PKDGRAV3, to …
Katyanna Quach, 10 Jun 2017
wow

Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...

Updated The mystery of the "Wow!" signal, a radio burst recorded from outer space in the 1970s, may been solved. Or not. Not everyone is convinced. The 72-second signal was spotted at 1,420MHz on August 15, 1977 by Astronomer Jerry Ehman at Ohio State University's Big Ear radio telescope. It was so clear that he scribbled Wow! in the …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jun 2017
Well-dressed man drinks whisky in expensive flat. Photo by Shutterstock

Whisky snobs scotched by artificial tongue

Think you know your Bell's from your Balvenie? Your Jim Beam from your Jameson? Well, if a team of German researchers have their way, an artificial tongue might have you licked. The team, based at Heidelberg University, have developed a "tongue" (OK, it's an assay plate with wells of 20 different fluorescent dyes that act as …
Rebecca Hill, 09 Jun 2017
Wide angle image makes the moon look much bigger than the earth

Shoebox-sized satellites made by civs win trip on NASA's newest rocket

Three citizen teams in the United States will get to fire deep-space satellites from NASA's newest rocket, Space Launch System, as part of the agency's Cube Quest Challenge. The teams' shoebox-sized "CubeSats" will then compete in a space-themed, robotic version of Survivor to win $5m, NASA's largest-ever prize pot. Heart- …
Andrew Silver, 09 Jun 2017
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Science megablast: Comets may have brought xenon to Earth

Scientists working on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe mission have found xenon on Comet 67P – a discovery that introduces a link between the cosmic rock and Earth for the first time. The Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004, and its companion lander unit, Philae, arrived at the comet a decade later. Both were …
Katyanna Quach, 09 Jun 2017

Feeling old? Well, we're older than that: Newly found Homo sapiens jaw dates back 350k years

Pics It's a double-whammy discovery for fossil enthusiasts this week. Two groups of scientists have reportedly found the world's oldest known remains of Homo sapiens – and a really old mushroom. Both studies are independent. The bones were found at a site in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and date back approximately 300,000 to 350,000 …
Katyanna Quach, 08 Jun 2017
Shutterstock molten chocolate

Busted Russian casino hackers had an appetite for drugs and chocolate

US law enforcement agencies on Wednesday unsealed charges against a large-scale Russian criminal syndicate, laying charges against 33 individuals with some pretty startling sidelines. It's hardly surprising that a bunch of mobsters and racketeers would trade in firearms and narcotics. Hacking casino slot machines with smuggled …
Bright Taurids, Poland, 2015

Meteor swarm spawns new and dangerous branch

The regular and often-unspectacular Taurid meteor shower has a dangerous side, with Czech boffins warning it's a likely source of dangerous debris. Working at the Czech Academy of Sciences, the authors of this paper at Astronomy and Astrophysics (here at arXiv) analysed 144 fireballs observed in the 2015 Taurid shower, and say …

Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG

WASP-67 b and HAT-P-38 b are two far-flung exoplanets orbiting near-identical stars at similar distances. Their size and temperatures are also pretty close. So, naturally, astronomers thought that their atmospheres wouldn't be too far apart. They were wrong. "We don't see what we're expecting," said Giovanni Bruno, a …
Andrew Silver, 06 Jun 2017

Horror in space: Hot alien giant boiled alive by nasty radiation-belching star

Astronomers have discovered KELT‑9b – the hottest giant exoplanet yet seen. It is twice the size of Jupiter, has a dayside temperature of 4,600 Kelvin, and is being stripped by ultraviolet radiation from its star, KELT‑9. Thousands of exoplanets – alien worlds beyond our own solar system – have been spotted in the depths of …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Jun 2017

Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

Aspiring astronauts might want to think twice before going to Mars, as scientists estimate that the risk of cancer doubles for long-term missions outside Earth’s magnetic field. A study by Francis Cucinotta, professor at the department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences and Eliedonna Cacao, a PhD student at the …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Jun 2017
GSLV Mark III launch

'Fat boy' flies: ISRO's heavy rocket fails to blow up

India has successfully launched its GSLV Mark III heavy-lift rocket on schedule, leaving explosion-watchers disappointed. As we reported last week, the launcher represents India's entry into heavy rocketry: its GSLV Mark III is currently able to hoist four tonnes to a geosynchronous transfer orbit, or eight tonnes to low earth …
Snakes on a Plane, kind of

NASA brainboxes work on algorithms for 'safe' self-flying aircraft

It's the fear of anyone who watches Snakes on a Plane and books a flight – what if your plane crashes? Now take a deep breath and imagine that you're travelling on a plane or rocketship with no pilot. A new NASA research project hopes to find ways to certify unmanned autonomous aircraft systems for safety. The easy part, says …
Andrew Silver, 05 Jun 2017
God of Cloud

Earth resists NASA's attempts to make red and green clouds

NASA's attempts to make red and green clouds have been thwarted by Mother Nature. The aeronautical agency's cloud coloration cravings are, naturally, all in the name of science: the idea was to use a sounding rocket to launch “10 canisters about the size of a soft drink can” full of “vapour tracers” made of “barium, strontium …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Jun 2017

ESA astronaut decelerates from 28,800kph to zero in first bumpy landing

The crew of the International Space Station is down to three after European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitski landed rather uncomfortably in the wilds of Kazakhstan. The duo departed the ISS in their Soyuz capsule at 0347 PDT (1037 UTC) and rotated 180 degrees to fire the engines in …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2017

Boffins find evidence of strange uranium-producing bacteria lurking underground

Scientists have discovered bizarre evidence in the US state of Wyoming – that bacteria hidden deep within the Earth's crust secrete uranium. Uranium, the silvery white metal known for its radioactive properties and usage in nuclear power plants, is thought to occur within ore deposits in the form of uraninite. The uranium in …
Katyanna Quach, 02 Jun 2017

Gay Dutch vultures become dads

A pair of gay Dutch vultures in a long-term relationship have become parents. Job van Tol, a keeper at the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam, told the BBC that the griffon vultures are "a very tight couple" and are doing a good job raising their hatchling. He said: "We have had them for some years. They always build a nest …
Kat Hall, 02 Jun 2017
his low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin." The MAHLI camera on Curiosity's robotic arm took multiple images on Aug. 5, 2015, that were stitched together into this selfie. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity rover's crater 'offered multiple microbe-friendly environments'

Mars' Gale Crater was once home to a body of water “that offered favorable conditions for microbial life” thanks to stratification that meant different parts of the lake offered different conditions. That's the conclusion of a new paper, Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars, that examined data from the …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jun 2017
Stratolaunch concept

Microsoft founder Paul Allen reveals world's biggest-ever plane

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has shown off the “Stratolaunch”, a colossal aircraft he hopes can soon help to hoist satellites into low earth orbit. Allen's company of the same name has been working on the craft since 2011, with the help of Scaled Composites. The result of their efforts is 238 feet long, 50 feet tall and …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Jun 2017

Spacecraft spots possible signs of frozen water on the Moon

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured evidence that shows that parts of the Moon may be coated in thin bits of frost, and it could help scientists unlock the mystery of how water ended up on Earth. The LRO has been in orbit since 2009, collecting vital information to aid space agencies in planning future human and …
Katyanna Quach, 01 Jun 2017

Boffins play with the world's most powerful X‑ray gun to shoot molecules

A group of scientists has focused the world’s most powerful X‑ray beam on a molecule to test out the Linac Coherent Light Source at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The pulse was so intense that within 30 femtoseconds – a millionth of a billionth of a second – more than 50 electrons were …
Katyanna Quach, 31 May 2017
Corbyn thumbs up photo via Shutterstock

Strong and stable? Theresa May's election poll lead succumbs to outlier syndrome

I hate to say I told you so but, tell a lie, I told you so. As the election campaign heads into the home straight, could the unthinkable be on the cards? Could Theresa May, who started some four weeks ago with what was widely regarded as an unassailable lead, be on the verge of losing? That's not the same as Labour winning – …
Jane Fae , 31 May 2017
Sun photo via Shutterstock

NASA Sun probe named for solar wind boffin Eugene Parker

Breaking with the recent focus on flinging probes and bots at our planetary neighbours, around July next year NASA will set the controls for the heart of the Sun. Actually, the plan is for the Solar Probe Plus to stop a good 6.2 million kilometres (3.9 million miles) short of Sol's surface, where the craft will have to endure …
Richard Currie, 31 May 2017
Faceless fish. Source: John Pogonoski, CSIRO, via ABC

Boffins spot 'faceless fish' in strange alien environment

Scientific expeditions into the deep, deep ocean are like buses: none for ages, then suddenly along come two at once! China's Jiaolong submersible went the deepest: on Tuesday it sank to 6,699 metres below the waves. In so doing it entered the Mariana Trench. Along the way it spotted what state-directed organ Xinhua describes …
Simon Sharwood, 31 May 2017
Ready to go: India's GSLV Mk III

India sets June 5 as the day it will join the heavy-lift rocket club

The Indian Space Research Organisation has set June 5 as the next milestone in the country's ambitions to build a heavy-lift rocket. That's when ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III is due to hoist a 3,136 kg GSAT-19 satellite to a geosynchronous transfer orbit, the first time a launcher in the GSLV …
Apparent impact interceptor with mock ICBM

Pentagon trumpets successful mock-ICBM interception test

In a show of strength aimed at ever-belligerent North Korea, America has shot down what it calls a “simulated ICBM” with an intercept missile. Following the test, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) claimed success, saying the target was struck by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the ballistic missile …

NASA boffins find an explanation for Saturn's wonky moon

Enceladus, Saturn’s watery moon, may have been tipped on its axis after being battered with an asteroid, new evidence reveals. NASA’s Cassini mission may be entering its Grand Finale stage, but the data collected is still a treasure trove for discovery. Results published last month in Icarus, a planetary science journal, show …
Katyanna Quach, 31 May 2017

Event horizons around black holes do exist, say astroboffins

Physicists in the US have found evidence that event horizons around black holes do exist, reinforcing Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Black holes are strange objects that can grow to monstrous sizes. The gravitational field around them is believed to be so strong that even light cannot escape. Event horizons outline a …
Katyanna Quach, 30 May 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017