Science > More stories

Boffins train robots to pull apart LCD screens – without breaking them

Computer scientists at the University of New South Wales are teaching robots to rip apart computers for recycling. Of course, while it's easy to use a machine to disassemble something, their trick is to do it while preserving key components. Which isn't quite as easy as it sounds. The group, comprising researchers from UNSW's …
Spitting Image God

LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

Scientists at the ESA claim that "organic" molecules - the so-called building blocks of life itself - have been found on the icy surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the sadly now defunct Philae lander probot. Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cometary Sampling and Composition instrument (COSAC), told BBC …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014

Has your STARFISH been DRIBBLING awful SLIME? Scientists now know WHY

American scientists have identified a mysterious seagoing virus which has caused millions of suffering starfish to "melt" into slime, strewing awful fluids all over the place. Boffins were baffled when they first saw the effects of the gruesome underwater epidemic. First an infected starfish's arms would fall off, before the …
Jasper Hamill, 18 Nov 2014

Vulture 2 spaceplane tumbles onto BBC World Service

We invite Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fans to stick the kettle on, make a nice cuppa and enjoy a recent interview myself and Vulture 2 rocket motor wrangler Paul "Lord Shax" Shackleton did with Gareth Mitchell for the BBC World Service's Click. Good stuff, and we'd like to add that the Southampton Uni design boys …
Lester Haines, 18 Nov 2014
TechDemoSat-1 shot of planet Earth

MYSTERY Russian satellite: ORBITAL WEAPON? Sat GOBBLER? What?

A Russian spacecraft – conceivably some kind of satellite-nobbling or -gobbling orbital weapons platform – is circling Earth, and Russia isn't saying anything about it. Nobody seems to know what it’s doing up there, nor what it's capable of doing. Kosmos 2499, Object 2014-28E or NORAD 39765, whatever you call it, this strange …

Sealed with a kiss: Er, 80 MILLION BACTERIA

Boffins have estimated that a sexy snog could transfer as many as 80 million bacteria every time a couple locks lips. A short smooch generally feels exciting for the humans taking part, but it's even more thrilling for the tiny bugs who take the chance to embark upon an exodus into another person's body. Some 700 types of …
Jasper Hamill, 18 Nov 2014
NASA Nature Run screen grab

NASA launches new climate model at SC14

After 75 days running on the 43,000-core, 1.21 petaflop Discover supercomputer cluster at the Goddard Centre for Climate Simulation, producing 4 PB of data, NASA has put together a global model showing how atmospheric carbon dioxide – CO2 – gets distributed in air currents around the world. Youtube Video The model is based on …
CSIRO's giant titanium bugs

CSIRO carves out another 75 jobs

The CSIRO has had to announce yet more staff cuts after one of its divisions failed to meet an external funding target. According to the CSIRO Staff Association, the digital productivity flagship is one of the agency's targets for the cuts, along with researchers in agriculture and advanced manufacturing. The latter is the home …
leonids

It's space WAR: Comet launches fireballs at space-invading EARTH

Pic Early-bird skywatchers in the US are in for a treat this week: the annual Leonid meteor shower starts just after midnight and will peak just before dawn on Tuesday. leonids If you wish upon a star... "We're predicting 10 to 15 meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space …
Iain Thomson, 17 Nov 2014

SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS

Boffins have shot shocking footage of seals trying to rape penguins, which are normally one of their food sources. A team of scientists has captured frank images of fur seals mounting king penguins, who are powerless to resist the sea-borne sex pests. Animal experts working on the Marion Island, near the Antarctic, found the …
Team Register, 17 Nov 2014

Pics in SPAAAACE!: Hasselblad sells for $275,000

The first Hasselblad camera to travel into space sold last week at auction for an astronomical $275,000. View of the first Hasselblad in space The first Hasselblad in space, and now sold for a cool $275K The 500c and 80mm Zeiss lens accompanied Walter M Schirra on the Mercury MA-8 mission in October 1962. Fellow astronaut …
Lester Haines, 17 Nov 2014
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS

European Space Agency (ESA) boffins reckon they may have located the final touchdown site for their comet-intercepting Philae lander, after its bouncy landing caused them to lose track of it temporarily. Philae's bouncing touchdown seen in Rosetta NAVCAM pics Philae's touchdown site seen by Rosetta's navigation camera. The …

Give it up for SecQuest - a rabbit-hunting spaceplane sponsor

We invite Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fans to give it up today for SecQuest, one of the magnificent corporate responders to our Kickstarter tin-rattling to take the Vulture 2 ballocket launch to Spaceport America. We'll be bringing you details on all our splendid sponsors in due course, but let's kick off with a …
Lester Haines, 17 Nov 2014

Simon's says quantum computing will work

One of the hard parts of quantum computing is turning laboratory qubits into a calculation of anything. Now, South African scientists claim they've tested a handful of qubits against a 20-year-old algorithm to demonstrate that yes, a quantum computer can run it “faster” than a classical machine. Regular readers of quantum- …

Rare Stegosaurus skeleton moves into plush London pad

London's Natural History Museum will be displaying the world's most complete Stegosaurus skeleton from early next month. The 300 Jurassic bones making up the plant-eating dino were dug up 11 years ago in Wyoming, US. When fully assembled, it measures 560 centimetres long and 290 centimetres tall. The animal is understood to have …
Team Register, 15 Nov 2014
Selection of eggs on the bar

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

It's been two years since we at El Reg's Special Projects Bureau brought hungry readers the last of our post-pub nosh deathmatches – a lively head-to-head featuring souse versus scrapple – and by popular demand we've decided to reheat the concept as part of Vulture Central's Weekend Edition. To recap, the idea was to present …
Lester Haines, 15 Nov 2014
Philae ROLIS view of the comet landing site from 40m

Lights OUT for Philae BUT slumbering probot could phone home again as comet nears Sun

Philae's final hurrah (for now at least) on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ended with success, the mission's jubilant boffins confirmed late last night. The fridge-sized, plucky probot, which made the historic landing on the speeding, icy space-rock 300 million miles (or 500 million kilometres) from Earth on Wednesday, was …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Nov 2014
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Looking GOOD, probot. Philae good, humans: 'Yes ... YES! The lander is sitting on the ground'

QuoTW This was the week when a bunch of European space boffins made history by successfully landing a man-made object on a speeding, icy comet, after a few dramatic, bouncy bumps along the way. The Register's space vulture Brid-Aine Parnell witnessed the tense affair unfold at the European Space Agency's ops complex in Darmstadt, …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Nov 2014
2001 HAL poster

It’s PAYBACK time as HUMANS send a PROBE up ALIEN body

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “We hit something the size of South London from ten years away.” Thus spake commentard Colin Ritchie the other day in response to The Register’s ongoing coverage of Rosetta’s extraordinary space odyssey. 2001: A Space Odyssey - The Monolith On The Moon The significance of such an achievement should not be underestimated. In the …
Alistair Dabbs, 15 Nov 2014
Dr Matt Taylor

I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

Vid A tearful Rosetta comet probe boffin has apologized after he appeared on camera wearing a shirt emblazoned with half-naked buxom women. Brit scientist Dr Matt Taylor wore the kinky attire during a live web video interview on Wednesday – as the world held its breath waiting for confirmation the Philae lander had made it to Comet …
Iain Thomson, 15 Nov 2014
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

COMET lander DRILL CLIFFHANGER as last dregs of power used

The Philae team has opted to use what could be the last of the comet-catching lander’s power to deploy its drill, in the hopes of collecting the chemical analysis that could answer fundamental questions about life on Earth. Artist In a nail-biting cliffhanger end to the lander's story, the plucky probot’s protuberance had …
Ryanair advert featuring saucy schoolgirl

Japanese boffins build rounders-playing ROBOT SCHOOLGIRL

To our American cousins, it's a manly sport called baseball. But here in old Blighty, much the same game - rounders - is played mainly by schoolgirls*. Whereas in Japan, it's played by robots. A team at the Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory at the University of Tokyo are developing machines which can perform all the same tasks as a …
Jasper Hamill, 14 Nov 2014
Lightning

ZZZAP! Climate change means getting HIT BY LIGHTNING is likelier

Lightning strikes are set to become more frequent if global warming resumes, according to a new study by climate scientists. In an extreme scenario where temperatures climb by 4 degrees Celsius, the increase could be as much as 50 per cent. "With warming, thunderstorms become more explosive," explains David Romps, climatology …
Lewis Page, 14 Nov 2014
Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth

European Commission decides it won't have a science advisor after Greenpeace pressure

Yesterday seemed a great day for science in Europe, with the European Space Agency setting down its Philae lander on comet 67P - but even as this took place the European Commission quietly sent a rather different signal, as it hit "delete" on the role of its Chief Scientific Advisor. Since 2012 the EC Chief Scientific Advisor ( …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Nov 2014
How Philae lands on the comet

Dark side of the DUNE: Probot snaps shadowy comet surface selfie

Panoramic pic The fate of the ESA's Philae comet lander may be adding grey to boffins' hair, but the craft is still functioning – and has sent back its first panoramic selfie from Comet 67P's surface. Philae panorama Light! I need light! Click to enlarge Thanks to the space rock's low gravity, the probe bounced at least a kilometre over …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
Philae ROLIS view of the comet landing site from 40m

Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'

Tough choices lie ahead for Rosetta's Philae scientists after they discovered that the lander’s bouncing touchdown has pushed it into the shadow of a cliff, making it unlikely that its batteries can recharge. Rosetta's OSIRIS snaps Philae as a dot on its way to Comet 67P Philae on its way to Comet 67P. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS …
Nokia N97 mini

Why did men evolve map-reading skills? They were PAID BY BONK - study

The reason men refuse to ask for directions when lost isn't down to pig-headed stubbornness, but rather a hard-wired evolutionary instinct which has developed so they can, err, get more sex – say anthropologists. Students with clipboards from the University of Utah interviewed dozens of members of the Twe and Tjimba tribes in …
Kat Hall, 13 Nov 2014
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Philae healthier... beams CHEESE: Proud ESA shows off FIRST COMET SURFACE PIC

The ESA’s historic comet-landing probot Philae has re-established contact with mission control and is currently stable on the surface. El Reg's space vulture Brid-Aine Parnell reports from mission command at the ESA ops complex at Darmstadt, Germany. Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P BEHOLD! The first …
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

It almost sounds like a cartoon from the 1950s: The Philae lander, which on 12 November had a successful rendezvous with Comet 67P after being released by the Rosetta spacecraft, bounced not once but twice, before finally settling on the surface of the space-rock. As reported quite soon after the landing, the boffins in charge …

GIANT sunspot returns, bigger and belchier than ever before

Sunspot AR12192, which thrilled astronomers and caused a little concern among technologists in October with its size and an X-class flare, is about to come back into view of Earth, bigger than ever. The sunspot has spent some time on the far side of the Sun, but that hasn't stopped scientists from analysing its activity and …
Philae ROLIS view of the comet landing site from 3km

BOUNCY BOUNCY: Comet probot Philae landed TWICE

Pic ESA scientists are still a bit baffled about just how they managed to land their Philae probe on the surface of Comet 67P after the craft's harpoons failed to fire into the rock. And they think it’s possible Philae landed not once, but twice. It's the first time ever humanity has set down on a comet – and this one's 500 million …
Massive storm on Uranus

'Scope boffins get INSIDE URANUS after snapping mystery spots

Pics Uranus is one of the darkest places in our Solar System, so it's hard to spot from Earth. However, astronomers have caught the gas giant lighting up as unexplained storms ripped away its atmospheric cover. Massive storm on Uranus Something is rumbling deep within Uranus Using the W. M. Keck II Telescope on Hawaii, astronomers …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

SUPER-JAMMY Philae comet probe got down WITHOUT harpoons

ESA head of mission operations Paolo Ferri has said that the harpoons meant to anchor the Philae lander to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko did not actually fire as they'd thought earlier. Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P But regardless, the craft is reporting that it’s stable on the space-rock, so the …
Agilkia landing site on November 6

'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P

The ESA has succeeded in humanity’s first ever attempt to land a man-made probe on a comet after Philae touched down on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. “Yes, yes, YES!” said Andrea Accamazzo, Rosetta flight director. “We see the lander sitting on the ground!” After a tense build-up, the European Space Agency’s …
How Philae lands on the comet

Philae heads for comet, reports back to mothercraft Rosetta

Pic The Philae lander’s science centre has had its first data update from the spacecraft, which has sent the first of many images, along with data, from its scientific instruments. El Reg's space vulture Brid-Aine Parnell reports from mission command at the ESA ops complex at Darmstadt, Germany. Philae snaps Rosetta spacecraft …
Rosetta

WATCH: Rosetta astroboffin TATTOOED with PHILAE from the FUTURE!

Vid With a beard, garish Hawaiian shirt and hideous tattoos, the ESA's Dr Matt Taylor looks more like a hipster hobo than lead scientist on a historic space mission. But in spite of his questionable dress sense, Dr Taylor remains science boffin on the Rosetta mission, which will see the European Space Agency spaceship attempt to …
Jasper Hamill, 12 Nov 2014

MOULDY DICK: France aims to snatch EXPLODING WHALE crown from U.S.

French explosives experts have been put on high alert as officials consider plans to carry out a controlled detonation of a beached whale. The 15-ton beast washed ashore near Montpelier earlier in the month and quickly turned into a stinking and potentially dangerous mound of rotting horribleness. Dead whales are not just a …
Jasper Hamill, 12 Nov 2014
Rosetta

DODGY THRUSTER won't stop PHILAE hurtling toward COMET SHOWDOWN

The fridge-sized science 'bot the European Space Agency hopes will land on a comet hurtling through space today has successfully separated from its comet-chasing parent craft, Rosetta. Scientists at ESA Mission Control look on nervously as Philae approaches the comet. Pic: ESA/J. Mai Scientists at ESA Mission Control look on …
Philae

DRAMA in SPACE: But Philae KEEPS TRYING to HARPOON COMET

The ESA's comet-chaser spacecraft Rosetta will send its lander Philae towards Comet 67P on Wednesday – after some scrambling by boffins here in Germany over the past few hours to get the probe ready for its historic landing attempt. The comet is hurtling through space at 135,000km per hour towards the Sun, and the ESA hopes …
Philae

WATCH Rosetta's Philae's SUCCESSFUL drop on Comet 67P

Live Vid Brace for action, comet-watchers! Today's the day that the Rosetta craft successfully dropped the probing Philae lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency (ESA) said Rosetta will make its last pre-drop burn at 0630 GMT. At around 1605GMT the ESA confirmed they had "telemetry" as Philae …
News team, 12 Nov 2014
Grey-scale Motzart transmitted by twisted light

Sixteen shades of grey survive Viennese quantum optics test

Video Viennese researchers have taken another important step in the development of communications systems using optical angular momentum (OAM), a.k.a. “twisted light”, as the basis of the modulation. What's different in the latest work is that the group, from the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum …
67P_Churyumov_Gerasimenko_August_8th

Euro space boffins ready, mere HOURS from flinging Rosetta lander at Comet 67P

The ESA's comet probe Philae has been given the first official nod in its historic attempt to land on Comet 67P: boffins at the European Space Agency say the lander's Rosetta mothercraft is on the right path towards the soaring cosmic rock. The agency's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) Flight Dynamics staff had to confirm …