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Our place in the Laniakea supercluster

You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

Astronomers have finally figured out just where the heck in the Universe we are – and it turns out to be the suburbs of a galactic supercluster now known as Laniakea. Galaxies don’t tend to be scattered throughout the Universe willy-nilly; they tend to bunch up into clusters, groups and superclusters. Our Local Group contains …
Lycurgus_Cup

4th Century GOBLET could REVIVE CORPSE of holographic storage

Cambridge boffins have discovered that thin films of silver nanoparticles can increase optical storage density and create multi-coloured holograms. The effect was first noted way back in fourth century Roman times (circa 290-325 AD) with the crafting of the Lycurgus Cup, an engraved glass goblet that has a green tint when lit …
Chris Mellor, 4 Sep 2014
Kati with the box on the scales

Crack team weighs LOHAN's substantial box

While our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project moves rapidly forwards on multiple fronts, it's worth noting that behind the scenes, there's plenty of grunt work going on that doesn't involve the excitement of strapping spaceplanes to van roofs, rescuing stranded Playmonauts or shaking Middle England. For example, …
Lester Haines, 4 Sep 2014
Nimbus and Modis Images 50 years apart

NASA finds ancient films that extend Arctic ice record by 15 years

An ancient and now public trove of imagery from one of the world's earliest Earth-sensing satellites, one of the American Nimbus spacecraft fleet, has been recovered and celebrated for the fact it extends climate records by 15 years. This feat of data archaeology means that scientists now have access to 250,000 images from the …
Our Vulture 2's dismantled avioncs

Our Vulture 2 rocket spaceplane crammed with MORE POWER

Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane is in bits for the last time as we make the final modifications before declaring the aircraft fully operational - at least in the hardware department. Our Vulture 2's dismantled avioncs During a recent test, we identified a couple of problems - a dodgy port canard servo and a a lack of …
Lester Haines, 3 Sep 2014
Made in Space 3D printer

NASA clears zero-G 3D printer for mission to SPAAAAACE

A special 3D printer designed to work in zero-gravity conditions has received flight certification from NASA and will shortly be sent up to the International Space Station for astronauts to try out. The space stations forthcoming 3D printer Astronauts will soon be able to build their own plastic gewgaws The snappily named 3-D …
Iain Thomson, 3 Sep 2014

Cave scrawls prove Neanderthals were AT LEAST as talented as modern artists

A primitive and apparently meaningless marking ground into a rock by a Neanderthal using a crude implement more than 39,000 years ago would appear to support the idea that the pre-human ape-men possessed artistic faculties at least as sophisticated as those of the "young British artists" movement of the '90s. Dahling, such …
Lewis Page, 2 Sep 2014

Flurry of solar flare-ups sets off COSMIC PLASMA EXPLOSION

Vid Footage of solar flares taken by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. The Sun had a flurry of flare activity at the end of August, releasing over half a dozen solar flares in a day, some of which were accompanied by coronal mass ejections. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted the activity in images captured at extreme …
By Frank Wouters, licensed under CC 2.0

Russia: SEXY LIZARDS which landed FROM SPACE are all DEAD

Russia's space agency has made the announcement everyone must have been fearing: after being launched, lost, and recovered, its famed “sex geckos” have all died. After a premature political announcement of their safe return to Earth, space agency Roscosmos issued a brief statement that the geckos had perished during the landing …
External view of the Vulture 2, with launch rod

Vulture 2 X-Plane soars over Spaceport America

It's hats off to Tennessee X-Plane ace Billy Bargagliotti this fine Monday morning, as we announce he's wrapped no less than four virtual versions of our Vulture 2 rocket ship. Our Tennessee X-Plane ace Billy Bargagliotti Billy (above) answered our call back in June for someone to construct a virtual spaceplane, rolled out …
Lester Haines, 1 Sep 2014
lava

Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning

A fresh volcanic eruption in Iceland forced officials at the country's Met Office to temporarily issue a code red aviation warning, after lava spewed 50 metres into the air in the early hours of Sunday morning. While fewer earthquakes were recorded when the eruption started in Holuhraun shortly after 4am, more lava was being …
Kelly Fiveash, 31 Aug 2014
Discovery performs its flyaround of the International Space Station as both spacecraft orbit over the Sahara Desert. Pic: NASA TV

Discovery BATTLED 2-foot-long WEE ICICLE on first mission - 30 years ago today

Today marks 30 years since the Discovery shuttle set off on the first of its 39 missions into space. The spacetruck lugged three communication satellites on its inaugural adventure. It went on to fly to space more than any other craft, and - by the time of its retirement in 2011 - had carried more crew members to orbit than any …
Team Register, 30 Aug 2014
Artist's image of asteroids and Mars

NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away

IT administrators at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are preparing to perform an interplanetary remote wipe and reboot on its Martian Opportunity rover after the decade-old explorer began to get a bit senile. The latest view from Mars sent by Opportunity The latest view from Mars sent by Opportunity Opportunity's computer …
Iain Thomson, 30 Aug 2014

Exclusive SPB t-shirt flies into Kickstarter

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter tin-rattling is, er, rattling along nicely, and we offer sincere thanks to those who've already chosen to back our audacious spaceplane ballocket launch in New Mexico. Our quality merchandising - which includes stickers, mugs and t-shirts - has been flying out of the …
Lester Haines, 29 Aug 2014
Galileo

Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality

The European Space Agency's (ESA's) embarrassment at having two of its Galileo satnav birds land in the wrong orbit has been blamed on bad programming of the Soyuz craft that hauled the satellites aloft. Russia's Izviestia reports that an investigation of the incident found that the Soyuz's first stage did all that was asked of …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Aug 2014
IBM Watson QA Power7 cluster

IBM: OK, Watson, you've won Jeopardy. Now, CURE CANCER

IBM has found yet another use for its Jeopardy-winning Watson supercomputer, launching a new system called Watson Discovery Advisor to analyse scientific and medical research. The new cloud-based system can figure out scientific language well enough to know how chemical compounds interact and can also understand the nuances of …

LOHAN wrapped in vinyl as Kickstarter campaign hits £18,000!

Our Kickstarter bid to raise £30,000 for the New Mexico launch of our Vulture 2 spaceplane hit £18,489 this morning (Monday 1 September), shortly after we took delivery of some sample Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) vinyl stickers. And very classy they look too. Here are a few suggestions as to how those pledging a …
Lester Haines, 28 Aug 2014

LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane has taken a massive leap in transmitting power with the installation of a mighty 900MHz ultra long range radio module - the RFD 900u Radio Modem by Oz's RF Design. the RFD 900 rig The diminutive module plugs straight into the Pixhawk autopilot, replacing the …
Lester Haines, 28 Aug 2014
Solar filament eruption of August 31, 2012

Neutrinos lay bare solar proton reactions

A key prediction of solar physics, that its nuclear reactions should emit neutrinos with a particular signature, has been confirmed according to scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Using the Borexino instrument in Italy’s Apennine Mountains, the research team detected electron-flavour neutrinos emitted by …
Suspected thigh bone on Mars spotted by Curiosity

Rickety rock deemed unworthy of Curiosity's drill

NASA's plans to conduct its fourth major drilling project have been called off after the proposed target, dubbed Bonanza King, proved unstable. Bonanza King on Mars Site proves a bit too shaky for scanning Last week the rover found the drilling site after detouring through the northeastern end of “Hidden Valley,” on its way …
Iain Thomson, 28 Aug 2014

Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry

More than 50 Norwegian oil and energy companies have been hacked by unknown attackers, according to government security authorities. A further 250 firms have been advised by the Norwegian government that they ought to check their networks and systems for evidence of a breach, The Local reports. State-owned Statoil, Norway's …
John Leyden, 27 Aug 2014

Nearly there! LOHAN Kickstarter pot o'gold breaks £29,000

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign has reached a rip-roaring £29,000, as we build momentum towards the launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane at Spaceport America, New Mexico. Thanks to all the backers who've so far snapped up our juicy rewards. If you haven't already shown your support, proceed …
Lester Haines, 27 Aug 2014
Top view of the Holometer as a Fermilab scientist works on the apparatus

Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

How can we tell from the inside of our Universe if it’s actually real or just a hologram? Boffins at Fermilab have set out to answer this thorny question with a new experiment in the National Accelerator Lab called the Holometer. A Fermilab scientist works on the laser beams at the heart of the Holometer experiment Lasers are …
Sacnned and printed in 3d skull

Finally, a practical use for 3D printing: Helping surgeons rehearse

A mix of 3D printing, medical imaging and software which joins the two together is helping reduce the length of time taken to complete certain complex operations. Today, 12 National Health Service (NHS) hospitals are supported in the validation of patient surgery prior to an operation with models made by Stratasys 3D printers …
Simon Rockman, 27 Aug 2014
Supercavitating submarines

China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE

China reportedly wants to enter the world of supersonic transport – under the water. Rather than working up its own successor-to-Concorde project, the South China Morning Post says scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology's Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab are working on developing a technique called supercavitation, first …
EOS Facility at Mt Stromolo

EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz

EOS Space Systems and Lockheed have struck a deal to jointly develop a space junk tracking centre in Western Australia. Having a second tracking centre (in addition to its existing facility at Mount Stromlo in the ACT) will significantly improve EOS Space Systems' coverage, the company says, since its activities won't be subject …
Galileo

Galileo! Galileo. Galileo! Galileo frigged-LEO: Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it is working “relentlessly” after an “injection anomaly” pushed its two new Galileo sat-nav satellites into the wrong low Earth orbit (LEO). The ESA today said “the satellites are safely under control” and pointing in the right direction at the Sun, at least. The agency is also prepared to “ …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Aug 2014

Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it

The US military has been forced to destroy a top secret hypersonic weapon just four seconds after its test flight begun. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) is designed to reach Mach 6 – or six times the speed of sound (about 5,795kmph or 3,600mph) – and allow the US to strike a target anywhere in the world in less than 60 …
Jasper Hamill, 26 Aug 2014

Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign got off to a flying start over the weekend, attracting 160 backers who pledged a total of £6,000 toward the New Mexico launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane. So inspiring was this first flush of support that our plucky Playmonaut and apprentice Special Projects …
Lester Haines, 26 Aug 2014
Landing sites on Rosetta's comet

Euro space boffins narrow down lander sites on comet doing 135,000km/h toward Sun

The European Space Agency has identified five possible sites where its Rosetta spacecraft could probe comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Over the past twenty days, spent in the vicinity of the 3.5km by 4km rock, the craft has taken loads of photographs for the Rosetta team. The boffins have now picked the best places to drop the …

Brookhaven boffins boggle at baryons

It's a long way from being a “discovery”, but it's getting physicists excited: the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab is accumulating evidence that could point to so-called “strange” Baryons. Predicted by theory but never observed in the wild, the particles we're talking about are so named because …
medical_doctor_health_channel

Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

In theory, the definitive treatment for early stage cancer patients should be surgical resection. Just get in there and cut the tumour out. If the lump is small and well-constrained, then surgical removal is all that should be needed. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually what happens. Even when the tumour is nice and small and …

Galileo can't do the fandango: Two Euro GPS nav sats sent into WRONG ORBIT

Two Galileo satellites have been blasted into the wrong orbit, red-faced officials at the European Space Agency said today. Errant sats Doresa and Milena were launched on a Russian-built Soyuz rocket on Friday. But launch service outfit Arianespace admitted that the satellites failed to go into the correct orbit. "Complementary …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Aug 2014
SpaceX's Grasshopper rises 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet), hovering for approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. Pic: SpaceX

SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk

Elon Musk's SpaceX team watched a prototype rocket spectacularly burst into flames over the company's test flight area in Texas on Friday. No one was injured in the explosion, the firm said. SpaceX had been testing its Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) vehicle in McGregor, Texas. One observer captured video images of debris tumbling out …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Aug 2014
Galileo

Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico

Relevant Youtube video is relevant The European Space Agency has launched the fifth and sixth Galileo satellites from its launch pad in French Guiana. The boffins are now increasing the frequency of launches to get the entire network of 30 orbital birds ready by 2017 – three years early. The latest sats were launched on Friday …
Iain Thomson, 22 Aug 2014
The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN Kickstarter bid IS GO: Back our Vulture 2 spaceplane launch

We're excited to announce that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign, which will fund the relocation of our audacious ballocket mission launch to Spaceport America, is now live. Following the reveal of our substantial mugs earlier today, we've given in to reader browbeating and have added an …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014

Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole

Hats must be tipped today in tribute to Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar, whose ultralight B-64 payload is about to complete its second circumnavigation of the planet. The 11g B-64 rig – comprising radio transmitter, LiPo battery and a couple of solar panels slung under a transparent film envelope (pics here) – launched on 12 July …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014

LOHAN gets laughing gear round promotional mug

As we reported yesterday, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has scrapped plans to launch the Vulture 2 spaceplane above Europe and is instead taking its audacious ballocket mission to Spaceport America in New Mexico. To fund the basic extra costs of the relocation, we'll be rattling the tin down at Kickstarter …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014
Liz Lowe with Golden Orb-Weaver

BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE

If you're a city-dweller who thinks spiders have gotten bigger over your lifetime, you might just be right, according to boffins from Sydney University. Looking at the harmless but impressive Oz arachnid Nephila plumipes – the Golden Orb-Weaver – they've found that urban specimens are fatter than their country cousins. The …
Precog Minority Report

Security precogs divine web vulnerabilities BEFORE THEY EXIST

Wayback is way ahead: Three million webpages are set to become hacker fodder according to research that could predict what websites will become vulnerable ahead of time. The research by Kyle Soska and Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University used an engine which divined the future by looking at the past - more specifically, by trawling the Way …
Darren Pauli, 22 Aug 2014
Plasma ball

TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

Yet another set of astonishing claims is being made for yet another “low energy nuclear reactions” (LENR) technology. A Californian outfit called Solar Hydrogen Trends is claiming to have a highly efficient process using solar energy to produce hydrogen from water. Specifically, in this release the company claims to turn one …
NASA Image - Ozone Hole

Carbon tetrachloride releases still too high, says NASA

Somewhere, a dry cleaner didn't get the memo: someone is putting an awful lot of carbon tetrachloride into the atmosphere, and NASA would like them to stop. Back in 1987, the compound was one of many ozone-depleting chemicals regulated under the Montreal Protocol. However, NASA said on Wednesday there's still too much of the …