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Zombies, credit: Wikimedia from Night of The Living Dead

True fact: Hubble telescope spots ZOMBIES in SPACE

Researchers operating the Hubble telescope have observed an unusual supernova explosion that leaves behind what scientists call a "zombie star". NASA said a team of astronomers had used the giant orbital telescope to capture images of a star system that, despite going supernova, produces surviving dwarf stars rather than …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Aug 2014
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

SCORE: Rosetta probe hits orbit of duck-shaped comet

Watch live After a 10-year-long chase of the pleasingly duck-shaped "67P", the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe has become the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet. Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at livestream.com “After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, …
A self-portrait taken by the curiosity rover

Two years on, Curiosity's still in the same crater

Its wheels are eroding and its (parody) Twitter account is grumpy, but the Mars Curiosity Rover has celebrated two years in space. Yes, it has been two years since we sat on the edges of our seats, watching (if we were able to) or listening (in the case of this scribe, who was in his car at the time, thankful for the broadcast) …

Six MEEELLION gigabytes-a-year space 'scope wins funding

The multi-billion pixel, multi-colour, all-sky-surveying Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is getting ready to go into its main construction phase, with America's National Science Foundation approving the build budget. The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) has announced the NSF funding here. Overall …
Rosetta

Astounding: We're about to stick a probe in orbit of a COMET

Pic The European Space Agency will be on tenterhooks tonight as the Rosetta space probe reaches its final destination and begins the burn sequence that will put a man-made spacecraft in orbit around a comet for the first time. After a much-delayed launch in 2004, Rosetta has spent the last ten years chasing through the solar system …
Iain Thomson, 6 Aug 2014
Two teenage girls - one whispering in other's ear

BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

Vid Run a camera fast enough and its images can capture sound from the way nearby objects vibrate, according to boffins from MIT, Adobe and Microsoft. The experiments, announced by MIT, worked so well that they claimed to have recovered sound from the leaves of plants, and the vibration of a crisp packet. The latter, as the …

Kickstarter hopefuls promise high-res aerial maps for the masses

San Diego-based Drones Made Easy is nudging the Kickstarter target of $30,000 it needs to bring "mapping to the masses" with an site allowing people to "upload raw aerial imagery for processing into high quality stitched aerial imagery". The idea is to take the grunt work out of creating your own stitched imagery "at up to 20 …
Lester Haines, 5 Aug 2014
2001: A Space Odyssey

HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk

Multibillionaire tech ace Elon Musk has a bee in his bonnet about the threat to humanity from ... artificial intelligence. And since he's a major investor in the technology, he ought to know. Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes. — Elon Musk (@ …
Iain Thomson, 5 Aug 2014
EmDrive space motor

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

NASA has tested an "impossible" electric space drive that uses no propellant – and found it works even when it is designed not to. EmDrive space motor The EmDrive space engine ... a long time coming This has sparked immediate skepticism of the technology. The system is designed to use microwave energy reflected along a …
Iain Thomson, 4 Aug 2014
The 30m dish at Warkworth, New Zealand

Kiwi satellite earth station recycled – as radio telescope

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is celebrating “first light” from its new radio telescope – a 30m, 30-year-old former satellite Earth station that was once New Zealand's primary link to the outside world. The AUT telescope is now getting ready for a mission studying star formation, the centre of the Milky Way, galactic …
Rosetta

We sent a probe SIX BILLION km to measure temperature of a COMET doing 135,000 km/h

The comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta has got close enough to its target to start getting temperature readings. The results show that comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko isn't the snowball some boffins were expecting. Between 13 and 21 July Rosetta moved within 5,000 kilometers of the rapidly spinning comet and used its visible, …
Iain Thomson, 2 Aug 2014
From left to right are: the ancestral neotheropod (~220 Million years old), the ancestral tetanuran (~200 myo), the ancestral coelurosaur (~175 myo), the ancestral paravian (~165 myo), and Archaeopteryx (150 myo).

The Therapod diet: From HUMUNGO DINO to TINY BIRD in 50m years

Video Terrifying dino-beasts from the family that spawned Tyrannosaurus rex kept shrinking and shrinking until they evolved into cute little birds, the whole process taking around 50 million years, according to palaeoboffins. Youtube Video Certain members of the theropod family – which counts T rex and Giganotosaurus carolinii among …
The path of the balloon yesterday as it returned to UK airspace

Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar has pulled off a bit of a blinder by successfully flying an ultralight radio payload right round the planet. Launched on 12 July from near Silverstone, Northamptonshire, B-64 yesterday returned to Blighty, and was this morning still going strong over Sweden. The path of the balloon yesterday as it …
Lester Haines, 1 Aug 2014
Teh second version of Curiosity for Mars

Mars rover 2020: Oxygen generation and 6 more amazing experiments

Pic NASA's next Mars rover will convert the Red Planet's atmosphere into oxygen – and collect rocks for return to Earth, see half a kilometre under the surface, and use stereo cameras to send back unprecedented snaps of the bleak world. Mars rover 2020 Curiosity v2.0 getting ready to roll (click to enlarge) At a press …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jul 2014
The quantum cheshire cat

Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low

Imagine this: when Australian cricketer Shane Warne bowled “the ball of the century”, a delivery that drifted one way, then hit the pitch and spun the other, the reason batter Mike Gatting was bamboozled was because the spin took a different path from the ball. That's the phenomenon boffins claim they've observed in experiments …

NASA boffin: RIDDLE of odd BULGE FOUND on MOON is SOLVED

An analysis of the shape of the Moon has shown it is not actually a sphere – but is in fact slightly lemon-shaped. This has revealed important clues as to how the Earth's satellite body formed (and no, it still doesn't involve any cheese). A paper published in the July 30 issue of Nature by Ian Garrick-Bethell – an assistant …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jul 2014
The path of B-64 shown on a world map

Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH

It's a tip of the hat today to Brit High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) bod Leo Bodnar, whose B-64 payload is poised to complete an epic 25,000km circumnavigation of the globe. B-64 - comprising a 12g solar-powered radio tracker rig - lifted off on 12 July from near Silverstone, Northamptonshire. Its most recent position showed it …
Lester Haines, 30 Jul 2014
Facebook privacy image

Ethicists say Facebook's experiments not SO creepy

The Ethical Research Project has weighed into the argument over the ethics of Facebook's “creepy” social contagion research, doing the unthinkable: actually asking ordinary punters how they feel about being lab rats. Interestingly, the study suggests that users might have not felt too badly about the Facebook work, if anyone had …

Warm, perhaps ALIEN LIFE-bearing water gushers FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Boffins have now counted 101 different geysers spewing material from the surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn's icy moons. The discovery in data collected from NASA's Cassini probe reinforces the theory that a vast ocean is sloshing about beneath the cold surface. Some consider this to be the most promising location known for …
Jasper Hamill, 29 Jul 2014

Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

The UK's Parliamentary climate change select committee has just issued a written endorsement of the latest, alarmist UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. However, two MPs - the two most scientifically qualified on the committee - have strongly disagreed with this position. The IPCC's latest AR5 report …
Lewis Page, 29 Jul 2014
Rocket Lab's Peter Beck with a model of Rutherford

Kiwi Rocket Lab to build SUPER-CHEAP sat launchers (anyone know 30 rocket scientists?)

A new outfit launched in Auckland, New Zealand, believes that by next year it'll be ready to sling satellites spacewards for as little as $5m. The only hitch is its need to recruit a few rocket scientists – ah, about 30 – who are prepared to relocate to New Zealand. Rocket Lab has just kicked off an American presence to help the …
borg_cube

Resistance is not futile: Here's a cookie sheet of luke-warm RRAM that proves it

Boffins devising Resistive RAM (RRAM) have found that using porous silicon oxide makes the devices easier to manufacture, longer lasting and less power hungry. The researchers, at Rice University, Texas, stumbled upon silicon oxide RRAM five years ago. The stuff works as computer storage by having differing resistance levels …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2014
opportunity selfie

NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark

The plucky Opportunity rover-droid, whose wheels first touched the red Martian dirt back in 2004, has trundled past the 25 mile mark for the first time and in so doing claimed humanity's off-world long distance driving record. NASA records that Opportunity went for a 48 metre trundle on July 27th and in so doing saw its odometer …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2014
Candle in the dark

Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency

Video A fire on the International Space Station (ISS) – intentional of course – has provided hints at the kinds of research needed to make engines on Earth cleaner and more fuel efficient. Surprisingly, the experiments turned up flames burning at lower temperatures than thought possible. In the research, astronauts set fire to large …

LOHAN's stirring motto: Ad Astra Tabernamque

It's official: The stirring motto for our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) ballocket mission is Ad Astra Tabernamque. The public vote came down firmly in favour of us heading both to the stars and the pub, and we're not going to argue with that. Per Cervisiam Ad Astra ("Through Beer To The Stars") and …
Lester Haines, 28 Jul 2014
By Frank Wouters, licensed under CC 2.0

Russia: There is a SPACECRAFT full of LIZARDS in orbit above Earth and WE control it

It's all systems gecko up in space, after the Russians finally regained control of a spacecraft packed full of horny lizards. The world's eyes anxiously turned towards Russia last Friday as it was revealed its space scientists had lost control of the satellite Foton-M4, which was on a mission to shoot the world's first zero- …
Jasper Hamill, 28 Jul 2014
Siats eating an iguanodontian and intimidating early, small-bodied tyrannosauroids.

Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

The dinosaurs would have survived the asteroid that smashed into Earth and wiped them all out had it not been for the rather poor – from their point of view – timing with which it arrived. The demise of these scaly – or indeed, even feathery – overlords may not have happened if the space rock hit a few million years later or …
Jasper Hamill, 28 Jul 2014
Boeing 787 battery fire

BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Battery capacity remains a big issue in devices ranging from phones to electric vehicles – and one of the biggest constraints is the materials used to make electrodes. A paper published at Nature Nanotechnology (abstract here), offers a promising lead for improvements as boffins say they've hit on a way to replace today's anode …
CSIRO Parkes radio telescope

Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is warning that two iconic Australian astronomy facilities – the Parkes radio-telescope and the Australia Telescope Compact Array at Narrabri, are at risk of closure after the federal government pulled $AU114 million from the agency's funding. The …

Google to feed machines with evidence of human physical weaknesses – and that's a good thing

Google's X laboratory is working with a team of biologists and geneticists to analyze human frailties using the web giant's computing might. The project, called the Baseline Study, is recruiting 175 volunteers to contribute tissue samples, blood, sweat, tears, and urine for processing. The test results will then be fed into …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jul 2014
Kulindradromeus zabaikalicus, a plant-eating feathered dinosaur

Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends

Pic Boffins now reckon it's possible any or all dinosaurs sported feathers, after finding the first ever example of a dino with feathers and scales. Kulindradromeus zabaikalicus, a plant-eating feathered dinosaur Kulindradromeus zabaikalicus, a plant-eating feathered dinosaur Before now, only flesh-eating mighty lizards were …
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto

Poll It's been a blast, but after some serious linguistic tomfoolery, the time has come to decide on a stirring motto to adorn our proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch. A proposed LOHAN mission patch Thanks to everyone who contributed, and you can see how our beloved readers gave Latin a right shoeing …
Lester Haines, 25 Jul 2014
Starship Enterprise

Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket

The US Government Accounting Office (GAO) has told NASA it has a massive funding shortfall for its ambitious Space Launch System (SLS) rocket if the spacecraft has any chance of blasting off on schedule. "The agency’s current funding plan for SLS may be $US400 million short of what the program needs to launch by 2017," the …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jul 2014
Enormous coprolite

METRE-LONG DINOSAUR POO going under the hammer

A colossal dinosaur poo is about to go to under the hammer. Auction house I.M. Chait has listed what it describes as an “Enormous and rare coprolite” said to measure 40 inches - 101.6cm - from end to end. The object is believed to have been the result of a meal consumed during the Miocene-Oligocene epoch, some 23 million years …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Elephant

SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans

Few people can fail to notice that an elephant's appendage is way bigger than a dog's, but it may come as more surprise that it can use it better too. Boffins have named elephants as the top sniffers in the animal kingdom, possessing twice as many functional olfactory receptors (ORs) genes as hounds. ORs help organisms detect …
Jasper Hamill, 24 Jul 2014
The Sunswift solar car

World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record

The University of New South Wales' Sunswift, the third-placed car in the Cruiser class of the 2013 World Solar Challenge, claims to have set a new record for the swiftest single-charge traversal of a 500km course. The record attempt took place on Wednesday at the Automotive Research Centre's 4.2km track. Sunswift travelled 500km …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

The human spine is poorly-designed for the rigours of modern life, but so are the drugs most commonly prescribed to help you endure a bad back. That's the conclusion of a new study looking into whether paracetamol, the drug most often suggested to treat bad backs, actually helps. Reported in The Lancet, the study funded by the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

It's fair to say that the quest for a stirring motto for our proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch is proving to be the most fun we've had in a long while. A proposed LOHAN mission patch So great was the response to our call for suggestions that we're buried under a magnus congestus of Latin, a …
Lester Haines, 23 Jul 2014
Neal's Yard introduces its 'Green Scientists'

Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

People all around the world, responding to a survey by Ipsos MORI, have generally agreed with the ideas that scientists don't really know what they're talking about when it comes to the climate – and that governments are using environmental issues as an excuse to raise taxes. These not-so-green views were transmitted as part of …
Lewis Page, 23 Jul 2014
Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Turing biopic with Cumberbatch, Knightley to premiere at London Film Festival

Vid Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the legendary codebreaker and computer boffin, will open the prestigious London Film Festival in early October. Official Imitation Game trailer on YouTube. The British Film Institute announced that The Imitation Game, a dramatisation of Turing’s life, will …
Professor Eryk Dutkiewicz, Macquarie University

All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on

The 5G arms race has commenced, but beneath the duelling “my 5G is faster than your 5G” demos, there's serious work going on – and whatever the future of 5G, that work will change the future of mobility one way or the other. With that in mind, The Register spoke to Professor Eryk Dutkiewicz of Macquarie University. In May, …
Transformer Pulsar J1023

Second galactic flip-flop pulsar surprises boffins

Video “Where did it go?” is the kind of question astrophysicists love to answer, and work by NASA's Fermi gamma-ray space telescope has helped find out what happened to a radio pulsar that seemed to go dark in 2013. The mystery arose in June 2013: a pulsar's radio beacon vanished to be replaced by a huge increase in its gamma ray …