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NASA's Open Source Rover -- JPL/Caltech image

Build your own NASA space rover: Here are the DIY JPL blueprints

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been quietly working on a way to let students and interested hobbyists build a planet-exploring rover that's a scaled-down version of the American agency's six-wheeled 'droids. For the past few months, JPL eggheads have been toiling away on the project over on GitHub, basing their …

Now that's a dodgy Giza: Eggheads claim Great Pyramid can focus electromagnetic waves

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, has remained an architectural mystery. How was it built? Why are its dimensions so perfect? And, er, can it concentrate electromagnetic energy? Yes, it can, allegedly, according to a paper published in the Journal of Applied Physics. "Egyptian …
Katyanna Quach, 01 Aug 2018

The Solar System's oldest minerals reveal the Sun's violent past

An analysis of hibonite, thought to be among the oldest minerals in the Solar System, has shown the turbulent and violent early history of our sun. A team of scientists analysed meteorite samples containing hibonite using a scanning electron microscope and a mass spectrometer. The mineral contains small pockets of inert gases …
Katyanna Quach, 31 Jul 2018

Hurrah! Boffins finally discover liquid water sloshing around on Mars

Scientists have discovered a lake of liquid water on Mars hidden beneath multiple layers of dust and ice, according to a paper published in Science on Wednesday. It has long been suspected that the Red Planet is not as dry and arid as it looks. Over the years, spacecrafts and rovers have uncovered evidence of its watery past. …
Katyanna Quach, 26 Jul 2018
Astronaut on mars . Photo by shutterstock

All that dust on Mars is coming from one weird giant alien structure

Have you ever wondered where Mars got all that striking iron-rich rust-colored dust from? Weirdly enough, it appears it is mostly drawn from a formation on its surface called the Medusae Fossae, a single geological object that is slowly crumbling and scattering debris all over the Red Planet. The formation stretches for about …
Katyanna Quach, 25 Jul 2018

Sorry, Neil Armstrong. Boffins say you may not have been first life-form to set foot on the Moon

The Moon may not have been as desolate as it is today – and could have supported life on its surface after its formation some four billion years ago. This revelation comes just days after the anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin setting foot on the Moon, a first for humankind, on July 20, 1969. A paper published in …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Jul 2018

Alien sun has smashing time sucking up planets

Scientists believe they have captured direct evidence of a star feasting on its own planets for the first time. RW Aur, a binary star system located in the Auriga constellation 450 light years from Earth, has long puzzled astronomers. The light from one of its stars, RW Aur A, repeatedly dims and flickers back to life every …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jul 2018

Fukushima reactors lend exotic nuclear finish to California's wines

Savants reckon radiation released by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear kerfuffle has made its way into California's wine. A paper emitted this month by researchers at the University of Bordeaux Centre d'Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan (CNRS) in France revealed that levels of cesium-137 in the atmosphere rose as a result of …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jul 2018

By Jove! Astroboffins spot 12 new spanking moons around Jupiter

Jupiter already had the most moons in the Solar System, but now scientists have discovered twelve new ones bringing the total up to 79. They were first spotted last year by a team of astronomers originally on the hunt for the elusive Planet Nine, a hypothetical body speculated to exist beyond Neptune. Unfortunately, they …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Jul 2018

Geoboffins spot hundreds of ghost dunes on Mars

Mars was once covered in hundreds of giant dunes as big as the US Capitol Building billions of years ago, according to new research. A pair of scientists from the University of Washington have discovered more than 300 crescent-shaped structures wedged into the eastern side of Hellas Planitia, an impact crater measuring over 2, …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jul 2018

Astroboffins spy the brightest quasar that lit the universe's dark ages

Scientists have spotted the brightest ancient quasar formed when the universe was less than billion years old, according to research published in The Astrophysical Journal. The newly discovered quasar, known by its not very catchy name PSO J352.4034-15.3373 or P352-15, also shoots out huge jets of plasma that appear extremely …
Katyanna Quach, 09 Jul 2018
Intel Unite London demo

Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

Open plan offices don’t deliver their promised benefits of more face-to-face collaboration and instead make us misanthropic recluses and more likely to use electronic communications tools. So says a new article in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, by Harvard academics Ethan S. Bernstein, Stephen Turban. …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jul 2018

Spidey sense is literally tingling! Arachnids detect Earth's electric field, use it to fly away

Video Spiders can detect the Earth’s electric field, and use it to lift off and fly through the air, according to new research. The creepy creatures raise their legs and point their bulbous bodies to the sky before shooting lines of silk, using the material to float away in a gentle breeze. The process known as ballooning can carry …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Jul 2018

Universe slipped Milky Way a sausage galaxy to grow a big belly bulge

Around eight to ten billion years ago, a neighbouring dwarf galaxy known as the Sausage galaxy smashed into the Milky Way leaving a smattering of gas, dust, and stars. A team of astrophysicists have traced back the leftover debris to piece together the cosmic catastrophe detailed in a paper published in the Monthly Notices of …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Jul 2018

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled

Pic 'Oumuamua, the odd elongated cigar-shaped interstellar object zipping through the Solar System, continues to flummox scientists. What is that thing? At first, there were a group of fantasists who believed it was an alien starship. Those claims were quickly debunked by researchers who classified it as an interstellar asteroid …
Katyanna Quach, 28 Jun 2018

Galileo, here we go again. My my, the Brits are gonna miss EU

The House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology yesterday hauled UK government bigwigs in to explain themselves in light of the latest round of Galileo handbag-swinging. However, anyone hoping to see Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb, Head of Cyber and Space Policy Nick Ayling, or UK Space Agency …
Richard Speed, 27 Jun 2018

NASA eggheads draw up blueprints for spotting, surviving asteroid hits

The US government has published a report detailing how to prepare for the danger of impacts from asteroids that stray too close to Earth in the next ten years. Classified as near-earth objects (NEOs), these are a group of bodies in the Solar System that are less than 1.3 astronomical units – the distance between the Earth and …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Jun 2018
Ceres' bright spots  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Geoboffins baffled as Ceres is crawling with carbon organics

Ceres contains more carbon-based compounds - the chemical building blocks for life - than previously thought, according to a new study. Last year, scientists discovered that not only was Ceres’ surface peppered with patches of organic material, but that it is rich in water ice and its crust contains ice, salts and hydrated …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Jun 2018
CSIRO's Australia Telescope Compact Array

Astroboffins 'sprinkle iron filings' over remnant supernova

How to measure a magnetic field that's very long way away, and is very, very weak. An international group of boffins have announced that they figured out how. The magnetic field in question belongs to a distant supernova remnant, Supernova 1987A, 168,000 light years from Earth. While the supernova exploded in 1987, its …

Astroboffins spot planets swimming in the mists of forming stars

Scientists have found a trio of baby planets using a new technique of spotting unusual gas motion around developing stars. The new technique described in a pair of papers in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. It’s the first time it’s been used to find planets and has spotted three around the newborn star codenamed HD163296. …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Jun 2018
Sun photo via Shutterstock

Solar winds will help ESA probe smell what Mercury's cookin'

Researchers at the Technische Universität Wien in Austria have found that solar wind can do far more than project lights in the Earth's night sky. The work, published in the journal Icarus, found that while we on Earth are treated to displays such as the Northern Lights, bodies that lack the Earth's protective magnetic field, …
Richard Speed, 13 Jun 2018

Kepler finds three Earth-sized exoplanets, but they're too hot to handle

Astro-boffins poring over data from Kepler's K2 mission have spotted two new solar systems, one of them sporting three planets roughly the same size as Earth. The bad news is that all the latest discoveries are likely too hot for us, with temperatures between 100°C and 327°C. Announcing the results in a paper in the Monthly …

Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust

A woman has sued NASA, claiming to be the rightful owner of a small vial of moon dust supposedly given to her by Neil Armstrong. The lawsuit was filed under the US District Court of Kansas last week by Laura Murray Cicco. She claims that when she was ten, her mother handed her a glass vial with a rubber stopper containing …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jun 2018

Astroboffins trace mysterious noise from hard rock in space

The source of unusual faint pockets of microwave radiation found only in a few regions of the Milky Way has been traced back to tiny specks of nanodiamond dust. A paper published in Nature Astronomy on Monday cracks the mystery of anomalous microwave emission (AME). It was first discovered in the late twentieth and early …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Jun 2018
Martian Dust Storm

Done and dusted? Vast storm gobbles NASA's long-lived Mars robot

As NASA's Opportunity rover nears its 15th birthday, engineers are worried the plucky little robot may not survive a worsening Martian dust storm. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted the approaching storm on 1 June, giving the Opportunity team notice to kick off their contingency plans. The storm now covers more than …
Richard Speed, 11 Jun 2018

NASA finds more stuff suggesting Mars could have hosted life, maybe

NASA’s Curiosity rover has again found evidence that Mars was potentially capable of hosting life. As detailed in a new Science paper, “Organic matter preserved in 3-billion-year-old mudstones at Gale crater, Mars”, some of the soil samples Curiosity took from the bottom of Gale Crater turned up molecules of “thiophenes, …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2018
Hayabusa2 gives asteroid asteroid 1999JU3 the horn

Japan's asteroid-hunting robot Hayabusa2 has its prey within its sights

Boffins at Japan’s space agency, JAXA, announced Thursday that their asteroid sampling mission Hayabusa2 was within sight of its target, Ryugu, with arrival scheduled within the month. The probe is now 2,100km from its prey, and it is expected to arrive on 27 June, using optical navigation. Engineers have also turned off …
Richard Speed, 07 Jun 2018

Juno finds some lightning on Jupiter is the polar opposite to bolts here on Earth

Data from the Juno spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter has shown the highly unusual nature of lightning on the gas giant, according to two new studies published in Nature on Wednesday. We've known that Jupiter has lightning for nearly 40 years, after the first probes went out there. But Juno has discovered that these natural …
Katyanna Quach, 07 Jun 2018
NASA logo

USA! USA! We're No.1! And we want to keep it that way – in spaaaace

A study published today by the Pew Research Center has found that a majority of Americans reckon that staying on top of the space pile should be a US priority, with NASA still attracting a lot of love. However, party poppers are unlikely to be fired within NASA's scattered spaceflight centres since the idea of putting boots …
Richard Speed, 06 Jun 2018
GOES-16 Earth with Moon

No lie-in this morning? Thank the Moon's gravitational pull

Are you tired and grumpy after such a long day? Well, now you know what to blame: the Moon. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Columbia University, in the US, found that days on Earth grew longer as the Moon inched further away. Some 1.4 billion years ago, a day lasted just over 18 hours, the eggheads …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Jun 2018
Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA makes the James Webb Telescope a looker with a heart of gold

While the spaceship name Heart of Gold was taken by the late, great Douglas Adams, NASA has come up with something similar for its forthcoming space telescope. To capture incoming radiation, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will need to fend off outgoing radiation. The telescope, scheduled to launch in 2020 following several …
Thomas Claburn, 05 Jun 2018
Clock gears, photo via: Shutterstock

Four hydrogen + eight caesium clocks = one almost-proven Einstein theory

A team at the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) has used a range of atomic clocks from around the globe to test the equivalence principle* of Einstein's theory of general relativity. The research, published in Nature Physics, follows Einstein's thought experiment whereby the occupant of a windowless lift (or …
Richard Speed, 05 Jun 2018
Curiosity's drill over the laboratory intake

DIYers rejoice: Hitting stuff to make it work even works in space

The percussive maintenance NASA carried out on the Curiosity Rover's drilling machinery has worked, and the robot has started analysing Martian rock samples again. In mid-May, NASA announced its plan to restart the drill, which had been out of action since a motor failed in October 2016. Agency boffins first tried “Feed …

Calm your conspiracy theories, latest glimpse reveals Planet Nine may just be a pipe dream

The mysterious, so-called Planet Nine, may not be a planet after all but just gravitational trickery, according to a new study. A team of researchers have published a new theory explaining why objects on the edge of the Solar System like Sedna - classified as a large minor planet - have such weird, giant circular orbits. Sedna …
Katyanna Quach, 05 Jun 2018

NASA spots asteroid on crash course with Earth – with just hours to go

Video Scientists at NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office have made a rare sighting – an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The rock, dubbed 2018 LA, was picked up by the Catalina Sky Survey on Saturday morning, just hours before it piled into our home world at a speed of 10 miles per second, or 0.5368 per cent of the …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2018
Soyuz returns Expedition 55 crew home (pic: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

SpaceX flings SES-12 satellite into orbit, but would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

SpaceX finally got the SES-12 comms satellite into orbit this morning while a trio of International Space Station (ISS) crew members returned in a trusty Soyuz capsule after 168 days in the black. Delayed from 1 June due to an unspecified issue with the second stage of the two stage Falcon 9, SpaceX reset the clocks for a …
Richard Speed, 04 Jun 2018

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