New Horizons’ Pluto Approach Hyped in Epic Video

By Carl Engelking | June 19, 2015 12:52 pm

Artist’s illustration of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. (Credit: NASA)

The National Space Society has successfully turned New Horizons’ approach of Pluto into this summer’s must-see blockbuster.

The organization, in a video published this week, borrowed a page from Hollywood to get our hearts pumping and adrenaline flowing for the grand finale of mankind’s half-century journey through the solar system. On July 14, after logging more than 3-billion miles, the New Horizons spacecraft is going to reach the finish line: Pluto and its moons. The National Space Society’s video puts the whole journey into perspective, and will probably give you chills. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Kennewick Man Was Native American Ancestor, DNA Suggests

By Gemma Tarlach | June 18, 2015 12:00 pm
kennewick man face

This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man was carefully sculpted around the morphological features of his skull. Credit: Brittney Tatchell, Smithsonian Institution

A new study ends a nearly 20-year debate over whether a famous ancient skeleton is related to modern Native Americans. But the findings also open a new chapter in an equally long legal battle over who decides the fate of the remains.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: archaeology

Nostalgia for Happy Times Reduces Depression in Mice

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | June 17, 2015 12:18 pm

woman looking at photos

It’s a well-known coping strategy when you’re feeling down to think back on happy memories. And, according to a new study on mice, recalling positive memories could do even more good than we thought: it might increase long-term resilience to stress even more effectively than actually experiencing a new happy event.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts

Tiny Octopus Is So Cute Scientists Might Name It ‘Adorabilis’

By Carl Engelking | June 16, 2015 12:17 pm

(Screenshot from YouTube/Science Friday)

Deep in the ocean’s cold, dark waters lives a species of wide-eyed octopus that will surely warm your heart with pure cuteness.

Up until now, these peculiar creatures have gone unnamed. Now, scientists are preparing to formally name the species, and they’re considering the one word that captures this tiny cephalopod’s essence: Opisthoteuthis adorabilis.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

This Evaporation-Powered Engine Can Drive a Tiny Car

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | June 16, 2015 10:15 am


Artificial muscles may move the machines of the future, and the only power they need is evaporating water.

Researchers at Columbia University have built artificial muscles that expand and contract with changing humidity, and in the lab, they’re already powering LEDs and propelling miniature cars.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

3-D Printing Robots Will Build a Bridge in Amsterdam

By Carl Engelking | June 15, 2015 3:24 pm
An conceptualization of MX3D's printers in action. (Credit: MX3D)

An conceptualization of MX3D’s printers in action. (Credit: MX3D)

A 3-D printer that makes steel structures appear out of thin air will try its hand at building — wait, printing — a pedestrian bridge.

MX3D is a Netherlands-based start-up that researches and develops 3-D printing technologies. Later this year the company is planning its most ambitious project yet: Using 3-D printers to construct a bridge over a canal in the heart of Amsterdam. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

The Philae Comet Lander Has Awoken From Hibernation

By Lisa Raffensperger | June 14, 2015 11:09 am
An artist's rendering of the Philae probe on Comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

An artist’s rendering of the Philae probe on Comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA/ ATG minilab

It was a thoroughly modern announcement: before a blog post or a news conference there was the tweet. The Philae lander on Comet 67P tweeted the message, “Hello Earth! Can you hear me?” at 5:30am EDT today by way of announcing that the months of wait were over, and the lander had resumed operation.

Scientists have been trying to regain contact with Philae since mid-March, listening for signals via the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft. Now the hope is that the lander will make contact again and scientists can download some of the data it has been collecting in the meantime.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Here’s What the Coming Hyperloop System Might Look Like

By Carl Engelking | June 12, 2015 3:32 pm


Forget planes, trains and automobiles; Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept is the future of getting from point A to B. But, in practice, what would a Hyperloop system look like?

In a word: awesome.

Thanks to Suprastudio, a design workshop at UCLA’s architectural school, you can get an all-encompassing preview of what it would be like to hitch a ride in a capsule traveling 760 miles per hour within a tube. In a 158-page document loaded with visuals, the Suprastudio details everything you’d want to know about a Hyperloop system, from hypothetical routes down to the design of the seats.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: transportation

Saturn Has an Invisible Mega-Ring – And It’s Even Bigger Than We Thought

By Carl Engelking | June 11, 2015 2:04 pm
An artist's illustration shows the grand scale of the Phoebe ring. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Keck)

An artist’s illustration shows the grand scale of the Phoebe ring. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Keck)

Think you know what Saturn looks like? Think again: the planet’s outermost ring is the biggest planetary ring known to mankind, but because its black color blends in with the blackness of space, images of the planet fail to capture it.

Now, scientists examining the ring in the infrared spectrum say it’s even bigger than they thought — by nearly one-third.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Venus Is At Its Best Right Now – Here’s How to See It

By Karri Ferron | June 11, 2015 9:33 am
Credit: Roen Kelly/ Astronomy

Credit: Roen Kelly/ Astronomy

Look to the western sky less than an hour after sunset, and you won’t be able to miss a brilliant point of light more than a fourth of the way above the horizon.

That stunning jewel is Venus, and it’s currently having its best showing for northern observers of 2015 as it shines brightest and appears highest in the evening sky.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts


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