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Scientists descend mysterious Siberian sinkhole, reveal pics

Scientists descend mysterious Siberian sinkhole, reveal pics

Remember that massive Siberian sinkhole? There's still no answer about how these mysterious holes came about, but some brave scientists have donned their winter gear and descended into the depths of one, snapping pictures on the way down and from the bottom. Now those images are available, and they show the sheer size of the craters, as well as the glass-like icy walls. Oddly enough, some scientists think the cause could be the same responsible for the Bermuda Triangle.

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Robot dolphins go deep to understand Antarctic melt

Robot dolphins go deep to understand Antarctic melt

We knew the West Antarctic ice was melting, but it's taken a school of robotic dolphins to figure out why, with researchers at Caltech using ocean gliders to explore the ocean eddies responsible. The six foot long robots take advantage of changes in buoyancy to soar through the water, rather than propellers, and swam the Southern Ocean off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula for two months, diving to depths of around 1.2 miles before surfacing again to report their findings around temperature and salinity via radio links to the Caltech team.

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Rosetta lander sends comet postcard (but there’s a problem)

Rosetta lander sends comet postcard (but there’s a problem)

As unusual views of space go, the surface of a comet rushing more than 80,000 mph through the universe from a tiny lander perched on its surface ranks pretty high on the list. That's just what the European Space Agency's Philae lander has beamed back to Earth - via the Rosetta spaceship it hitched a ride to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkohas on - after successfully landing on the rocky surface yesterday. It's the incredible culmination of a decade-long journey and a seven hour descent; problem is, while the view might be dramatic, it's also threatening Philae's long-term survival.

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Rosetta’s comet-harpooning lander is on its way down

Rosetta’s comet-harpooning lander is on its way down

A spacecraft harpooning a comet: it should be something out of a science fiction movie, but it's actually a mission underway right now, with the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe set to grapple with a chunk of hurtling space rock. The mission officially began back in 2004 when Rosetta and the Philae lander started their journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenk, but cranked up the excitement in the early hours of this morning as spacecraft and rock came together. Philae shared a last-minute photo on Twitter - which you can see after the cut, as well as live video of the action itself - and then began its careful journey down fourteen miles to the surface.

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Rosetta/Philae to land on orbiting comet tomorrow

Rosetta/Philae to land on orbiting comet tomorrow

A full decade in the making, tomorrow will likely be the first time we land on a comet. At around 4:30pm Central European time (about 10:30 EST stateside), the Philae lander is set to touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Should it be successful, the robotic Philae is the first craft built by humans to ever land on a moving comet. Philae is set to detach from its Rosetta spaceship about six hours ahead of landing on Comet 67P.

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Google takes over NASA’s Moffett Field for aviation, robotics

Google takes over NASA’s Moffett Field for aviation, robotics

In an interesting agreement, Google will take control of NASA’s Moffett Field. the 60-year agreement will see Google invest up to $200 million in the property. Though they’re operating and investing in the air strip, which previously used by Google as a private airstrip, NASA will ultimately retain ownership. According to NASA, Google’s Planetary Ventures LLC branch, a shell company for investment purposes, will dole out $1.16 billion over the contract, and reduce NASA’s operating cost by $6.3 million annually.

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DARPA to fund $11M programming auto-complete tool

DARPA to fund $11M programming auto-complete tool

The U.S. government's DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has granted $11 million to Rice University for their continued work on a project that is essentially an auto-complete tool for programmers. Described as a massive database of open-source code, PLINY aims to allow programmers to finish their software much more quickly through a simple search.

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Cyborg cockroach experiment locates disaster survivors through sound

Cyborg cockroach experiment locates disaster survivors through sound

They may be one of the most disgusting insects you've ever seen, and laying eyes on one in your kitchen probably makes you want to scream, but one day cyborg cockroaches could save your life if you're trapped in a disaster. A pair of researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a way to control the bugs through a circuit board connected to their brain, and having them find the sources of sounds, including human voices.

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Dinosaur skull’s 3D digital restoration brings wide access to researchers

Dinosaur skull’s 3D digital restoration brings wide access to researchers

Fossils are an important part of palaeontological research, but their fragile and precious nature makes access difficult for many. To solve this problem, researchers from the University of Bristol and more have restored a damaged dinosaur skull digitally, turning it into a complete 3D model with the damaged and missing portions corrected. With these 3D models, scientists are able to study fossils without physically accessing them, something that simultaneously helps preserve fossils and increase access to them. The work was recently detailed in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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Astronauts trap GoPro in floating water orb on ISS

Astronauts trap GoPro in floating water orb on ISS

This week NASA posted a video on its YouTube page of astronauts playing with a GoPro and an orb of water they had floating around. Like magic, they trapped the action camera in the sphere of water while it was recording, showing what the world looks like from inside of a water bubble, as well as what a GoPro looks like when encased and floating. As you'd expect, this took place on the International Space Station, and was part of a look at water surface tension as experienced in a microgravity environment.

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