research

Rosetta mission extended as Philae wakes from long sleep

Rosetta mission extended as Philae wakes from long sleep

"This is fantastic news for science," said Matt Taylor, ESA's Rosetta Project Scientist, as he speaks on extending the life of their thought-dead research. Rosetta was originally launched in 2004, bringing its lander Philae to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It arrived in August of 2014, did some studies of the environment from up high, and deployed its lander Philae on the 12th of November. From there, things went dark. Just about 57 hours after landing and beginning operations, Philae went dark, and things looked dim.

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Facebook doesn’t need your face to recognize you

Facebook doesn’t need your face to recognize you

Facebook has developed the next level of facial recognition software that is so clever, it can identify you even if your face is obscured. If you were paranoid about being auto-tagged in pictures before, Facebook's new recognition capabilities won't do anything to allay those fears. This new algorithm removes any residual layers of privacy a user would have from photographing themselves from the neck down, or covering their face. The AI behind the development seems human-like its ability to identify a friend from the back of their head.

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U.S. Army and Air Force build laser-blasting bomb-disposal vehicle

U.S. Army and Air Force build laser-blasting bomb-disposal vehicle

The latest technology from the U.S. Air Force and Army that could head into the battlefield involves harnessing laser power to destroy fields of landmines from a safe distance. The Air Force-built laser will be incorporated into the Army's mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs). The specific prototype is known as RADBO which stands for Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance. It's a lengthy moniker, but it accurately describes the missions in which the laser should be used--turning an airfield that is littered with landmines into a usable airbase with as few casualties as possible.

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Neanderthals may be more related to us than we realize

Neanderthals may be more related to us than we realize

Today a study headed by Svante Pääbo has been published with information about a new Neanderthal ancestor connection. An early "modern human" was found in Peştera cu Oase, Romania. This Oase individual's genome was sequenced and found to be between 6 and 9% derived from neanderthals. This is a higher percentage neanderthal than any other modern human sequenced thus far. In our entire history of studying modern humans, we've never seen one with so much neanderthal inside. While this doesn't mean we're necessarily a whole lot more neanderthal than we thought, it changes our perception on when neanderthals died out entirely.

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Visualizing where NASA’s Pluto and Ceres craft are right now in space

Visualizing where NASA’s Pluto and Ceres craft are right now in space

Today we watch NASA approach Pluto and Ceres, unfurling space mysteries aplenty. New images are appearing today of both the largest object in the asteroid belt and our furthest sun-circling cousin Pluto appear - but what we want to do is show you where the craft are. What you're about to see is where NASA is as far as space cruisers, first with the NASA Dawn spacecraft, then with the Pluto mission craft New Horizons. They're very, very far away from one another, but they're both just a stone's throw away from their respective goals.

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“Smart” lithium-ion battery warns before it explodes

“Smart” lithium-ion battery warns before it explodes

News of exploding smartphone batteries might be sensational but they are no light matter. Aside from the harm, or even death, that could come from those, they also point to a problem with lithium-ion batteries that exhibited elsewhere. While little can be done for a battery that explodes due to severe damage, in most other cases, accidents could be prevented if users knew that the battery is on the verge of combusting. That is what Stanford associate professor Yi Cui and other professors have sought to accomplish with this new "smart" battery.

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Google AI creates dreamy images from artificial neural networks

Google AI creates dreamy images from artificial neural networks

Artificial neural networks (ANN) are the driving force behind speech recognition and image classification. ANN process images, isolating the definitive essence of an image from background noise. It's one method that Google's image search uses to tell the difference between similar images, like forks and knives. The networks need to learn that forks have tines to differentiate them from knives. Google uses these networks to manage the vast array of images that flow through its database, and it is always tweaking the mathematical models to create more precise image identification. The result of the latest experiments in ANN parameters is a batch of images that are downright trippy

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The sixth mass extinction is coming, and man is to blame

The sixth mass extinction is coming, and man is to blame

If the Pope's ominous warnings weren't enough for you, now scientists are chiming in to blame mankind for an imminent sixth mass extinction on Earth. The research, carried out by scientists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, takes a conservative approach to extinction rates, but concludes that even then biodiversity is dwindling at a pace far greater than would be natural. Meanwhile, there's a possibility for a turnaround, but the window of opportunity is closing.

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Philae speaks again: Comet probe “doing very well”

Philae speaks again: Comet probe “doing very well”

The Philae lander has resumed communications with Earth for the second time since the surprise message last Sunday that proved the spacecraft was still functional. Two signals were successfully received today, the European Space Agency (ESA) said, each lasting two minutes and containing 185 packets of data. Although there's no scientific research in among those bytes, Philae has sent back vital information about just how well the distant probe is doing on its unusual comet ride.

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How Silver Ants use hair like NASA’s new heat shield tech

How Silver Ants use hair like NASA’s new heat shield tech

The Saharan Silver Ant is discovered to dissipate heat using shiny silver hairs covering its entire body. Norman Nan Shi, assistant professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, has shown that the hairs of the Saharan Silver Ant act like heat shields, not entirely unlike NASA's space suit materials being developed for use by firefighters here on Earth. These ants live in an environment which can get extremely hot, up to 70°C (158°F). To make due when they need to forage for food, they've developed a rather intense bit of natural resistance, making them as shiny as they are cool.

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