research

NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

A team of researchers from NASA and the University of Southern California will be the first in the world send fungi into space with the goal of developing medical drugs. The fungi, which are known to produce molecules called secondary metabolites, will hitch a ride to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket scheduled to launch on April 8th. Secondary metabolites can be used to create beneficial medicine for humans, such as the antibiotic penicillin.

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Blue Origin to launch its reusable rocket a third time

Blue Origin to launch its reusable rocket a third time

Blue Origin, the private space agency owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has revealed that for a third time it will be launching its reusable rocket later today, followed of course by another successful landing attempt. "Working to fly again tomorrow. Same vehicle. Third time. #LaunchLandRepeat," Bezos tweeted on Friday, indicating that they will be using the same New Shepard rocket that has already been launched and made a soft landing on two separate occasions.

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Possible North America Viking settlement spotted from space

Possible North America Viking settlement spotted from space

A second Viking settlement may have been found in North America, and it’ll be detailed in an upcoming NOVA documentary called “Vikings Unearthed.” The discovery was made from space, in that archaeologists spotted evidence of the settlement in photos taken by a satellite. The discovery was made some time last summer, and though the precise location of the settlement hasn’t been revealed to the public, it is somewhere in the southern region of Newfoundland.

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Sun-like star has a planet developing around it right now

Sun-like star has a planet developing around it right now

Scientists the world over are always out for new insights to exactly how planets form around stars early in their existence. Recently scientists snapped images of a very young planet that is currently forming around its parent star. That parent star is called TW Hydrae and it has a planet forming disc orbiting around it. One curious planet is forming around the star at roughly the same distance that Earth is from the sun.

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Image shows what scientists describe as almost a spider

Image shows what scientists describe as almost a spider

The image you see here is a computer tomography picture of an arachnid that is 305 million years old. It might look like a spider, but it isn't quite a spider according to scientists. The ancient arachnid has scientists aflutter because it is believed to show the stepwise evolution of arachnids into spiders. The only thing this fossil lacks that sets it apart from a spider is the spinnerets spiders use to turn silk into webs.

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MIT researchers turn a phone into a cheap laser scanner

MIT researchers turn a phone into a cheap laser scanner

These days, almost every smart device has one or more sensors in addition to being connected to the Internet or to smartphones. Those sensors range from humble proximity sensors to more sophisticated, and more expensive, radars and "lidars". Mobile robots and self-driving contraptions are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of such sensors, but those sensors do come cheaply. Well, they could, depending on how much you are willing to compromise. Researchers at MIT developed a laser distance sensor that, while crude, is quite decent for its price, which is only $49 plus a smartphone sacrificed to the cause.

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Dual Antenna for Broadcast TV is surprisingly small

Dual Antenna for Broadcast TV is surprisingly small

Researchers from the University of Morelos in Mexico have created a new and very small broadcast TV antenna that promises good TV reception in a very small package. The device is called the Reception Box and it is only 11cm L x 6.5cm W x 6mm thick and weighs in at 12 grams. Once the antenna is coated it is only 80g. The designers say that in parts of the US like California, the antenna could pick up the signal of 70 local channels.

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Microsoft Seeing AI is a swiss army knife app for the blind

Microsoft Seeing AI is a swiss army knife app for the blind

We might all marvel at the advancements in computer vision and artificial intelligence, but most of the applications we applaud involve us seeing their results or even their targets. A group of researchers inside Microsoft are working on an implementation of these technologies not just to let computers see but to also let humans see, specifically those that have lost their normal vision. Called Seeing AI, the research project is an attempt to combine years, even decades, of computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence research into an all-in-one app for the visually impaired.

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BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, also known as BEAM, will be making its way to the International Space Station per next week’s launch. BEAM is an inflatable habitat (a room) designed by Bigelow Aerospace, and it will be attached to the ISS for testing. During its time, astronauts will occupy the habitat for a handful of hours at a time, doing so a few times each year for the next two years. Bigelow’s researchers will gather data from the habitat and learn how it holds up in space.

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Ice age puppies found preserved in Russia’s icy Yakutia

Ice age puppies found preserved in Russia’s icy Yakutia

A pair of puppies dating back to the Ice Age have been recovered from Yakutia, a frigid region in northern Russia. The discovery was first made back in 2011 by hunters seeking mammoth tusks; they saw the snout of one puppy visible through the permafrost and informed Mammoth Museum of the North-Eastern Federal University’s head of exhibitions Sergei Fyodorov. Five years have passed since, and researchers have announced that the puppies are so well preserved, they mark a new world's first.

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New blood test detects concussions days after they happen

New blood test detects concussions days after they happen

Concussions are a serious problem in the world of sports, particularly when it comes to youth sports — concussion symptoms are sometimes delayed in children (less commonly in adults, as well), meaning an evaluation immediately after an incident may not accurately reflect the nature of the injury. Researchers have discovered a way to deal with this, developing a new type of blood test that can identify whether someone has suffered a concussion up to a week after it happened.

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New method identifies coffee cut with cheap, bitter beans

New method identifies coffee cut with cheap, bitter beans

For years, the fabled coffee apocalypse was predicted to come in the form of coffee shortages. As it turns out, though, this particular apocalyptical horse wears a mask and it resembles the real thing — counterfeit coffee, and the growing issue plaguing coffee lovers everywhere. Just like the wood-pulp cheese and fake olive oil, counterfeit coffee resembles the real thing but isn't what consumers think they're buying.

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