Science

SpaceX finally gets its fairy tale rocket landing ending

SpaceX finally gets its fairy tale rocket landing ending

Try and try until you succeed, goes the oft quoted aphorism. In Elon Musk and SpaceX's case, even if each attempt costs millions of dollars. After several disastrous attempts at landing, and even one disastrous take off, SpaceX has finally achieved the milestone that it has been working towards for years, possibly the very cornerstone of its existence. It has successfully, safely, and without incident, landed a Falcon 9 stage one rocket back to Earth. Almost ironically, it was more successful landing it on solid ground that it was in water-based attempts.

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Dear Neil deGrasse Tyson: this is why Han Solo says “Parsecs”

Dear Neil deGrasse Tyson: this is why Han Solo says “Parsecs”

This morning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter to speak about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He took time to pay extra attention to Han Solo's claim of "making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs." Han Solo makes this claim all the way back in Star Wars: A New Hope, then repeats his claim in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Rey suggests that he's heard the ship has made this run in 14 parsecs. There's a problem with that, suggests Tyson. We disagree.

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Newly discovered sea snakes take species off extinction list

Newly discovered sea snakes take species off extinction list

A pair of sea snakes previously believed to be extinct have been found off the coast of Western Australia, according to James Cook University researchers. The discovery of leaf scaled and short-nosed sea snakes was surprising for a few reasons, not the least of which is that they were found outside of their typical habitats; in some cases, they were hundreds of miles away.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This morning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shared his observations of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "With only mild spoiler alerts," he said. As such, we're rating this article "Mostly Spoiler Safe" - but have applied the "SPOILER ALERT" sticker anyway. All that said, you might begin to rage almost immediately when you hear that on Twitter, NDT has demoted R2-D2 to "Dwarf Cute" status, the same way he famously demoted Pluto to "Dwarf Planet." The good news is that it's for a good reason - BB-8 is clearly cuter, and he's made it public that that's his opinion, too.

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SpaceX delays first ground-based rocket landing

SpaceX delays first ground-based rocket landing

Earlier this month, SpaceX revealed that it was planning for its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch to take place on December 19th. While Saturday came and went with no so launch, it turns out SpaceX just had to delay its plans. The private space agency is now going to launch its rocket on Monday night, at around 8:30 PM ET. This will be followed, of course, by another attempt to successfully land the re-usable rocket, but this time on solid ground, a first for SpaceX.

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Researchers infuse salt into asphalt for winter roads

Researchers infuse salt into asphalt for winter roads

Winter is upon us, and though it has been warmer than usual, those days are limited; sooner or later the roads will be covered in snow, and the city will deal with that issue by dumping a bunch of salt. It’s a common practice, one that can be extremely hazardous if the trucks are delayed or salt availability is limited. The solution may be something that seems incredibly obvious, though: asphalt that is infused with salt.

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NASA researchers work towards completely 3D printed rocket engine

NASA researchers work towards completely 3D printed rocket engine

NASA has been spending considerable time and effort into developing a 3D printing methodology that will allow it to build complex rocket engine parts using 3D printers. NASA was able to create a 3D printed copper rocket engine part that functioned correctly in April 2015. The scientists then followed that copper creation up with a 3D printed turbopump that spins at 90,000 RPM.

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Homemade lightsaber features a thin blade of fire

Homemade lightsaber features a thin blade of fire

Just in case you haven't had enough Star Wars-related news this week, here's something else to commemorate this special day among sci-fi movie fans. YouTube user Sufficiently Advanced managed to engineer a homemade lightsaber that produces a thin blue flame for a "blade," as opposed to, well, glowing light. But it goes far beyond just being a small handheld flamethrower, as it features an authentic looking lightsaber hilt that even makes sound effects.

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Researchers set Guinness World Record for smallest printed color image

Researchers set Guinness World Record for smallest printed color image

Researchers from Switzerland's ETH Zurich and connected start-up Scrona have been confirmed as setting a Guinness World Record for the smallest printed color picture ever known. The image of several clown fish around a sea anemone, seen above, has an area of just 0.0092 mm², making it as small as the cross-section of a human hair. Inkjet printed image is equal to a single pixel from a retina display, measuring 80 µm by 115 µm.

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Deep-learning algorithm predicts how memorable photos are

Deep-learning algorithm predicts how memorable photos are

Researchers at MIT have been working on a deep-learning algorithm that is able to predict the memorability of a photograph at near-human levels. The researchers are working out of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and created the image with the goal of turning it into an app that tweaks photos to make them more memorable. The algorithm is dubbed MemNet.

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NASA’s slightly better deal with Congress in 2015

NASA’s slightly better deal with Congress in 2015

This year NASA is getting about 1.23 billion dollars more from the US government than they did last year, which is good. It's not fantastic, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. This comes as news in the release of the 2016 omnibus spending bill, which gives NASA more money than the white house requested earlier this year.

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NASA Moon Rover ride-along

NASA Moon Rover ride-along

Earlier this month we were invited to the Johnson Space Center by NASA and Fox Home Entertainment, and there we were taken on a ride in the Mars rover. The rover isn't actually called "Mars rover" by its creators - its official name is "Space Exploration Vehicle" because of its intended purpose: any ol' planet will do. So will an asteroid. We're going to the moon, to Mars, and even (possibly) to an asteroid as it hurtles through space. As such, this is the vehicle astronauts will be riding in once they land. Much like The Martian.

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