Science

This One Photo: The birth of a star-forming nebula, RCW 34

This One Photo: The birth of a star-forming nebula, RCW 34

Witness the birth of a nebula by the name of RCW 34, complete with the cosmic process called "champagne flow" as young stars cook themselves inside-out. The image you're seeing here was captured by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. This is the birth of a brightly, gloriously light cloud of gas, found in the southern constellation of Vela. Otherwise known as the south of The Sails, this image is the result of the workings of the Very Large Telescope's FORS instrument - that's the Focal reducer and low dispersion spectrograph in effect.

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Eldest human ancestor has Lucy beat at 3.4 million years old

Eldest human ancestor has Lucy beat at 3.4 million years old

The fossilized remains of a jaw and teeth are discovered near the origin of the previous eldest human ancestor, Lucy. This jaw belonged to a species by the name of Australopithecus deyiremeda. This species would have existed between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago, putting it at an age when Lucy's species Australopithecus afarensis could have walked the Earth. This oldest species is now one of three species that existed in eastern Africa more than 3 million years ago more closely related to humans than to chimps. The third was Kenyanthropus platyops, having lived in Kenya at roughly the same time.

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Robotic pill being developed as replacement for injection medications

Robotic pill being developed as replacement for injection medications

At some point in the future, you may no longer need to suffer through injections to have certain medications administered. The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis and the US biotech startup Rani Therapeutics have revealed they will together in developing a "robotic pill" that could simply be swallowed and then deliver drugs to the body via needles made of sugar. This has the potential to make taking certain medication much more convenient for patients, as it could be a new delivery method for drugs that have never been possible in pill form before.

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Disney turns 3D animation into a walking robot

Disney turns 3D animation into a walking robot

In the future, when you see your favorite characters walking around Disney World, they might not be actors inside thick, stuffy character suits, but could be automated robots, instead. The scientific arm of Disney has just created a new method of bringing its animated characters to life. A team of engineers from Disney Research in Pittsburgh and the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University have developed a bipedal, walking robot that moves just like specified 3D animation.

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This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

NASA has announced the tech toys its Europa mission will be equipped with, a battery of gadgets to do scientific study with around Jupiter's moon. Nine instruments have been selected after NASA threw open its inbox to suggestions from the research community, in preparation for the $30m study that will hopefully see a solar-powered craft orbit Europa's icy surface for three years. Among the hardware will be instrumentation to figure out if the moon does indeed have huge underground oceans.

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Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

NASA's Curiosity rover has sparked an unexpected argument over methane on Mars, as operators attempt to figure out whether the gas is local or imported. The existence of methane on the red planet could be a strong indicator either of biological life or even just lingering geological activity, hence scientists' collective interest in whether it's present or not. However, while Curiosity seems to have spotted the gas, there are some who think it itself is responsible for it.

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Tiny VelociRoACH robot smashes speed record

Tiny VelociRoACH robot smashes speed record

Odds are you had no idea that there was a speed record for tiny robots, but there is. A group of robotics researchers from UC Berkley recently smashed that speed record with their tiny robot dubbed the X2-VelociRoACH. This little robot is so fast that if you aren’t careful you will miss the little machine as it tears by you. X2 is able to run at 4.9 meters per second and weighs in at 54 grams.

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Mind-controlled bionic prosthetic legs unveiled by Ossur

Mind-controlled bionic prosthetic legs unveiled by Ossur

A company called Ossur based in Iceland creates some of the most advanced bionic lower limb prosthetic devices available. The lower leg prosthetic devices that the company builds have the ability to sense the phase of the gait of the user and smoothly power the artificial ankle joint to get the foot in the proper alignment for a natural stride. Recently the company announced a new breakthrough in prosthetics that make the lower limb even more natural and lifelike when walking.

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VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

VAMP inflatable space plane could explore Venus

Aerospace company Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new idea for an aircraft that is designed specifically to explore the upper atmosphere of Venus. The aircraft is called the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform or VAMP for short. The aircraft is an inflatable device that would be deployed from space and skim the upper atmosphere of Venus. Northrop designed the VAMP to be light enough to stay aloft in the atmosphere of Venus using little or no energy.

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Audi makes synthetic diesel again, this time from plants

Audi makes synthetic diesel again, this time from plants

Car makers are on a quest to develop more sustainable and more environment friendly sources of power for the cars of the future. Some have, at least for the time being, resorted to using electricity instead of conventional fuel. However, even electricity has its own eco footprint. And some car makers haven't entirely given up on the advantages of fuel. That is why companies like Audi are also investing in research and development that will produce fuel using nothing but carbon dioxide or, in this case, plants.

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