Science

See the best color image of Pluto taken just before New Horizons flyby

See the best color image of Pluto taken just before New Horizons flyby

As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approached Pluto for the much-anticipated flyby at 7:49 AM ET this morning, the agency released the final and best color image of Pluto yet to be taken. And because Pluto is such a social media celebrity, NASA even posted the image to Instagram first. The photo offer a stunningly clear look at Pluto, as it was taken from only 476,000 miles away, NASA said, at roughly 4:00 PM ET on July 13th.

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New Horizons proves Pluto is larger than we thought

New Horizons proves Pluto is larger than we thought

The problem with deducing composition and sizes through a telescope is that you won't really know how accurate or far off your models are until you get a first-hand, or even a second-hand close up. For decades, almost a century, that has been the problem with Pluto's size ever since it was discovered way back in 1930. Thanks to New Horizons, however, scientists are now able to turn that dream into reality and answer one of the biggest questions of all time: how big is Pluto really?

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Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes annihilate their wild counterparts

Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes annihilate their wild counterparts

Mosquitoes are a nuisance for some and a deadly reality for others. The pests are responsible for transmitting diseases to million of people every year, and efforts to quash this problem have been only somewhat successful. Enter Oxitec's genetically modified mosquitoes -- they are designed to produce offspring that do not reach an age sufficient enough for reproduction, and when sufficiently large enough populations of them are introduced into the wild they result in an utter annihilation of their non-modified neighbors.

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Ultrasound stimulates, speeds up wound healing

Ultrasound stimulates, speeds up wound healing

Cut yourself and, assuming you're somewhat young and otherwise healthy, it'll heal in a reasonable amount of time. Older age and certain conditions like diabetes can interfere with this healing process, though, and could result in wounds that won't heal or that take a very long time to heal. Researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Sheffield may have a solution, however, in the form of low-intensity ultrasounds. A study detailing their effort reveals their technique both speeds up healing time and restores to the body a youthful/healthy healing ability.

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It may be too late to stop a 20ft rise in sea levels

It may be too late to stop a 20ft rise in sea levels

Research into climate change continues to press on despite vitriol and blowback from deniers, and the latest research report appears damning: it may be too late to stop a 20ft. rise in sea levels…at the minimum. According to a new paper published last week, limiting global warming to 2C may not stop a sea level increase of 6 meters or more, and those rising waters will have a huge impact on coastlines — and the people who live near them — around the world.

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As New Horizons passes Pluto, 22-hours of silence

As New Horizons passes Pluto, 22-hours of silence

NASA won't see any images or get any data from Pluto flyby mission New Horizons for 22 hours after it begins its closest flyby of the dwarf planet. There are two reasons for what's effectively a radio silence. The first reason is the applicable power. Every single resource the craft passing Pluto is capable of using will be going toward capturing imagery and data on and around Pluto. That should be obvious. We've waited years - we can wait a few more hours.

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NASA study shows extra heat from greenhouse gases trapped in ocean

NASA study shows extra heat from greenhouse gases trapped in ocean

NASA researchers have been studying the temperature of the oceans around the world in recent years and have found that extra heat from greenhouse gasses has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. According to the researchers on the project, this trapping of heat in the ocean water accounts for the slowdown in global surface temperatures observed over the last decade.

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Niobium nanowires may give wearable electronics a power boost

Niobium nanowires may give wearable electronics a power boost

One of the major limiting factors for wearable electronics today is the size of the battery that can be placed inside. Since wearable devices have to be small and light enough to be worn comfortably there isn't much room inside for a battery. Researchers at MIT have developed a new approach to powering wearable electronics that promises to deliver short but intense bursts of power that wearable devices need to operate.

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NASA names commercial crew for SpaceX and Boeing

NASA names commercial crew for SpaceX and Boeing

NASA has picked four veteran astronauts to be the first crew of a commercial spaceflight, as America turns to SpaceX and Boeing to cut its dependence on Russia. Robert Behnken, Eric Boe, Douglas Hurley, and Sunita Williams will now begin trining with the two companies developing private spacecraft, ahead of missions first to the International Space Station but, eventually, manned trips to Mars which are expected to take place sometime in the 2030s.

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New Horizon’s weirdest cargo will warm your heart

New Horizon’s weirdest cargo will warm your heart

Aboard the New Horizons craft as it edges closer to Pluto than we've ever been before is carried the ashes of its discoverer. Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh was the man that discovered our celestial neighbor Pluto. Now - thanks to some thoughtful NASA engineers - Tombaugh's mortal remains will be the closest that have ever traveled to our most distant Solar System cousin. This week NASA spoke with Tombaugh's children. "My Dad always said if he ever had the chance," said Tombaugh's son "he’d love to visit the planets in the solar system and around other stars." Now he will.

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This prosthetic arm is expandable with Lego

This prosthetic arm is expandable with Lego

A design student from Sweden's Umeå University has created what is quite possibly the coolest prosthetic arm imaginable for kids. Simply put, the arm is directly compatible with Lego, letting kids replace the standard hand-like gripping attachment for one they can easily start snapping plastic bricks onto. The prosthetic is specifically designed to be simple for kids to use, with little more than a twist-and-lock mechanism. Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar, the student who created the arm, even got Lego FutureLab and disabilities organization CIREC to collaborate on the project).

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3D printed robot built like a squid, hops like a rocket

3D printed robot built like a squid, hops like a rocket

A squishy, explosively-bouncing robot might herald the next age of 'bot design and could almost be a robo-squid, if only it had a beak. 3D printed robots aren't new, but this is the first time graduated layers of hardness have been used, allowing the explosion-powered blob created by engineers led by Nicholas Bartlett at Harvard University to not only adjust the direction it bounces off in, but to deform in a controlled way on landing that balances preserving the electronics while landing elegantly.

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