Science

DARPA wants ‘shape-shifting’ vaccines that evolve with viruses

DARPA wants ‘shape-shifting’ vaccines that evolve with viruses

Vaccines are great, but they’re no match for most viruses in play at any given time. This is due largely in part to the ever-changing nature of viruses and the expense and difficulty in developing new vaccines to target them. DARPA wants that reality to change, citing the numerous concerning viruses, past and present, that affect humanity. Under the “INTERCEPT” program, DARPA seeks “shape-shifting” vaccines that adapt to kill off viruses as they evolve.

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Kepler spacecraft stable again as team seeks emergency mode cause

Kepler spacecraft stable again as team seeks emergency mode cause

NASA researchers were recently surprised to find its Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode, something that had started about 14 hours before a course change the space agency had planned. That maneuver was cancelled and mission researchers began work on recovering Kepler, announcing today that they successfully brought the spacecraft out of Emergency Mode yesterday. As of Sunday morning, Kepler was stable and it is now in its lowest fuel-burning mode.

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Strange Festo drone expels bottles right into your hand

Strange Festo drone expels bottles right into your hand

Some days you'll be working hard, and you'll get pretty thirsty. But have you ever been thirsty enough that you've thought to yourself "I wish there was a giant bubble that would expel a bottle of water right in front of me." Sure, that possibility might never have occurred to you, but prepare to have it haunt your dreams in the days to come, because it's a real thing.

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SpaceX Dragon capsule made it to the ISS without a hitch

SpaceX Dragon capsule made it to the ISS without a hitch

Last summer catastrophe hit SpaceX when its Dragon capsule exploded during an attempted resupply mission to the ISS. SpaceX was returned to flight status after the disaster and its latest resupply mission to the ISS has been completed without any issues. This resupply mission had one very cool bit of tech onboard in the form of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM.

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Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

Houston we have a problem: Kepler spacecraft in Emergency Mode

The Kepler spacecraft may have just been given a new lease in life, entering into a new K2 mission after it successfully completed its original task in 2012. However, it seems that the space telescope is showing some signs of fatigue. On April 7, during a scheduled contact, the spacecraft was discovered to be in Emergency Mode or EM. The exact cause of that mode switch remains unknown. Needless to say, the NASA team in charge of Kepler is hard at work at investigating the cause and getting the spacecraft back in working condition.

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Alphabet unveils new bipedal robot that’s all legs

Alphabet unveils new bipedal robot that’s all legs

While the Google-parent company Alphabet is planning to sell its military-related robotics firm Boston Dynamics, that doesn't mean they don't have other robot projects in development. SCHAFT, which operates under Alphabet's X division (formerly known as Google X), has just unveiled a new bipedal creation in Japan at the New Economic Summit. The name is still unknown, but the bot is capable of climbing stairs, walking across uneven terrain, and even self-balancing.

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SpaceX successfully lands rocket on sea droneship for first time

SpaceX successfully lands rocket on sea droneship for first time

SpaceX has made history, successfully landing one of its rockets on a droneship in the ocean. A video shows the rocket pulling off a perfect landing, gracefully sliding down out of the sky and onto the landing pad, no hiccups or issues to be seen. This marks a first for the company; President Obama chimed in to congratulate it, saying, "It’s because of innovators like you & NASA that America continues to lead in space exploration."

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Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

We’re not even halfway through April yet, and NASA’s already tantalizing us with some fascinating discoveries this month. The most recent one involves an “ice spider” on Pluto, a large part of the planet’s landscape featuring “an unusual geological feature” the space agency describes as looking like a big ol’ spider. A color image of the region was snapped by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last summer, and the photo has just recently been made public.

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Brightest X-ray laser gets stronger with an upgrade

Brightest X-ray laser gets stronger with an upgrade

One of the most powerful x-ray lasers in all the world is getting a serious upgrade that will boost its power even further. Construction on the laser upgrade began a few days ago at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The construction project will see the addition of a second X-ray laser beam that is an average of 10,000 times brighter than the first laser and 8,000 times faster.

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Supermassive black hole found sitting in the middle of cosmic nowhere

Supermassive black hole found sitting in the middle of cosmic nowhere

Scientists have discovered one of the largest black holes that has ever been found. Interestingly, the supermassive black hole sits in what scientists consider a cosmic backwater. Finding such a massive black hole in such an out of the way place is akin to finding a gigantic skyscraper in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The gigantic black hole contains 17 billion times the mass of our sun.

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Supernovae left radioactive debris on Earth 3 million years ago

Supernovae left radioactive debris on Earth 3 million years ago

The explosive death of stars have always been of interest to scientists. The chemical reactions and emissions from this phenomena usually holds clues to the very formation of the universe itself. Considering that these stars are usually thousands, if not millions, of light years away, by the time we do "see" a supernova, it means it really happened ages ago. So when scientists discover traces of radioactive debris from supernovae still lingering on earth, they are understandably pleasantly surprised and excited.

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Study finds robotic Paro seal is therapeutic for dementia patients

Study finds robotic Paro seal is therapeutic for dementia patients

A study conducted by Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing has found that therapeutic robots — in this case, Paro the robotic seal — can help calm and comfort elderly individuals afflicted with dementia. The study observed 920 instances where Paro provided some type of therapeutic effect for dementia patients, “improving the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and reducing the usage of psychotropic medications,” said Paro designer Dr. Takanori Shibata.

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