Science

NASA plans oxygen alchemy for manned Mars mission

NASA plans oxygen alchemy for manned Mars mission

NASA's manned mission to Mars could take a MacGyver approach to the flight home, potentially relying on oxygen extracted from the red planet's own atmosphere to support crew both during the mission and on the return journey. Dubbed in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), the strategy could mean a very different approach to mission design, particularly when it comes to the planned 2020 robotic rover NASA intends to send to Mars.

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Largest ever dinosaur species unearthed

Largest ever dinosaur species unearthed

Dinosaurs researchers are suggesting could be the largest species ever discovered have been identified from their fossil remains, around 130 feet long and weighing roughly the same as 14 elephants. Despite being considerably larger than a tyrannosaurus rex, the freshly-discovered dinos were herbivores, and belong to the group titannosaurida, or titanosaurs.

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Researcher makes new plastics in lab faux paus

Researcher makes new plastics in lab faux paus

We all have the occasional oopsie, but rarely does that result in an unexpected creation. IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose hit a pocket of luck, however, accidentally creating the first recyclable durable thermoset plastic in a moment of absent-mindedness. The discovery could result in improved plastics in automobiles and more.

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Octopus tentacles could teach more flexible robots

Octopus tentacles could teach more flexible robots

Octopus arms are laced with a special chemical that stops their hundreds of suckers sticking to themselves, researchers have found, allowing their flexible limbs to act semi-autonomously in ways that could have implications for tomorrow's robotics. The average octopus has nearly 2,000 suckers across its eight arms, but despite the potential for tying itself up in sticky knots, it never actually does. Now, we know why that's the case.

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NASA issued Space Station challenge after Russian threats

NASA issued Space Station challenge after Russian threats

NASA has been challenged to come up with a way to use the International Space Station without relying on the Russians, as US lawmakers grow concerned that access to the orbiting research platform could be cut off amid sanction threats. Russia proposed effectively locking NASA out of the ISS earlier this week, after the US blocked high-tech exports as a sales scolding for allegedly supporting Crimean unrest.

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