Science

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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Scientists close in on a single-molecule diode

Scientists close in on a single-molecule diode

Researchers at Columbia University School of Engineering have developed a technique creating working diodes that consist of only a single molecule. These molecular diodes are capable of performing 50 times better than previous incarnations of nanoscale diodes. The research group, led by associate professor of applied physics, Latha Venkataraman, could be the first single-molecule diode that is efficient enough to have real-world applications, like incorporation into other nanoscale devices. The new discovery is detailed in the article published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA discovers brightest galaxy, burning with 300 trillion suns

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a remote galaxy, far, far away that is the brightest galaxy known to date. Researchers calculated it burns with the light of 300 trillion suns. The sheer brightness of this galaxy puts it in an entirely new class of space objects, extremely luminous infrared galaxies (ELIRGs), discovered using WISE. NASA has been using WISE, opposed to other methods, to target ELIRGs because the dust surrounding these super-luminous galaxies blocks visible light, and reduces it to infrared light.

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NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA is weighing in on the Memex "Deep Web" search project, hoping to harness DARPA's at-times ominous index to crunch vast quantities of space data. A team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to add a contextual layer to search, not only allowing the system to view webpages more like humans might, but even capable of drawing links between images and individual frames of videos. If it succeeds, it could be a much-needed blast of positive PR for a project that has become mired in controversy.

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