Science

Limpet teeth: the new World’s Strongest Material

Limpet teeth: the new World’s Strongest Material

So you'd like to know what naturally occurring inorganic material is tougher than spider web, yes? This week Professor Asa Barber of the University of Portsmouth's School of Engineering spoke up on the project. Also leading the project, Barber suggested, "Until now we thought that spider silk was the strongest biological material because of its super-strength and potential applications in everything from bullet-proof vests to computer electronics." Until now, of course. Their new findings suggest that the teeth of the snail-like Limpet is stronger than any material they've found before.

Continue Reading

A Red Dwarf buzzed our Solar System 70k years ago

A Red Dwarf buzzed our Solar System 70k years ago

There are always foreign rocks floating in an out of our solar system, but it's particularly rare that a whole star would come anywhere near our sun. That's what happened, according to a group of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile, and South Africa. This (relatively small) Red Dwarf entered and exited our extended system through the distant cloud of comets known as the Oort Cloud. Not that we noticed it - it happened around 70,000 years ago, well before we were around to see it.

Continue Reading

Mars plumes: why the low resolution?

Mars plumes: why the low resolution?

Why are these "clouds" being viewed from Earth by telescope, instead of from mars, by the MGO? This was one of the more pointed questions we received when our first exploration of the "Mars plume" was released earlier this week. We decided to take a closer look at this seemingly obvious situation - why look at the planet from afar when we could be so much closer? Aren't there pieces of equipment on and around the planet that could have taken better photographs of this planetary phenomenon?

Continue Reading

MIT researchers design a chair that can assemble itself

MIT researchers design a chair that can assemble itself

If you have ever purchased cheap furniture that you have to assemble at home, you know what an arduous processes building a table or cabinet can be. Researchers at MIT have designed some high tech furniture, albeit on a small scale, that can assemble itself. The prototype is a chair that can put itself together under controlled circumstances.

Continue Reading

Life on Earth may be much older than we thought

Life on Earth may be much older than we thought

Before this week, scientists believed that life as we know it began to appear around 2 billion years ago. In a study done over the past year, a group of scientists have discovered evidence that may extend that time period by a whole extra 1.2 billion years. Based on the oldest samples available - rocks 3.2 billion years old - lead author Eva Stüeken and her team have found what they believe to be enough evidence to suggest that life on Earth spans back to 3/4 the age of the planet itself.

Continue Reading

Rosetta comet photos: up close and personal with 67P

Rosetta comet photos: up close and personal with 67P

Less than 9 kilometers from the surface of a comet, Rosetta is taking photos for us humans to see. While we've yet to hear from Philae since shortly after it landed, Rosetta's still in full operation. Taking photos from just about as close to the surface as the craft is going to get, our first glimpses from above the surface of this comet are coming in now. These aren't the first views we've gotten of the rock - we got some photos from Philae, after all - but they are the largest and most impressive.

Continue Reading

Penguins can’t taste ice cream, so says science

Penguins can’t taste ice cream, so says science

All penguins - of all types - have been discovered to have no taste for sweet, bitter, and umami flavors of edible matter. Of course they can't taste anything sweet, even if it happens to be a sweet-tasting rock - but this finding is linked inextricably to eating. As it turns out, its likely penguins lost their taste for several types of food over the course of their migration to cold climates and evolution to the creatures they are today - friendly, tasteless waddlers though they are.

Continue Reading

What are these weird Mars clouds? Stargazers aren’t sure

What are these weird Mars clouds? Stargazers aren’t sure

A huge plume of haze extending more than 600 miles from the surface of Mars has stumped astronomers, with the cause of the unexpected extrusion still the cause of fierce speculation. Spotted for the first time in 2012, the high-altitude emissions were first tracked by amateurs who initially doubted their telescopes, so different from the usual clouds and aurora they were. Now, researchers from the European Space Agency have waded in, but while they may have far stronger telescopes (not to mention a bigger budget), they're still stuck at the theorizing stage.

Continue Reading

Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

To achieve the effect of a black hole in the film Interstellar, Christopher Nolan worked with real physicist Kip Thorne to depict scientifically-sound images. Thorne and a team at Double Negative Visual Effects worked to create a new code to solve the equation for visualizing light beams as seen from a viewer as they approach a black hole. This has never been done before. While previous studies have been performed at great distances and with light rays, this system bundled light beams together to create an image that was realistic, beautiful, and scientifically sound.

Continue Reading