Science

Super-powerful laser creates plasma hotter than the sun

Super-powerful laser creates plasma hotter than the sun

The sun is very, very hot. We have all known this since grade school. Scientists have created an incredibly powerful laser that can create plasma that is many times hotter than the center of the sun. The incredibly powerful laser that is able to create the intensely heated plasma has 200-trillion watts of power. The photo here is a shot of that laser and the incredibly bright spot is the super hot plasma.

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See the world’s oldest stone tools up close

See the world’s oldest stone tools up close

A newly published paper suggests that the oldest known tools pre-date the previous record holders by 700,000 years. This places the first tools squarely in the hands of pre-humans, likely in the palms of our ancestors, well before the previous record holders: Homo habilis. These tools were found in a dried up river bed in Kenya, where similar tools have been found that ranged thousands of years forward - the ones found here may have been the first. As should be obvious, these tools are just about as rudimentary a set of tools as you're ever going to see.

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X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

The United States Air Force X37-B Space Plane (one of two) takes off into orbit above Earth in its fourth secretive mission. The craft itself is not a secret - we know what it's capable of. The contents of the craft are not entirely secret - we know MOST of what's inside. What the United States Air Force is doing on this mission with the cargo they carry - that's the question here. With one of two X-37B space planes headed to space with, amongst other cargo, 10 minuscule "cubesats" and a real deal Solar Sail, we'll be interested to see what becomes of their testing and action.

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Black Silicon solar cell efficiency pushed to 22.1%

Black Silicon solar cell efficiency pushed to 22.1%

The sun puts out all the clean and free electricity that we could ever need and the big problem in harnessing it is the low efficiency of solar panels today. Much of the solar energy that hits solar panels in use today isn’t turned into electricity. Researchers are constantly working to improve solar panel efficiency and recently researchers from Aalto University and Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya have set a new record for the most efficient solar panel.

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L’Oreal partners with bioprinting firm to 3D print human skin

L’Oreal partners with bioprinting firm to 3D print human skin

L'Oreal is partnering with 3D bioprinting company, Organovo to take their current skin farming to the next level. L'Oreal currently grows its own skin for testing beauty products and formulations. It is a necessary step before releasing products to market, so L'Oreal can see just how safe and effective its formulas are. Organovo is an industrial bioprinting company that 3D-printed artificial veins from living tissue in 2010.

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It’s raining spiders in Australia again

It’s raining spiders in Australia again

Australia's Southern Tablelands are experiencing an Angel Hair event - a spider migration which covers entire towns in spiderwebs. Thousands of flying spiders falling from the sky, creating an ethereal, other-worldly event the likes of which you've only likely ever seen in a dream. Or a nightmare - depending on your preferences. "When I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred meters into the sky," said Goulburn resident Ian Watson. "It was beautiful."

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ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

ISS could mount lasers to blast away space debris

As the ISS floats above earth, it's actually hurtling around its orbit at 17,000 mph. Any debris that it encounters at that speed could have major consequences, so the ISS often has to change course throughout its orbit just to avoid space debris from previous missions. According to NASA, there are about 3,000 tons of space debris in a cloud around Earth in low-Earth orbit. There is another belt of debris higher above the earth in geo-synchronous orbit. A team of Japanese scientists proposed a solution using lasers to blast the debris before it can damage the ISS.

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Ocean spray controls more weather than you realize

Ocean spray controls more weather than you realize

Sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles are discovered to "profoundly impact climate" with their ability to scatter solar radiation. Clouds are formed when these particles spray forth - seeds for all forms of weather around the planet. A study has been published today which studies the effects of microbial control of sea spray aerosol, and the blooms therein. In an isolated ocean-atmosphere facility containing 3,400 gallons of natural seawater this study was carried out. Waves upon waves were studied as the atmosphere became moist.

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This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

This One Photo: Australia’s aurora captured in space

A fantastic photo (and short video) of the Aurora Australis are captured by NASA astronaut Terry Virts. "Flying away from one of the most incredible auroras I've seen," said Virts, "just west of Australia." In addition to capturing the photo you're about to see full size, Virts also captured a Vine. That means he captured one of the most fantastical visions most humans on Earth will never see from his position with a camera that then bashed the video down to miniature size in order for us normal citizens to be able to see, over and over again.

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Researchers create concrete that can repair its own cracks

Researchers create concrete that can repair its own cracks

Concrete is one of the most common building materials in the world. The foundation for the home you live in right now is probably made from concrete. Many of the huge buildings in downtown areas around the world are also made from the material. Even the Romans used concrete as a building material. Researchers are looking into away to make the material more durable and a professor from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has created a new type of concrete.

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