Science

Copy of Star Wars original script unearthed in UNB library

Copy of Star Wars original script unearthed in UNB library

It is almost like a crossover between two Harrison Ford universes. A nondescript librarian, employed for a menial task, stumbles across a long forgotten manuscript revealed to be the very faithful recreation of an original plot for a story of epic proportions. That scene is probably not far from the mind of Kristian Brown when he came across, purely by accident, on a copy of the original script for Star Wars. Now the University of New Brunswick in Saint John in Canada will have to make sure they never again forget that they hold a piece of pop culture history.

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Homemade 40W laser shotgun: don’t try this at home

Homemade 40W laser shotgun: don’t try this at home

Science fiction just got a DIY treatment and got closer to home. It won't be enough to stop a truck dead on its wheels like Lockheed Martin's contraption, which is unabashedly a weapon of destruction, but YouTube user Styropyro's homebrew laser shotgun is still powerful enough to do some damage and burn things, even wood. And perhaps the scariest part about it is that it is something that makers, DIYers, and science enthusiasts can build right at home, with just the right tools, the right materials, and the right motivation.

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Einstein ring holds gargantuan galaxy at the edge of the Universe

Einstein ring holds gargantuan galaxy at the edge of the Universe

Japanese researchers have discovered a new galaxy so far away, it is in the outskirts of the charted Universe. To precisely map this galaxy the scientists turned to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope and used the gravitational lensing of a foreground galaxy, which created a "natural telescope," bending and magnifying light from the hidden, background galaxy, SDP.81. As the natural telescope magnifies SDP.81, the image loses focus and becomes smeared. The team of scientists was able to create a mathematical model to account for lens distortion and bring obscured details to light. In a way, the model is like correcting galactic astigmatism.

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NASA finds glass on Mars, could hold signs of life

NASA finds glass on Mars, could hold signs of life

Every mark on a planet's surface details its history. Mars is long suspected of being home to signs of life, so its history is of particular interest to researchers. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found glass deposits sitting at the nadir of some impact craters on Mars. Previous scientific inquiries into impact glass on earth have been led by Peter Schultz from Brown University. While working on an expedition in Argentina he discovered ancient plant matter and organic material embedded in glass that was formed by an impact from millions of years ago. He proposed that the similar impacts could preserve signs of life on other planets. If they could isolate glass deposits on Mars, there is a chance they could detect and analyze the biosignatures.

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NASA successfully launches its ‘flying saucer': watch live

NASA successfully launches its ‘flying saucer': watch live

After being hit with delays, NASA has finally launched its "flying saucer", which is officially known as the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD). This saucer-shaped contraption is only undergoing testing at this point, though in the future it could be used to send payloads to Mars. The odd shape comes in part from a cushion about the payload, helping protect it; there is also a large parachute that deploys so the payload, both current and future, makes it safely to the ground. The event is still broadcasting live (link after the jump).

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Mars solar conjunction will cause spacecraft communications to degrade in June

Mars solar conjunction will cause spacecraft communications to degrade in June

Every 26 months Mars ends up behind the sun when seen from the perspective of Earth. That means that while the Red Planet is behind the Sun, communications between the spacecraft on and orbiting the planet will be diminished. The phenomenon is known as the Mars solar conjunction and leads to disrupted radio communications between the planets. To prevent any garbled communications between Earth and Mars from causing potential harm to spacecraft, communications are stopped temporarily.

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Amazon conservation group use drones to fight rain forest logging

Amazon conservation group use drones to fight rain forest logging

While drones are getting a lot of press these days as either high-tech toys or dangerous hazards, they are also being used as effective tools for great causes. Take the Amazon Basin Conservation Association for example, who use a custom drone to fly above the rain forest in Peru, scanning for illegal logging and mining taking place, both of which damage the local ecosystem. The group uses a custom made wing-style drone to get more range than a quadcopter, and are able to protect a reserve that measures 550-square-miles.

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After glitch, LightSail spacecraft finally unfurls its sails

After glitch, LightSail spacecraft finally unfurls its sails

The LightSail has finally deployed its solar sails after encountering glitches that if unsolved, could have scrapped the mission. LightSail was launched into space almost forty years after science fiction genius, Carl Sagan, first thought of the idea of a spacecraft that could sail by solar rays. The project is headed by the Planetary Society, which touts Bill Nye (the Science Guy) as its CEO. After encountering a software glitch that left the LightSail unresponsive and unable to send data back to earth, the ground team went into overdrive trying to solve the problem.

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Astonishing new test could expose your entire virus history

Astonishing new test could expose your entire virus history

Worried you won't be able to remember every virus you've been infected with in the event you have to fill out a detailed medical history? Don't be. Scientists have come up with a new type of blood test that can determine every virus to have entered your body. Traces of antibodies generated by your body to fight infections can remain in your bloodstream for decades, so that's what the new test, dubbed VirScan, analyzes in order to come up with a list of previous attackers.

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Brainprints may replace passwords for securing systems

Brainprints may replace passwords for securing systems

A group of researchers has published a research paper that outlines a new biometric security procedure that might one day be used to replace passwords, retinal scans, and fingerprint data for securing systems. The paper is called "Brainprint" and according to the study, the way your brain reacts to certain words could be used to replace passwords in the future. The study was conducted by researchers from Binghamton University.

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