Science

BEAM inflatable ISS module hatch opened for the first time this week

BEAM inflatable ISS module hatch opened for the first time this week

In late March, a resupply capsule lifted off and headed to the ISS and among the gear and supplies on board was the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module known as BEAM. After many weeks of work, the BEAM module was finally inflated and astronaut Jeff Williams entered the BEAM module for the first time this week. Upon entering the new module, Williams checked sensors, installed air ducts, and reported to controllers on Earth that the module was in working order.

Continue Reading

Zika virus breakthrough: researchers find protein that inhibits infection

Zika virus breakthrough: researchers find protein that inhibits infection

University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers have made a breakthrough in their evaluation of the zika virus, finding that a “very small protein” found in every human greatly inhibits the virus’ ability to infect cells, and may also keep the virus from killing brain cells. The protein is called “interferon-induced protein 3,” IFITM3 for short, and is the first reported weakness discovered in with the zika virus.

Continue Reading

Harvard researchers create ‘muscles’ for soft-bodied robots

Harvard researchers create ‘muscles’ for soft-bodied robots

Humans are soft, easily bruised creatures, and robots are, well, not so soft. If a hard-bodied robot swings its arm around, not realizing your face is nearby, you're going to get a black eye, and no one wants that to happen. Soft-bodied robots are ideal for this reason -- it's harder for them to accidentally injure you -- and Harvard researchers have taken steps toward bringing these gentler robots to life. In a recently published study, the team details a new type of actuator that functions like a muscle.

Continue Reading

Underwater ‘lost city’ is really just a cool natural phenomenon

Underwater ‘lost city’ is really just a cool natural phenomenon

Underwater near Zakynthos, a Greek island, are some interesting and seemingly human-made structures. When they were discovered by tourists diving in the region, assumptions were made and word spread quickly that some archeological artifacts, possibly the remains of a long-lost city, had been discovered. These claims spurred a group of researchers into investigating the matter, and what they discovered was different, but no less interesting: these structures are entirely natural.

Continue Reading

Synthetic human genome project may lead to lab-grown transplantable organs

Synthetic human genome project may lead to lab-grown transplantable organs

Some scientists want to create a synthetic human genome, and their proposal has critics worked up into a frenzy. In a perfect world, this proposed synthetic human genome would be used to grow human organs for transplant, aid humans in developing medications and vaccines for various illnesses, and more. In a less-than-ideal world, critics worry it could also lead to the creation of a human without parents, to “designer humans” with specific attributes.

Continue Reading

Elon Musk has banned hot tub talks about simulated existence

Elon Musk has banned hot tub talks about simulated existence

There's a chance we're all living in some super advanced simulation, but don't bring the topic up if you ever get the chance to join Elon Musk in a hot tub. Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference 2016, someone asked Musk a philosophical question about whether it’s possible we’re all living in a simulation — and Musk, as you might expect, has been asked this question many, many times. So many times that he had to ban it from the hot tub.

Continue Reading

Blue Origin scores NASA partnership for delivering new technologies to space

Blue Origin scores NASA partnership for delivering new technologies to space

SpaceX has already been working with NASA for some time, with the private space agency delivering supplies to the ISS with its reusable rockets, but now rival Blue Origin has landed a similar partnership. The Jeff Bezos-owned space tourism company is now approved for helping NASA deliver new technologies to the edge space for testing. This will be done with Blue Origin's similarly reusable New Shepard rocket, which is capable of reaching suborbital heights.

Continue Reading

King Tut’s dagger has a blade made from meteorite

King Tut’s dagger has a blade made from meteorite

King Tut was buried with two knives, one of which has an iron blade and another that has a gold blade. Though a gold blade isn’t terribly practical in terms of usability, it’s pretty and seemingly benefitting of a king. As it turns out, though, it’s the iron blade that is most notable and rare — it was crafted from a meteorite, scientists have confirmed. The blade's origins had long been a source of debate, but a new study has put the controversy to rest.

Continue Reading

Fireball soars over Phoenix, causes loud booming sound

Fireball soars over Phoenix, causes loud booming sound

Another fireball has been spotted shooting through the sky, this time in Phoenix, Arizona, where the American Meteor Society says more than 200 witnesses have confirmed seeing the event. Unlike most of these fireball events, there are also several photos of a zig-zagging smokey trail in the sky that may have resulted from the flaming object. The event was caught on camera many times, with the resulting videos showing an exceptionally bright mass falling toward the ground.

Continue Reading

NASA finds 39 human-made sources of ‘major’ unreported pollution

NASA finds 39 human-made sources of ‘major’ unreported pollution

NASA has announced that researchers with the space agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and a couple universities have discovered 39 sources of unreported pollution, and they're all caused by humans. The discoveries were made "using a satellite-based method," NASA said in a statement today, and they all involve toxic sulfur dioxide emissions, which helps contribute to acid rain among other things.

Continue Reading

China’s new food guidelines try to curb nation’s meat consumption

China’s new food guidelines try to curb nation’s meat consumption

It's no secret that eating meat contributes to climate change; environmentalists and more have long urged the world's citizens to reduce the amount of meat they eat, replacing it with food that is more sustainable and easier on the planet. China recently issued revised dietary guidelines that reflect this, and it could lead to a drastic reduction in the nation's emissions related to meat consumption.

Continue Reading

Kepler-62f could have oceans and be habitable, study finds

Kepler-62f could have oceans and be habitable, study finds

There’s a planet called Kepler-62f located about 1,200 lightyears from our own planet, and NASA introduced it to the public back in early 2013. At the time, NASA had said the planet is located in a “habitable zone,” and now a new study suggests the planet could itself be habitable. A group of researchers studied the planet and came to several conclusions about it, including that it likely has liquid water — possibly oceans — and could have an atmosphere that is the same as our own planet's.

Continue Reading