Science

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.

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198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

No, they weren't coming ashore to take the Hobbiton tour. On New Zealand's South Island on Friday, nearly 200 pilot whales beached themselves - most likely on accident. Scientists are speculating that these whales may have been in an area where their built-in sonar abilities were messed with, leading them to swim up and over the area they'd normally be comfortable in. These whales can't, after all, survive on the shore for extended periods of time. They breath oxygen, but they still need to be wet.

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New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

If you're living in the West, you may want to start thinking about conserving your water. A group of scientists from NASA, Columbia University, and Cornell University have published a paper in Science Advances which suggests a 35-year drought - or "megadrought," as they call it - will be hitting the Southwest and central Great Plains in the near future. This will happen, they say, if we stay on our current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue as they are, there's an 80% chance, this team says, that we'll hit at least one "decades-long" megadrought between the years 2050 and 2100.

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DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

You may have heard of the craft called DSCOVR, but what is it, exactly? Why is NASA working with SpaceX to launch this craft into orbit between our sun and the Earth? It'll serve as a warning beacon - that's what. DSCOVR stands for Deep Space Climate Observatory, and now that it's been launched into space (just last night), it'll allow much better lead time for NOAA's space weather alerts and forecasts. Geomagnetic storms is what this craft will be warning against - where, when, and how severe we'll be getting them.

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Shower of the future washed you with recycled water

Shower of the future washed you with recycled water

Water recycling is nothing new, NASA has been recycling water from human waste to ensure that astronauts have enough water to drink for years. The shower of the future sounds like something that NASA would cook up. It captures water that would normally go down the drain and uses it to wash you. As gross as that might sound, the makers claim the water is very clean.

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After rovers, NASA sets its eyes on unmanned submarines

After rovers, NASA sets its eyes on unmanned submarines

One could probably say that NASA has gotten land and aerial space travel down to a T, with numerous rockets, satellites, and rovers under its belt. One thing that is quite novel for it is underwater exploration. But being NASA, it is, of course, more interested in water that isn't on Earth. Now the world's premiere space agency is making plans to design and build a drone submarine, one that would travel to space and explore Titan, one of Saturn's many moons.

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Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

This week the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) took off on a Vega rocket. This takeoff sequence was done at the European Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday (February 11th) at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT). This craft was a prototype for a reusable orbiter, prepared to move passengers into space in the future. Below you'll be able to watch this spacecraft take off successfully, heading 340 km into space not long after its initial launch earlier this morning. This system precedes a program called PRIDE: Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator for Europe.

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Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Two reports from the Nation Academy of Sciences (NAS) have arrived this week suggesting that so-called "geoengineering" isn't good for the planet. They suggest that the term "geoengineering" isn't a legitimate term, saying instead that the term "Climate Intervention" would be more appropriate. Why, you might ask, do they say that we shouldn't be trying to control the weather? It's simple: we don't yet know the consequences of our actions. Methods for changing our planet's makeup like albedo modification and carbon dioxide removal may still have dire consequences we don't yet understand.

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SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

For the third time in as many days, the team at SpaceX set up for another attempt at launching a deep-space weather buoy. The first attempt at launching this satellite called DSCOVR was on Sunday, stopped stopped just moments before takeoff due to a problem with an Air Force radar. Monday another launch was attempted and halted. A technical glitch was to blame - a reset was planned for this afternoon. This re-launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at at 6:05 p.m. EST (2305 GMT) today.

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