Science

NASA uses smartphones to create earthquake warning network

NASA uses smartphones to create earthquake warning network

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has found a way to use crowdsourced data from smartphones to create a network of early detection and warnings for earthquakes. The system uses crowdsourced measurements from the GPS sensors in smartphones and tablets. Although smartphone GPS sensors are less accurate than scientific-grade equipment, they are ubiquitous enough to create a widespread network which could work just as well as singular scientific measurements. This technology would especially benefit areas that can't afford expensive advanced detection and warning systems.

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Our Earth and Baby Earth smashed out the moon

Our Earth and Baby Earth smashed out the moon

A paper has been published this week which suggests that our moon was created when a tiny Earth collided with our much larger Earth millions of years ago. Millions and millions of years ago, that'll be, so says a paper by the name of "A primordial origin for the compositional similarity between the Earth and the Moon." Did you know that our Moon is made of the same basic material as our planet Earth? Popular theory suggests that our Moon was once part of our Earth, and this newest study suggests that it was bashed out by a sort of "Baby Earth."

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New theories provide a clues to the origin of the moon

New theories provide a clues to the origin of the moon

The Moon is mysterious. We can gaze upon it every night, yet still be so far from uncovering its secrets. This week, new studies were published detailing new theories about the Moon's origin and evolution. The Earth and Moon may have more in common than scientists originally thought. Moon rocks have a composition which is similar to that of our own planet. Scientists have developed two theories, the "great impact hypothesis" and the "late veneer" hypothesis which describe how the Earth and Moon were formed.

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A distant sea of proto-life molecules could mean we’re not alone

A distant sea of proto-life molecules could mean we’re not alone

The building blocks of life have been observed for the first time in a fledgling planetary system light-years away from Earth, a thriving sea of complex organic molecules equal to our own oceans. The discovery, which lends further weight to the idea that our solar system is not the only place where life could have arisen in the universe, was made by astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Perhaps even more impressive than their very existence is the fact that the proportions of molecules are similar to those discovered in comets in our own region of space.

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Rice University creates vibrating vest, allowing deaf to feel sounds

Rice University creates vibrating vest, allowing deaf to feel sounds

Almost every perceives sound through hearing, but what if you could touch sound understand it simple by feeling vibrations? In a partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University is developing VEST, Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer, a device that could teach the hearing impaired a new language of sound. Rice's electrical engineering students, headed by neuroscientist David Eagleman, developed the wearable vest to take auditory input from its surroundings and transcribe it into vibrations. The vest is essentially creating a new way for people with hearing difficulties to perceive sounds.

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NASA anticipates finding evidence of alien life in 10 to 20 years

NASA anticipates finding evidence of alien life in 10 to 20 years

If you're hoping humans will discover other living beings in the universe during your lifetime, you might be in luck. Speaking yesterday at a panel in DC, NASA researchers touched on the topic of alien life and finding evidence of such, and what they had to say was largely inspiring: it'll eventually happen, and the first stages of that likely within the span of the next 20 years. The prospect is exciting, not the least of which is due to the leaps in space travel humans are likely to make in that same time span.

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Brontosaurus is back! (in 60 years or so)

Brontosaurus is back! (in 60 years or so)

This week there's word going round that Brontosaurus is back. In fact, though, the name is only back according to one study. One study does not make the entire scientific community change its mind. The timeline you'll see below shows when the Brontosaurus was first discovered, when the name Brontosaurus was retired, and how long it took for the entire scientific community to accept the realities therein. It's not as simple as most news stories on this subject this week would have you believe.

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Bezo’s Blue Origin preps for its first unmanned spaceflight

Bezo’s Blue Origin preps for its first unmanned spaceflight

The competition for private spaceflight is gearing up as companies compete for the privilege to send a new breed of tourists into space. Competing with Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk's Space X is Blue Origin, the covert rocket company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin's latest spacecraft is the New Shephard, which is designed to be capable of carrying 3 or more astronauts and a full cargo load into sub-orbital space. New Shephard will soon begin unmanned test flights in sub-orbital space this year.

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Intelligent aliens are (probably) huge, says researcher

Intelligent aliens are (probably) huge, says researcher

It is doubtful humans are alone in the universe, at least when it comes to intelligent beings, and one researcher claims the intelligent aliens that might be out there are probably very, very big...at least in relation to the typical human. Huge, in this case, means somewhere in the realm of 650lbs, and could even be higher. This would place humans on the smaller end of the intelligent beings scale, and probably also means we'd lose in an intergalactic battle.

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