Science

Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Back in 2011, a most unusual experiment was started, one that would appeal to both the connoisseurs and the imbibers among us: whiskey aged in space. The experiment was the brainchild of NanoRacks LLC, a US-based space research firm that approached Scotland-based Ardbeg Distillery about sending some vials of terpenes into space, something they agreed to. Fast forward to early 2012, and it was announced that the vials of materials were shipped to the International Space Station via a Russian cargo flight, where they'd been sitting until just recently.

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ESA Rosetta Probe finds comet smells like a litter box

ESA Rosetta Probe finds comet smells like a litter box

The European Space Agency sent a probe into space to link up with a comet many months ago called Rosetta. The comet that was the target for the probe is known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Already the probe has been able to send back some of the most detailed images of the surface of a comet that we have ever seen. The probe has also been gathering data on other aspects of the comet, such as what sort of molecules are being emitting.

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New microscope rapidly captures molecules, cells in high-def

New microscope rapidly captures molecules, cells in high-def

When Eric Betzig shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry a few weeks ago, little did the world know that he was already in the middle of cooking up yet another award-worthy development. After his PALM microscope, Betzig is now taking the biology world by storm again with a new lattice light microscope. This microscope is not only able to capture high resolution images of molecules and cells, it can do so rapidly and in complete three dimensions. And all these while minimizing damage to the cells being photographed.

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NASA wants to drift two satellites for awesome space pics

NASA wants to drift two satellites for awesome space pics

A "virtual telescope" which owes its precision not to complex, high-strength optics but to precisely flying a pair of satellites in tandem and combining the data from each could help the hunt for Earth-like planets in the galaxy and even picture the event horizon of a black hole, NASA scientists suggest. Although space telescopes like Hubble have been operating for several decades, the new virtual telescope project will take a distinctively different approach, initially using two CubeSats - tiny satellites far cheaper and easier to launch, thanks to their compact and standardized design - that would each contribute a part of the overall vision process.

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DARPA turns its attention to atom-wide brain sensors

DARPA turns its attention to atom-wide brain sensors

DARPA, known half-jokingly as the Department of Mad Scientists, has again turned its attention to the human brain, this time hoping to expand our insight into it and its structure through the use of incredibly tiny (read: atom-sized) graphene sensors. It detailed its latest effort on Monday, explaining its work in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin at Madison to create a new form of technology for peering into how the brain functions. This is done as part of President Obama's brain initiative, says the research agency.

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Hendo Hoverboard tries to make a childhood dream come true

Hendo Hoverboard tries to make a childhood dream come true

Ludicrous as it may sound, the hoverboard has been one of the most elusive applications of science and technology in the past decades. Ever since Marty McFly stood atop that seemingly magical plank in Back to the Future II, the hoverboard has been the stuff of dreams of children, many of whom have grown up trying to make that into a reality. One of the latest attempts come from husband and wife Greg and Jill Henderson, who founded Hendo to bring the hoverboard to life.

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Boeing X-37B orbital test vehicle touches down after third successful flight

Boeing X-37B orbital test vehicle touches down after third successful flight

Boeing is bragging that its X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle has touched down at Vandenberg Air Force base to complete its third successful flight. We still have no idea exactly what the orbital test vehicle is being used for, but the spacecraft and its siblings are racking up some significant time spent in space. In March, another X-37B landed after spending 469 days in space. This time out, the X-37B spent 674 days in space.

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Robots to contribute to new Ebola-fighting efforts

Robots to contribute to new Ebola-fighting efforts

As fears continue to grow over the recent outbreak of Ebola, scientists and researchers in the U.S. are hoping to develop a strategy for combating the virus' spread through the use of robots and autonomous vehicles. November 7th will see workshops put together by the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue that brings robotocists together with members of the medical and humanitarian aid communities to hopefully find a solution.

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Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Concern about so-called super bugs -- mutated viruses and bacteria resistant to treatment -- is exceptionally high. The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last year, for example, warning about the threat superbugs pose and potential ramifications if certain actions aren't taken. It is for these reasons the deliberate creation of mutated viruses for research purposes (gain of function research) has been highly controversial, a controversy the US government has stoked by announcing a temporary halt to its funding of such studies.

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New battery tech warns when an explosion is possible

New battery tech warns when an explosion is possible

Though they're rare, we've all heard the horror stories: people innocently using their smartphones and tablets, only to have them catch fire and/or explode, sometimes causing severe injuries to the users. The reasons this happens are numerous, but in the case of lithium-ion batteries, they can usually be narrowed down to a specific cause: internal short-circuiting. Thanks to a team of researchers from Stanford, that issue could be partially solved via a new technology that alerts when something has gone awry.

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