Science

SpaceX tests SuperDraco engines that will actually land crew back to Earth

SpaceX tests SuperDraco engines that will actually land crew back to Earth

SpaceX definitely doesn't lack ambition, or things to test. Barely a week after it nearly succeeded, but still failed, to land a Falcon 9 rocket on a sea platform, it is firing up rockets again, but this time for an even more experimental, and luckily less explosive, test. This time, it is the SuperDraco engines that are being put to the test, along with the software and other systems that would eventually allow a Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying humans inside, to have a nice, soft landing back to earth.

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Researchers find why it’s so hard to break bad habits

Researchers find why it’s so hard to break bad habits

We’re almost a month into those New Year resolutions, but many have already broken them or failed. If you count yourself among those individuals, your lack of success might be due to the seemingly impossible task of breaking a habit — bad or otherwise. It’s well established that changing one’s ways isn’t easy, and researchers have discovered why — you’re literally going against your programming.

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NutriRay3D laser and app scans food, estimates the calories

NutriRay3D laser and app scans food, estimates the calories

The University of Washington has unveiled the prototype of a device called the NutriRay3D, a hand-held nutrition scanner not unlike something out of classic sci-fi movies. The NutriRay3D prototype aims to take the guess work out of calorie counting, keeping track of how many calories as person is consuming simply by scanning the dish and analyzing the calories.

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Venus flytraps ‘count’ touches to optimize eating bugs

Venus flytraps ‘count’ touches to optimize eating bugs

Venus flytraps are creepy enough on their own — they’re plants that bite down on whatever happens to wonder inside their ‘mouth,’ after all, digesting the poor unwitting creature. As it turns out, though, the plants are more complex than previously known, using a fairly sophisticated ‘counting’ method to determine the size of a bug and how much digestive juices it will take to eat it.

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DARPA program seeks brain-to-computer translator implant

DARPA program seeks brain-to-computer translator implant

DARPA has revealed details on a new program that is looking to create neural interface implants for transferring data between the digital world and the human brain. According to the research entity, this implant, should it be successfully developed, will serve as a translator for the data between the two, taking data from the brain and translating it into something for computers, and taking data from computers and translating it for the brain.

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New data teases enormous ‘Planet Nine’ may exist

New data teases enormous ‘Planet Nine’ may exist

Researchers say new data suggests a massive planet, one about ten times the size of Earth, circles the Sun in a huge orbit that takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years. This celestial body has been dubbed ‘Planet Nine,’ and assuming it exists, it lies far out in the solar system in the Kuiper belt. Alas, no one has actually seen Planet Nine at this point in time.

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Five planets will align starting tomorrow morning

Five planets will align starting tomorrow morning

Starting tomorrow morning and lasting into February, five planets will align in what is a rare but favorite celestial event. It has been more than 10 years since Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter aligned in the night sky in such a way that anyone could see them with the naked eye. Some of the planets will be a little more dim than others, though, so you should probably bring binoculars as a backup.

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This donkey has a prosthetic leg and her name is Bella Burro

This donkey has a prosthetic leg and her name is Bella Burro

A donkey in Minnesota is living the good life thanks to a prosthetic leg made specifically for her. Her name is Bella Burro, and if it weren't for a couple in Minneapolis, she'd be dead. Totally dead. But she's alive, and she's got her own Facebook page, and it's all thank to both that couple of folks and the fine people at Arise Orthotics. As of this article's posting, Bella is 2 years and 5 months old, and fabulous as ever.

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Astronaut shows how coffee is made aboard the ISS

Astronaut shows how coffee is made aboard the ISS

Doing the simple and mundane things we do every morning here on Earth takes on a completely new challenge in space. The challenge in microgravity is that things just don’t work the same way they do here on Earth in normal gravity. For instance making a simple cup of coffee becomes a complex process that requires specially engineered systems.

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Dissolving sensor can be used to measure intracranial pressure

Dissolving sensor can be used to measure intracranial pressure

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois led by professor John Rogers has designed an implantable sensor that can be injected into the brain to monitor intracranial pressure and temperature for about five days. That is the length of time where the pressure and temperature inside the head need to be monitored after some sort of traumatic brain injury.

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