Science

Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

The Rosetta comet probe mission may not have gone entirely to plan, but the science is still pouring out - not to mention water from the comet itself - as the ESA considers hunting down the stalled lander. Triumph at getting the Philae lander to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014 turned to frustration when a less-than-perfect touchdown left the probe short on sunlight and prematurely powered-down. Now, the European Space Agency is considering using the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft to go on a Philae hunt, but there's a price to be paid in potential future research.

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We’re three minutes from Doomsday

We’re three minutes from Doomsday

Climate change and the unrelenting development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons have seen the Doomsday Clock pushed another minute closer to global disaster, with scientists warning that we're three metaphorical minutes from destruction. The clock, a symbolic representation of how close humanity is to teetering on the edge of effective annihilation by its own hand, is now just three minutes from midnight, with the team in charge of the hands - the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, counting seventeen Nobel Prize laureates among its members - ominously suggesting that "the probability of global catastrophe is very high."

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Here’s why rain smells, presented in slow-mo

Here’s why rain smells, presented in slow-mo

There's a word for the scent that comes with the rain after a long, warm period of dry weather - it's called Petrichor. This week, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have published a study - and a rather fascinating video - that shows how rain gives off this scent. Rain releases a smell much in the same way champagne releases its scent through bubbles - with tiny bursts of aerosols. Like miniature spray bottles aiming for your nose, raindrops are able to smell just like rain.

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Frill Shark “living fossil” found alive in Australia

Frill Shark “living fossil” found alive in Australia

It's time again to cover your kids' eyes and make certain you don't have a heart condition, because the animal you're about to see is terrifying. This is the Chlamydoselachus anguineus, or "Frilled Shark", so named for its six pairs of "frill like gills." One of these beasts was found earlier this month near Lakes Entrance in Gippsland, Australia. This animal is one of two living species from a genus of shark that's nearly extinct. This family of sharks has existed since the Cretaceous epoch, 72-million years ago.

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This metal is so water-resistant that it bounces them off

This metal is so water-resistant that it bounces them off

If you think IPX8 grade waterproofing is already astounding, prepare to pick up your jaw after seeing this new metal etching technique. Researchers at the University of Rochester were able to come up with a laser-etching method that creates what is probably the most super hydrophobic sheet of metal in the world. It's so hydrophobic that water doesn't simply roll off to one side when tilted at an angle. Water drops actually bounce off repeatedly until they either fall off the edge.

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SpaceX confirms $1bn Google investment

SpaceX confirms $1bn Google investment

SpaceX has confirmed its new funding round, with Google and Fidelity splashing $1bn to grab a chunk of Elon Musk's rocket company. Rumors of the planned investment began yesterday, with Google said to be particularly keen on working on satellite internet services after its own project to blanket the planet with broadband in a similar fashion fell through in 2014. The deal will see Google and Fidelity together holding just short of 10-percent of SpaceX, valuing it at around $10bn in total.

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The largest ever Hubble photo shows Andromeda’s glory

The largest ever Hubble photo shows Andromeda’s glory

Taking high-resolution photos of your neighbors is usually frowned upon, but not when the neighbor in question is the Andromeda galaxy and the camera is the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has shared the sharpest large composite image ever taken of the sprawling mass of stars, space dust, and more, a vast 1.5 billion pixels that together cover a 61,000 light year long section of the galaxy. It's a shot that gets more and more involving even as you zoom in closer, but NASA is hoping that it will do more than just amaze people.

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NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA has shared its newest photos of distant dwarf planet Ceres, the next destination for the long-traveling Dawn spacecraft as it continues its nearly two-decade mission. The 590 mile wide planet is just 27 pixels across in Ceres' first snapshot, beamed back to Earth as the exploring spaceship makes its approach, but that's still enough to help guide the craft into orbit. Meanwhile, the quality will only increase as the distance from the mysterious planet shrinks: NASA says that the next scheduled photos will be the best shots of Ceres ever seen by human eyes.

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Opera singer Sarah Brightman to spend ten days on the ISS

Opera singer Sarah Brightman to spend ten days on the ISS

If you aren't a fan of British opera singers, you might not recognize the name Sarah Brightman. She is a 54-year-old soprano singer who started singing on stage in Phantom of the Opera. Word has surfaced that the singer is currently in training for an out of this world trip- literally. Brightman has reportedly spent a whopping $52 million to spend ten days in space on the ISS.

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Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment

Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment

Google is reportedly near to splashing a considerable amount of cash on SpaceX, Elon Musk's ambitious space exploration company, as part of a funding round that would value the company at more than $10bn. SpaceX has already begun running unmanned resupply missions to the International Space Station, and is currently testing reusable rocket technology that could potentially slash the cost of putting people, satellites, and other cargo into orbit, or even further beyond, such as a manned mission to Mars that Musk continues to promise. According to insiders, with Google's own space plans stumbling, the next best thing is a slice of SpaceX.

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