Science

Understanding Facebook’s data lasers

Understanding Facebook’s data lasers

This week Mark Zuckerberg showed off several photographs of lasers he suggested would be sending internet signals all around the world. These lasers will be used with Facebook's Internet.org project, beaming information "from a plane flying overhead or a satellite flying way overhead," according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "They'll communicate down to earth using very accurate lasers to transfer data." This isn't the first experiment in the world to use lasers to send data. In fact several organizations - like the ESA and NASA - have already begun real-world testing for data transfer between craft in space and labs on our planet's surface. Data transfer with lasers is super reliable and fast, too!

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NASA finds more mystery spots, this time on Pluto

NASA finds more mystery spots, this time on Pluto

NASA has been increasingly gathering more detailed looks at the planets that are close to us. It found itself a little mystery with Ceres, where one of its spacecrafts found a couple clusters of bright spots. The space agency still hasn’t quite figured out what those are, but now it has itself another mystery — this time on Pluto, where the New Horizons spacecraft has taken an image that shows a line of big dark dots in an evenly-spaced single line.

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Babibasiliscus alxi “Jesus Lizard” ran on water 50-m years ago

Babibasiliscus alxi “Jesus Lizard” ran on water 50-m years ago

A new (rather old) lizard has been discovered by scientists who suggest it was the first "Jesus Lizard" in the world. This isn't the only lizard in history to have the ability to run across the water. This creature's very distant cousins still skim the surfaces of lakes today. The Babibasiliscus alxi, or "Babi", is now the most ancient known lizard to be able to appear to use superpowers to run across bodies of water where most any other creature would quickly sink.

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Rosetta finds sinkholes that could swallow a pyramid

Rosetta finds sinkholes that could swallow a pyramid

Rosetta continues its extended mission in capturing information on its nearby comet this week, finding massive sinkholes in the process. A number of these massive "cavities" have shown themselves in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. These holes appear as deep as 590 feet (180 meters) and as wide as 656 feet (200 meters) in diameter. While scientists are not certain why these pits are appearing, lead researcher Jean-Baptiste Vincent suggested that it could be because of the heat of the sun, this heat creating jets of surface-collapsing dust.

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Rare space event: catch Venus and Jupiter crossing tonight

Rare space event: catch Venus and Jupiter crossing tonight

Throughout the month of June, Venus and Jupiter have been moving closer and closer to one another. Or at least they've been appearing to move closer to one another. They've been moving in directions that'll eventually have them within one degrees of one another in our night sky, making it appear as those they're very nearly aligned with one another. Starting at the beginning of June at around 21 degrees from one another, these two planets will reach 0.33 degrees, or 20 arc minutes from one another.

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NASA begins prototyping first airplane to fly over Mars

NASA begins prototyping first airplane to fly over Mars

NASA has revealed a new prototype design for an aircraft that will eventually be the first to fly on Mars in the 2020's. Dubbed the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or "Prandtl-m" for short, features a flying-wing design and is said to be ready for testing later this year via launching from a balloon at an altitude of 100,000 feet to simulate Mars' atmosphere.

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SpaceX explosion leaves NASA reliant on Russian resupply

SpaceX explosion leaves NASA reliant on Russian resupply

With SpaceX's CRS-7 rocket in pieces and future launches grounded until the cause of Sunday's explosion is identified, the ISS is again dependent on Russia for supplies. Although the astronauts currently on the International Space Station have food, water, and other essentials in their orbiting stock cupboard to last them through October 2015, NASA says, it's still vital that the ISS Progress 60 rocket makes it up in one piece when it lifts off this coming Friday.

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Leap Second internet crash won’t happen like last time

Leap Second internet crash won’t happen like last time

Time stands still on Tuesday as an extra second is added to the 30th of June, 2015. Because the Earth's rotation is slowing - and in several billion years we'll all be dead - a second will be added to the clock. Without this second, we'd eventually have times of day that once were associated with the morning setting with the sun. We'd have chaos. But brought on so gradually that none would really notice the difference. Except computers. Back in 2012 when a second was added to the day, Linux-based systems were flung into chaos. Real chaos, not just imaginary.

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NASA puts never-before-seen Challenger, Columbia shuttle wreckage on display

NASA puts never-before-seen Challenger, Columbia shuttle wreckage on display

As this weekend's failed launch of the latest SpaceX mission demonstrates, space travel and exploration remains a difficult endeavor. It is perhaps fitting then that weekend also saw the opening of a new exhibition from NASA at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. On display to the public for the first time ever are pieces of space shuttle wreckage from the Challenger and Columbia missions and their doomed flights. While missions like the recent SpaceX fortunately don't put human lives directly at risk, NASA's new display is part of a fitting tribute to the two crews that were lost.

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Norway has built a ‘highway’ for bees

Norway has built a ‘highway’ for bees

It's well-known that bees and their process of pollination play an important part in global food production, and scientists have been concerned for years about the rapidly decreasing numbers of bee populations. So, one environmental group in Norway has done something a bit unique to help address the problem. They have built what is called the world's first highway for bees in the capital city of Oslo. It's not typical highway like you'd picture in your mind, but rather a series of safe spots on rooftops that allow bees to move through the city.

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