Science

NASA’s first green fuel spacecraft figures out eco-power

NASA’s first green fuel spacecraft figures out eco-power

NASA is another step closer to blasting off its experimental "green" spacecraft, which switches traditional (and toxic) propellants with a safer, more efficient alternative that looks like peach tea. The Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) is expected to launch in 2016 as part of a SpaceX Falcon flight, beginning a year-long experiment into whether greener fuels could revolutionize exploration of the solar system.

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Iceland volcano could ground air travel (again)

Iceland volcano could ground air travel (again)

International flights face huge disruptions as Iceland readies for a volcanic eruption that could match the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano for frustrating airlines and redirecting travelers. The simmering volcano in Bárðarbunga is expected to cause widespread flooding as "significant" levels of meltwater are produced from the 150 to 600 meters of glacial ice above it, though magma may not reach the surface.

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Watch the Salmon Cannon fire a fish 22mph

Watch the Salmon Cannon fire a fish 22mph

It is with great personal pleasure that I introduce you to the salmon cannon. Before you fly off the handle, know this: this fish-firing masterpiece does not exist to destroy salmon, but to help them survive. These fish are actually getting fired from a cannon in order to help their species live longer.

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High-speed video captures terrifying Jellyfish stings in action

High-speed video captures terrifying Jellyfish stings in action

Have you ever been stung by a Jellyfish? If you have, you know it hurts (and that everyone’s answer to cure that sting is to pee on you, which is just… no). The soft, gelatinous creatures have long befuddled those who couldn’t figure out how it could cause so much harm. A new video captures Jellyfish stings in action, and it’s terrifying — but cool.

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MIT recycles old car batteries into cheap, long-lasting solar panels

MIT recycles old car batteries into cheap, long-lasting solar panels

Lead pollution is a serious issue, particularly when looked at from the perspective of thousands of old car batteries that are increasingly unneeded due to changes in the battery technologies used. Researchers at MIT have developed a new way to recycle these batteries, and rather than creating them into new car batteries, they've figured out how to make them into very efficient solar panels.

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Google’s Project Tango SPHERES robots arrive at ISS

Google’s Project Tango SPHERES robots arrive at ISS

Google's Project Tango has arrived at the International Space Station, with the 3D mapping smartphone prototype strapped to SPHERES smart internal satellite robots. The "Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites" are floating ball 'bots intended to navigate their way around the inside of space stations and, eventually, help astronauts with their everyday lives, and NASA hopes the addition of Tango tech will make them even smarter.

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1,024 robot flash-mob is cleverer when swarming

1,024 robot flash-mob is cleverer when swarming

If you've ever wanted to see more than a thousand robots working together to create letters of the alphabet, Sesame Street style, today you're in luck. A robot swarm - the Harvard University team responsible also refers to it as a flash mob, which perhaps sounds a little less ominous - has been created to show how individually dumb 'bots can work intelligently when given the right tools, borrowing methods from biological systems like cells or even termites.

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NASA probe may have captured ancient interstellar space dust

NASA probe may have captured ancient interstellar space dust

Microscopic dust particles that could date back to the very start of our solar system have been extracted from NASA's Stardust spacecraft payload, promising to be the first contemporary samples of interstellar dust. Stardust returned its collection of stellar detritus back in 2006, and thus began a painstaking sift through the particles to see what goodies had been gathered during the three billion mile journey.

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The real Ender’s Game: DARPA kids testing tomorrow’s MIL-TEC

The real Ender’s Game: DARPA kids testing tomorrow’s MIL-TEC

A new report into DARPA-funded research draws deep connections between computer games for children and advanced military software, a modern day Ender's Game using STEM to improve US soldier training. These aren't pre-teens inadvertently directing fleets of starships to destroy alien planets, though, with the kids instead said to be unknowingly helping develop software which will train military personnel on things like avoiding counter-insurgency and pacifying occupied territories.

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