Science

Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Two reports from the Nation Academy of Sciences (NAS) have arrived this week suggesting that so-called "geoengineering" isn't good for the planet. They suggest that the term "geoengineering" isn't a legitimate term, saying instead that the term "Climate Intervention" would be more appropriate. Why, you might ask, do they say that we shouldn't be trying to control the weather? It's simple: we don't yet know the consequences of our actions. Methods for changing our planet's makeup like albedo modification and carbon dioxide removal may still have dire consequences we don't yet understand.

Continue Reading

SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

For the third time in as many days, the team at SpaceX set up for another attempt at launching a deep-space weather buoy. The first attempt at launching this satellite called DSCOVR was on Sunday, stopped stopped just moments before takeoff due to a problem with an Air Force radar. Monday another launch was attempted and halted. A technical glitch was to blame - a reset was planned for this afternoon. This re-launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at at 6:05 p.m. EST (2305 GMT) today.

Continue Reading

400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

A group of scientists have announced that they've found some extremely old pollution this week, picked up in an ice cap in the Peruvian Andes. Traces of air pollution, they suggest, date back to over 400 year-old mining operations that happened hundreds of miles away. Researchers suggest that this is the first clear evidence of human-made air pollution in South America from any time before the Industrial Revolution. Pollution here likely originated in what's now Bolivia - in the Potosí mountaintop silver mines.

Continue Reading

Dwarf stars discovered on collision course

Dwarf stars discovered on collision course

One of our favorite telescopes in the world - the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), has aided in spotting a couple of stars set to collide. At the center of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428, two stars orbit one another. These two planetary bodies are both dwarf stars drawing ever-nearer to each other, eventually set to touch and create one massive explosion. A thermonuclear explosion, that is to say, with a Type "la" supernova to follow. Sadly, none of us living today will be around to see this event, as it'll take place some 700 years from now.

Continue Reading

NASA shows off moon phases from the far side

NASA shows off moon phases from the far side

Growing up we always called the far side of the moon the dark side of the moon. We had this mental image of that side of the moon being perpetually in the dark, but that isn’t true. The sun shines its light on the far side of the moon as well, but we don’t ever get to see that side of the moon from Earth. NASA has some very cool moon phases and libration videos that show the moon from the view we have here on Earth.

Continue Reading

Doctoral student develops ‘Where’s Waldo’ search algorithm

Doctoral student develops ‘Where’s Waldo’ search algorithm

Remember all the time you spent as a kid trying to find Waldo (or Wally, if you're outside the U.S.) in the Where's Waldo books? Well, like almost everything else these days, computers have turned us humans into chumps when it comes to that activity. We can now thank a doctoral student in computing for developing an algorithm that optimizes the search process and identifies the best places on the page to find the striped shirt and glasses-wearing character.

Continue Reading

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that suggests Mars was - at least in parts - a whole lot more acidic than predicted by earlier testing.

Continue Reading

DARPA wants to piggy-back satellites on jets to space

DARPA wants to piggy-back satellites on jets to space

Getting payloads from Earth and into space is shaping up to be big business, and now DARPA is weighing in with its own piggy-back proposal that could see jets help take satellites into orbit. Dubbed the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, the scheme isn't designed to challenge SpaceX and Boeing for their Launch America contracts, taxiing NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, but instead to act as a more affordable route to put up things like communication and weather satellites with relatively short notice. The goal is a roughly $1m delivery charge and, maybe more importantly, a far faster turnaround than existing methods.

Continue Reading

Planck knocks 100m years off oldest stars, no Botox needed

Planck knocks 100m years off oldest stars, no Botox needed

Age may only be a number, but it turns out some of the oldest stars in the universe could be a lot younger than believed, according to new results from the Planck telescope. While scientists had previously estimated that the first stars began to shine 440m years after the Big Bang, itself pegged at 13.8 billion years ago, new results from the decommissioned ESA space telescope suggest that may have been off by as much as 100m years. Spilling the stars' age secrets are freshly calculated maps of cosmic background radiation, that help explain when reionization of the universe began.

Continue Reading

Singapore students print 1st 3D Concept Car in Asia

Singapore students print 1st 3D Concept Car in Asia

When you think of printers, you probably think of the big, heavy boxes on or under your desks. For quite a while now there have been 3D printers capable of printing any 3D object you can dream up in CAD, for example. The new technology has come a long way from its infancy only a few years ago. These days you can print everything from replicar dinosaur bones, to a Stradivarius imitation, to ultra-light bicycles, and now even whole cars. Students from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have succeeded to print an entire urban solar electric car.

Continue Reading