Science

ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

The European Space Agency's mission to Mars has successfully begun, though it'll be seven months before the Proton rocket reaches the red planet. ExoMars 2016 aims to sift through the Martian atmosphere in search of methane and other trace gases which, the scientists suggest, might indicate that there are active biological or geological processes underway on the distant planet.

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Stanford researchers create tiny synchronized robots that can pull a car

Stanford researchers create tiny synchronized robots that can pull a car

Researchers at Stanford University have created tiny robots that are able to work in a synchronized form to pull a much larger object. A team of six of the tiny robots that weight a total of 3.5 ounces were able to pull a car that weighs in at 3,900 pounds. The idea is rather like the swarms of nanorobots that were featured in the animated film "Big Hero 6".

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Google AlphaGo AI loses 4th match against champion, still winning 3-1

Google AlphaGo AI loses 4th match against champion, still winning 3-1

AlphaGo, the artificial intelligence from Google's DeepMind project, has finally had its winning streak against Go world champion Lee Sedol broken. While the AI won its third straight game against Lee yesterday, leaving the player disappointed and prompting an apology for not meeting expectations, 18-time world champion racked up a victory today, marking his first win against the machine out of five total matches.

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Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

As part of the ExoMars 2016 mission, a new unmanned spacecraft will be departing for Mars on Monday thanks to collaboration between the space agencies of Europe and Russia. The European Space Agency (ESA) notes that the probe is heading to the red planet to study its atmosphere and dust storms, and to get there it will be riding atop a Russian Proton rocket.

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New reptile species discovered with 250 million year old fossil

New reptile species discovered with 250 million year old fossil

A team of scientists have discovered a fossilized reptile skull dating back 250 million years, revealing not only evidence of a new species, but connections to the origins of dinosaurs as well. The skull, found by paleontologists from universities in Brazil and the UK, is well-preserved and features a number of serrated teeth, and is said to have survived a mass extinction event that occurred roughly 252 million years ago, eradicating 90% of life on Earth.

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Researchers discover plastic-eating bacteria

Researchers discover plastic-eating bacteria

Plastic waste floats around the ocean as massive islands of garbage, it kills wildlife and destroys environments. Scientists have been scrambling for a solution to the growing problem, and now a team of Japanese researchers may have found a solution: plastic-eating bacteria. The researchers discovered a type of bacteria that feeds on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, one of the most commonly used varieties around the globe.

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Video: Big Mac withstands molten copper like a boss

Video: Big Mac withstands molten copper like a boss

People get a kick out of leaving McDonald’s fries and chicken nuggets sitting out for months, marveling at the lack of expected rot and degradation. That’s old news. Molten copper is all the rage right now, and some industrious fellow has been pouring it on various items and recording the resulting fallout. Latest on the chopping (pouring?) block was a Big Mac, but the molten copper merely rolled off its buns. Literally.

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NASA Mars InSight mission set for May 2018 launch

NASA Mars InSight mission set for May 2018 launch

NASA has announced the new launch date that it is targeting to send the Mars InSight mission into the heavens on course to the Red Planet. The InSight mission was originally set to launch in March 2016, but was delayed. NASA is now targeting InSight for launch on May 5, 2018 with landing scheduled for November 26, 2018.

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How to watch the solar eclipse tonight

How to watch the solar eclipse tonight

This year will prove fun for astronomers and star-gazers alike, as it'll bring both a solar eclipse and, in a couple weeks, a lunar eclipse. The solar eclipse is happening tonight, and you won't have to worry about weather blocking your view -- the eclipse will mostly only be visible in Indonesia and to passengers on select commercial flights. Thanks to our increasingly connected world, though, you'll still have an option for watching the solar eclipse live as it happens no matter where you're located.

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New Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak lets you fly under the radar

New Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak lets you fly under the radar

The ability to turn invisible is something that has shown up in various works of fiction for a very long time. Bilbo Baggins had his magic ring that could hide him from prying eyes, and Harry Potter had his dad's invisibility cloak. One group of scientists have been working hard on a material that can hide objects from being detected, and today they've announced a breakthrough in their work.

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Sony unveils KOOV robotics kit for education

Sony unveils KOOV robotics kit for education

Never before has robotics taken a more mainstream role in the world, from Amazon's busy workers to drones to self-driving cars. Thanks to advancements not only in technology but also in the science of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the promise, and to some the threat, of robots are near fulfillment. Suffice it to say, robotics will be a one of the main topics in science and technology education in the years to come. Which is why Sony is announcing KOOV, an educational kit for robotics and programming for primary schools.

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Mercury’s dark surface due to carbon from the planet itself

Mercury’s dark surface due to carbon from the planet itself

Being the closest to the sun, you'd think Mercury would shine the brightest among the inner planets of the solar system. In truth, however, it reflects even less light than our own moon. Scientists have long speculated on why that is so and what leads to Mercury's very dark facade. Thanks to data gathered by the dearly departed MESSENGER probe, they confirm that carbon is indeed to blame. But interestingly enough, the carbon didn't come from outside forces but right from the planet's crust itself.

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