research

Atacama mummy wasn’t an alien, it was a mutated human

Atacama mummy wasn’t an alien, it was a mutated human

The mummified remains of a humanoid were discovered over a decade ago in Chile's Atacama Desert. When found and made public, this tiny specimen was subject to its fair share of conspiracy theories and high hopes that it was the first solid proof of humanoid life born not of this world. It certainly looks like what pop culture tells us is a little gray alien, doesn't it?

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Bipedal robot has jet-powered feet

Bipedal robot has jet-powered feet

The challenge for designers of robots that walk on two legs like humans is that these bipedal robots tend to fall over. Humans are very good at balancing, but robots not so much. A new robot has been designed at the Guangdong University of Technology that is much more stable than other bipedal robots out there thanks to one unique feature.

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IBM’s salt-grain sized computer is ready for the blockchain

IBM’s salt-grain sized computer is ready for the blockchain

A computer the size of a grain of rock salt is not only the world's smallest computer, IBM claims, but could be cheap enough to spread AI smarts and the blockchain ubiquitously. Shown off for the first time at IBM Think 2018, the company's annual research event, the tiny computer could have huge implications for making sure everything from medication to luxury goods are genuine rather than counterfeit.

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NASA asks public to share cloud photos to help confirm satellite data

NASA asks public to share cloud photos to help confirm satellite data

NASA has revealed it's using a rare strategy to help verify data from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES): asking the public for help. The space agency says its satellites sometimes have difficulty identifying and separating clouds, so it's having citizen scientists submit photos of clouds from the ground in order to compare data.

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No, NASA’s astronaut twin hasn’t had a DNA rewrite

No, NASA’s astronaut twin hasn’t had a DNA rewrite

As we recently detailed, NASA has offered up preliminary findings under its Twins Study, which looks at the impact space travel has on human health. So far, researchers have identified some changes to astronaut Scott Kelly's telomeres, among other things, helping scientists understand the kind of health ramifications space travelers face. It's important to note what NASA didn't find, however.

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NASA is staring at the Sun (because you can’t)

NASA is staring at the Sun (because you can’t)

Staring directly at the Sun may not be advisable for humans, but a new tool on the International Space Station has come online to do just that. Part of NASA's efforts to better understand the forces that affect our solar system, while this latest experiment may be looking outward to the Sun, it has big implications for science back home.

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Airbus goes full Ahab with satellite skewering harpoon

Airbus goes full Ahab with satellite skewering harpoon

Space junk is becoming a big problem around our planet. As more and more satellites go into orbit, orbiting debris and derelict satellites pose a risk to manned space missions and critical satellites in orbit. Airbus has a plan to help get rid of space junk and old satellites using a harpoon.

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NASA mulls a mini space station for the moon

NASA mulls a mini space station for the moon

NASA is considering a new space station that would act as a halfway house for astronauts near the moon, which could be completed as soon as 2025. Dubbed the NASA Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway, it would offer future missions a point from which to observe the moon, in addition to acting as a waypoint for space exploration further afield. Indeed, it could eventually be a stepping stone to travel to Mars.

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San Junipero is real: Nectome wants to upload your brain

San Junipero is real: Nectome wants to upload your brain

Nectome is a company that suggests they're able to upload your consciousness to a computer, just like on Black Mirror. The episode Black Mirror features a future in which people have a choice when they die: pass on, or have yourself uploaded to a place called San Junipero. Now the company Nectome says they can do that too - but there's no trial period, and you won't come back out the other side alive.

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Microsoft trained an AI to translate Chinese as well as humans

Microsoft trained an AI to translate Chinese as well as humans

An artificial intelligence that can translate Chinese to English as well as a human expert could have a huge impact on breaking down language barriers, experts at Microsoft say. The team, split between Microsoft Research's Asia and US facilities, has been working on machine translation using the same sort of techniques people use to learn languages themselves, only applied to AIs.

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Galaxies rotate once per billion years say astronomers

Galaxies rotate once per billion years say astronomers

Space and time on a universe scale are much larger than humans can really comprehend. We can understand the spinning of a clock each day, but what's harder to comprehend is that galaxies spin just like a clock. According to astronomers, the galactic clock spins very slow.

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Netflix in Space project sends iPhone and GoPro 115k feet above Earth

Netflix in Space project sends iPhone and GoPro 115k feet above Earth

Netflix has detailed its latest hack day project, this one called "Netflix in Space." As the name suggests, this project involves streaming Netflix in space, though the company didn't send any actual engineers on the mission. Rather, the team used a helium balloon with a doomed iPhone and GoPro to prove that Netflix videos can play in space...or, at least, 115,000ft above Earth.

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