Science

Self-powered microfluidic sheets move like a flying carpet

Self-powered microfluidic sheets move like a flying carpet

Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have designed an interesting two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet that can move autonomously in a reactant-filled fluid. The sheet gets its inspiration from a magic carpet that flies people around in films like "Aladdin." The team says that it had long been a challenge in chemistry to design a non-living object that moves on its own in the environment and alter the object's shape.

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Chang’e-4 far side moon landing was successful

Chang’e-4 far side moon landing was successful

China launched the Chang'e-4 mission to land on the far side of the moon back in December. We later learned that the lander/rover combo was set to touch down on the surface of the moon some time between January 1 and 3. Chinese state media has now announced that the lander-rover touched down on the far side of the moon at 10:26 Bejing time on January 3, 2019.

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Infant protostar found with warped disk

Infant protostar found with warped disk

I learned something new today. Reading through scientific research papers in Nature, I found a report about a "warped disk around an infant protostar." Having an only minimally greater-than-average understanding of astrophysics, I assumed that planets orbited around stars along their equator - at least for the most part. That's how our local cluster of planets works with our sun, and that's the way all the science models show it - it's simple. But what happens when oddities get in the way?

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China’s lunar probe may land on the moon’s far side tonight

China’s lunar probe may land on the moon’s far side tonight

Chinese state media is reporting that China's Chang'e 4 robotic probe is expected to land on the far side of the moon tonight. Previous reports estimated the probe would land some time between January 1 and 3, but officials may have narrowed it down to a more precise time frame. Over the weekend, the Chang'e 4 successfully entered an elliptical path around the moon.

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Ultima Thule: The first close photos and icy new info

Ultima Thule: The first close photos and icy new info

An entirely new kind of space body was seen over the past few hours - and what a strange sort of space matter it is! This is Ultima Thule, the latest space object detected and photographed by NASA's New Horizons mission. This was the same mission that gave us our closest-ever look at Pluto - now it's headed beyond - out into the Kuiper Belt!

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New Horizons successfully flew past Ultima Thule and sent back images

New Horizons successfully flew past Ultima Thule and sent back images

NASA has announced that the New Horizons spacecraft has successfully flown past Ultima Thule. The flyby marks the most distant target reached by spacecraft in history. NASA says that the flyby also ushers in an era of exploring the Kuiper Belt region that science believes holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system.

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NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft breaks record with asteroid orbit

NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft breaks record with asteroid orbit

On New Year's Eve, while the rest of the world was celebrating the approach of 2019, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft broke a new record after successfully entering into the closest orbit to ever take place. The milestone event involved the asteroid Bennu, a relatively small space rock located about 70 million miles from Earth. According to NASA, this is the smallest object to ever be orbited by a spacecraft.

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Ultima Thule: Live photo updates beyond Pluto

Ultima Thule: Live photo updates beyond Pluto

Members of the NASA New Horizons team delivered remarks just after the start of the final approach to Ultima Thule, the most distant space body we've ever observed with a flyby. This even occurred began around 3PM Eastern Time, and all seems to have gone according to plan thus far. Now we'll just have to wait a bit before we see any media - it takes a while for any photos, etc, to be beamed back through space- that craft is quite a ways away!

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Dream Chaser cargo plane will go into full production

Dream Chaser cargo plane will go into full production

One of the private space companies that have been working on commercial spacecraft for taking payloads into space and to the ISS is Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The spacecraft that SNC has been working on for years is called "Dream Chaser," and it looks a lot like a smaller Space Shuttle.

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Chang’e 4 set to land on the far side of the moon between Jan 1-3

Chang’e 4 set to land on the far side of the moon between Jan 1-3

China launched the first mission to the moon that is set to make a soft landing on the moon's far side, sometimes called the dark side. The far side of the moon isn't dark, we don't see it from Earth and as such the far side is much less known and studied than the side of the moon we see. Chang'e 4 launched on December 10.

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Study finds Texas coast has more plastic trash than other Gulf states

Study finds Texas coast has more plastic trash than other Gulf states

A new study cataloged the marine debris found on Gulf Coast state shores, determining the types of waste that had washed onto the beaches, as well as the quantities found in different states. According to the findings, plastic comprised the overwhelming majority of the trash, in some cases as much as 95-percent, including items like straws and plastic bottles.

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Study finds cholesterol levels spike during Christmas season

Study finds cholesterol levels spike during Christmas season

The holiday season is known for excessive eating and weight gain, but a new study warns there may be an invisible consequence to this end-of-year consumption: a spike in cholesterol levels. The research comes out of the University of Copenhagen's Department of Clinical Medicine, which found that the odds having elevated cholesterol levels were six times higher after Christmas.

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