Science & Technology


NASA telescope discovers organics and water in a possible planet-forming region

Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered large amounts of simple organic gases and water vapor in a possible planet-forming region around an infant star, along with evidence that these molecules were created there.

In their project, John Carr of the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, and Joan Najita of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, Arizona, took an in-depth look at the gases in the planet-forming region in the disk around the star AA Tauri.

Two-Dimensional High-Temperature Superconductor Discovered

Scientists at Brookhaven Lab have discovered a state of two-dimensional (2D) fluctuating superconductivity in a high-temperature superconductor with a particular arrangement of electrical charges known as "stripes."

©DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
A superconductor, like the one shown above, conducts electricity with no resistance.

Bird Brains Suggest How Vocal Learning Evolved

Though they perch far apart on the avian family tree, birds with the ability to learn songs use similar brain structures to sing their tunes. Neurobiologists at Duke University Medical Center now have an explanation for this puzzling likeness.

Hummingbird. In all three groups of birds with vocal learning abilities -- songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds -- the brain structures for singing and learning to sing are embedded in areas controlling movement.

Exploring A 'Lost' City Of The Mycenaeans

Along an isolated, rocky stretch of Greek shoreline, a Florida State University researcher and his students are unlocking the secrets of a partially submerged, "lost" harbor town believed to have been built by the ancient Mycenaeans nearly 3,500 years ago.

©Saronic Harbors Archaeological Research Project
A Google Earth image, modified by Saronic Harbors Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) co-director Thomas Tartaron, shows the location of the Korphos-Kalamianos site.

Winking Star: First Step Of Earth-Like Planet Formation Observed

For the first time, astronomers have observed the initial phase in the formation of an earth-like planet. The discovery, highlighted in the March 13th issue of Nature, was documented by a team of astronomers led by William Herbst, the Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy professor at Wesleyan, and Catrina Hamilton PhD '03, professor of physics and astronomy at Dickinson College.

protoplanetary disk
©Wesleyan University
The binary stars orbit inside a protoplanetary disk or ring that extends out to roughly the size of Jupiter's orbit.

Designing A Lunar Telescope To See Into The Dark Ages

A team of scientists and engineers led by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will study how to design a telescope on the Moon for peering into the last unexplored epoch in the Universe's history. NASA has announced that it will sponsor a series of studies focusing on next-generation space missions for astronomy. These studies will contribute to the Decadal Survey, an effort undertaken every 10 years by astronomers and physicists to help establish priorities for future research directions in astronomy and astrophysics. The upcoming Decadal Survey occurs over the next two years.

moon craters
The crater Tsiolkovsky is a relatively level region on the far side of the Moon. A lander would deposit a series of rovers, which would then move out and unroll a set of arms containing individual antennas. The astronomical signals picked up by the antennas would be transmitted to back to the central lander for processing.

Do Meteors Create Life? Explosion Of New Life Coincided With Hundreds Of Meteorite Impacts

Meteorite impacts are often associated with huge disasters, mass extinction and why the dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth some 65 million years ago. However, the opposite may also occur - that new and more varied animal life arises following such a catastrophe, is shown by new research conducted by the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.

Alpha-Monocerotid meteor
The Alpha-Monocerotid meteor outburst in 1995. Meteors are actually pieces of rock that have broken off a comet and continue to orbit the Sun.

Creatures Clone Selves in Face of Danger

If there's something strange in the neighborhood ... clone yourself. That's the philosophy of sand dollar larvae, which copy themselves when they sense predators are near.

Scientists exposed 4-day-old sand dollar larvae to fish mucus, a sign that danger is close. They found that the larvae created clones of themselves within 24 hours.

Sand dollar larvae
Sand dollar larvae clone themselves when they sense predators are near
Magic Wand

3.14 and the rest

It's Pi Day, a celebration of the mathematical ratio that man has been trying to unlock for millennia. But why are we driven to find the answers behind it?

Google could be superseded, says web inventor

The next generation of web technology is likely to be far more powerful than the current crop, Tim Berners-Lee said