Science & Technology
Scientists preparing to unveil new earth-like planet that orbits its star at distance that could favor life
Fri, 12 Aug 2016 00:00 UTC
The exoplanet orbits a well-investigated star called Proxima Centauri, part of the Alpha Centauri star system, the magazine said, quoting anonymous sources.
"The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surface—an important requirement for the emergence of life," said the magazine.
"Never before have scientists discovered a second Earth that is so close by," it said, adding that the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will announce the finding at the end of August.
Fri, 12 Aug 2016 18:56 UTC
Part of a $300 million "brain-mapping" project, the 'U.S. BRAIN Initiative' is, ahem, the brainchild of neuroscience professor Rafael Yuste and his team, and its results offer hope to millions of people around the globe suffering from neurological conditions such as epilepsy.
Published in Science on Friday, the study was carried out on mice and involved the administering of light-sensitive proteins targeted at certain areas of the brain. Once the proteins penetrated particular cells, scientists used special ultra-thin beams of light to make contact with the neuron inside and 'turn it on'.
The team found that "activation of a single neuron" can spark a response across an 'ensemble' of neurons, an effect which can be "reactivated at later time points without interfering with endogenous circuitry".
Fri, 12 Aug 2016 18:50 UTC
The trick lies in a self-healing, polyelectrolyte liquid that is currently being developed by researchers at Penn State University.
Made from bacteria and yeast, the liquid can help most fabrics bind together once torn. It contains proteins similar to those found in squid ring teeth, which also have self-repairing qualities.
The healing process involves putting the substance on the torn fabric, applying warm water, and pressing the edges together. The fabric then reattaches, effectively repairing itself.
Fri, 12 Aug 2016 17:17 UTC
The St. Petersburg-based company Roselectronics has come up with the invention and says it can make weapons that use thermal, infrared, and electromagnetic radar in targeting invisible.
The technology works by placing the insulating object over electronic devices, which makes them undetectable.
Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:15 UTC
Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:15 UTC
The view was produced by space imaging enthusiast Kevin Gill, an engineer at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The view was made using images taken by Cassini's wide-angle camera on July 20, 2016, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to infrared light,' Nasa said. Filters like these, which are sensitive to absorption and scattering of sunlight by methane in Saturn's atmosphere, have been useful throughout Cassini's mission.
They can be used to determining the structure and depth of cloud features in the atmosphere. This new image comes just a week after an image showing the rings of Saturn appearing to melt. Nasa said the amazing optical illusion was caused by light being reflected by Cassini's camera. It showed Saturn's A and F rings appear bizarrely warped where they intersect the planet's limb, whose atmosphere acts here like a very big lens.
Fri, 12 Aug 2016 13:41 UTC
NASA's release of the so-called "marble movie" shows that Jupiter is such a pretty planet, it doesn't need a filter other than for methane. The phrase "marble movie" refers to the size of Jupiter in the images and how small it looks.
The timing of these images is also unique as they show Jupiter during a time when it would normally be invisible to NASA's ground support. During a period of the year, Jupiter's orbit brings it too close to the sun to be visible from Earth, leaving astronomers in the dark. However, JunoCam continued to take a picture every 15 minutes.
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 20:10 UTC
"It's a huge finding that small planets can be active on a massive scale, billions of years after their creation," said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI).
"The New Horizons mission has taken what we thought we knew about Pluto and turned it upside down," said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "It's why we explore - to satisfy our innate curiosity and answer deeper questions about how we got here and what lies beyond the next horizon."
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 19:32 UTC
"This is an issue that has not been explored until now," the study's lead researcher, Professor Norah Spears, from Edinburgh University's Center for Integrative Physiology, said in a statement. Spears said previous studies, looking at chemotherapy drugs' effects during pregnancy, focused exclusively on the immediate effects, such as "increased miscarriage rates or severe foetal abnormalities.
A team of scientists at Edinburgh University have found that a drug called etoposide can damage the development of ovarian tissue in mice. Given that 95 percent of their genes are the same as those of humans, this could have the same impact on humans, researchers say.
Around one in 1,000 pregnant women are diagnosed with cancer.
Etoposide use involves a low risk of miscarriage and birth defects, and is considered safe for use in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Little is known, however, about the longer-term effects of the drug on the unborn baby, researchers say.
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 19:13 UTC
Using a model similar to what is used to study climate change on Earth, scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) concluded that the planet may have once been an entirely different place than modern-day Venus, which is a "hellish place" with a carbon dioxide atmosphere 90 times as thick as Earth's and almost no water vapor, and temperatures that reach 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius).
"Many of the same tools we use to model climate change on Earth can be adapted to study climates on other planets, both past and present," Michael Way, a researcher at GISS and the paper's lead author, said in a statement.
The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, was made possible by using previous data and applying it to a new hypothesis of what ancient Venus was really like.
Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:37 UTC
Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:37 UTC
Researchers are increasingly looking for solutions to make robots softer or more compliant - less like rigid machines, more like animals. With traditional actuators - such as motors - this can mean using air muscles or adding springs in parallel with motors. For example, on a Whegs robot, having a spring between a motor and the wheel leg (Wheg) means that if the robot runs into something (like a person), the spring absorbs some of the energy so the person isn't hurt. The bumper on a Roomba vacuuming robot is another example; it's spring-loaded so the Roomba doesn't damage the things it bumps into.
Comment: Next on the list: Robots made with human parts.