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The Register - Science

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Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

Voyager antenna operator: 'I was the first human to see images from Neptune'

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:55:06 GMT

Remote work and automation is about to see Voyager-listeners' work change, but our man says tuning in is still a thrill

When Richard Stephenson drives to work, there's a chance that later that day he'll become the first human to see new details of Mars, a moon of Saturn, or the far reaches of the solar system.…

Ten spacecraft – from Venus Express to Voyager 2 – all tracked same solar flare

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:26:09 GMT

We hardly noticed at first, but records revealed plenty about how star-stuff sails solar winds

On October 14th, 2014, the Sun decided it was time for a coronal mass ejection, the irregular hiccups that see it belch out astounding quantities of magnetised plasma. And after careful analysis, we've now fingerprinted the plasma's passing using no fewer than ten spacecraft.…

Space boffins competing for $20m Moon robot X-Prize are told: Be there by March 31 – or bust

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 03:58:11 GMT

Teams get extra wiggle room to hit final deadline

The X-Prize Foundation has cut some slack for teams vying to be the first to land a robot on the Moon and scoop millions of dollars as a result.…

How to build your own DIY makeshift levitation machine at home

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:04:07 GMT

All you need is a 3D printer, ultrasonic transducers, an Arduino, patience...

Engineers at the University of Bristol in the UK have published a rough guide to building a simple levitation chamber that uses sound waves to suspend objects.…

Batteries that don't burn at the drop of a Galaxy Note 7? We're listening

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:24:13 GMT

Zinc-air batteries are hard to charge: boffins think new catalysts can fix that

Sydney University boffins reckon they've got a handle on how to stop batteries catching fire: quit using lithium ions.…

A glimpse of life under President Zuckerberg? Facebook CEO's boffins censor awkward Q&A

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:26:08 GMT

Human cell study AMA on Reddit all cleaned up

Money can't buy you love, but it can remove criticism, at least in the hallowed world of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.…

NASA delivers CREAM-y load to ISS to improve cosmic ray detection

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:30:20 GMT

Far away from where Earth's atmosphere can interfere

Hitching a ride on SpaceX's 12th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station is NASA's latest tech for studying the origins of cosmic rays, the high-energy particles that bombard Earth from deep space.…

Waymo fleshes out self-driving car tech with hardware that goes soft at first sign of trouble

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:02:08 GMT

Shriveling vehicle patented

Waymo has been granted a patent to deck out its self-driving cars in a material that becomes less rigid when its sensors detect a high chance of collision.…

Photon scattering puts a shine on CERN ATLAS boffins' day

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 01:58:11 GMT

A heavy metal performance proves an old theory

Large Hadron Collider boffins in charge of the ATLAS experiment reckon they've seen photons interacting at the quantum level for the first time.…

Antarctica declared world's most volcanic region as 91 new cones found beneath ice

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 02:01:56 GMT

Awaken not the Elder Things, lest they and their shoggoths again battle foul Cthulhu

Boffins from the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences have found 91 previously unknown volcanoes beneath the West Antarctic Ice Shelf, a total that suggests it might be the most volcanic region on Earth.…

Trapped under ice with no oxygen for months, goldfish turn to booze. And can you blame 'em?

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 07:06:07 GMT

Carp diem, indeed

Scientists have discovered how goldfish and their wild ilk survive months of winter in frozen-over lakes of oxygen-free water. The answer is alcohol – the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.…

Alien 'lava lamp' with dying magnetic field orbited Earth a billion years ago – science

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 06:31:11 GMT

Ancient Moon rocks vital clue in space dynamo study

Scientists studying prehistoric lunar rocks have found evidence of a lava-lamp-like dynamo at the heart of our Moon’s metallic core that generated a long-lasting magnetic field.…

Cancel the farewell party. Get back to work. That asteroid isn't going to hit Earth in October

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 19:47:33 GMT

ESA tells everyone to calm down and carry on

The European Space Agency has confirmed there is no danger of asteroid 2012 TC4 hitting Earth in October, despite what some panicky YouTube videos might tell you.…

NASA short-lists six candidates for future missions

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 07:31:08 GMT

Shall we launch a telescope in a balloon? Or an X-ray to the ISS? One will happen by 2022

NASA has published a shortlist of six missions its considering for launch from the year 2022.…

We all deserve a break. Pack your bags. Four Earth-like worlds found around nearby Tau Ceti

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 04:02:11 GMT

Let's get outta here while we still have a chance

Scientists have found tantalizing signs that there are four Earth-like planets orbiting Tau Ceti, a Sun-like star just 12 light-years away. And two of those worlds could be home to life.…

If we're in a simulation, someone hit it with a hammer, please: Milky Way spews up to 100 MEELLLION black holes

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 05:04:13 GMT

Bug in the Matrix or boon for grav wave hunters – you decide

A new study shows that there may be up to 100 million black holes scattered around the dark depths of the Milky Way – a number much higher than previously expected.…

Watch this nanochip reprogram cells to fix damaged body tissue

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 20:19:51 GMT

We can't think of anything snarky to say about this cool biological repair kit

Video Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a nanochip contact patch that can reprogram nearby cells, to help repair damaged or aging organs, blood vessels, or nerve cells.…

Florida man is world's fastest flasher: Just 53 quintillionths of a sec

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 07:03:04 GMT


Physicists at the University of Central Florida have developed the world's fastest X‑ray pulse, at 53 attoseconds.…

China can't find anyone smart enough to run its whizzbang $180m 1,640ft radio telescope

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 06:01:09 GMT

'We need a superhero,' sighs prof – and anyone can apply

There aren't many astronomy jobs that pay very well – but the Chinese authorities are offering just that for the director of scientific operation for its new Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope.…

Forget Iran and North Korea. Now there's another uranium source

Sat, 05 Aug 2017 10:03:04 GMT

Yeah, try slapping some sanctions on black holes

Astronomers have proposed that heavy elements in the universe may have been forged when small, primordial black holes swallowed neutron stars.…

Particle boffins show off 'cheap', cute little CosI, world's smallest neutrino detector

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 11:15:09 GMT

It actually works – and could foster faster, cheaper science

Boffins have built what could be one of the world's smallest working detectors of elusive neutrino particles.…

Space Duck 2.0 is New Horizons' next destination

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 03:46:58 GMT

Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 could be two rocks for the price of one

The New Horizons probe's next destination, Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, looks a bit like a duck.…

Why do you cry when chopping onions? No, it's not crippling anxiety, it's this weird chemical

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 07:03:06 GMT

Boffins crack ultimate riddle of stinging agent formation

We’re all familiar with the burning, eye-watering sensation felt when chopping onions, and now we know exactly why.…

Are you a clean freak? Are you a keen geek? Do you think space is neat?

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 05:00:07 GMT

If you said yes, you may be in luck: NASA needs a Planetary Protection Officer

Here’s a job title you can dazzle people with at boring dinner parties: Planetary Protection Officer.…

Sun's core in a real spin, but you wouldn't know just by looking at it

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 04:25:10 GMT

Gravity waves reveal our star rotates four times faster on the inside than the outside

Our Sun's core is rotating four times faster than its surface.…

Cancel your summer trip to nearby Proxima b. No chance of life, room service, say boffins

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 06:16:05 GMT

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere ... I'm all alone

NASA scientists have dashed hopes that Proxima Centauri b, an Earth-ish-like planet orbiting the closest star to the Sun, could be habitable.…

Don't make Aug 21 a blind date: Beware crap solar eclipse specs

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 06:02:07 GMT

You'll be blinded by science, literally, if you put on fake glasses, boffins warn

The American Astronomical Society has warned that knockoff viewing glasses for this month's total solar eclipse will blind people if they wear them while looking up at the spectacle.…

Ohm-em-gee: US nuke plant project goes dark after money meltdown

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 19:40:57 GMT

Toshiba pulls plug on reactor construction, uranium becomes u-ran-out-of-cash

Energy companies in the US have cancelled plans to build a pair of nuclear power plants – after Toshiba's Westinghouse Electric Company collapsed.…

Sun of a b... Rising solar temp wrecks chances of finding ET in our system

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:16:31 GMT

Enceladus, Europa will not be habitable, scientists warn

The possibility of alien life on the icy planets and moons in our Solar System could be lower than previously thought, because any water on them will quickly vaporize, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience.…

GPS III satellites and ground station projects get even later as costs gently spiral

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:57:09 GMT

What's a few more billion between friends, eh?

US defence technology firm Raytheon’s advanced GPS project has encountered yet more cost-inflating delays, according to reports.…

Scary news: Asteroid may pass Earth by just 6,880km in October

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 03:58:10 GMT

Good news: Chelyabinsk-sized rattler won't wipe us out, will let us test asteroid defences

NASA's preparing another round asteroid defence tests, thanks to the October fly-by of a rock that may come within a cosmic whisker of the Earth.…

Boffins grudgingly admit they may have found an exomoon

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 02:28:12 GMT

Social media speculation forced their hand, hence the pre-press paper explaining their interest

After Twitter-leaks, a trio of exoplanet-hunters have decided to go public with observations they reckoned weren't quite up to broadcast-quality but which is rather significant: the first possible detection of a moon orbiting an exoplanet.…

Clear August 21 in your diary: It's a total solar eclipse for the smart

Sat, 29 Jul 2017 11:34:12 GMT

With apologies to Bonnie Tyler

Scientists are gearing up for the hotly anticipated total solar eclipse on August 21 by preparing a series of experiments.…

UK waves £45m cheque, charges scientists with battery tech boffinry

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 16:05:11 GMT

Attempt to make Blighty an innovator in the field

The UK has launched a £45m competition to support research in electric vehicle battery materials, technologies and manufacturing processes.…

Everything you never knew about mail: The Postal Museum opens

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:00:45 GMT

Plus: We take a sneak peek at London's other tube network, Mail Rail

Royal Mail’s Postal Museum, hidden round the corner from its central London sorting depot, is opening to the public after an 18 month refurbishment project.…

NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:33:04 GMT

Third Space Launch System engine controller declared a success

Vid If you have a hankering to watch eight minutes of billowing clouds of rocket exhaust, NASA's posted the video of the latest test of its RS-25 engine.…

Astroboffins discover that half of the Milky Way's matter comes from other galaxies

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 01:00:05 GMT

'We could consider ourselves space travelers or extragalactic immigrants'

Up to half the atoms in the stars, planets, moons – and even in us – could come from distant galaxies beyond the Milky Way, according to a new study.…

Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 22:08:17 GMT

Cool, er, hot stuff but no breakthrough (yet)

Analysis Google and Tri Alpha Energy, a Californian energy company, say they have come up with an algorithm that appears to help scientists generate hotter plasma more efficiently for nuclear fusion experiments. Keyword: experiments.…

Science sugar daddy extends data-sharing policy to software

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:55:04 GMT

Wellcome Trust wants boffins to share

Moneybags research funder the Wellcome Trust has changed its policy on the sharing and management of research outputs to include original software, reagents and cell lines.…

Cassini captures pieces of Saturn’s rings

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:38:06 GMT

We can’t bring ‘em home, but we should be able to figure out what they’re made of

The soon-to-die Cassini probe has captured tiny fragments of Saturn’s rings. Cassini’s was launched in 1997, made it to Saturn in 2004 and has been there ever since. But the probe is running out of fuel and will be crashed into the gas giant in September 2017, in order to avoid possible contamination of potentially-life-bearing moons.…

Apollo center fundraiser: That's one small check from man, one giant leap for our peace of mind

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:38:06 GMT

Everyone else did the 'Houston, we have a problem' headline

An online fundraising campaign is asking for $250,000 to cover the costs of preserving and maintaining a historic control room used for NASA's Apollo missions.…

FUKE NEWS: Robot snaps inside drowned Fukushima nuke plant

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:26:09 GMT

No mutant lizards. Possible spilled fuel found inside reactor container

Pics TEPCO, the operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, has revealed photos of the facility's flooded interior.…

Reg reader turns Geek's Guides to Britain into Geek's Map of Britain

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:27:10 GMT

Too lazy to plug GPS co-ords into satnav? Fear not, gypsythief has saved you

A forward-thinking Reg reader has put the entirety of our Geeks’ Guide series onto a Google Map, for your navigational and geographically organised reading pleasure.…

China's 'future-proof' crypto: We talk to firm behind crazy quantum key distribution network

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:30:04 GMT

Should we believe the hype? And why drop so much $$?

Two hundred local government employees across the capital of China's eastern Shandong province will soon be encrypting messages with keys that are "impossible" to crack.…

NASA whistles up electron noise from the Van Allen belt

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 04:57:05 GMT

Sure, Goddard boffins could just analyse the signals, but why not listen to them too?

NASA boffins in charge of the agency's Van Allen Belt mission have recorded audio-frequency noise made by energetic electrons emitting what's known as “whistler waves”.…

Russia launches non-TERRIFYING satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 23:03:31 GMT

Mayak bird so bright it may outshine Venus, Jupiter

Skywatchers are going to see a new light in the heavens this week after the successful launch of the Russian satellite Mayak this past weekend.…

Google unleashes 20m lab-created blood-thirsty freaks on a city. And this is a good thing, it says

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:23:06 GMT

Infected sterile males will help kill off the population

Google’s healthcare arm Verily announced just before the weekend it will release twenty million sterile male mosquitoes into the wild, in Fresno County, California.…

DARPA's robot sat-fixing program survives sueball strike

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 01:39:03 GMT

Aerospace firm says there's no market for this stuff, wants to build it anyway

Aerospace company Orbital ATK has failed in a legal bid to halt a DARPA contract for robotic satellite maintenance devices and will instead see if the White House can help it to bring the work to the private sector.…

Physicists send supersonic shock waves rippling through a lab

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 07:02:13 GMT

High-Mach number, magnetized collisionless shocks reproduced

Scientists have managed to create powerful supersonic shock waves – comparable to those generated in space – under laboratory conditions.…

Eggheads identify the last animal that will survive on Earth until the Sun dies

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:16:55 GMT

Amazingly, it's not Keith Richards

Humans are newcomers on Earth and it's almost certain that we won't be around, on this planet at least, when the solar system's star finally goes nova. But boffins have identified at least one animal that will be.…