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The Register - Science

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Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

NASA, wait, wait lemme put my drink down... NASA, you need to be searching for vanadium

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 05:02:04 GMT

Bio-boffins urge Red Planet life search to hunt for weird metal

Scientists hoping to discover evidence of life on Mars should search for vanadium, a metallic element, according to a paper published in Astrobiology this month.…

Ducks ding dongs in face of stiff competition

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 05:04:06 GMT

Alternative title for this science paper: Seven-inch bullies humiliate unsuspecting birds

Waterfowl situation... Some alpha ducks bully smaller ducks so much when competing for mates that the beta birds' undercarriages barely take off, so to speak, a new study has found.…

Boffins discover tightest black hole binary system – and it's supermassive

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:02:09 GMT

Sitting less than one light year apart in spiral galaxy NGC 7674

Scientists have discovered the closest-ever supermassive black hole binary system. It's in the spiral galaxy NGC 7674, and the pair of voids are separated by a distance of less than one light year.…

NASA Earthonauts emerge from eight-month isolation in simulated Mars visit

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 21:26:04 GMT

'Hang on, Trump has done what??!?'

Video Six would-be Mars colonists have emerged from eight months of isolation on top of a Hawaiian volcano as part of preparations for an eventual manned mission to the Red Planet.…

Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:58:01 GMT

A hidden British engineering gem: The Hovercraft Museum

Geeks' Guide to Britain Did you know that the word “hovercraft” was once patented? And did you know that Great Britain is a world leader in the design and manufacture of the floaty transporters, and has been for half a century?…

Mad scientist zaps himself to determine the power of electric eel shocks

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:52:15 GMT

Electrophorus electricus is not something to be messed with

One man has calculated the power of electric shocks emitted from electric eels on the human arm - his in fact - all in the name of science.…

Rise Of the Tiny Machines: Boffins cook up autonomous DNA sorting robot

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:04:05 GMT

It's coming for your jobs, very, very slowly

ROTM It's the most eco-friendly DNA walker I know, computer scientist Damien Woods told The Register.…

Farewell Cassini! NASA's Saturnian spacecraft waves goodbye for its Grand Finale

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:32:05 GMT

But the mission is far from over, say scientists

Cassini, one of NASA’s flagship spacecraft, is poised to meet its fiery end today as it plunges down into Saturn’s atmosphere at a speed of 123,000kph (77,000mph) per hour, where it will soon vaporise.…

Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 05:57:20 GMT

Why people hate cheese and speaker worn in the vagina also score 'make you laugh, then make you think' awards

2017's Ig Nobel prizes have been awarded, again with the aim of shining a light on science that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.…

Hubble catches a glimpse WASP-12b, an almost pitch-black exoplanet

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 21:51:45 GMT

Black planet, black world

Scientists studying WASP-12b, an exoplanet 871 light years from Earth, have determined that it reflects almost no light, making it one of the darkest planets in space.…

Scientists produce a map marking water hotspots on the Moon

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 06:29:12 GMT

Just landed on the Moon and fancy a drink? Step on up

Scientists have created the first map that traces the water content on the surface of the Moon, in the hopes that it may come in handy for astronauts searching for drinking water or fuel.…

New Horizons probe awakens to receive software upgrade

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 05:01:07 GMT

Kuiper-belt-bound craft needs a few weeks of tweaks to prepare for Space Duck 2.0

The New Horizons probe has successfully ended its five-month hibernation and resumed chats with its mission controllers.…

Signs of ground ice found on ancient protoplanet asteroid Vesta

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:44:12 GMT

Scientists reignite the idea of water-bearing asteroids bringing oceans to Earth

Scientists have found evidence that there may be ground ice on Vesta, the brightest asteroid visible from Earth.…

Weird white dwarf pulsar baffles boffins as its pulsating pattern changes over decades

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 19:04:24 GMT

AR Scorpii was the first white dwarf pulsar to be found

Scientists trying to crack the mystery behind the fastest-pulsating white dwarf have found that its brightness levels change over a timescale of decades.…

Cassini probe's death dive to send data at just 27 kilobits per second

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 07:03:10 GMT

Which is why its cameras will stop snapping a day before it smacks into Saturn

Space is nasty and sending data across 83 light-minutes of it isn't easy, so the Cassini probe's death dive into the clouds of Saturn will be an instruments-only affair undocumented by photographs.…

Boffins find a new way to catch the 'tails' of quasars in massive galaxies

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:07:57 GMT

Radio jets beamed from gigantic black holes are still a mystery

Physicists have managed to analyze the hidden "tails" swirling around quasars in supermassive black holes by using a combination of radio telescopes and the Gaia space observatory.…

Astroboffins map 845 galaxies in glorious 3D, maybe dark matter too

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:02:15 GMT

It's all gone potato-shaped for some galaxies already

A team led by Sydney University's Dr Caroline Foster has created three-dimensional images of 845 galaxies, claiming it is the biggest collection of of 3D galactic representations ever gathered.…

Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 23:57:56 GMT

Research just isn't as effective as it used to be

Innovation, fetishized by Silicon Valley companies and celebrated by business boosters, no longer provides the economic jolt it once did.…

Pains of giving birth to stars gives heft to elliptical galaxies

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 23:01:23 GMT

So, does my stellar nursery look big in this?

The rate of star formation might play a bigger role in affecting a galaxy's shape than previously thought, according to a recent study.…

Boffins: 68 exoplanets in prime locations to SPY on humanity on Earth

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 21:36:17 GMT

Could any 'detect the transits of the Solar System planets'?

Scientists on Earth have found thousands of exoplanets – but which of those potential alien civilizations are in the best position to discover us?…

How alien civilizations deal with climate is a measure of how smart they are. Just sayin'...

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 05:03:05 GMT

Did, did these bio-boffins just sass us?

A team of scientists has proposed a new classification system that grades how advanced alien civilizations are by examining how an exoplanet uses energy.…

SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 21:28:05 GMT

Air Force picks Florida as new center for mini-shuttle

Video SpaceX today successfully launched the US Air Force's secretive mini-space-shuttle X-37B from the biz's launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral, Florida.…

Close Encounters of the Kuiper Belt kind: New Horizons to come within just 3,500km of MU69

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 07:01:04 GMT

Probe skipped past Pluto by 12,500km, so this rock needs to prepare for its close-up

If we're not all too hungover when New Year's Day 2019 rolls around, NASA will hopefully have a fun set of photos to show us because on that day New Horizons probe has been told to go within just 3,500km of Kuiper Belt Object MU69.…

Violent moon mishap will tear Uranus a new ring or two

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 21:58:08 GMT

Astroboffins predict cosmic collision for ice giant

Four of the 27 moons orbiting Uranus are on a collision course and will smash into each other, creating new rings around the distant ice giant.…

As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 18:50:16 GMT

Biggest Sun flare in years could be heading our way

Those living on the top and bottom of our planet are in for a superb light show over the next few days – as the Aurora Borealis in the north, and Australis in the south, will be on full display.…

Fruit flies' brains at work: Decision-making? They use their eyes

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:55:26 GMT

Before you scoff, consider how much we rationalise away what's in front of us

Scientists hunting for the secret of how boffin scalpel-fodder favourite Drosophila melanogaster (aka the fruit fly) makes decisions have found that some of the brain circuitry active when it makes choices can be linked to what it has already seen.…

Unable to give up on life on Mars, bio-boffins now thrilled to find boron

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 05:01:08 GMT

Another glimmer of hope of finding ET on otherwise barren brutal busted-flush dust world

Boron, a relatively rare chemical element, has been detected on Mars for the first time. It's a sign there may have been life on the Red Planet.…

Hurricane Irma imperils first ever SpaceX shuttle launch: US military's secret squirrel X-37B

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 23:52:32 GMT

What goes up, Musk stay on the ground at this rate

Incoming Hurricane Irma is menacing Florida, USA, prompting mandatory evacuations – and threatening to ruin Elon Musk's week too.…

Climate-change skeptic lined up to run NASA in this Trump timeline

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 20:55:07 GMT

Rep Bridenstine wants to get into space – presumably after we've destroyed this world

President Donald Trump this month nominated US House Rep James Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next NASA administrator.…

Asteroid Florence buzzes Earth, brings two moons along for the ride

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 06:59:55 GMT

4.5km rock is the largest object we've seen up close, albeit still 7,000,000km away

Be glad that the asteroid dubbed “Florence” won't revisit Earth for many, many years: observations during its weekend fly-by revealed that the space-rock is so big it's captured two moons.…

Give a boffin a Xeon and a big GPU, get a new big prime number

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 01:53:30 GMT

9194441048576 + 1 is six MEELLION digits long and the twelfth biggest prime ever found

Humanity's collection of the very large prime numbers just grew by one member: 9194441048576 + 1.…

15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 04:58:13 GMT

Who or what had 10 million trillion trillion joules to play with, 3 billion light years away?

Fast Radio Burst-hunters have suffered London Bus syndrome again: fifteen have shown up at once.…

Hubble Space Telescope spies possibility of liquid water in TRAPPIST-1

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 20:10:47 GMT

First time boffins have detected water in the planetary system

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted possible signs of water on the outer planets of TRAPPIST-1, the system with the most exoplanets in a star’s habitable zone.…

Boffins want machine learning to predict earthquakes

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 06:06:05 GMT

Shocking! Lab experiments prove promising, but predicting real destruction is a lot harder

Earthquakes are, by their nature, unpredictable. Although geologists understand why and how the tremors occur, forecasting them more than a few minutes ahead is very difficult.…

P≠NP proof fails, Bonn boffin admits

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 19:16:32 GMT

Norbert Blum says his proposed solution doesn't work

Computer science boffin Norbert Blum has acknowledged that his P≠NP proof is incorrect, as a number of experts anticipated.…

Boffins turn to AI to zip through piles of gravitational lenses

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 23:24:28 GMT

Fast method gives researchers more time to answer bigger questions about our Universe

A group of physicists has trained an artificial neural network to analyze gravitational lensing images ten million times faster than normal computational methods.…

Living in space basically shoves a warp drive into your blood stream

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 23:04:40 GMT

Human body 'tries to turn on all possible defense systems'

A new study analyzing the blood samples of 18 Russian cosmonauts reveals that space sends the body’s defensive immune system into overdrive.…

Boffins prove oil and water CAN mix – if you do it in a gas giant

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 18:16:33 GMT

On Earth it requires two diamonds and a ton of pressure

Oil and water do mix, a group of scientists have discovered. The two substances normally repel one another, but under extreme conditions oil molecules can dissolve in water.…

US Navy develops underwater wireless battery-charging tech

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 05:27:05 GMT

Submersible drones are vulnerable when they surface to recharge, hence the need for wetter-is-better top-up tech

Uncrewed underwater vessels are playing a growing role in military operations like surveillance, but they have to either land or surface to recharge their batteries.…

Scientists measure magnetic field around most distant galaxy yet

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 23:03:46 GMT

Galactic magnetism emerges early on in the universe's life

Scientists have measured the magnetic field of a galaxy five billion light years from Earth, the most distant coherent magnetic field that has ever been observed.…

James Webb Telescope will be infatuated with Europa and Enceladus

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 07:41:11 GMT

NASA's investigations into the watery moons may hold secrets to life in the Solar System

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be focused on Europa and Enceladus, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, in efforts to uncover the secrets of how life began in the Solar System.…

US focuses eyes in the sky as Hurricane Harvey starts to slam into Texas

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 21:58:11 GMT

Residents flee as weather services upgrade storm to Category Three

As Hurricane Harvey bears down on the Texas coast, American satellites have provided vital monitoring data to give Texans the best information about the incoming terror tempest.…

Forget trigonometry, 'cos Babylonians did it better 3,700 years ago – by counting in base 60!

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 03:59:48 GMT

Tablet beat Pythagoras by a millennium, may explain how the ancients built pyramids

Those of you who can remember trigonometry can feel free to forget it, because ancient Babylonian mathematicians had a better way of doing it – using base 60!…

Calm down, internet. Elon's Musk-see SpaceX spacesuit is a bit generic

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:42:21 GMT

Not that the people wearing it will complain – as long as it keeps 'em alive, right?

Pic Elon Musk revealed the first official photo of the SpaceX "spacesuit" today on Instagram.…

Don't throw away those eclipse glasses! Send 'em to South America

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:04:38 GMT

Astronomers Without Borders asks you to think of the children

On Monday, millions of Americans watched nature's ballet play out across the Sun (excluding those of us in San Francisco, where we were fogged in). Now an appeal is going out for used glasses to be donated to charity.…

Can North Korean nukes hit US mainland? Maybe. But EMP blast threat is 'highly credible'

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:03:07 GMT

El Reg talks to experts on Kim's capabilities

Feature When they said a week is a lifetime in politics, they weren't kidding.…

Uh oh, scientists know how those diamonds got in Uranus, and they're telling everyone!

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:47:08 GMT

Stanford researchers figure out how icy outer planets make it rain gemstones

Researchers from Stanford have shown how the frigid, high-pressure atmospheres of the planets Uranus and Neptune can create a "rain" of diamonds.…

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.…