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The Register - Science

Biting the hand that feeds IT

Copyright: Copyright 2018, Situation Publishing

China to offer recoverable satellites-as-a-service

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 03:58:06 GMT

Promises launches by 2020, no word on whether wooden heat shields will make a comeback

China’s told the world it plans to get into the recoverable satellite business.…

Neural networks whip fleshbag butt at identifying craters

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:35:12 GMT

Yeah, well... can they do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?

A neural network can wipe the floor with fleshy researchers at that most tedious of cosmic tasks – spotting craters.…

Brexit in spaaaace! At T-1 year and counting: UK politicos ponder impact

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 12:46:08 GMT

'Entrepreneurs!' 'Elon Musk!' 'Smartphones!' chirps Lord as UK space stares into abyss

Countries are pouncing on space work originally destined for the UK like a “feeding frenzy of hyenas” according to a selection of representatives from the UK industry and education sectors.…

Boffins find sign of water existing deep into Earth's mantle by looking at diamonds

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:44:06 GMT

How far down does water drip?

Water covers most of the Earth’s surface and flows deep beneath it as well. But how deep it travels is unknown.…

You always wanted to be an astronaut, right? Careful: Space is getting more and more deadly

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 22:47:03 GMT

For those planning an out-of-this-world trip, radiation is on the rise

Space is getting deadlier. The amount of radiation has increased from previous solar cycles, according to new measurements made by a team of researchers.…

Veteran NASA probe Dawn: Winter is coming on Ceres (sort of)

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 10:28:09 GMT

Jumped-up asteroid experiencing 'icy activity'

There is icy activity on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres, according to researchers studying observations from NASA’s probe, Dawn.…

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:03:08 GMT

We can't see alien radio signals because they were snuffed out

If we ever detect signals from extraterrestrial civilisations, they are likely already dead, a somewhat downbeat update to the venerable Drake equation suggests.…

Kepler krunch koming: Super space 'scope's fuel tank almost empty

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:58:08 GMT

NASA engineers say shutdown will happen 'within months'

NASA has announced the Kepler Space Telescope has almost exhausted its fuel supply.…

Boffins build 'body-on-a-chip' for drugs tests

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 20:15:57 GMT

Buffet of 10 organ types to check for reactions

Boffins from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Northeastern University, and several bio-oriented companies have developed a chip that can be loaded with cells from up to 10 organs for testing how drugs affect the human body.…

Poop to save planet as boffins devise bullsh*t way of extracting gas

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:06:05 GMT

Livestock excreta generates excitement and power

Despite emissions from intensive animal husbandry often being fingered as a cause of climate change, researchers have suggested a new way that manure could be a source of renewable power.…

Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 05:13:42 GMT

Physicist now has a new chance to truly know the mind of God

Physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.…

Doctor finds physical changes to astronaut's eyes after ISS stint

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 20:33:00 GMT

Great, you're in space. But everything's all blurry

An ophthalmologist studying astronauts in the International Space Station has found long-term structural changes in their eyes.…

Stanford brainiacs say they can predict Reddit raids

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:13:24 GMT

Researchers develop method to sniff out forum conflicts

A group from Stanford University says conflicts on Reddit forums follow a reliable enough pattern to be predicted before they happen.…

Russian boffins blow up teeny asteroids with tiny laser... to work out how to nuke the real thing

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:11:07 GMT

We're told Bruce Willis is standing by

The next time a giant asteroid threatens the Earth, Russia may just know how many megatons of explosives are needed to blow the thing to smithereens.…

NASA on SpaceX's 2015 big boom: Bargain bin steel liberated your pressure vessel

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 17:10:04 GMT

Rocket veterans blame explosion on design flaw

NASA has fingered design failings by SpaceX in a much-delayed report (PDF) on the 2015 explosion of a Falcon 9 on its way to the ISS.…

16 exoplanets found huddled around 12 lightweight stars

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 22:34:38 GMT

One of the 'super-Earth' finds might even have liquid water

A team of astronomers have spotted 16 exoplanets, including a ‘super-Earth’ that might hold liquid water, hovering around 12 low mass stars hundreds of light years away from the Solar System.…

Are you Falcon sure, Elon? Musk vows Big Rocket will go up 2019

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 10:56:09 GMT

Assures us his self-driving cars to be 200% safer than puny humans

SpaceX and Tesla chief Elon Musk assured the audience at Austin, Texas media 'n' tech megafest South by Southwest last night that his big rocket would fly next year.…

Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 16:57:11 GMT

Continental electric clocks go TITSUP*

Electric timekeepers in Europe have been losing minutes due to power frequency deviations arising from a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo.…

Violent, powerful wind that lasts 100s of years. Yes, it's Jupiter, not you after a Friday night curry

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:32:27 GMT

Gas giant's atmosphere is not for the faint hearted

The stripy bands on Jupiter are made from roaring winds that penetrate deep below its surface and circle round the entire planet.…

For all we know, aliens could be as careless with space junk as us

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 12:37:11 GMT

Astroboffin suggests scanning exoplanets for xenocrap in orbit

A physicist at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in the Canary Islands has proposed a way by which planet hunters might detect advanced alien technology.…

Jupiter has the craziest storms seen yet, say boffins

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 07:30:07 GMT

New pics make the gas giant's poles look like portals to hell

Jupiter has the strangest storm behavior observed to date, with formation patterns that have never been seen elsewhere.…

Pasties in SPAAAAACE: Cornwall hopes for slice of £50m spaceport cash

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 13:59:11 GMT

To boldly go where a Scottish spaceport would really like to

Cornwall has thrown its hat in the ring to become the prime location for Human Centred Space businesses by 2030.…

ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 07:58:09 GMT

You’re right, there’s no air in space, but there’s enough to squirt about in very low orbits

The European Space Agency has hailed the successful test of an air-breathing engine that works in space.…

Half the world warned 'Chinese space station will fall on you'

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 06:04:08 GMT

Except you there in the UK: you've got no chance of catching Tiangong-1 debris

If you read the New Zealand Herald, you're (a) probably a Kiwi, and (b) building a bunker because you expect a Chinese space station to drop on your head.…

New algorithm could help self-driving cars scout out hidden objects

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:55:10 GMT

If they are going v-e-r-y slowly

A team of engineers has developed algorithms that reconstruct images of objects hiding around corners or behind walls, and they believe it could be used to help make self-driving cars safer one day - albeit very slow ones at present.…

Boffins discover chemistry that could have produced building blocks of life in space

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 21:26:44 GMT

My god, it's full of hydrocarbons

A team of researchers carried out a series of experiments to study how complex hydrocarbons, an important class of molecules needed to create the building blocks for life, formed in space.…

It's ALIIIIIVE: Boffins detect slow-moving zombie star

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 14:23:14 GMT

Red giant revives a nearby corpse through the emission of cosmic wind

The European Space Agency's INTEGRAL space observatory has captured an unusual piece of stellar voodoo: the moment when a dead star was brought back to life by a nearby red giant.…

I'll bee back: Boffin's bionic bug Band-Aid after real ones all die

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 14:25:12 GMT

Plus: Leaping robotic spiders, anyone? No?

From the department of "just because we could, doesn't mean we should" comes news that researchers are planning swarms of robotic bees and spiders.…

Organic battery tech could work better than a woolly hat in the cold

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 12:53:04 GMT

Parky Prius? Frosty fondleslab? Help may soon be at hand

Brits may soon have one less thing to whinge about during cold snaps – thanks to research into the performance of Li-ion batteries in freezing temperatures.…

Brit military boffins buy airtime on HD eye-in-the-sky video satellite

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 14:58:08 GMT

UK-made bird forms first of 5-strong planned constellation

The RAF has acquired a satellite that can beam live video footage from space, the head of the air force told an industry gathering in Surrey today.…

Paul Allen's six-engined monster plane prepares for space deliveries

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 04:02:11 GMT

World's largest aircraft goes for a very gentle trundle

The world's largest aircraft, designed to one day fling rockets into space, has tested out its taxiing capabilities at the Mojave Air and Space Port in New Mexico.…

Deep in remote Oz, an antenna has 'heard' the oldest stars

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 01:59:37 GMT

And they're way too loud ... unless dark matter is involved

A group of US researchers working at a remote site in north-west Australia have identified signals from the oldest stars ever observed, born roughly 180 million years after the Big Bang.…

Martian microbes may just be resting – boffins

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 15:49:07 GMT

The aliens are coming! Just add water... Maybe

Demonstrating that scientists can extrapolate with the best of them, researchers have speculated that long dormant microbes on the Red Planet might reawaken with the introduction of liquid water.…

Scientists change their minds, think water may be all over the Moon

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 10:31:10 GMT

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Or fuel a rocket. Yet...

Boffins at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center have announced that water on the Moon may be actually be more widespread over the surface than first thought, and less prone to moving about.…

Inviting nearby exoplanet revealed as radiation-baked hell

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 06:28:10 GMT

Proxima Centauri b roasted by colossal solar flare, probably not for the first time

Seekers of new worlds for humans to colonise will have to look further afield than Proxima Centauri after the detection of huge solar flares showed its planets are probably uninhabitable.…

Hubble Space Telescope one of 16 suffering data-scrambling sensor error

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 06:01:13 GMT

Flawed analogue-to-digital converter can turn a whole bunch of 1s into a cosmic joke

Users of sixteen of the world's most prestigious optical telescopes - including the Hubble Space Telescope - are revisiting old data in case an analogue-to-digital converter design has polluted the instruments' measurements.…

Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:01:08 GMT

But don't throw away those physics books just yet, m'kay?

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Institute and John Hopkins University have used NASA’s Hubble Telescope to show that the universe is expanding a little bit faster than expected.…

SpaceX's internet satellites to beam down 'Hello world' from orbit

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:16:19 GMT

Birds launched today... but ship-borne catcher's mitt misses payload fairing catch

Video The first two internet-relaying satellites in SpaceX's Starlink constellation have been launched into Earth's orbit – and will begin broadcasting to the world this week.…

Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 17:35:12 GMT

What are the chances of that El Reg? 1 in 10 MEEELLION

Published today in the journal Nature is a description of a rare and difficult to capture event – the birth of a supernova (and the death of a star).…

Bright idea: Make H when the Sun shines, and H when it doesn't

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:54:11 GMT

German boffins design solar reactor that, er, works at night

Researchers in Cologne, Germany, have successfully demonstrated a solar reactor known as CONTISOL, which promises to be able make hydrogen day and night while running on little more than air and sunlight.…

Euro Space Agency probe begins search for guff gas on Mars

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:49:32 GMT

Do we mean methane? You're darn tootin'

The European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is to conduct its final aerobraking manoeuvre this evening prior to starting its mission of sniffing for Martian methane.…

Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:31:06 GMT

Long-lived robot throws 5,000 sol party. Beancounters not invited

The knives are out for MER-B, better known as the Opportunity rover, at NASA beancounter central. The beloved rover has just passed the 5,000 sol mark on Mars and is approaching the 15th anniversary of its launch (thankfully without the desolate rendition of "Happy Birthday" played by its plutonium-powered successor, Curiosity).…

Astro-boffinry world rocked to its very core: Shock as Andromeda found to be not much bigger than Milky Way

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:11:11 GMT

Everything we knew was a lie

The Andromeda galaxy is actually roughly the same size as the Milky Way, and may not engulf our galaxy when it is expected to collide in about four billion years time, according to new research.…

Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:26:08 GMT

Just kidding – vague definitions, confounding factors mean you probably shouldn't panic... yet

A study has suggested a link between diets high in ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of cancer – but academics have warned against over-interpreting the results.…

Life's a beach – then you're the comms nexus of the British Empire and Marconi-baiting hax0rs

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:05:07 GMT

Inside Porthcurno's world-spanning telegraphy web

Geek's Guide to Britain I'm sitting on a perfect sandy beach in dazzling winter sunshine which makes it feel two months warmer than it really is. The beach is nearly empty, although a couple of dogs are enjoying the surf. The nearest road peters out a few hundred yards up a steep valley – the only way here is to walk. Porthcurno beach, just a few miles from Land's End in Cornwall, feels pleasantly like it is a long way from anywhere.…

Sorry, Elon, your Tesla roadster won't orbit for billions of years

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 03:01:55 GMT

Astroboffins calculate MuskMobile will only last millions of years, has decent chance of bonking Earth, Venus

Explaining why he used his Tesla roadster as the test mass on his Falcon Heavy launch, Elon Musk remarked that he liked the idea of it orbiting for a billion years.…

Mars is red, Earth is blue. Here's a space laser story for you

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:31:13 GMT

NASA to take Mars meteor from London and use it for target practise ahead of 2020 mission

NASA has decided to use fragments of Martian meteorites for target practice ahead of the Mars 2020 mission, then send one back to Mars.…

National Museum of Computing rattles the bucket: Help shift war-winning proto-puter

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:36:04 GMT

Campaign to move a Bombe into historic Block H

Updated The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has organised a whip-round to move a historic code-breaking computer into a new location at Bletchley Park, England.…

NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 23:34:51 GMT

Cheer up – by 2030, we'll have flying cars, too

President Trump's administration has handed down a budget for 2019 to NASA – and it effectively kills off key projects in exchange for a vague promise to go back to the Moon.…

What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 21:38:05 GMT

Where's a sat-nav when you need one?

Pic The final rocket burn of the SpaceX craft carrying Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster into the cosmos pushed the billionaire's flash jalopy much further than anticipated. It's now heading out toward the Solar System's asteroid belt rather than swinging close by Mars as planned.…