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The Register - Science

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Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 11:55:08 GMT

'It's more dramatic than climate change'

"Insects are at the bottom of the ecosystem," the lead author of a study into a massive decrease in collected insects told The Reg. Their loss, he added, is "likely to collapse the entire pyramid".…

Red (Planet) alert: Future astro-heroes face shocking adventures on Martian moon Phobos

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:02:13 GMT

You may want to resist current plans to discharge a base on the surface

Vid Strong solar eruptions may be blasting the Martian moon Phobos with an avalanche of electrically charged particles, charging parts of it to hundreds of volts, and hampering attempts to land on and study the alien landscape.…

Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 01:57:09 GMT

With fewer meteors, lower radiation and better weather, this is a nice place for a colony

Japan's lunar orbiter has found a long, deep tunnel under the Moon's surface.…

Hate to break it to you, but billions of people can see Uranus tonight

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:51:16 GMT

Some may even glimpse the ring

Attention, inhabitants of the northern hemisphere of our fragile home world. You're about to get one of the best peeks at Uranus in years – because the strange alien planet will reach opposition with the Sun and be at the closest point in its orbit to Earth.…

Neutron stars shower gold on universe in big bang, felt on Earth as 100-second grav wave

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:00:43 GMT

LIGO boffins pinpoint space prang 130m light years away

Barely two years after it came online, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has scored a double success. Last week, the instrument earned its creators a Nobel Prize – and this week we're told it helped spot the first neutron star collision from both its gravitational wave and radiation emissions.…

Elon Musk says Harry Potter and Bob the Builder will get SpaceX flying to Mars

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 07:31:08 GMT

Reddit AMA says Raptor rocket will be safer and more reliable than commercial aircraft

SpaceX, Tesla and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk has suggested Bob the Builder and Harry Potter will help his space exploration efforts.…

Beardy Branson chucks cash at His Muskiness' Hyperloop idea

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:28:13 GMT

Firm built round improbable concept now to be known as Virgin Hyperloop One

Richard Branson, the billionaire behind the Virgin brand, has reportedly invested an undisclosed sum in Elon Musk’s barmy Hyperloop supersonic tube train project, seemingly competing with the billionaire ideas man's own firm.…

Top of the radio charts: Jodrell Bank goes for UNESCO World Heritage status

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 12:11:05 GMT

UN, you had better say yes...

Jodrell Bank is going forward for nomination as a World Heritage Site early in 2018.…

Look! Over there! Intel's cooked a 17-qubit chip quantum package

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 04:15:06 GMT

Have you tried collapsing the waveform and polarizing a photon again?

Intel reckons it's stolen a base in the race to build quantum chippery, by shipping a cryogenically-cooled 17-qubit chip to Netherlands-based QuTech.…

Someone liked dwarf planet Haumea so much they put a ring on it

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:31:40 GMT

We've not seen orbital bling out this far before

VIDEO Back in January, a Spanish-led group of astroboffins turned telescopes skywards to watch an occultation of dwarf planet Haumea, and got a surprise.…

They've only gone and made a chemical-threat-detecting ring

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:05:53 GMT

Oo, what's that you've got on? Chanel No. 5? Anthrax? This trendy wearable would know

Smartwatches and Fitbits might be the cool wearables du jour, but they're hardly able to tell you if you're standing in a cloud of noxious chemicals. However, a team of boffins hopes to some day fill this, er, gap in the market with their hip prototype, the broad goal of which is to help keep you alive.…

NASA readies its asteroid warning system for harmless flyby

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 04:56:10 GMT

Reminder: amateur astronomers, watch out for 2012 TC4, you might get lucky

With asteroid 2012 TC4 about to pass between Earth and the moon, NASA is gearing up for its much-anticipated live test of its warning system.…

Three words: Synthetic gene circuit. Self-assembling bacteria build pressure sensor

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:05:11 GMT

Because 3D printers are sooo 2006

Beware, 3D printers. Self-assembling bacteria are coming for your jobs. Specially designed bacteria can organise themselves to make a three-dimensional pressure sensor, new research shows.…

Boffins' bonkers fibre demo: 53 Tbps down ONE piece of glass

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 22:56:09 GMT

Japan's NICT looks to data centres of the future

If you've always wanted to pump more than 50 Tbps down a data centre fibre, good news: it can be done. The bad news is that right now, it needs a fair whack of boffinry and equipment.…

What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 07:35:09 GMT

Huge explosions belched foul gases, but enough about Y!...

Our Moon had an atmosphere visible from space almost four billion years ago – thanks to volcanic eruptions on its surface spewing a concoction of gases at a rate faster than they could escape the heavenly body.…

After seven-hour operation, the ISS has a new 'hand'

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 03:56:11 GMT

Get a grip, it's just another spacewalk

NASA commander Randy Bresnik and astronaut Mark Vande Hei have spent seven hours upgrading one of the International Space Station's robot arms.…

In current affairs news: Teen boffin with lots of potential crafts electric honeycombs out of oil

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 02:56:12 GMT

He'd teach you about ions and mysterious structures but he'd have to charge

A teenager studying electrically charged particles has captured the formation of an ill-understood electric honeycomb structure called the Rose window.…

Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:02:05 GMT

Great for keeping sandwiches fresh AND de-orbiting sails

Blighty's defence boffins are now spending £10m per year on space research, including a satellite mission set for blast-off in 2019.…

NASA tests supersonic parachute, to help us land on Mars

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 06:24:12 GMT

Sub-orbital rocket worked, but the telemetry indicates a sudden descent

Vid NASA has successfully tested a parachute designed for low-density atmospheres like that found on Mars.…

Biochem boffins win the Nobel Prize for cryo-electron microscopy

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 05:01:04 GMT

Fancy method captures three-dimensional images of biomolecules

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to a trio of researchers that have developed a new technique that captures three dimensional images of biological molecules.…

Li-quid hot mag-ma: There's a Martian meteorite in your backyard. How'd it get there?

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:21:13 GMT

Asteroid smacks chunks off a volcano... but not as we know it

New research adds extra support for where exactly six meteorites that travelled from Mars to Earth millions of years ago, called "nakhlites", may have originated.…

Rosetta probe's final packets massaged into new snap of Comet 67P

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 07:28:09 GMT

Just 53 per cent of the image made it home, so software thought it couldn't be a photo

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been able to squeeze one last photo out of the Rosetta probe.…

Physicists win Nobel Prize for spotting ripples in fabric of space-time

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:38:09 GMT

Dude. Woah.

The 2017 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to three researchers crucial to the first detection of ripples in the fabric of space-time – gravitational waves.…

Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 07:01:05 GMT

Reality will have to do unless you can leap-frog quantum computing

That “we live in a simulation" trope being advanced by Elon Musk and some folk on the fringes of science? Fuggeddaboutit, because it's impossible to build a simulator that would reproduce what humans already know about quantum systems.…

Life began after meteorites splashed into warm ponds of water, say astronomers

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 06:29:09 GMT

Cosmic carbon crashes, plus grains galore, set the chemical world cranking

Life began on Earth only a few hundred million years after the planet’s surface was cool enough for pools of liquid water to form, according to a new study published today.…

Bad news! Astroboffins find the stuff of life in space for the first time

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 04:02:07 GMT

We thought this stuff would turn up where there's already life. Turns out it's everywhere

Scientists have announced today that a stable organohalogen, a class of compounds normally produced by organisms on Earth, has been detected for the first time in space.…

Nobel Prize for boffins who figured out why you feel like crap after long-haul flights

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 16:31:14 GMT

It's the same for fruit flies

Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbach and Michael Young have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm".…

Geoboffins claim to find oldest trace of life in rocks 4bn years old

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 07:27:10 GMT

It could hint at the possibilities of life on other planets early on in their development

Scientists claim to have found the oldest evidence of life on Earth – contained in Canadian rocks 3.95 billion years ago, when our planet had no oxygen and was being pelted by asteroids.…

Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 22:57:15 GMT

By 2024. Possibly. SpaceX isn't very good at deadlines

Elon Musk thinks he can get humans onto Mars within the next seven years. On Friday, he told the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, how he intends to do it.…

Hubble spies most distant comet zipping through Solar System

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:25:44 GMT

Iceball K2 is already active despite being far from the Sun

The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped a picture of the farthest-away inbound comet, at a whopping 1.5 billion miles from Earth.…

Ancient fat black holes created by belching Big Bang's dark matter

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:27:45 GMT

Streams of gas slammed into cloud of baffling cosmic material – new theory

The largest and oldest supermassive black holes were created from a giant clump of dark matter and gas after the Big Bang, according to a supercomputer simulation.…

Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 06:31:08 GMT

Massive facility will try self-sustaining for a year

Three years ago the United Arab Emirates announced plans to stage a manned mission to Mars. Now the kingdom plans to build a massive Mars colony in the desert to test out the technologies they will use to live there.…

Did the Earth move for you, too? Grav waves sensed from black holes' bang 1.8bn LYs away

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 05:09:11 GMT

Best signal yet received after space void mega-prang

Scientists have recorded the most accurate reading of gravitational waves yet by using the upgraded LIGO and Virgo observatories together for the first time.…

NASA, Roscosmos: We're building a lunar space station!

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 03:30:04 GMT

Can't say where. Can't say when. Can't agree on Mars or Moon as target. But it'll happen!

Crewed deep space exploration is back on the agenda, after NASA and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos announced they will co-operate on efforts to create a cislunar space station.…

Boeing slams $2m on the desk, bellows: Now where's my jetpack?

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 21:15:13 GMT

Aviation chums want personal flying device that can be flown by 'anyone, anywhere'

Boeing and its pals today offered a whopping $2m (£1.49m) in prizes to anyone who can design and build a working “personal flying device."…

Japanese boffins try 'token passing' to scale quantum calculations

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 11:07:13 GMT

If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it it on a ring

Apart from actually performing computations, one of the most difficult quantum computing challenges is getting qubits to scale.…

Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 08:01:10 GMT

A star performer producing fission-free plasma power

Geek's Guide to Britain I’m in a room that, in normal circumstances, is not fit for human habitation. It features a number of big red buttons surrounded by illuminated yellow rings – just in case. “Push button to switch off Jet. Press only in case of extreme emergency,” the signs read, informatively.…

Don't panic, but.. ALIEN galaxies are slamming Earth with ultra-high-energy cosmic rays

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:01:09 GMT

Particle streams unlikely to come from within the Milky Way

The most energetic cosmic rays bombarding Earth originate from outside our Milky Way Galaxy, according to research published just before the weekend.…

Hurricane Maria leaves Arecibo radio telescope damaged and dark

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:09:34 GMT

Feed antenna collapses, dropping debris onto main dish

In the midst of the humanitarian disaster unfolding after Puerto Rico was battered by Hurricane Maria, astronomers working at the Arecibo radio telescope have reported damage that will leave it unable to operate for months.…

Sputnik-1 replica used to test the real thing goes under the hammer

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:01:13 GMT

If you've got a lazy US$100k to $150k, a piece of history can be yours on Wednesday

A replica of Sputnik-1 used to test the real thing's performance goes to auction this week.…

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.…