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LOST IN SPAAAAAACE! SpaceX aborts Space Station podule berthing

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 23:06:09 GMT

Navigational computer blunder halts cargo capsule hook-up

SpaceX today called off an attempt to berth its Dragon cargo capsule with the International Space Station after the, er, podule got a bit lost. It's fine, though: they'll try again on Thursday.…

Pack your bags! NASA spots SEVEN nearby Earth-sized alien worlds

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:41:34 GMT

It's a Trap...pist mini solar system 44 million years away by jet plane

Pics and video NASA has discovered a mini solar system of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a small cool dwarf star, including three within the Goldilocks zone where liquid water is possible.…

Gulp! Drones dodge spray from California's gaping moist glory hole

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:04:06 GMT

Spectators swallow hard as cloud seeds flow forth

Vid + pics Drone operators have been gazing in fascination as, for the first time in over a decade, the Lake Berryessa glory hole has been swallowing up excess water and shooting it down into Putah Creek.…

Amid new push to make Pluto a planet again... Get over it, ice-world's assassin tells El Reg

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:48:13 GMT

Boffins demand rule rewrite to restore glorified moon's dignity

The ongoing argument over whether Pluto is an actual planet or just a dwarf on the outskirts of the Solar System has heated up again – with a new proposal to reapply planetary status to the distant iceball.…

Automated, insight cannot be: Jedi master of statistics was good – but beware the daft side

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:02:05 GMT

Hans Rosling is gone, but dashboards and graphs are dangerous to knowledge

So, farewell then Hans Rosling, educator and "Jedi master of data visualisation". For in a world increasingly addicted to alternative facts, you pioneered software – Gapminder – and a viewer-friendly approach with bubble charts that allowed you to communicate simple important messages about the world through the medium of the Ted Talk.…

NASA extends trial of steerable robo-stunt kite parachute

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:33:06 GMT

Why chase balloons for hundreds of miles when you can drop the payload outside?

NASA will soon be testing high-altitude parachute systems that let astroboffins land valuable scientific research payloads from altitudes of 60,000 feet.…

European Space Agency slaps CC licences on its pics and vids

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:02:11 GMT

Space. The Final Frontier (for copyright). These are the free images and videos of the ESA

The European Space Agency has flung the data doors open: from today, it's adopted an open access policy for its trove of images and videos.…

SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 22:57:32 GMT

And then sticks the landing for good measure after pausing a day for hydraulic glitch

Elon Musk's rocket trucking business, SpaceX, is rolling on the celestial highway again after successfully launching a Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket, then landing the rocket's first stage back on terra firma.…

Jun-OH-NO! NASA's Jupiter probe in busted helium-valve drama

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 01:28:34 GMT

Science lab stuck on 53-day orbit, unable to catch a closer glimpse of alien gas world

NASA's Juno probe will not venture any closer to Jupiter, and will stay in its current 53-day orbit for the remainder of its mission. That's due to faulty helium valves in the propulsion system, space boffins announced today.…

Dead cockroaches make excellent magnets – now what are we supposed to do with this info?

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 06:01:10 GMT

They'll stick notes to fridges in the aftermath of nuclear war?

Fun Fact: Dead cockroaches stay magnetized far longer than their live brethren, according to real actual science.…

Baby supernova spotted, just three hours old and a real cutie

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:02:11 GMT

If 'cute' means 'explosively re-writes plenty of our theories about how stars behave'

In the kind of observational serendipity that astro-boffins live for: spotting the explosion of a supernova mere hours after the explosion's light started reaching Earth.…

Get it while it's hot: NASA's Space Poo contest winners wipe up $30k

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 14:00:05 GMT

As promised, story about space poo

US Air Force Colonel Thatcher Cardon, MD, has won a competition to develop a new diaper to cradle astronauts' soiled nethers for up to six days of spacefaring.…

Finally, a use for your mobile phone: Snapping ALIEN signal blurts

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 06:27:12 GMT

Citizen science project to find galactic bursts using selfie-taking pocket radio receivers

Friends, take out your mobiles in the name of science! Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are trying to look for fast radio bursts in the Milky Way galaxy with “low-cost radio receivers.” And by that, they mean, your smartphones.…

GRAPHENE: £120m down, finds it's still a long way from commercial potential

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 09:32:12 GMT

Wonder material, not wonder market

Graphene, the material with many extraordinary properties, has swallowed around £120m in UK government funds, but development and commercialisation is proving tortuously slow and increasingly dogged with disappointment.…

NASA picks three Martian wet patches for 2020 splashdown

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 05:34:05 GMT

Bug-hunting mission's final landing site candidates are thought to have seen water flow

NASA has decided its Mars 2020 mission will land a rover in one of three places, all of which are thought to have once seen liquid water flowing.…

Feel like a spot of planet-hunting? Here's 1,600 suns worth of data

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 04:06:14 GMT

Decades of exoplanet observations are yours for the downloading

Here's a treat for amateur exoplanet-hunters and experts alike: 20 years' worth of observations from the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii, complete with application and tutorial.…

UK prof claims to have first practical blueprint of a quantum computer

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:06:09 GMT

Simultaneously is and isn't bollocks

A professor at the University of Sussex says he has the first practical blueprint for a quantum computer capable of solving problems that could take billions of years for a classical computer to compute. Oh yeah?…

High tides: Boffins spy on dolphins baked on poisonous piscines

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 06:02:07 GMT

Dude, quit bogarting the blowfish

Scientists in Australia have observed groups of dolphins sharing around a blowfish and getting out of their skulls on the toxins they produce.…

Stick glue on a drone. Fly it into a flower. World hunger solved, bee-lieve

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:32:11 GMT

Japanese researchers turn tiny drones into robot bees

Video A failed science experiment involving a sticky gel has been revived to create robot pollinators.…

NASA bakes Venus-proof electronics

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:22:24 GMT

Previous Venus probes hardly lasted an hour. This stuff survived three weeks before the boffins lost their lab booking

NASA boffins have found a way to make electronics that can survive on the surface of Venus, at least for a few weeks…

Hyperloop sueball noose-man launches tube-travel rival

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 22:46:13 GMT

Brogan BamBrogan is back! And this time he means BamBusiness

Three months after settling a lawsuit with former employer Hyperloop One, engineer Brogan BamBrogan (of the BamBrogans) has launched a rival to the tube-travelling transport company.…

Vintage Space Shuttle fuel tank destroyed by New Orleans tornado

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 02:58:13 GMT

Space Launch System and Orion undamaged, all personnel accounted for

Video A tornado has totalled some priceless NASA artefacts.…

Pulsating white dwarf described as a 'dynamo' found, no, not in the back pages, 380 LY away

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 06:01:09 GMT

Astroboffins have searched for magnetic neighbor for 50 years

Fifty years after pulsars were discovered, scientists in the UK and South Africa have spotted the first white dwarf that mimics the emissions of a neutron star.…

Vapists rejoice! E-cigs lower cancer risk (if you stop smoking, duh)

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:36:55 GMT

But you still look like a douche

The first long-term, real-world study on carcinogens in e-cigarettes has found that they are significantly safer than smoking.…

NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 06:03:14 GMT

About that whole running liquid on the surface thing…

Data from NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has left scientists scratching their heads. On the one hand, the bot appears to have found evidence that water once flowed on Mars, but on the other hand, the readings suggest there couldn't have been.…

Boffins build laser satellite data link

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 05:03:08 GMT

If a sat's sinking and the radio goes down, it's time to light up!

A satellite's radio-communications failing is a crisis if you need to keep it from drifting off station, so a pair of boffins suggest firing up an Earth-bound laser as a backup comms channel.…

Juno how to adjust a broken Jupiter probe's orbit?

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 08:02:10 GMT

We're asking because Juno's still in a bigger-than-hoped orbit. The pics are still lovely though

NASA's revealed that its Juno probe has made another close pass around Jupiter, but sadly remains in a longer-than-planned orbit that means it spends more time a long way away from the gas giant.…

Mars isn't the garbage wasteworld you think it is: Swirling polar ice cap photographed

Sat, 04 Feb 2017 08:11:15 GMT

Santa's second home revealed in space snaps

Pics Mars is not quite the featureless red wasteland scientists once thought it was. New images from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe orbiting the Red Planet have revealed delicate swirls of ice at the alien world's north pole.…

Uncle Sam probes SpaceX – but crack nothing to be alarmed about, we're told

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 21:07:21 GMT

Boeing not safe for humans yet, either, apparently

Boeing and SpaceX craft designed to take humans into orbit suffer fractures, according to a leaked report by the US government's General Accountability Office.…

Hard numbers: The mathematical architectures of Artificial Intelligence

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 12:00:11 GMT

Is your machine learning?

Pity the 34 staff of Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance in Japan, diligently calculating insurance payouts and brutally replaced by an AI system. If you believe the reports from January, the AI revolution is here.…

Watch: MIT's terrifying invisible gel robo-eels snatch live fish

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 07:00:10 GMT

Plus: Boston Dynamics builds 'nightmare-inducing' jumping pram

Videos Watch out – robots are now fast and strong enough to catch live fish and kick balls underwater, according to a group of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.…

'Mafia' of ageing scientists, academics and politicos suck at picking tech 'winners'

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 11:19:06 GMT

Sorry, Theresa May. Graphene and 'space' are not Britain's industrial future

Rarely has a report on industrial strategy, unveiled by the Prime Minister Theresa May at the Sci-Tech Daresbury centre in the North West on January 23 contained so little about industry.…

Cassini sends back best ring-shots yet en route to self-destruct dive

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 06:32:04 GMT

Probe went this close in 2004, but the light is better this time around

The Cassini probe's commenced its death dive into Saturn's clouds, but is still sending back high-resolution of the gas giant's rings.…

Twin brothers. One went into space. The other didn't. NASA reveals how their bodies differ

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 06:02:08 GMT

Great way to monitor effects of being in orbit

As it prepares for interplanetary missions, NASA is offering a glimpse of its study of the effects of space on twins.…

SpaceX shuffles deck, EchoStar launch bumped

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 03:02:05 GMT

Kennedy pad needs more prep, Elon's next flight will be to ISS

SpaceX's spectacular explosion last September is still producing fallout, with the company deciding its EchoStar launch will have to wait, while it prepares its new launchpad.…

NASA honors Apollo 1 crew 50 years after deadly launchpad fire

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 23:53:07 GMT

It's a grim week of remembrance for America's rocketeers

Pics and video On Friday, NASA unveiled a new memorial for Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward White II, and Pilot Roger Chaffee, who perished when fire broke out in their Apollo 1 capsule.…

NASA brews better test to find ET in cosmic cocktails

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 07:33:09 GMT

Take an alien liquid, stir, add lasers, then wait to see what rises to the top

Space agency NASA has created a test 10,000 times more sensitive than current technology to detect signs of life beyond Earth.…

This goldfish and its steerable robot tank will destroy humanity

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 18:05:45 GMT

Mark our words. First this uni campus, then the world

RotM Students at Carnegie Mellon University have made a mobile goldfish bowl that the lucky fish can drive around by itself – and they've filmed it for posterity.…

I'm deadly serious about megatunnels, vows Elon Musk

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 16:27:11 GMT

Going underground

That's more like it. Elon Musk is completely serious about building megatunnels under Los Angeles, buffing up his credentials as a real-life Bond villain. He's promised to start within "a month or so".…

H0LiCOW! Hubble's constant update paves way for 'new physics'

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:01:36 GMT

Standard model of cosmology may be incorrect, say experts

The latest measurement of the Hubble constant is higher than previous values, prompting scientists to believe there may be “new physics” beyond the standard model of cosmology yet to be discovered.…

Northumbria Uni fined £400K after boffin's bad math gives students a near-killer caffeine high

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 08:04:07 GMT

Pair needed dialysis after downing equivalent of 300 cups of coffee

Northumbria University in England has been fined £400,000 ($503,000) after a botched experiment resulted in two students almost dying from caffeine overdose.…

Forget Tony Stark's Iron Man – exosuits of the future will be spandex

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:59:43 GMT

It turns out there are better ways to enhance strength than heavy metal armor

Exosuits have featured prominently in comic books and films for decades, but as they move from research labs to the work environment, they're looking more like couture from Robin Hood: Men in Tights than artifacts from Iron Man.…

Congratulations – you're looking better than ever this morning!

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:20:12 GMT

America's new Earth observation sat sends home sharpest images ever

The United States' newest Earth-watcher, GOES-16, has sent back its first high-resolution images, and it's making the Earth observation community get a bit misty around the eyes.…

Gimme some skin: Boffins perfect 3D bioprinter that emits slabs of human flesh

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 07:02:07 GMT

Just imagine what a printer jam looks like

Vid 3D printing for most users is limited to polymer printing, or in some cases metal – but now a team from Spain has built hardware that can print actual human skin.…

We've found a ‘vaccine’ for fake news. Wait! No, we really are Cambridge researchers

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 16:07:09 GMT

Yes, from the English university. No you shut up

Researchers at Cambridge University believe a psychological "vaccine" could help prevent the spread of "fake news" - in a study that on the face of it might also pass for a bogus story.…

Korean boffins vow 1,000km-an-hour supertrain

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:05:56 GMT

Anything Elon can do…?

Korean boffins want to create the blueprint for a train capable of operating at 1,000km/h (621mph).…

NASA fires first shot in plan to bring a chunk of asteroid down to Earth

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 05:01:14 GMT

OSIRIS-REx completes initial big burn on the way to asteroid Bennu

NASA's asteroid-exploration mission OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has taken the left turn at Albuquerque on its way to a near-Earth space rock called Bennu.…

Euro space agency's Galileo satellites stricken by mystery clock failures

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:57:14 GMT

One in eight have stopped, admits org's director general

Europe's GPS-alike system Galileo is suffering a number of unexplained clock failures on its satellites, the European Space Agency has admitted.…

Speaking in Tech: Japan launches rocket with 2 laptops, 8 people

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:57:11 GMT

Podcast That'll end well...

Boffins link ALIEN STRUCTURE ON VENUS to Solar System's biggest ever grav wave

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:19:13 GMT

Akatsuki probe finds huge thing lurking in planet's clouds

An enormous, mysteriously stationary structure high over the surface of Venus may be the largest gravity wave in the Solar System, according to Japanese astronomers.…