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Musk: I want to retrieve rockets with big Falcon party balloons

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:06:51 GMT

NASA: Been there, done that

While waiting for TESS to get off the launchpad on Monday, chief exec Elon Musk joked on Twitter about how SpaceX might set about recovering the second stage of the booster.…




SpaceX finally Falcon flings NASA's TESS into orbit

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:48:13 GMT

Booster hurls probe, has nice sit-down on boat in the Atlantic

NASA’s TESS spacecraft is in orbit following a successful launch from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40.…




Pyro-brainiacs set new record with waste-heat-into-electricity study

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:37:09 GMT

Spark off questions from burny laptop, melty server and hot data centre havers

Californian scientists have come up with a way of converting waste heat from electronics back into electricity with improved efficiency, according to a study in Nature Materials.…




Hello DARKNESS, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again... about a 10,000-pixel alien-hunting camera

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 16:06:09 GMT

A vision softly creeping... of an exoplanet or two

Astronomers are building the world’s largest and most advanced superconducting camera – with the goal of snapping clearer shots of exoplanets for scientists hunting alien life.…




Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:19:17 GMT

Brit boffins save planet

A new enzyme developed at the University of Portsmouth will enable the recycling of plastic used for disposable drinks containers.…




NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 10:29:05 GMT

Falcon 9 grounded while turning it off and on again works at ESA

A Guidance and Navigation Control (GNC) issue scuppered last night's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9. Conversely, the European Space Agency (ESA) celebrated a successful restart of the Mars Express orbiter following a software update.…




If you guessed China’s heavy lifter failed due to a liquid hydrogen turbo engine fault, well done!

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 04:05:08 GMT

Late 2018 launch plan for third attempt at moon-capable rocket

China’s National Space Administration has figured out why its Long March Y2 launch went awry in July 2017.…




SpaceX's Falcon 9 poised to fling 350kg planet-sniffing satellite into Earth orbit

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 10:31:07 GMT

NASA boffins hope Musk's firm doesn't make a mess of TESS

Planet hunters will be keeping their fingers crossed this evening as SpaceX flings NASA’s 350kg Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) into a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth.…




Boeing CEO takes aim at Musk’s Starman-in-a-Tesla stunt

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:47:10 GMT

Anyone can lob a car into space, but you need a Boeing rocket to bring it back

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg took a shot at SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch during a discussion with Politico’s Robert Allbritton last night.…




Worried we'll make ourselves extinct? Let’s be scientific about it

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:32:08 GMT

Register Lecture to calculate Existential Risk of AI, bio-tech and more

If you’ve got a nagging feeling that the emergence of autonomous weapons, bio-tech, all knowing computers, untracked asteroids, and the breakdown of political norms is all a bit of worry, congratulations. You’re aware of some of the key existential risks facing us all.…




European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 16:25:12 GMT

We can install a new OS from 150 million kilometres away, but Windows 10 1803 is delayed?

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express orbiter is getting a software refresh as a reward for 14 years spent circling the red planet.…




Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 04:58:09 GMT

Small problem: world faces big shortages of air freight capacity

Poll Airbus has revealed a plan to put beds in passenger planes’ cargo holds.…




How life started on Earth: Sulfur dioxide builds up, volcanoes blow, job done – boffins

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 22:28:34 GMT

And it's been downhill since

Clouds of sulfur dioxide billowing from erupting volcanoes may have kickstarted a chemical process that led to life on Earth more than four billion years ago, according to new research.…




Birds can feel Earth's magnetic fields? Yeah, that might fly. Bioboffins find vital sense proteins

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 09:01:07 GMT

No cheep puns here. Just egg-shell-ent ones

Birds can fly, sing, and, er, detect the Earth’s magnetic field behind their eyes, according to a recent paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.…




Ass-troplastic! Printing parts from p.. er... human waste

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 13:48:11 GMT

Boffins flushed with success as new uses found for cosmic cack

Researchers reckon some smart bacteria and a 3D printer could solve the twin challenges of transporting materials on a journey to Mars and dealing with all the solid waste generated by space-faring humans.…




Virgin spaceplane makes maiden rocket-powered flight

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 06:32:09 GMT

And pops the sound barrier for good measure

Video Virgin Galactic’s space tourism operation conducted its first rocket-powered flight on Thursday, and appears to have recorded a roaring success.…




Ariane 5 primed for second launch of year after trajectory cockup

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 15:58:07 GMT

Satellite payloads ended up in wrong orbit

French fingers will be crossed this evening as Arianespace attempts to loft the Superbird-8 and the less imaginatively named DSN-1 dual-use satellite atop the second Ariane 5 launch of 2018 from French Guiana.…




Hubble sharpens measurement of distance to ancient cluster

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 11:48:15 GMT

Boffins do give a fig about trig after all

Boffins have combined NASA’s aging Hubble Space Telescope and some good old-fashioned trigonometry to measure the distance to a cluster of stars that were formed shortly after the big bang.…




I say, I say, I say: What's the difference between a king penguin and liquid?

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 09:02:12 GMT

According to these boffins, the similarities would surprise you

King penguin colonies move and organise themselves in a way that is "astoundingly" similar to how liquids behave, according to research published today.…




Not one, but 20,000 black holes hiding in Milky Way's heart

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 19:38:50 GMT

Thousands of them lie hidden in the dark secretly guzzling gas

The Milky Way may be teeming with tens of thousands of black holes lurking at its centre, according to a new study published on Wednesday.…




Super Cali upstart's new rocket test approaches, even though the size of it won't launch a Tesla motor

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 11:22:42 GMT

Alaskan skies cleared for Astra Space Inc's 12m craft

Secretive Californian upstart Astra Space Inc. looks set to conduct the first test flight of its creatively named "Rocket 1" launcher from Alaska's Pacific Spaceport Complex in the next couple of days.…




What's silent but violent and costs $250m? Yes, it's Lockheed Martin's super-quiet, supersonic X-plane for NASA

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 19:42:51 GMT

US space agency's Concorde-cutter project is go

Vid Supersonic air travel over land has been stymied since the 1960s due to the rather annoying sonic booms generated by speedy airplanes.…




Need a needle in an artery? Move over, doc, there's an app for that

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:43:25 GMT

Boffins find smartphones more accurate than humans

Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has shown a smartphone application is superior to traditional physical examination for spotting when it is safe to stick a needle into an artery.…




Indian comms satellite gives boffins back home the silent treatment

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 11:19:13 GMT

One firing, two firings, three... Hello? Can you hear me?

The India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lost contact with GSAT-6A during a second firing of thrusters to nudge the 2,000kg telecommunications satellite towards an operational orbit.…




Elon Musk's mighty erection fires sperm at orbiting space station

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 00:20:37 GMT

NASA mission's airy position: To check if extraterrestrial bonking will work as expected

NASA will study the feasibility of human reproduction in space, it announced on Monday.…




No chance of flying too close to this: Icarus, the most distant star seen, is 9bn light years away

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 20:05:41 GMT

And you'll need more than wings to reach it

Icarus, a gigantic bright blue star, is the farthest such body yet discovered by astroboffins, the Space Telescope Science Institute announced on Monday.…




Let's go to Mars, dude: Euro space parachute passes maiden test

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:23:13 GMT

Payload not smashed to smithereens, massive plus

The European Space Agency (ESA) claimed today that the first test of the giant parachute destined for use by the ExoMars lander has been a success, paving the way for more ambitious trials before an eventual attempt on the Red Planet itself.…




No Falcon Way: NASA to stick with SLS, SpaceX more like space ex

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 01:01:11 GMT

US cosmo-boffins: Never mind the cost, feel the payload

NASA has categorically stated it will not dump the troubled Space Launch System (SLS) in favor of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy any time soon.…




Boffins stalk house-hunting bees, find colony behaves kind of like a human brain

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:23:10 GMT

Oh do beehive!

Boffins at Sheffield University have discovered that colonies of honeybees follow the same laws as the human brain when making collective decisions.…




Tantalising Tabby's Star teases watchers with big dimming event

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 03:18:06 GMT

No 'alien' megastructure, but lots of ongoing weirdness

In January, boffins decided they'd settled the mystery of “Tabby's Star”, the far-off star that dimmed so rapidly it almost looked like something, or someone, was responsible. Scientists have since shrugged off the idea the dimming is caused by an "alien megastructure". Instead, they suggest there's just a lot of dust surrounding the star, which makes for many odd moments.…




NASA stalls $8bn James Webb Space Telescope again – this time to 2020

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 20:35:31 GMT

Someone call Scotty – he'd know how to fix this thing

The launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope has been kicked back a year to 2020, NASA confirmed during a press conference on Tuesday.…




The Register Lectures tackle tractor beams and truculent tech

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 08:47:13 GMT

April, May talks span levitation and existential risk

Tractor beams and dangerous technology are two stalwarts of science fiction, but if you want the facts, join us at two fascinating Register Lectures over the next couple of months.…




Astro-boffins find new type of super-fast supernova

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 04:05:19 GMT

Kepler data thought to be glitchy reveals two-week wonder

When a star goes supernova, it gets very, very bright, very, very quickly, then spends a good few months fading away. But boffins have now reported that an object named KSN 2015K faded away in just a fortnight.…




Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 15:23:23 GMT

Brit industry, military locked out

From the department of "you only just realised this?" come reports that the UK government has been somewhat taken aback that the EU plans to exclude Britain from the Galileo satellite programme due to Brexit.…




India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 11:38:08 GMT

Are we really doing this? ask politicos

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to build igloos on the Moon with a view to creating an Antarctica-like outpost.…




NASA fungus problem puts theory of 'Martian mushrooms' on toast

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 04:02:07 GMT

Fungus found in the lab makes amino acids we think are alien

Festering fungus has become a problem way down in the bowels of NASA, and could lead to false identification of extraterrestrial material.…




Good news: The only thing standing between NASA and $20bn is...

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 17:07:28 GMT

Oh. US President Donald Trump's signature. And he's threatening a veto

Updated US Congress has approved a $1.3tr budget [PDF] that would see, among other science boosts, NASA's funding surpass $20bn.…




SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:03:07 GMT

GPS systems thrown out of whack by Elon's rocket

A SpaceX rocket ripped a humongous hole in Earth’s ionosphere during a launch in California last year and may have impaired GPS satellites.…




Tiangong-1 re-entry window shrinks: Duck from March 30 to April 3

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 02:27:05 GMT

Radar imaging shows Chinese space station is still intact

Video Boffins have refined their estimates of when Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will return to Earth, with the big bird's impact now predicted to happen between March 30 and April 3.…




Prof Stephen Hawking's ashes will be interred alongside Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 20:43:44 GMT

Westminster Abbey is noted atheist's final resting place

The ashes of British physics ace Professor Stephen Hawking will be placed in Westminster Abbey after a special service of thanksgiving for his life.…




MIT boffins build rubber robot, invade privacy of unsuspecting sealife

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:57:46 GMT

Finding Robo: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…

Researchers at MIT have developed a robotic fish that should allow scientists to spy on intimate fishy moments normally unseen by human eyes.…




Leaning tower of NASA receives last big arm

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:19:08 GMT

Space Launch System pad lumbers towards completion

NASA's monster rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), took another tentative step towards lift-off yesterday as engineers fitted the last big umbilical arm to its launch tower.…




Hip hop-eration: Hopless Franken-beer will bring you hoppiness

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:14:11 GMT

Science. Because save the planet 'n' beer 'n' stuff

In news to delight eco-friendly hipsters the world over, boffins at the University of California, Berkeley, have come up with a way of creating hoppy craft beer without recourse to, er, hops.…




Oh bucket! Unpack the suitcases. TRAPPIST-1 planets too wet to support life

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:38:06 GMT

System may be full of waterworlds, boffins find

New research published in Nature Astronomy has poured, er, cold water on hopes that it may be possible to detect life on Earth-sized planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.…




Seen from spaaaaace: Boffins check world's oceans for plastic

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 09:59:08 GMT

There's plenty of fish in... Oh

European Space Agency (ESA) scientists plan to use satellite shortwave infrared (SWIR) sensing to detect plastic litter concentrations in the oceans.…




Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 09:18:07 GMT

Myth, legend and the lucky escape of Bennerley

Geek's Guide to Britain The pell-mell expansion of Britain's railways in the 19th century has bequeathed some impressive feats of engineering. Great stone viaducts like those at Calstock in Cornwall and Harringworth near Melton Mowbray get the glory, but for my money it's the iron bridges that are the real marvels.…




ESA's Ariel mission will boldly spot exoplanets not seen before

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:04:10 GMT

The meter-long telescope expected to launch in 2028

The European Space Agency is launching a mission to find out how planets form and how life emerges in space, it announced on Tuesday.…




Horn star Sudan, last male northern white rhino, dies aged 45

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 12:26:13 GMT

Only a bucket of semen remains

Sudan, aka "The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World” as per hook-up app Tinder, the last male northern white rhino, shuffled off this mortal coil yesterday, aged 45.…




No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 09:02:05 GMT

Late great physicist finished on an attempt to unify gravity and quantum mechanics

Sorry: Stephen Hawking's last paper doesn't favour the so-called “multiverse”, but there's some cool stuff in it if you ignore the headlines.…




Space, the final blunt-tier: Binary system ejected huge 'spliff' asteroid, boffins reckon

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 06:02:08 GMT

'Oumuamua produced by solar system that makes more asteroids than comets

Pic 'Oumuamua, the mysterious and oddly shaped interstellar asteroid spotted by astronomers, was probably ejected from a binary star system.…