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All aboard the Vomit Comet: Not the last train to Essex, but a modded 727 for weightless flight

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:02:07 GMT

All that stands between you and zero g is skill and a rubber duck

Anyone who has grown up watching the antics of Apollo astronauts aboard Skylab or the acrobatics of Shuttle and ISS crews has likely dreamed of experiencing weightlessness. Ideally in a way that doesn't involve either a sickening drop in an elevator or alarming turbulence over the Atlantic.…




China's first space station to – ahem – de-orbit in late March

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 04:01:10 GMT

Tiangong-1 is out of control and can't keep it up any more

Predictions are firming up for when China's Tiangong-1 spacecraft will make its final re-entry-crash-and-burn.…




Black hole munched galactic leftovers, spewed stars, burped

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 03:59:13 GMT

Galaxy can turn itself off, then on again

The black hole at the centre of galaxy SDSS J1354+1327 sucked in gases, “burped” – and then repeated the display.…




Worcestershire's airborne electronics warfare wonderland

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:38:10 GMT

What Bernard Lovell did before Jodrell Bank

Geek's Guide to Britain When you first see the view from Croome's church, it looks like an English utopia. The landscape, designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown during the 1750s, features a lake pretending to be river, winding lazily through fields dotted by scenic trees. To the left is Croome Court, a grand Palladian country house built over the red bricks of an earlier one. The Malvern Hills rise in the distance.…




Ice cliffs found on Mars and NASA says they’re a tap for astronauts

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 08:24:04 GMT

Not so fast, please. Ask polar explorers and mountaineers how hard it is to get a drink

Mars boffins have spotted lots of almost-pure water ice on Mars.…




NASA is pretty pleased with its pulsar-sniffing intergalactic GPS tech

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 07:03:11 GMT

X-ray satnav demo'd for future spacecraft

Pics After years of research and testing, NASA has demonstrated spacecraft positioning equipment that relies on measuring X-ray bursts. The hardware will help future spacefarers navigate the galaxy and beyond.…




Boffins closer to solving what causes weird radio bursts from space

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 08:00:10 GMT

Could it be... no way, seriously? Aliens? It's probably not aliens

A neutron star or a massive black hole may be the source of mysterious and highly energetic radio pulses that light up skies across the universe.…




Dark matter on the desktop: Dark Energy Survey publishes data

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:28:09 GMT

We live in a cannibal: data dump shows Milky Way has eaten smaller galaxies

If you've got a penchant for lots of data, astrophysics, and mystery, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) has announced its first public data release.…




Up, up and a-weigh! Boeing flies cargo drone with 225kg payload

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:02:09 GMT

No word on demo bird's range or speed, but the carrying capacity looks decent

Boeing’s revealed it hastily-cobbled-together a cargo drone.…




Astroboffins say our Solar System is a dark, violent, cosmic weirdo

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:29:08 GMT

Exoplanets are neat and uniform. In our 'hood Jupiter and Saturn messed things up

Our solar system may be a cosmic misfit, say astroboffins who've analysed systems where we've spotted exoplanets.…




Mystery surrounds fate of secret satellite slung by SpaceX

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 03:58:10 GMT

Sources say USA 'lost' absolutely-classified top-secret bird? You Musk be kidding

SpaceX and Northrop Grumman have refused to address rumors that all may not be well with the classified "Zuma" satellite launched on Monday.…




Boffins use inkjets to print explosives

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 03:00:58 GMT

For very, very, small bombs. Like the ones that set off car airbags

As anybody who's emerged from a car crash in good shape can tell you, it's good to have some explosives around - they pop modern vehicles' air bags. Of course explosives are also hard to manufacture and handle, which is why researchers at Purdue University in the US tried to print them.…




RIP John Young: NASA's longest-serving 'naut explores final frontier

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 02:01:08 GMT

Spacefaring veteran flew into space six times, once with a corned beef sarnie

Obit John Young, the first pilot of a space shuttle, and longest serving astronaut in NASA's history, has died at the age of 87 due to complications caused by pneumonia.…




Elon Musk lowers his mighty erection for test firing: Falcon Heavy preps for maiden voyage

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 23:05:55 GMT

Biz baron will kiss goodbye to Roadster if launch goes wrong

SpaceX fans this morning celebrated their favorite rocketry upstart's latest boringly successful launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA.…




SpaceX delivers classified 'Zuma' payload into orbit

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 14:44:56 GMT

Elon Musk's Team Rocket blasts off again

SpaceX's first mission of 2018, carrying the secret US government payload "Zuma", successfully launched and landed in the early hours of this morning.…




If Australian animals don't poison you or eat you, they'll BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 06:01:10 GMT

Birds have figured out how to light fires to scare their prey into the open

Already replete with sharks, crocodiles, snakes and poisonous jellyfish galore, Australia may also be home to arsonist birds that spread fire so they can feed on animals as they flee.…




GIMPS crack whip on plucky processor to find largest prime number

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 12:29:09 GMT

23 million-digit figure revealed after six days of non-stop calculations

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has announced the discovery of a new largest Mersenne prime number, 277,232,917 -1.…




Whizzes' lithium-iron-oxide battery 'octuples' capacity on the cheap

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 10:40:06 GMT

Illinois team says cell tech great for mobes and 'leccy cars

A band of boffins from Illinois have published a paper detailing a new battery design for mobile devices and electric vehicles that could increase capacity up to eight times while reducing costs.…




Nebula spotted with more super-sized bodies than a gym on Jan 2nd

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 07:56:13 GMT

Sorry, we just couldn't resist

A freak nebula is teeming with gigantic stars, say scientists who now reckon these cosmic heavyweights may not be so rare after all.…




Soz, guys. No 'alien megastructure' around Tabby's Star, only cosmic dustbunnies

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:58:05 GMT

Crowdfunded $107k to find system just needed a Hoover

Sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but the mysteriously dimming Tabby's Star isn't due to an "alien megastructure" after all – it's just obscured by dust, according to a paper published today.…




SMBH: Astroboffins reveal how to stop pop(ping) stars in a supermassive galaxy

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:32:27 GMT

You need to be the bigger supermassive black hole

The mass of the supermassive black hole at the centre of galaxies controls star formation and determines how it evolves over time, according to new observations published in Nature.…




Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 23:33:44 GMT

Forget the supernovae, what's this about alien alloys?

Our Solar System may have been born from bubbles of material hurled from a colossal Wolf-Rayet-type star, according to a theory published Friday.…




Where did all that water go? Mars was holding it wrong, say boffins

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 06:08:12 GMT

If there was life on the Red Planet, it hit the rocks – literally

Mars is dry, frozen and arid because its water reserves dried up. A large chunk of that water was lost when the planet’s magnetic field collapsed and it could no longer shield itself from the energetic solar rays.…




First Allied submarine lost in World War One, found near New Guinea

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:55:04 GMT

AE1 missing for 103 years

After years of searching, the wreck of World War I submarine AE1 has been found in waters off New Guinea.…




Space.. the fi, er, New Frontiers: NASA to hurl space robot at duck comet – or Saturn moon

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 01:58:07 GMT

Can we, can we hitch a ride?

NASA is drawing up plans to send a robot out into space to either drill into the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – or checking out Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.…




Cloud-building alien space rays altered Earth's climate – boffins

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 07:03:08 GMT

High-energy particles bombard atmosphere to meddle with global temperature

Interstellar particles alter Earth's climate by affecting cloud growth, scientists revealed on Tuesday.…




Fridge killed my baby? Mag-field radiation from household stuff 'boosts miscarriage risk'

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 06:08:13 GMT

Living off grid, in the woods, away from all tech not such a loony idea after all

Analysis A study of 913 pregnant women in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, found those exposed to high levels of magnetic field (MF) non-ionizing radiation had a 2.72x higher risk of miscarriage than those exposed to low MF levels.…




PHWOAR, those noughty inks: '0.1%' named Stat of The Year

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 10:03:49 GMT

Sheffield boffins win UK prize, Kardashian's '69' scoops international gong

The Royal Statistical Society has bestowed the coveted title of UK statistic of the year on 0.1 per cent – the percentage of land that's densely built on in the nation.…




Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:49:22 GMT

Grazing FB is ruining your life, admits social network after probing its army of addicts

Facebook has just publicly slapped itself upside the head, admitting that its very existence is often detrimental to the wellbeing of its users.…




Pest control: Eggheads work to help RoboBees dodge that fly-swatter

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:58:04 GMT

Whoosh... gust of wind - sorry chaps, I'm out

Engineers and programmers working on a robot bee project could soon have the faux insects behaving more like real bees, according to engineers and roboticists at Cornell and Harvard.…




Poor NASA sods sent to spend Xmas in Antarctic ahead of satellite launch

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:02:08 GMT

In search of cold, hard facts, scientists prep 470-mile adventure

A NASA team is heading on a trip arcing around the South Pole to check that their new satellite's measurements from space are just as good as their own back on terra firma.…




Sigh. It's not quite Star Trek's Data, but it'll do: AI helps boffins clock second Solar System

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:28:07 GMT

Kepler-90 has same number of planets as our Sun

Our Solar System is no longer the largest known planetary system in the Milky Way – after scientists confirmed the existence of an eighth planet, Kepler-90i, around a Sun-like star on Thursday.…




Exploding alien bodies' space death-rays gave Earth its radiation cloak

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:54:37 GMT

It says so right here, in this paper

Scientists have solved a 60-year mystery by figuring out the source of harmful and highly energetic electrons whizzing around in Earth’s inner radiation belt.…




Which distant Mars-alikes could we live on? Ask these Red Planet data-sifters

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:52:04 GMT

MAVEN probe observations shed light on atmosphere loss

Scientists are applying knowledge gained from studying Mars to calculate how the atmospheres of theoretical exoplanets would behave.…




NASA says New Horizons' next stop might have a moon

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:02:32 GMT

Remember that 747 with an open door and a telescope? It spotted a moon-esque blip

NASA's hypothesised that MU69, the Kuiper Belt object that is the New Horizons probe's next destination, has a moon.…




New battery boffinry could 'triple range' of electric vehicles

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:58:06 GMT

Scientists create self-applying membrane to protect cell

A new method of designing batteries, cooked up at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, could triple the range of electric vehicles, a new paper has claimed.…




Millions of moaners vindicated: Man flu is 'a thing', says researcher, and big TVs are cure

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:32:14 GMT

Calls for safe spaces with comfy recliners to speed recovery

Moaning men complaining they have "man flu" – a much more serious and, if sufferers are to be believed, potentially deadly version of the common cold – may actually have a point.…




Juno's July fly-by gave NASA a close-up of the Great Red Spot

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 04:05:13 GMT

Heat-driven storm is hundreds of kilometres deep

video It's at least 150 years old, one-and-a-half Earths wide, reaches 300 km (around 200 miles) into Jupiter's atmosphere – and now, thanks to data from the Juno probe, NASA's offering the chance to take a virtual dive into the famous Great Red Spot.…




Trump to NASA: Fly me (or some other guys) to the Moon

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:08:43 GMT

POTUS also wants to Make Mars Great Again

President Trump has called on NASA to focus its attention on returning humans to the Moon and landing on Mars.…




Forget Bruce Willis, Earth's atmosphere is our best defense against meteorites

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:50:02 GMT

Porous space rocks just can't handle the pressure

Researchers have discovered why most meteorites disintegrate before they reach Earth - and it's all to do with atmospheric pressure.…




Looking through walls, now easier than ever

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 01:04:33 GMT

Boffins working to put everyone in glass houses

Seeing through walls, a capability available to law enforcement and military authorities for several years, could become a bit more predictable in the future thanks to a technique developed by researchers at Duke University.…




Opportunity rover survives Martian winter for eighth time

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 08:02:09 GMT

Emerges without much dust, ready for fourteenth Earth year of ops - rather longer than planned 90-day mission!

It has been the week of long-lived space hardware: first came the news of Voyager 1's thrusters working after 37 years without use and now NASA's cautiously suggested that the Opportunity rover on Mars will be fit to roll into its 14th year of red planet operations.…




No, BMW, petrol-engined cars don't 'give back to the environment'

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:31:11 GMT

And it doesn't matter if you call the engine a 'range extender' or not

BMW claims that its electric i3 car has “zero emissions” and is a “really clean car [that] helps to give back to the environment”. Ad regulators have ordered it never to say that again – pointing to the Beemer’s petrol-fuelled auxiliary engine.…




Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 08:02:07 GMT

Ancient assembler code checked out and now probe's mission can be extended

NASA's announced that Voyager 1's already-amazingly-long mission will probably be extended for an extra two or three years, thanks to a successful attempt to use thrusters that haven't fired up since the year 1980.…




Today in non-depressing news: Boffins build biggest quantum sims

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 06:04:07 GMT

Each packed with 50-plus qubits, it's a stepping stone to next-gen computing. Possibly

Two teams of researchers have created the world's largest publicly known quantum simulators – a type of quantum computer – each containing more than 50 qubits to model complex interactions between matter that cannot be performed with a conventional supercomputer.…




Scotland, now is your time… to launch Brexit Britain into SPAAAACE!

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:11:12 GMT

House of Lords members make push for Scottish spaceports

During a third reading of the draft bill for space industries at the House of Lords yesterday, peers debated limiting the British government's power and also plumped for Scotland as the venue for a UK spaceport.…




Russian rocket snafu may have just violently dismantled 19 satellites

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 22:09:00 GMT

Launch blunder not the best start for Putin's new spaceport

Updated A Russian weather satellite and 18 micro-satellites are right now thought to be at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean after a Soyuz rocket carrying the birds malfunctioned shortly after launch.…




You live in the right galaxy: Milky Way to eat Small Magellanic Cloud even sooner

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 08:32:07 GMT

You've only got a few billion years, little buddy

Astronomers have long known the nearby galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, was being monstered by the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud. But new imaging captured by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) has made it clear that the little star-factory has only a handful of billion years left.…




Give 1,000 monkeys typewriters, they'll write Shakespeare. Give them robot arms, and wait – they actually did that?

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 05:37:08 GMT

Animal-piloted cyborgs is just what 2017 needs right now

Amputee monkeys have been trained to control robotic arms with their minds using an advanced brain-computer interface, a group of researchers has claimed.…




Forget Sesame Street, scientists pretty much watched Big Bird evolve on Galápagos island

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:32:07 GMT

New finch species developed in just two generations

New research has documented a species of finch evolving on the Galápagos island of Daphne Major, 1,000km off the west coast of Ecuador, in just two generations.…