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The Register - Science

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Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

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-machine 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.…

Clone poster girl Dolly the sheep's arthritis was 'normal for her age'

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:57:09 GMT

Boffins say health issues were not related to genetic wizardry

New research suggests the arthritis plaguing Dolly the sheep – the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell – was normal for her age.…

Sci-Hub domains inactive following court order

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 14:59:10 GMT

'Free science'/pirate site operator 'working on solving DNS issue'

Several domains of the controversial academic paper filesharing site Sci-Hub have been made inactive following a court order earlier this month.…

'Water on Mars' re-classified as just 'sand on Mars'

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 08:03:11 GMT

Maybe very slightly damp sand, but new look at Martian gullies finds they look like dunes

Scientists have revisited a 2015 sighting of water on the surface of Mars and revised the theory to suggest what we saw was sand, and probably not even damp sand at that.…

Sorry 'strange physics' fans, IceCube finds the Standard Model stands

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 07:04:29 GMT

Boffins finds neutrinos sometimes collide with Earth instead of passing through

Video Thanks to work at the IceCube instrument in Antarctica, we have learned that Earth has an appetite for high-energy neutrinos: they're more likely to be “swallowed” by the planet in collisions with matter than those at lower energies.…

From Vega with love: Pegasus interstellar asteroid's next stop

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:03:08 GMT

Out-of-shape ‘Oumuamua only looks like a starship, right?

It's official: the Asteroid 1I/2017 U1, aka "‘Oumuamua", which screamed through the solar system in October 2017 is an interstellar object. And a very strange one at that.*

How is 55 Cancri e like a Sisters of Mercy gig? Astroboffins: It has atmosphere

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:02:11 GMT

*No, mate. Just no* New model throws spanner in exoplanet debate

A new physical model has added more support to the theory that the large exoplanet 55 Cancri e has an Earthlike atmosphere.…

Chainmail tires re-invent the wheel to get future NASA rovers rolling

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 08:34:04 GMT

'Shape memory alloys' mean tires can roll over sharp objects without permanently deforming

NASA has developed chainmail tires with a memory and thinks they'll do the trick for future rovers.…

Arecibo spared the axe: Iconic observatory vital to science lives on

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:12:12 GMT

NSF approves plan to keep Puerto Rico facility operational after hurricane trashed it

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has approved a plan to keep the famous Arecibo Observatory running after it was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria.…

'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 08:02:12 GMT

Boffins look on the bright side of detecting basically nothing

Physicists have ruled out the existence of axions once considered possible dark matter candidates.…

Rocky Ross 128 b might harbour aliens – and it's headed right for us

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:32:12 GMT

In 71,000 years, it'll be closer than disappointing dustball Proxima Centauri b

A new study to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics has detected what could be our closest exoplanet that is not only rocky, but also orbits a star with a low amount of solar activity that could help an atmosphere survive – Ross 128 b.…

576-megapixel 'Zwicky Transient Facility' telescope sees first light

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 05:29:09 GMT

Astroboffins prepare for cosmic data deluge starting in February 2018

A sky survey destined to add yet another firehose of data to astronomy saw first light in early November.…

Boffins on alert: Brace yourselves for huge gravitational wave coming within a decade

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 23:54:25 GMT

When supermassive black holes collide, we'll feel it

The most violent gravitational waves in the universe from supermassive black hole prangs will be detected to within ten years, according to research published on Monday.…

Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 01:36:08 GMT

'Dream Chaser' is signed up for ISS re-supply six missions

Sierra Nevada Corporation's “Dream Chaser” automated spaceplane has successfully flown and landed.…

Greenhouse gas-sniffing satellite to be built and tested in Britain

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 16:05:15 GMT

By a multinational... But, er, RULE BRITANNIA!

The UK Space Agency has made a deal with Thales Alenia Space to assemble and test a carbon-measuring satellite, the British government announced yesterday.…

NASA reconfirms 2019 will see first launch of Space Launch System

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 02:29:10 GMT

If nothing goes wrong with biggest rocket ever, which is only a little over budget

Vid NASA has reconfirmed it hopes to stage the first flight of its Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft in December 2019, but also conceded such a big build could run late.…

Astronomers find bizarre 'zombie supernova' that just won't die

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 23:35:19 GMT

Boffins baffled by slow burn supernova that glows and dims

Astrophysicists have discovered one of the weirdest stars yet in the universe: one that refuses to die, exploding as a supernova multiple times over fifty years.…

Our oldest mammalian ancestor named after British pub landlord

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 06:03:06 GMT

145 million year fossil reveals our rat-like relatives

Researchers have discovered fossils of our oldest mammalian ancestors yet found – along the coastline of Dorset in southeast England.…

Scientists think they've found primordial goop whence life first sprang

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:29:06 GMT

It also makes for great fertiliser

A speculative new study suggests that nucleic acids, proteins and cell membranes – precursors to life Earth – first grew from a single kickstarting molecule named diamidophosphate.…

Imagine the candles on its birthday cake: Astro-eggheads detect galaxy born in universe's first billion years

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 07:03:07 GMT

Earth-based 'scope clocks one of this simulation's first wonders

A large international team of astronomers has detected one of the oldest galaxies in the universe we've seen to date – born within a billion years after the Big Bang.…

Post-Brexit economy SAVED: Posh-nosh truffle thrives in Wales

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 14:32:12 GMT

Climate apocalypse, you say? Meh, at least we have truffles

The Périgord black truffle has survived UK weather and grown in Wales*.…

Boffins: Sun's red dwarf neighbour is looking a little thick around the middle

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 09:01:12 GMT

Proxima Centauri... more like Pulverea Centauri, amirite?*

New research suggests that a dust belt may be circling the closest star to the Sun, a red dwarf named Proxima Centauri.…

Giza geezers' muon-geyser visor reveals Great Pyramid's hidden void surpriser

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 20:22:34 GMT

Pharaoh-nominal science breakthrough

Scientists have uncovered a hidden void in the largest pyramid in Giza, Egypt, using muons – a particle typically produced by cosmic rays, according to new research published today.…

Atto, boy! Eggheads fire laser for 43 attoseconds, fastest Man-made spurt

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 07:00:05 GMT

Not as fast as your first time, though, let's be honest

Physicists have whittled down the world’s shortest laser pulse to just 43 attoseconds (4.3 x 10-17 seconds), fast enough to observe electrons moving during chemical reactions in slow motion for the first time.…

NASA reveals Curiosity 2020's 23-camera payload

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 06:02:16 GMT

Probe to carry cams named SHERLOC and WATSON, plus chute-cam and selfie-snappers

NASA's revealed its Curiosity 2020 mission will pack 23 cameras.…

Astroboffins spot a fat 'monster' ALIEN planet terrorizing tiny dwarf

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 23:42:12 GMT

It's the biggest faraway world found compared to the size of its parent

Pic Scientists have discovered a new “monster” alien world that challenges today's theories about planet formation due to its sheer size.…

Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 12:35:11 GMT

FoI request reveals researchers pressured to tweak base case

Updated Academics at the UK's leading alcohol research centre tweaked their model to help the government introduce more Puritanical booze advice.…

IBM's Phase Change Memory computer can tell you if it's raining

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:02:07 GMT

Wait! A PCM chip that computes as well as stores?!

IBM boffins have unveiled new work in-memory computing: doing processing inside Phase Change Memory with no external CPU.…

Jupiter flashes pulsating southern pole, boffins understandably baffled

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 06:01:11 GMT

Misbehaving gas giant's ends light up independently

Jupiter’s vivid northern and southern lights flash independently from each other, a discovery that has surprised scientists.…

Comet 67-P farted just as Rosetta probe flew through the gas plume

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 08:01:11 GMT

Nasty but nice: gaseous comet innards included water ice!

On July 3rd, 2016 something unusual happened on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko: a fountain of dust erupted out of a hole and spewed all sorts of stuff into space.…

India to launch moon mission in March 2018

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 22:07:11 GMT

Chandrayaan-2 will send a rover and an orbiter to Luna

India's space agency ISRO has announced its intention to launch a mission to the moon in 2018.…

Chinese whispers: China shows off magnetic propulsion engine for ultra-silent subs, ships

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 19:33:11 GMT

Inshert Hunt for Red October jokesh here

The Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China this week reported the first successful test of a magnetohydrodynamic drive that could let ships and submarines sneak around almost totally silently.…

Li-ion batteries blow up because they breed nanowire crystals

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 06:04:12 GMT

Boffins think 'dendrites' are the inevitable result of re-charges, which is awkward

Video For the first time a group of scientists has captured close-up images of mysterious finger-like growths known as dendrites that can lead to short circuits and fires in the lithium-ion batteries that power hordes of smartphones, laptops and other gadgetries.…

Interstellar space rock screams through Solar System

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 05:03:12 GMT

Astro-boffins have waited decades to see something with such an odd orbit

Astronomers have spotted an object that they believe came from another star system.…

Canucks have beef with Soylent as to whether or not it's a real meal deal

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 06:06:07 GMT

Canadians will have to smuggle in their milky goop after ban

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has banned the importation of Soylent on the grounds that it isn't a proper meal substitute.…

Curiosity rover gives Mars the middle finger, prepares to get drilling

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:04:13 GMT

Robot arm to penetrate surface, get alien world's rocks off for analysis

Pics After an extensive summer of long, long, long-distance remote support by NASA engineers on Earth, it looks as though Curiosity on Mars is back in the drilling game.…

Let's make the coppers wear cameras! That'll make the ba... Oh. No sodding difference

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:31:06 GMT

Large-scale randomised US trial: 'Recalibrate’ expectations

Police forces have been told to temper their expectations of body-worn cameras, as a randomised study involving almost 2,500 US cops throws up little evidence of purported benefits.…

Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 07:02:10 GMT

Blue Origin's new and rather large rocket engine fires on first full test

Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos' rocket company Blue Origin has successfully tested its main engine for the first time.…

Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:02:09 GMT

Matter/antimatter distribution looks equal, which should have nixed the universe at birth

One of the outstanding questions in physics is why matter and antimatter didn't wipe each other out at the Big Bang?” A new, hyper-accurate measurement of an antiproton characteristic at CERN leaves that difficult question entirely intact.…

Once more, with feeling: Dawn to take a closer look at Ceres

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 01:58:06 GMT

Meanwhile on Mars, we've found a twisted tail

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has received another reprieve, with its mission to dwarf planet Ceres extended for another, closer, flyby.…

Plants in SPAAAAAAACE are good for you

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 08:12:07 GMT

A splash of green stops astronauts feeling blue

Living in space is grueling. The repetitiveness of daily exercise, experiments, crappy food, and claustrophobia can chip away at an astronaut’s psychological well-being, but scientists have suggested a preventative measure: plants.…