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Preview: The Register - Science: Rise of the Machines

The Register - Science

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Copyright: Copyright 2018, Situation Publishing

Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:31:06 GMT

Long-lived robot throws 5,000 sol party. Beancounters not invited

As MER-B, better known as the Opportunity rover, passes the 5,000 sol mark on Mars and approaches the 15th anniversary of its launch (thankfully without the desolate rendition of "Happy Birthday" played by its plutonium-powered successor, Curiosity) it appears the knives are out at NASA.…

Astro-boffinry world rocked to its very core: Shock as Andromeda found to be not much bigger than Milky Way

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:11:11 GMT

Everything we knew was a lie

The Andromeda galaxy is actually roughly the same size as the Milky Way, and may not engulf our galaxy when it is expected to collide in about four billion years time, according to new research.…

Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:26:08 GMT

Just kidding – vague definitions, confounding factors mean you probably shouldn't panic... yet

A study has suggested a link between diets high in ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of cancer – but academics have warned against over-interpreting the results.…

Life's a beach – then you're the comms nexus of the British Empire and Marconi-baiting hax0rs

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:05:07 GMT

Inside Porthcurno's world-spanning telegraphy web

Geek's Guide to Britain I'm sitting on a perfect sandy beach in dazzling winter sunshine which makes it feel two months warmer than it really is. The beach is nearly empty, although a couple of dogs are enjoying the surf. The nearest road peters out a few hundred yards up a steep valley – the only way here is to walk. Porthcurno beach, just a few miles from Land's End in Cornwall, feels pleasantly like it is a long way from anywhere.…

Sorry, Elon, your Tesla roadster won't orbit for billions of years

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 03:01:55 GMT

Astroboffins calculate MuskMobile will only last millions of years, has decent chance of bonking Earth, Venus

Explaining why he used his Tesla roadster as the test mass on his Falcon Heavy launch, Elon Musk remarked that he liked the idea of it orbiting for a billion years.…

Mars is red, Earth is blue. Here's a space laser story for you

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:31:13 GMT

NASA to take Mars meteor from London and use it for target practise ahead of 2020 mission

NASA has decided to use fragments of Martian meteorites for target practice ahead of the Mars 2020 mission, then send one back to Mars.…

National Museum of Computing rattles the bucket: Help shift war-winning proto-puter

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:36:04 GMT

Campaign to move a Bombe into historic Block H

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has organised a whip-round to move a historic code-breaking computer into a new location at Bletchley Park, England.…

NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 23:34:51 GMT

Cheer up – by 2030, we'll have flying cars, too

President Trump's administration has handed down a budget for 2019 to NASA – and it effectively kills off key projects in exchange for a vague promise to go back to the Moon.…

What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 21:38:05 GMT

Where's a sat-nav when you need one?

Pic The final rocket burn of the SpaceX craft carrying Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster into the cosmos pushed the billionaire's flash jalopy much further than anticipated. It's now heading out toward the Solar System's asteroid belt rather than swinging close by Mars as planned.…

LISA Pathfinder sniffed out gravitational signals down to micro-Hertz

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:02:12 GMT

Better-than-expected performance created 'the quietest place in space'

In other space news today, the boffins in charge of the European Space Agency's LISA Pathfinder mission have wrapped up the final results for the space-based gravitational wave dry run.…

Can't wait to get to Mars on a SpaceX ship? It's a cold, dead rock – boffins

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:05:28 GMT

El Reg says: Ignore the Big Red Planet lobby, get your ASCII to somewhere better

SpaceX today parked Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in Earth's orbit, using a Falcon Heavy lifter, with a rocket strapped to the flash motor to take it on to Mars.…

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 22:11:03 GMT

Falcon Heavy blasts off, 2 boosters return, 1 destroyed

Video After years of setbacks, SpaceX today successfully launched its Falcon Heavy three-in-one rocket and delivered into orbit its cherry-red payload – Elon Musk's very own Tesla Roadster.…

NASA's zombie IMAGE satellite is powered up and working quite nicely

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 07:59:08 GMT

Sat's battery is full and stuff thought to be broken in 2005 is working again

NASA has updated the status of its once-was-lost, now-is-found IMAGE satellite and revealed the bird's power supplies are operational. The space agency will therefore attempt to revive the mission – if it can find money to fund the effort.…

Women beat men to jobs due to guys' bad social skills. Whoa – you mad, fellas? Maybe these eggheads have a point...

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 06:03:09 GMT

The future is female – or at least female friendly

While the world worries about savvy computers taking people's jobs, it may want to focus more on how to retrain its men, who are evidently ill-equipped for work that's increasingly social.…

A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 21:53:33 GMT

'Mad' Mike living up to his nickname

Video An American bloke, who reckons Earth is flat as a frisbee, is on a quest to send himself into space to verify his theory. And on Sunday, he failed to even launch a rocket to a few hundred feet.…

Exoplanets from another galaxy spotted – take that, Kepler fatigue!

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 05:58:04 GMT

Gravitational microlensing helps astroboffins spot planets 3.8 BEELLION light-years away

The Kepler Space Telescope has found oodles of exoplants, but now astroboffins have spotted the first exoplanets outside our galaxy.…

Epic spacewalk, epic FAIL: Cosmonauts point new antenna in the wrong direction

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 23:16:28 GMT

They had one job during the record eight-hour EVA ...

A record-breaking spacewalk conducted over the weekend ended with an antenna pointed in the wrong direction on the International Space Station (ISS).…

Supermassive black holes scoff just one star per year, say space weight watchers

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 06:07:11 GMT

Galaxies merged together house the greediest voids

Supermassive black holes in merger galaxies snack on one star every year, according to a paper published on Thursday.…

Astroboffins spot sneaky signs that the Milky Way devoured smaller galaxies

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 07:01:08 GMT

...and they have also found one of its first stars

Astrophysicists have found evidence that the Milky Way has gobbled up neighbouring massive dwarf galaxies over its 13 billion year lifetime.…

Dinosaurs gathered at NASA Goddard site for fatal feeding frenzy

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:04:05 GMT

Fossil find expands evidence from Cretaceous period

NASA is mostly known for exploring space, but it can also uncover wonders closer to home.…

Anti-missile missile misses again, US military mum on meaning of mess

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 05:02:13 GMT

Bonus space news: wanna salvage a SpaceX Falcon 9?

Demonstrating again that anti-missile missiles work best under carefully controlled circumstances, a test of such a weapon fired from Hawaii has missed its target.…

NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 06:05:11 GMT

Vanished IMAGE now found. Don't suppose anyone kept a copy of its comms code?

NASA has announced it will try to wake up the “zombie satellite” IMAGE, unexpectedly found working by an amateur sat-spotter.…

UK's iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory nominated as World Heritage Site

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 16:31:09 GMT

UNESCO to decide next year

Jodrell Bank Observatory has been nominated as the UK's entry for World Heritage status.…

Zombie … in SPAAACE: Amateur gets chatty with 'dead' satellite

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 05:01:13 GMT

NASA reckons it might even be able to operate 'IMAGE', thought dead since 2005

An amateur astronomer hunting the Zuma satellite that SpaceX may or may not have lost has instead turned up signals from a NASA bird thought dead since 2005.…

GOLD! Always believe in your role. You've got the power to know you're indestructible...

Sat, 27 Jan 2018 00:37:34 GMT

Always believe in... because you are GOLD

NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument is successfully heading into orbit – after the Ariane 5 rocket lifting it into space worryingly lost its radio link with Earth.…

Google yanks cash firehose from Lunar X Moonshot comp. The actual Moon shot one

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 12:52:05 GMT

$30m prize will go unclaimed after repeated extensions

Google has pulled its financial backing from the Lunar X wheeze to get a privately funded spacecraft to the Moon after finally conceding that none of the five entrants were likely to make it there.…

PACK YOUR BAGS! Two Trappist-1 planets have watery oceans, most likely to be inhabitable

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 08:34:04 GMT

Inhabitable with alien lifeforms, mind you. Grab a phaser

A team of scientists have identified two out of the seven planets in the Trappist-1 system as the most likely to be habitable, according to a new study.…

NASA rethinking InSight probe mission after dust storm predicted for Mars

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:39:09 GMT

Could be the end of the road for Opportunity, too

It's highly likely that Mars is going to suffer one of its periodical planet-wide dust storms this year – and NASA is concerned the event could disrupt its operations on the Red Planet.…

2018's first spacewalk bugged by software

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:28:11 GMT

Replacement robot hand didn't work, so they turned it off, and yes, turned it back on again

Apart from a slightly irritating software bug, it seems NASA's first spacewalk for 2018 went smoothly.…

Mass limit proposed so boffins can tell when they've fingered a brown dwarf or a fat planet

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:01:07 GMT

Not a particularly left field suggestion...

The official definition of a planet should be updated to include an upper mass limit, so scientists can agree on whether a large newly found celestial body is either a huge planet – or a tiny failed star.…

NASA is sniffing jet fuel over Germany

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 08:33:13 GMT

Ancient DC-8 will try to figure out if biofuel’s a sick burn for contrails. NOT chemtrails, OK?

NASA has started sniffing jet fuel as part of joint experiment with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt, DLR).…

A high-energy neutrino, a powerful cosmic ray, and a gamma ray walk into a bar... Where you from, asks the bartender

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 07:08:07 GMT

Let us tell you, reply two boffins

A new model has traced the origins of high-energy neutrinos, cosmic rays, and gamma rays to powerful jets billowing around supermassive black holes.…

President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 01:56:12 GMT

Tariff jacks up price for overseas components

US President Donald Trump has signed an order to place a 30 per cent tariff on the import of parts used to build solar panels.…

US govt shutdown lobs spanner in SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 20:18:17 GMT

Maiden flight faces delay as Congress squabbles over budgets

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy maiden launch, pencilled in for the end of this month, is set to be delayed due to the ongoing US government shutdown.…

Nominations open for comp restoration gong, the Tony Sale Award

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:59:11 GMT

Cash and trophy up for grabs

A biennial award backed by the National Museum of Computing for "achievements in computer conservation or restoration" has opened its nominations.…

New Zealand joins the Space Race

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 23:14:19 GMT

Sunday success for local launchers Rocket Labs

New Zealand has joined the list of spacefaring nations, courtesy of a US-Kiwi startup called Rocket Lab.…

Anglo, French space agencies sitting in a tree, K I S S I N G

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:39:08 GMT

UKSA and CNES buddy up on climate science, Mars missions

The British and French space agencies have agreed to team up on more missions together.…

Don't panic... but our fragile world is drifting away from the Sun

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:24:11 GMT

Jeez, get a grip, Sol!

As the Sun ages and sheds mass, the gravitational pull it exerts on its planets weakens.…

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.…