The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a
significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most
Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b,
the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus
was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized
by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."
Radiation generally comes under the heading of "things you want to stay away from," so it's no surprise that radiation shielding is a high priority in many industries. However, current shielding is bulky and heavy, so a North Carolina State University team is developing a new lightweight shielding based on foam metals that can block X-rays, gamma rays, and neutron radiation, as well as withstanding high-energy impact collisions.
Radiocarbon dating is one of the great tools of science that has allowed archeologists to shed new light on everything from the building of Stonehenge to the beginnings of international trade. However, a new study from the Imperial College London suggests that fossil fuel carbon emissions may be so diluting radioactive carbon isotopes that within decades it will difficult to differentiate between modern artifacts and those over a thousand years old.
ESA’s Philae comet lander has once again gone silent. According to the space agency, the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on a comet lost radio contact with the Rosetta orbiter mothership on July 9. Despite this setback, engineers are still transmitting commands to the unmanned probe in the hope of reestablishing communications and getting it to continue observations.
On June 28, SpaceX suffered a major setback when its unmanned CRS-7 mission carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) exploded shortly after liftoff. In a press conference today, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk laid out the preliminary findings of the post-flight investigation which indicate the cause may have been a faulty strut.
Some robots are hard and some are soft, but in nature soft and hard structures are commonly mixed. In an effort to emulate this, engineers from Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, have used multimaterial 3D-printing to create a combustion-powered jumping robot that transitions from a rigid core to a soft exterior.
The deep sea is the new frontier for mining, oil exploration, and other industrial activities as they leave the continental shelves for areas miles beneath the ocean surface. Along with this comes greater dangers to the environment, which will require constant monitoring. To provide the needed eyes, Britain's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and partners are developing the BRIDGES Glider. As Europe’s first ultra-deep-sea robot glider, the craft is capable of reaching 75 percent of the world's oceans to depths of up to 5,000 meters.
NASA has released more findings from the New Horizons Pluto probe; revealing new discoveries and mysteries about the dwarf planet and its moons. The images and instrument readings taken before and during the unmanned spacecraft's flyby on July 14 show a planet that is more active than previously expected, with some of the youngest features in the Solar System.
Mar One has outlined the next phase of the candidate selection process for its project to send colonists on a one-way mission to Mars. The non-profit organization will subject candidates to a series of challenges and interviews that will trim the pool from 100 to 24.
For the fourth time in history, the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) had to temporarily take shelter in their "lifeboat" as a piece of an old weather satellite made its closest approach today at 8:01 am EDT. As a precaution, the three men of Expedition 44 sealed hatches and porthole covers before retreating to the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft docked with the station.