By mimicking naturally-occurring nanostructures found in things like water striders, spiders and lotus leaves, scientists have created hydrophobic surfaces that could prove invaluable for everything from pipes to boats and submarines. Now researchers at Northwestern University have deduced the optimal texture roughness required to achieve this property and keep surfaces dry underwater for months at a time.
Strawberries may be delicious, but they don't have much of a shelf life. So if you find a great bargain on a flat of them, you can end up throwing half of it away after a few days. In a move that may save many a shortcake, scientists at the University San Nicolás de los Garza in Mexico have developed an edible coating made from pectin that preserves strawberries for longer without affecting their taste.
Buying tickets into space has typically been the reserve of governments and billionaires, but if you want to send your name on an interplanetary jaunt NASA might now be able to accommodate you. The space agency is now accepting submissions from members of the public who'd like their names recorded on a silicon microchip and shuttled to the Red Planet onboard the InSight Mars lander launching next year.
A head trauma can be difficult to diagnose and destroy a life years after the event. Being able to tell immediately if the force someone has suffered is sufficient to result in a traumatic brain injury can make all the difference in limiting the damage. A team from the University of Pennsylvania has developed a material that could one day be incorporated into headgear to instantly gauge the severity of blows and provide a clearly visible indication of injury.
If you offer someone "a penny for their thoughts," how good a deal might you be getting? A study conducted at the University of Leicester has sought to shed some light on the value of our brainpower, finding a single penny to be worth to precisely three hours, seven minutes and 30 seconds worth of thinking.
Fusion power can seem a bit like the last bus at night; it's always coming, but never arrives. MIT is working to change that with a new compact tokamak fusion reactor design based on the latest magnetic superconductor technology. The ARC (affordable, robust, compact) reactor design promises smaller, cheaper reactors that could make fusion power practical within 10 years.
There's some pretty big stuff out there in the Universe, but how big is the biggest? According to a team of Hungarian-US scientists led by Lajos Balazs, the largest regular formation in the Universe is a ring of nine galaxies 7 billion light years away and 5 billion light years wide. Though not visible from Earth, the newly discovered feature covers a third of our sky.
In today's world, vacuum tubes or radio valves seem as dead as high button shoes and buggy whips, but DARPA sees them as very much the technology of the future. As part of a new program, the agency is looking to develop new tube designs and manufacturing techniques for use in tomorrow's high-powered communications and radar systems.
On Thursday at 02:03 GMT, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta orbiter reached their closest point (known as perihelion) to the Sun, coming within 186 million km (115 million mi) of our parent star. The event was marked by an increase in activity on the comet, which is expected to continue over the next few weeks as it now heads toward the outer Solar System.
In space travel, the first step is always the most expensive, but why blast-off in a rocket if you can catch a ride on a space elevator? Canadian space firm Thoth Technology has received a US patent for an elevator to take spacecraft and astronauts at least part way into space. If it's ever built, the 20 km (12.4 mi) high Thothx inflatable space tower holds the promise of reducing launch costs by 30 percent in terms of fuel, and may even replace some classes of satellites.