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Science

Space

Mars orbiter prepares for next year's InSight lander arrival

Space travel is a constant exercise in forward planning, with mission control thinking years and sometimes decades in advance. A case in point is NASA's InSight Mars lander, which is scheduled to touchdown on the Red Planet on September 26, 2016. This may be more than a year away, but the space agency is already moving its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) into a new orbit to provide communications support during the landing.Read More

Space

New color map highlights diverse geological features on Ceres

NASA has released a global color map of the dwarf planet Ceres showing the highs and lows of topography on the rocky body's surface. The new map comes with new official names for many of the craters and other geological features dotting the surface of the planet, named for religious figures from a variety of cultures approved by the International Astronomical Union.Read More

Space

Human error and inadequate training blamed for SpaceShipTwo crash

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the conclusions of its accident investigation into the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo last year over the Mojave Desert. According to the report, the accident was due to an error by the co-pilot, who prematurely released the spacecraft's feather system, placing too much stress on the fuselage and causing it to break up.Read More

Physics

Nanoscale device emits light as bright as an object 10,000 times its size

Amplifying light a few hundred times with magnifying lenses is easy. Amplifying light by altering the resonant properties of light itself is a much more difficult proposition. However, if recent research by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers is anything to go by, the effort is well worth it: They claim to have constructed a nanoscale device that can emit light as powerfully as an object more than 10,000 times its size.Read More

Medical

Firefly enzyme inspires Swiss team to create portable disease test kit

Portable test kits represent an advance in disease diagnosis, as their ready availability increases chances of earlier detection and treatment. This type of technology is constantly evolving, and sometimes inspiration can come from surprising sources. Such is the case with research carried out by a Swiss team, which has borrowed from the mechanics behind the firefly's glow to develop a sensitive molecule detector.Read More

Materials

Material with new record melting point predicted

New research predicts it is possible to create a material with a new record-setting melting point that would have a good chance of staying intact, even at the insane temperatures in places like the outer edges of Earth's core. Computer simulations run by a team from Brown University find that a precise combination of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon would have a melting point of 4,400 kelvin (7,460° F/4,127° C).Read More

The vertical farm goes mobile

Vertical farms present an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable means of producing food in the face of growing worldwide population. A see-through, mobile vertical farm project called Isabel is aiming to take this message on the road.Read More

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