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Science

Scoop marks left behind by Curiosity's soil sampling (Photo: NASA)

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has used its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments to analyze its first scoop of Martian soil. These instruments allowed Curiosity to perform a wide range of chemical and structural tests which found signs of a complex and active soil chemistry – but no sign of life.  Read More

MIT engineers have devised a way to stack neurons to form three-dimensional brain tissue (...

A team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have devised a cheap way of artificially growing three-dimensional brain tissues in the lab. Built layer by layer, the tissues can take on just about any shape and closely mimic the cellular composition of the tissue found in the living brain. The advance could allow scientists to get a closer look at how neurons form connections, predict how cells of individual patients will respond to different drugs, and even lead to the creation of bioengineered implants to replace damaged brain tissue.  Read More

Full-color image of Mercury from MESSENGER's first flyby (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Ap...

The MESSENGER spacecraft has made a compelling case for the presence of water in the form of ice on the surface of the Solar System's smallest and innermost planet, Mercury. The case is supported by three independent groups of evidence from different sensors aboard the Mercury orbiter.  Read More

Unlike conventional air traffic control radar systems, the Holographic Radar system can re...

Wind farms and airports don’t mix. Unfortunately, when the blades are turning on wind turbines, the motion can interpreted as aircraft on air traffic control radar screens. Needless to say, the results of such confusion could potentially be catastrophic – or at the very least, they could make things much more stressful for already-frazzled air traffic controllers. UK tech firm Aveillant, however, claims that its Holographic Radar system is the solution to the problem.  Read More

An aurora appearing in the night sky at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norwa...

Even those of us not lucky enough to have witnessed them in person will likely have marveled at photos of the stunning auroras caused by high energy particles from the Sun colliding with atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. A team of space-weather researchers has now developed a new camera called NORUSCA II that has produced the first-ever hyperspectral images of the aurora borealis (or northern lights) and may have uncovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon.  Read More

A game 3D-printed game controller with touch-sensitive buttons (Photo: University of Warwi...

Researchers at the University of Warwick have created a cheap plastic composite that can be used even with low-end 3D printers, to produce custom-made electronic devices. The material, nicknamed "carbomorph," is both conductive and piezoresistive, meaning that both electronic tracks and touch-sensitive areas can now be easily embedded in 3D-printed objects without the need for complex procedures or expensive materials.  Read More

Who wouldn't want to wear clothing inspired by these guys?

Hagfish are super-slimy eel-like fish that live on the sea floor, where they feed on the carcasses of other sea creatures. Before you start disliking them too much, however, take note – synthetic fabrics of the future may be inspired by their slime.  Read More

The galaxy NGC 1277 as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin have measured the second-largest black hole ever discovered. It takes up some 14 percent of the galaxy's mass and may lead to an overhaul of theories regarding the formation and evolution of black holes.  Read More

The Harwell computer as it appeared shortly after arrival at the National Museum of Comput...

The Harwell Dekatron computer is a 1950s computer having roughly the weight and size of a Hummer H3 and the computing power of a four-function pocket calculator. Having been restored to its original operating condition using 95 percent original parts, it is now the oldest functioning programmable digital computer in the world. Guinness might have been onto something, when, in 1973, they named the Dekatron the Most Durable Computer in the World.  Read More

A test of the new material, being conducted at Michigan State University's Center for Revo...

Wherever there’s enough of a temperature gradient between two surfaces, thermoelectric materials can be used to generate an electric current. If a coat were made with thermoelectric felt, for instance, a current could be generated by exploiting the difference between the wearer’s body heat and the cold outdoor air. Now, scientists have developed an inexpensive new type of thermoelectric material, that could make the technology more commercially viable.  Read More

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