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Astrobotic Technology has received a NASA contract to determine if its Polaris rover robot...

While the Moon may or may not contain life forms, precious metals or even green cheese, recent satellite missions have indicated that it does nonetheless contain something that could prove quite valuable – water ice. NASA has estimated that at least 650 million tons (600 million tonnes) of the stuff could be deposited in craters near the Moon’s north pole alone. If mined, it could conceivably serve as a source of life support for future lunar bases, or it could be used to produce fuel for spacecraft stopping at a “lunar gas station.” Before any mining can happen, however, we need to learn more about the ice. That’s why NASA has contracted Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology to determine if its Polaris rover robot could be used for ice prospecting.  Read More

Depiction of a cargo ship equipped with the Wind Challenger Project system of sails

Of the world's nearly 45,000 cargo ships, many burn a low-grade bunker fuel in their engines and produce pollution equivalent to millions of automobiles. To help reduce that toxic load and keep the price of shipping freight reasonable, engineers at the University of Tokyo (UT) and a group of collaborators have designed a system of large, retractable sails measuring 64 feet (20 m) wide by 164 feet (50 m) high, which studies indicate can reduce annual fuel use on ships equipped with them by up to 30%.  Read More

Fusion power would allow electricty to be generated using the same processes taking place ...

While solar power harnesses energy produced by the Sun, fusion power seeks to harness the very process used by the Sun to generate a practically limitless supply of clean electricity. Despite decades of research and numerous breakthroughs, “net-gain” nuclear fusion is yet to appear. One of the hurdles is the so-called density, or Greenwald, limit that sees the plasmas within experimental fusion reactors (called tokamaks) spiraling apart and disrupting the fusion process. Now scientists have come up with a new theory as to why this occurs that, if proven, could provide a way to clear the density limit hurdle.  Read More

A previously hairless mouse following an implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recr...

Researchers lead by Professor Takashi Tsuji from the Tokyo University of Science have successfully induced the natural hair growth and loss cycle in previously hairless mice. They have achieved this feat through the implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recreated from adult-tissue derived stem cells. While these results offer new hope for curing baldness, the work has broader implications, demonstrating the potential of using adult somatic stem cells for the bioengineering of organs for regenerative therapies.  Read More

The University of Exeter's engineered zebrafish

Researchers at the University of Exeter have created a transgenic zebrafish which produces highly targeted green fluorescent signals when exposed to environmental estrogens.  Read More

Incunabulum of the Nurenberg Chronicle (1483), edited by Hartmann Schedel (Photo: I. Pilon...

Scholars, priests, historians, and followers of the da Vinci Files can now look toward the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (the Vatican library) with anticipation. In a five-year joint project with the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, the Vatican Library will work to digitize and post online some 1.5 million pages from Greek manuscripts, 15th-century printed books (incunabula), Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books.  Read More

A recent study French has shown that a diet of  buckyballs dissolved in olive extends life...

Sometimes I (almost) envy mice, rats, and yeast - it seems that almost any aging research we carry out on them doubles their lifespan and returns semi-senescent (say, a human equivalent of about 60 years of age - not thinking of anyone in particular, of course) to youthful vigor. It now appears that dramatic anti-aging results are associated with dietary ingestion of buckyballs, more properly known as C-60 fullerene.  Read More

'X-ray' vision may soon be possible on cell phones by tapping into the terahertz band of t...

Those of us who envy Superman for his X-ray vision may soon get that ability - on our cell phones. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have reported a new approach to harnessing the potential of the terahertz band in portable devices.  Read More

Researchers have developed a neuroprosthesis that restores hand movement in paralyzed monk...

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a neuroprosthesis that restores complex movement in the paralyzed hands of monkeys. By implanting a multi-electrode array directly into the brain of the monkeys, they were able to detect the signals that generate arm and hand movements. These signals were deciphered by a computer and relayed to a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device, bypassing the spinal cord to deliver an electrical current to the paralyzed muscles. With a lag time of just 40 milliseconds, the system enabled voluntary and complex movement of a paralyzed hand.  Read More

This carbon nanotube sponge can hold more than 100 times its weight in oil, which can be s...

Last week we looked at the development of “hydrate-phobic” surfaces that could assist in the containment of oil leaks in deep water. Now, by adding boron to carbon while growing nanotubes, researchers have developed a nanosponge with the ability to absorb oil spilled in water. Remarkably, the material is able to achieve this feat repeatedly and is also electrically conductive and can be manipulated with magnets.  Read More

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