Unexplained ripples streaking away from neighboring star could hold clues to planet formation

Astronomers have been left puzzled after images from the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile revealed mysterious wave-shaped structures around a nearby star, the likes of which have never been seen before. The features were observed in the disc of dust surrounding the young star AU Microscopii (AU Mic), and could lead to a new understanding of how planets form inside such discs. Read More


NASA tests foldable cloth heat shield in Mars entry simulation

As spacecraft for manned and planetary missions get larger, so do their heat shields – which are becoming very big indeed. To avoid the day when the shield becomes too large for any existing or planned launcher, NASA’s Ames Research Center in California is developing the Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) heat shield, which uses carbon-fiber cloth and can be folded up like an umbrella. The cloth heat shield recently completed tests that simulated entering the Martian atmosphere.Read More


Nanoscale wrench is just 1.7 nanometers wide

Envision a nanoscale wrench, capable of controlling shapes at the nanoscale level to create customized molecules. That's what Severin Schneebeli, a University of Vermont chemist and his team have developed. The opening on this mini wrench is only 1.7 nanometers, roughly a hundred-thousand-times smaller than the width of human hair.Read More

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing breakthrough: Qubits made from standard silicon transistors

In what is likely a major breakthrough for quantum computing, researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have managed for the first time to build the fundamental blocks of a quantum computer in silicon. The device was created using standard manufacturing techniques, by modifying current-generation silicon transistors, and the technology could scale up to include thousands, even millions of entangled quantum bits on a single chip. Gizmag spoke to the lead researchers to find out more.Read More


DARPA's fascinating self-healing body initiative – ElectRx

DARPA's ElectRx project envisions tiny devices, the width of a single nerve strand, that could be injected into the body to monitor certain conditions and then stimulate targeted nerves in response, harnessing the body’s own repair mechanisms to deal with a range of conditions like chronic pain, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and certain autoimmune diseases. DARPA sees the potential to create new treatments that automatically and continuously tune themselves to the needs of a specific patient.Read More


Moon Express and Rocket Lab team up for 2017 lunar mission

Space startup Moon Express has signed a contract with Rocket Lab to help carry out three lunar missions starting in 2017. Described as the first private contract between two companies to carry out a lunar landing, the agreement will see Rocket Lab provide launch services using its Electron rocket system for the Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander as part of Moon Express's attempt win the Google Lunar Xprize.Read More


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