Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Impact

Researchers are studying the physics behind cats' ability to land on their feet to help im...

The animal kingdom is fertile ground for roboticists looking to improve on their designs, with everything from insects, fish, seahorses, jellyfish, caterpillars, snakes and birds providing inspiration. Now researchers at Georgia Tech are turning to cats to help soften robot landings. Rather than strapping some felines to a robot's underside, the team is studying the way cats twist in the air when falling to let future robots land safely from a jump or fall.  Read More

If the FITGuard glows green, the player should be OK

It's an ongoing problem within sports such as football and hockey ... players receive a severe blow to the head, yet they either don't realize that they've got a concussion, or they don't want to tell anyone so that they can keep playing. While there are already some helmet-mounted devices that detect and report such impacts, Force Impact Technologies' FITGuard is built into a mouthpiece – which the company claims is a better approach to take.  Read More

There isn't much to the Crash Guard, yet it's claimed to offer considerable impact protect...

While there are already iPhone cases that claim to protect against drops from up to 30 feet (9 m), most of those are actually more like housings that add considerable bulk to the phone. The Rhino Shield Crash Guard, however, takes a minimalist form, while reportedly still letting the phone withstand a 24-foot (7-m) drop.  Read More

Artist's depiction of LADEE approaching lunar orbit (Image: NASA Ames/Dana Berry)

In space, no one can hear you hit the Moon at near-hypersonic speed. Today, NASA's Ames Research Center announced that the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) made a controlled impact on the far side of the Moon some time between 9:30 and 10:30 pm PDT on Thursday, bringing to an end its mission to study the lunar atmosphere.  Read More

LADEE will continue operations until impact around April 21 (Image: NASA)

Another lunar mission is drawing to a close, if not with a bang, then a thump. On Thursday, NASA held a press conference to discuss the final weeks of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission before the spacecraft makes a controlled impact on the far side of the Moon on or before April 21.  Read More

A blood test could help reduce the risk of long-term damage for participants of contact sp...

It wasn't so long ago that shaking off a knock to the head and getting back on the field was seen as a sign of toughness for sportspeople. But in recent years, increased awareness of the potential for long-term damage has put the seriousness of concussion in the spotlight. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden have now developed a blood test that reveals the severity of a concussion and when it is safe for a player to return to the game.  Read More

The intensity of the asteroid's impact on the lunar surface was sufficient to be seen with...

A meter-wide (3 ft) asteroid impacted the Moon's surface September 11, 2013, producing a bright explosion and digging a new crater about 40 meters (130 ft) in diameter. The video of the event shows a bright flash of light against the stark blackness of the Moon's dark side. Similar in brilliance to the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, the asteroid impact is the largest confirmed impact on the Moon since continuous monitoring started some 15 years ago.  Read More

Photos of Asteroid 2014AA on a collision course with Earth (Photo: NASA)

Earth saw in the New Year with some celestial fireworks as the first asteroid to be discovered this year, 2014AA, likely impacted the Earth between 7 pm Wednesday and 2 pm Thursday GMT.  Read More

Is it supposed to look like that? In this case, yes (Photo:  Steve Jurvetson)

The terms "auger in" and "lawndart" refer to rather exciting and decidedly dangerous methods of recovering a rocket, during which the screaming rocket buries its pointy end deep in the ground. Such over-enthusiastic landings provided a group of research students from the University of Washington (UWash) the inspiration for a new approach to collecting samples from hostile environments, such as the crater of an erupting volcano or a melting nuclear reactor.  Read More

The fireball of the Chelyabinsk meteor (Image: NASA/M. Ahmetvaleev)

We are continually being surprised by new discoveries of near-Earth asteroids and comets, often noticing them only after they have completed a close approach. Only one asteroid has ever been found and projected to impact prior to its actually doing so. With that in mind, NASA, Planetary Resources, and Zooniverse have formed a collaboration to use citizen scientists to detect members of the vast swarm of near-Earth objects not yet recognized or mapped.  Read More

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