more top stories »


— Space

Kepler finds clouds on extrasolar planet

"How's the weather?" has just become a topic of interstellar conversation. Using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers have mapped the first clouds discovered on an extrasolar planet. Not only does this technique give us an interesting bit of pure science, it could also be applied in the search for more earth-like planets according to NASA. Read More
— Environment

Camera system "sees" toxic emissions from individual vehicles in real time

According to scientists at Spain's Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), approximately five percent of vehicles on the road are responsible for about 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions. Short of pulling each and every car over to analyze its tailpipe output, though, how does one go about identifying the offenders? Well, the UC3M researchers have helped design a system that images the emissions of individual vehicles in real time, on highways up to three lanes wide. Read More

Robotic intubation device seeks out patients' airways

When a patient is placed under general anesthesia or otherwise has difficulty breathing on their own, they typically have a plastic endotracheal tube inserted into their mouth and down their trachea. This process maintains a clear air passage to the lungs, and is known as intubation. In order to make it safer and easier, students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Biodesign program have created a robotic intubation device, that takes some of the guesswork out of the procedure. Read More
— Digital Cameras

DARPA developing personal LWIR cameras to give soldiers heat vision

With their ability to pick out humans by their heat signatures, long-wave infrared (LWIR) thermal imaging cameras are a valuable asset for soldiers – and alien predators. Unfortunately, non-alien built ones are expensive and so large that they need to be mounted on vehicles. In an effort to make a LWIR camera cheap and small enough for an individual soldier to carry, DARPA is working on a five-micron camera that offers a reduced size without sacrificing performance. Read More
— Science

Binary star system found right under our noses

In a day when we have examined astronomical objects shining forth from a time shortly after the Big Bang, one would think astronomers have a pretty good handle on what is in the immediate vicinity of the Solar System. That's why the recent report of a binary star lying only 6.5 light-years away came as rather a surprise to the astronomical community. The pair, called WISE J1049-5319 A and B, are brown dwarf stars and only two star systems – the triple star Alpha Centauri, and Barnard's Star – lie closer to our Sun. Read More