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— Space

Saturnian moon may have deep-ocean vents that harbor life

In science, it's often the case that solving one mystery just raises more questions. Take Saturn's moon Enceladus. For almost a decade, scientists have been puzzled by the gossamer plumes that waft up from its surface. Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now indicates that these may might be due to present-day hydrothermal activity in the vast ocean beneath the crust of the frozen moon, raising the possibility that Enceladus may harbor life. Read More
— Space

Researchers theorize two mechanisms that prevent prolific star creation in galaxy clusters

For a long time, scientists have been searching for an answer as to how galaxy clusters regulate the number of stars they create. Given that the amount of interstellar gas used to create the stellar giants exists in such abundance, this theoretically allows for the creation of many times the current number of stars. A team of researchers from MIT, Columbia University and Michigan State University believe they have found the answer. Read More
— Around The Home

Thermal vision microwave shows when your food is cooked just right

For all the time they save us in food preparation, burnt tongues and frozen centers are an all too common occurrence when dealing with microwaves. But former NASA engineer-turned-inventor Mark Rober reckons nuking our food shouldn't involve so much guesswork. His take on the everyday kitchen appliance offers a thermal vision display of your food as it cooks, so you know exactly when it's time to chow down. Read More
— Architecture

The Commons: Inside Australia's most sustainable apartment building

Throughout the traditionally working class suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne's inner north, apartment developments are popping up everywhere as urbanites scramble for their own slice of inner-city living. These buildings are modern and comfortable, though many are cut from the same commercially oriented architectural cloth. But among them stands a beacon of green and thoughtful design. The Commons by local firm Breathe Architecture is a beautiful five-story apartment block with sustainability emanating from every square foot, from the bicycle rack to the communal veggie garden on its roof. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Seek Thermal launches thermal camera attachment for mobile phones

Ever wonder if there’s something hiding in the bushes at night or if your door seals are leaking heat in the winter? A thermal imaging camera is one way of answering these questions, but they tend to be bulky and very pricey. California-based Seek Thermal is aiming to bring thermal imaging into the consumer realm with its small, relatively affordable thermal camera smartphone accessory. Read More
— Science

Sponge-like structure generates steam using lowest concentration of solar energy yet

Researchers working at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering claim to have produced a sponge-like substance that helps convert water to steam using sunlight one-hundredth as bright as that required by conventional steam-producing solar generators. A composite of graphite flakes layered on a bed of carbon foam, the new material is reported to convert as much as 85 percent of received solar energy into steam. Read More
— Environment

CSP plants could run at 80 percent capacity (or better) throughout the year

Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have conducted a study to examine the potential for solar power to provide reliable electricity around the clock, every day of the year. The team found that a large, distributed network of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in the Mediterranean basin or the Kalahari desert in southern Africa would be able to consistently run at 80 percent of maximum capacity or more throughout the year regardless of time of day, season, or weather conditions. Read More
— Space

Largest heat shield ever constructed installed on NASA's Orion spacecraft

NASA scientists have installed the largest heat shield ever created for the intention of atmospheric re-entry, onto the crew module of its next generation spacecraft, Orion. The shield, made of the same base material as that which protected Apollo-era astronauts from re-entry conditions over four decades ago, is set to be tested to the extreme later this year as Orion's maiden flight blasts off. Read More
— Aircraft

Nanoparticle coating could let aircraft engines last three times longer

The higher the temperature at which an aircraft engine is able to run, the more efficiently it uses fuel. In order to run at those high temperatures, the metal components of airplane engines are presently treated with heat-shielding coatings. Scientists at Sweden's University West, however, are developing a new such coating that is said to be far more effective than anything presently used – it could extend the service life of engines by 300 percent. Read More