"The Electron is now capable of carrying of over 60 percent of all the satellites that were launched in 2015," he said, noting that the shrinking size of modern satellites allows for the Electron's high capacity. The model appears to be environmentally friendly too. One launch on the Electron is expected to consume the same amount of fuel as a 737 jet aircraft going from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Beck said. The Mahia Peninsula offered the ideal conditions for trial space launches, he noted. "We needed an island-nation that was in the middle of the Pacific to reach all the launch angles we needed, somewhere where we could build our own private range." Because most U.S. launch sites are federally-owned,
Since it was founded in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s goals have been civilian. The agency’s main objective, to explore outside our orbit, was part of a larger mission to provide "the most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States." Consider that a success: Each year, thousands of consumer products benefit from “spin-offs,” integration of technologies and processes originally developed for and by NASA. Aptly titled Spinoff, each issue is 100-plus pages of essential nerd material and trivia fodder, charting the diaspora of space technology.
France's environment minister signed Sunday a plan for French firms to help tackle Iran's environmental problems, but criticised the refusal of her country's banks to work with the Islamic republic. Segolene Royal met in Tehran with the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organisation, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and a group of ministers, agreeing to work together on the water shortage, energy efficiency and pollution problems facing Iran.
After a year living in isolation, six crew members on a mock mission to Mars are returning home today (Aug. 28). The crew members have been living in an isolated habitat on the bare, rocky slopes of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii, as part of the HI-SEAS program (Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation), based out of the University of Hawaii. The program is helping scientists to understand how the isolation of a deep space mission would impact human participants. The mission participants have lived together for 12 months, with limited contact with friends, family and the outside world. The crew is schedule to exit the habitat at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). This is the fourth and longest
As the global climate gets hotter both people and animals will have to adapt to changes in their local environments. However, while people can shed clothes or turn up the A/C, animals have fewer options to maintain the conditions they need to survive. If their home habitats change too much, they’ll be forced to migrate in search of new territory. “Migration” sounds like a simple fix, and in some cases it might be, if not for one big problem: There are, literally, a lot of things in the way. Nearly every path that animals would naturally travel is blocked by roads, fences, houses and other man-made barriers. According to research published earlier this year in PNAS (paywall), “only 41% of natural
According to a study published in the August 2016 issue of Scientific Reports, researchers conducted a genome-wide association study where they aimed to look at markets in people’s DNA, then identify a gene called PDSS2, which may play a role in the way people metabolize caffeine differently. To conduct this study, researchers compared the genes and how much caffeine people drank of two controlled populations: One of about 1,200 people in Italy, and one of about 1,700 people in the Netherlands. Likely because their bodies metabolized the caffeine more evenly (instead of saying, metabolizing it too quickly and then leaving you “needing” more to function) and therein required them to drink it less.
A gorgeous new exhibit reveals just how salty the Dead Sea is. Artist Sigalit Landau submerged a 1920s-style long, black dress in Israel's Dead Sea for two months in 2014. Landau has been inspired by the Dead Sea's unique environment for past artwork, including salt-crystal-encrusted lamps, a salty hangman's noose and a crystalline island made of shoes, according to the artist's website.
Connected cows are already a thing, but recently the intersection of barnyards and bits has been breeding a whole herd of applications. The current $1.27 billion “Connected Cow and Farm” business is slated to grow eight-fold to $10.75 billion by 2021, says research firm Arcluster, as reported in The Register. Arun Nirmal is Arcluster’s research director.
Astronomers and archaeologists seldom work alongside one another — when scientists study the stars they're exploring the future, while ancient potsherds are firmly grounded in the past. But a recent study in the Royal Society Journal Proceedings describes a mathematical method that could help archeologists date ancient events and civilizations down to the precise year. And its key ingredient? Solar flares. Researchers found that intense solar flares in the years 775 and 994 AD caused spikes in atmospheric carbon around the world, leaving their traces in tree rings, reeds, and papyri. Under the right conditions — and with little mathematical elbow grease — these radiocarbon spikes can be used
A classical nova occurs when a white dwarf star gains matter from its secondary star (a red dwarf) over a period of time, causing a thermonuclear reaction on the surface that eventually erupts in a single visible outburst. This creates a 10,000-fold increase in brightness, depicted here in an artist's rendering.
As the unmanned aircraft industry continues to evolve, the United States is depending on its space agency to help manage small drone traffic close to the Earth. NASA is currently entering the second phase of a four-step plan to draw up rules of the skies for drones that weigh 55 pounds or less and fly no higher than 500 feet. The project is meant to develop performance standards for drones that would be used for commercial purposes by companies such as Amazon and Google. The agency is hoping to present its research to the Federal Aviation Administration before 2020, John Cavolowsky, director of NASA's Airspace Operations and Safety Program, told attendees at a drone summit in North Dakota last week.
It was a pretty kick-ass week in terms of interplanetary exploration -- and not even just in NMS. Astronomers found a potentially habitable planet just 4.2 light years from us! This could be our first stop beyond Mars but it's going to take a while to get there, so we're going to have to travel light. That means bringing nothing but the most essential of supplies -- like scouter drones, custom-designed hazmat suits, efficient solar power generators and 8K televisions. Numbers, because how else are you going to calculate the interstellar rocket's payload fraction?
Oetzi the Iceman was dapper dresser About 5,300 years ago, Oetzi the Iceman sported a fur hat made from a brown bear, a sheepskin loincloth, leggings and a coat made of goat hide, shoelaces from wild cows and a quiver made from deer leather. Scientists from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Research Academy in Bolzano, Italy, used genetic testing to identify the animals that made up the frozen mummy’s fur and leather ensemble. Their findings recently were published in the journal Scientific Reports. Oetzi, as he became known, was found face down in a thawing glacier in the Oetztal Alps, which border Austria and Italy, nearly 25 years ago. One way that whiskey beats coffee
Daniel Dennett’s philosophical achievements cannot be neatly summarized. To some, he’s familiar as one of the four horsemen of new atheism, alongside Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. He’s known for his focus on Darwinism, and applying the evolutionary theory to ideas and cultural development. And he’s one of the greatest living philosophers of the mind, arguing that consciousness requires no magic other than the physical mechanics of the brain, that similarly complex robots would be equally conscious, and that the “self,” or ego, does not exist. But Dennett, who spoke at this year’s Association of the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference in Buenos Aires, is unimpressed
In May 2013, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 300 cities participated in a March Against Monsanto. “We recognized that our reputation can’t get any worse,” Monsanto’s Brennan says. That summer, the company revamped its communications efforts. Where once executives carefully vetted everything their rank and file said in public, they now encourage staff to be less closed off and to share personal stories. I heard a few (remarkably similar) about farmers in India and Africa who were able to send their kids to school because of Monsanto-engineered crops. Employees engage on social media, talk to local skeptics’ groups, do AMAs on Reddit and panels at conferences like SXSW. The company
The video crop factors of the current 4K cameras, and an easy way to calculate crop factors… Although there’s many full frame cameras that give a full frame image in 1080p, there’s only two that give us glorious full frame look in 4K – the Sony A7S II and Sony A7R II. But that isn’t the whole story… Crop factors can be calculated two ways. Photographic full frame and APS-C sensors have 3:2 aspect ratios – they are taller than the video standard of 16:9. Therefore 16:9 video is a cropped letterbox view of 3:2. However we don’t talk about this crop when we refer to full frame video, we only take into account the horizontal crop and take the different aspect ratio for granted. If you made a full
Typically superheroes spend their summertime helming big budget franchises for movie studios. This year, with blockbuster season winding down and schools opening their doors, Marvel's following up its summer at the multiplex by giving its superheroes a new assignment. Last week, the publisher unveiled the last of five special covers featuring disciplines that guide school curricula nationwide — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, also known as STEAM. It's part of an effort, the company says, to encourage young readers to double-down on their studies and explore fields said to lead to better jobs. "We plan to continue to motivate our fans to explore their passions in the fields of
I love hex black and a dark UI! You Nougat-lovers can't deny, That when an app installs in an itty, bitty space, With a dark theme in your face, You get sprung! Google and Android are filled with white, white, white UIs. It wasn't always that way, but it is now. The only real dark system UIs available right now are downloadable TouchWiz themes, and Google's apps are whiter than my jean-365-days-a-year legs. Night modes have been toyed with in Developer Previews the last two years but have never amounted to much of anything. And really, even if they had stuck around, it wouldn't've been the dark theme we wanted anyway. Let's get some terminology straight first, because we keep interchanging some
There’s a little girl. Her blue eyes are wide, and she steps up to the microphone. She’s a five-year-old in front of a room full of adult academics, called up to the front of the room because she wanted so badly to share her dreams with us. “Um…hi, I want to be a paleontologist,” she says. Her name is Maia Toenjes. The room of scientists cheers Maia on, asking her questions, treating her like we all wanted to be treated when we were five-year-olds with wide eyes and a deep, deep curiosity about the world. This was the power of the Women in Paleontology conference. PaleoFest celebrates rock-digging women who are inspirational scientists The Burpee Museum of Natural History in urban Rockford,
On a mountain top in southern Greece, in a nearly 3,000-year-old religious site, archeologists have made a macabre discovery: human remains nestled inside an altar dedicated to Zeus. The burial is unprecedented. How did the bones of this adolescent boy end up in an altar made of sheep bones? Potentially, the discovery is evidence that the Greeks, like many other ancient societies, engaged in human sacrifice. This is shocking news for those who think of ancient Greece as the birthplace of civilization and culture. The discovery was made on Mount Lykaion in southwestern Arcadia. We know from ancient authors like Thucydides and Plato that the site was associated with Zeus, the most illustrious of
More than 1,400 scientists are in Belfast this week for a major farming conference worth almost £3m to the local economy. The delegates from 66 countries are attending four days of events at the Waterfront Hall. The conference is looking at advances in livestock science. There will also be farm visits and an opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland food. The European Federation of Animal Science conference is Europe's largest such event. There will be 1,000 presentations on beef and dairy cattle, sheep, pigs, fisheries and a range of other livestock. A big focus is on feed efficiency - finding ways to maximise output while cutting costs. Of particular interest to Northern Ireland's farmers will
Recent archaeological finds reveal that the Vikings were not only fierce, bloodthirsty warriors but also farmers, skilled craftsmen, impressive mariners, and expert traders as well. As more discoveries are made, our knowledge of the Vikings will widen even more—dispelling many myths surrounding this fascinating group of people. 10Tomb Of Viking Power Couple In 2012, engineers building a highway in Harup, Denmark, discovered a wooden building. Later on, the discovery was identified as a Viking tomb. Also known as dodehus or death house, the tomb contained the remains of a couple archaeologists believed held a high social status in Viking society. Experts discovered two interesting items buried
James W. Cronin, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering a startling breakdown in what was assumed to be the immutable symmetry of physical law, thereby helping to explain the behavior and evolution of the universe as a whole, died Aug. 25 in St. Paul, Minn. He was 84. Dr. Cronin’s death was announced by the University of Chicago, where he was a professor emeritus of physics as well as of astronomy and astrophysics. Through the study of the decay of a single subatomic particle, Dr. Cronin and a colleague, Val Logsdon Fitch of Princeton University, made it possible for inferences to be drawn about the laws of nature on a scale as vast as the entire universe, in all its unfathomable immensity and multibillion-year duration.
There are one hundred billion galaxies in the universe, and you can visit every one. The SpaceEngine simulator may sound like one of this year’s most anticipated games — it’s an unfathomably massive, independently developed, procedurally generated universe. SpaceEngine is a universe, a tremendous tract of empty space and more explorable worlds than anyone can comprehend.
"I can resist everything except temptation," one of playwright Oscar Wilde's characters tells us. But, the management of Monsanto, the agribusiness giant, must not be fans of the theater. As a result Monsanto has done the equivalent of giving a teenage boy the keys to the family car and then telling him that he can't drive it. We know what comes next. The way this has manifested itself is widespread damage to soybeans, peaches and other crops from drifting herbicide. The problem has gotten so bad that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an advisory reminding farmers that the offending herbicide, dicamba, is not yet approved for spraying on dicamba-resistant soybeans and