Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mysterious dark spot found on Uranus

A mysterious dark spot has appeared in the clouds of Uranus –
something that has never before been seen clearly on the icy
planet. Scientist do not know what makes it dark and why it is
appearing now.

Its more distant neighbor, Neptune, has displayed prominent
dark spots from time to time. They also display a puzzling
range of behaviors, sometimes moving back and forth in latitude,
and sometimes changing shape with time.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Research brings hope body parts can regrow

Like salamanders and other lower species, humans possess genes that direct the body to make new arms and legs after an injury. But in humans, the genes lie dormant, inactivated after evolution favored the swift patching of wounds through scarring over the slow regeneration of body parts.

Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered genetic switches, they think can lead to a way to turn on these dormant genes. The result? A person who lost a limb might be able to generate a new one.

"All of a sudden, this becomes not so much science fiction but really a challenging science problem," said Dr. Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh, who is coordinating one of the research teams. "This particular project to regrow digits and limbs on humans is kind of like saying we're going to go to the moon."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

First zero-gravity surgery set to be performed

A team of French doctors are to attempt the world's first human operation in zero-gravity. It will serve as a test for performing surgery in space. The pioneering aircraft enabling the operation is Zero-G, a plane designed and built by Europe to simulate gravity-free conditions, providing a priceless laboratory-in-the-sky to test out new technologies.

Working inside a custom-made operating block, three surgeons, backed by two anaesthetists and a team of army parachutists, will remove a fatty tumour from the forearm of an intrepid volunteer over the course of a three-hour flight.

Antimatter discovery could launch new era of physics

The discovery that a bizarre particle travels between the real world of matter and the spooky realm of antimatter 3 trillion times a second may open the door to a new era of physics, Fermilab researchers announced Monday.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Thrust from Microwaves - The Relativity Drive

Roger Shawyer has developed an engine with no moving parts that he believes can replace rockets. The device is an engine that generates thrust purely from electromagnetic radiation — microwaves to be precise — by exploiting the strange properties of relativity. It has no moving parts, and releases no exhaust or noxious emissions. Potentially, it could pack the punch of a rocket in a box the size of a suitcase.

Friday, September 22, 2006

X Prize Cup to Host NASA's Lunar Lander Challenge

The future will take to the skies over New Mexico next month as teams compete in the Lunar Lander Challenge sponsored by NASA under their Centennial Challenges program
Teams of rocketeers are readying their vehicles for the Lunar Lander Challenge to be held live October 20-21 at the Las Cruces International Airport in southern New Mexico.The Vertical Lander Challenge (VLC) and Lunar Lander Challenge (LLC) presented by NASA are designed to speed up the commercial development of a vehicle capable of ferrying cargo or humans back and forth between the surface of the Moon and low lunar orbit.

ESA's Mars Express gives the Martian "face" a makeover

ESA's Mars Express has obtained images of the Cydonia region, site of the famous 'Face on Mars.' The High Resolution Stereo Camera photos include some of the most spectacular views of the Red Planet

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Saturn shows new ring

Saturn showed off a new ring in a snapshot just taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

The spacecraft, which entered the orbit of Saturn in July 2004, also revealed other dazzling features of the ringed planet, including wispy fingers of icy material stretching out tens of thousands of miles from the moon

The spacecraft, which entered the orbit of Saturn in July 2004, also revealed other dazzling features of the ringed planet, including wispy fingers of icy material stretching out tens of thousands of miles from the moon Enceladus.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pluto gets a new name

Pluto is now just a number, officially speaking. The former planet has been dubbed asteroid number 134340 to reflect its new status as a "dwarf planet."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Forget SASERs here come PASERs

A group of experimentalists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology working at Brookhaven National Lab have successfully used an electron beam acting on excited gaseous carbon dioxide atoms to produce a stimulated emission beam of electrons. The PASER (Particle Acceleration by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) coherently amplifies incident electron energy.
One possible application mentioned was the generation of high-quality X-Rays for nano-science.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ever heard or a SASER? not LASER - but SASER

An Acoustic Laser, you heard me right. Sound Amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
A SASER, is the acoustic analog of a laser. Instead of a feedback-built potent wave of electromagnetic radiation, a saser would deliver a potent ultrasound wave.

Airport security meets science fiction

In the science fiction movie "Total Recall" Arnold Schwarzenegger's character glides through security in minutes, checked by a full-body X-ray with shoes on and carry-on in hand. He doesn't step through a bulky X-ray machine, he doesn't take off his belt, he doesn't even have to empty his pockets of loose change.

In 2006, that's not so far from reality.

Yotam Margalit, the director of marketing for General Electric's homeland security group, offered details Wednesday of a project intended to modernize security at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Astronomers find largest and fluffiest planet so far

The largest planet ever found orbiting another star is so puffy it would float on water. HAT-P-1, is both the largest and least dense of the nearly 200 worlds astronomers have found outside our own solar system.

2003 UB313 Ain't Xena its Eris now

2003 UB313 which up to this point has been afectionatly known as Xena by its discoverer Michael Brown has now gained the formal moniker of Eris. Eris in mythology caused quarrels and sparked wars, which Brown thought was very apropriate.

Eris' moon also received a formal name: Dysnomia, the daughter of Eris known as the spirit of lawlessness

Meet the first Bionic Woman

Claudia Mitchell lost her left arm in a motorcycle accident in 2004 and just received a bionic prosthesis from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

She now has partial use of the arm that she lost — and she controls it with her thoughts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

First generation of galaxies glimpsed forming

Astronomers have glimpsed some of the first galaxies in the universe in the process of taking shape.

astronomers have found signs that the early stages of this assembly process were going on between 700 and 900 million years after the big bang.

3 hours to Mars? yes little buddy, its possible

Theoretical "hyperspace" engine could make space travel a reality by flying into other dimensions.

The hypothetical device, is based on a controversial theory about the fabric of the universe, could potentially allow a spacecraft to travel to Mars in three hours and journey to a star 11 light years away in just 80 days.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Simulated Mars Mission planned

The mission -- will run from May 1 to Aug. 30 . six scientists will travel to the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station, or FMARS, on Devon Island, a barren and frozen wasteland in the Canadian far north, about 900 miles from the North Pole. There they will live in a two-level metal facility and only go outside wearing 40 pounds of faux spacesuit.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The worlds largest super collider nears completion

100m below the French-Swiss border, and more than 17 miles long, sits the latest and most powerful in a long line of machines aimed at uncovering the fundamental building blocks of the Universe. Due for completion in 2007, the LHC (Large Hardron Collider) , when switched on, will collide beams of protons that would fit comfortably inside the zero on a penny and yet carry as much energy as an aircraft carrier travelling at 30mph.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New attempts to crack Saturn's 'walnut' moon

The mysterious equatorial ridge on Saturn's moon Iapetus is either a fossil ring system that fell to the surface, or a pile up of crustal rocks formed as the satellite changed its shape. The ridge, revealed by the Cassini probe, is unlike anything else in the solar system. It is up to 20 kilometres high and stretches 1300 km along the moon's equator, resembling the ridge on a walnut.

The Size of things in our Universe

a short but impactful (is that even a word? Hey, I think I just made up a word... wait, how can the spell checker say a word is correctly spelt if it's new? rats...nevermind) utube video comparing our planets and our sun to other planets and suns. Even though I knew this objectivly - it was still amazing to see just how small and insignificant our planet or even our sun is in size compared to the real giants in the galaxy or what have you. It's worth a play. Check it out.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Nasa still hopes for space elevator

In a few weeks, scientists from across the world will gather in the New Mexico desert to compete for one of the most ambitious - technological competitions ever devised.

The ultimate goal is to explore different technologies that could lead to the development of the long sought after "space elevator"

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mars Rovers mission threatened by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The still functional Mars Spirit Rover's future may be cut short due to the arrival of the mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Due to bandwidth problems and the fact that Nasa has both Spirit and the MRO transmitting on the same frequency means that one of the units must be switched off for the other to operate and send data.