When NASA "bombed" the moon back in October there was a lot of fanfare leading up to a visually anticlimactic live Webcast of the event. But a series of papers publishing tomorrow in Science pack some data that make up for the less-than-exciting event.
Peering deep into the cosmos with its upgraded infrared camera last year, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to image a very deep region of the universe. Researchers didn’t realize it at the time, but after follow-up measurements by the ESO’s ground-based Very Large Telescope, a team of astronomers have determined that they’ve glimpsed the most distant object ever seen, some 13 billion light years away.
Researchers at Fermilab are building a “holometer” so they can disprove everything you thought you knew about the universe. More specifically, they are trying to either prove or disprove the somewhat mind-bending notion that the third dimension doesn’t exist at all, and that the 3-D universe we think we live in is nothing more than a hologram. To do so, they are building the most precise clock ever created.
Your mom probably told you not to stare directly at the sun, but images like this one are hard to ignore. Captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) back on October 7, the image shows the moon passing between the observatory and the sun, marking the first time SDO has witnessed a lunar transit.
On a rural spread of acreage in South Carolina, insurance companies are looking to cover themselves against losses by knocking down houses. That might sound counterintuitive, but from an engineering standpoint it makes perfect sense. The industry-funded Institute for Business & Home Safety yesterday opened a $40 million, 2,300-square-foot disaster lab yesterday that is among the best in the world, with the ability to subject entire homes to tornado-strength winds or Category 3 hurricanes.
It was disconcerting last month when industry officials reported that China had halted shipments of rare earth elements to Japan. Now, if reports in the New York Times are true, it seems the secret embargo has widened to include the U.S. and Europe. Anonymous officials claim that Chinese customs officials quietly imposed the export restrictions on Monday morning, just hours after a top Chinese trade official denounced U.S. trade actions.
Satellite dishes as we know them – both the huge ones that require a corner of the backyard and the more modern, compact variety that mount on rooftops – could be on their way out. A grad student at the Netherlands’ University of Twente has devised a new microchip that allows for an array of nearly flat antennas to pick up satellite signals, with no rounded, concave “dish” required.
If it's not the most efficient piece of clothing ever designed, it very well might be the smartest. The 'DARPA hoodie,' a strangely-designed patchwork garment accented with the occasional red zipper, is made of 12 interlocking pieces of rip-resistant nylon that sew perfectly together into a hoodie with zero waste. Cooler still, it was born of an algorithm developed for DARPA's Programmable Matter program, which seeks to make T-1000-like shape-shifting smart materials.
Of all of C. Montgomery Burns’s nefarious dealings on The Simpsons, perhaps none sticks in the public consciousness like the time he attempted to use a massive shade to block out the sun (most notably because doing so led to his being shot by a vigilante baby and an uncharacteristic two-episode event). But the U.N. may soon put all such plans to blot out the sun – villainous or otherwise – on hold.
Surfing big breakers is cool and all, but wouldn’t catching lazy rollers be more fun at speeds topping Mach One? A CalTech researcher and a few colleagues put together a few videos showing that it is indeed possible to shred shock waves. Well, in theory anyhow. Using nylon balls, one larger than the other, the researchers demonstrated how one object can ride on the shock waves given off by another.