Perhaps its sentimentality that's making Discovery stall its 39th and final mission. Scheduled to launch at 3:04 p.m. today after four days of delays for reasons ranging from helium and nitrogen leaks to voltage irregularities to stormy weather, the shuttle began leaking hydrogen fuel this morning midway through the fueling process.
The Deep Impact probe, part of NASA's EPOXI mission, has successfully returned never-before-seen images of the comet Hartley 2 as it flew near Earth this morning, only the fifth comet nucleus ever visited by a spacecraft.
Less than half an hour after the probe reached its closest distance from the comet, about 435 miles away, a series of images completed the 23-million-mile trip from EPOXI’s spacecraft to computer screens in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
An unmanned Pelican quadrocopter recently broke the endurance record for laser-powered hovering after spending more than 12 hours airborne. That crushes the previous record of six hours of laser-beam-powered flight.
When the Roomba began stumbling over carpets everywhere in 2002, mankind’s dual fascination with robots and avoiding housework finally coalesced. The Mint automatic floor cleaner tweaks the original Roomba concept, replacing suction with wet/dry Swiffer cloths and adding a remotely-synced GPS-like system to guide its movement more intelligently.
The objections surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells in organ and tissue reconstruction could be silenced if clinical trials for a new strain of stem cells derived from liposuctioned fat get a nod of approval from the FDA. And if they do, their first order of business will probably be growing bigger breasts.
A new type of image-manipulation software could help salvage all the home video footage shot during your awkward phase. It can automatically modify the shapes of human bodies on video, dropping unsightly pounds without burning a single calorie.
Developers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, Germany compiled 3D scans of 120 men and women of varying sizes, merging them into a single model that can be morphed to any shape and overlaid atop original footage.
China, already outpacing the U.S., Japan and many European countries in the expansion of their railway system, has begun testing an even faster high-speed train, clocking in at 258.86 miles per hour during a trial run on Tuesday.
The new train will operate between Shanghai and Hangzhou, the capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, and is expected to start regular service next month October.
Cranfield University, BAE Systems, and nine other UK universities adapted a BAE Systems Eclipse Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) to fly without the aid of control surfaces, successfully executing the world’s first flapless airplane flight.
By 2050, 74 percent of the world’s population will live in urban environments, according to a UN study. Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux annually challenges industrial design students to invent home appliances for small domestic spaces. This year's winners have just been announced, beating out an array of imagined household gadgets the Jetsons would envy.
Submissions addressed a wide range of household needs, from a closet that detects and removes clothing stains to a thought-controlled kitchen staffed by robots.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.