JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has released the first photographs of the interior of the Hayabusa probe. Last week, we were starting to fear that the seven-year mission had returned to Earth without the crumbs of asteroid Itokawa that it had been sent for. But that photo looks promising.
Choking back a tear, NASA has announced the dates of the final missions to be made by the Space Shuttle. Discovery will lift off on November 1, for a 10-day mission carrying parts to the International Space Station. After that, February 26, 2011, will mark the last shuttle flight, as Endeavour takes the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer up to the ISS on a 13-day mission.
Tired of seeing 3-D renderings of objects on your screen and being unable to grab and fondle them? Just slip your fingers into the firm grip of Japanese haptics robot HIRO III. Driven by 15 independent motors, its black phalanges provide real-time force feedback to your hand, precisely simulating the weight and contour of virtual 3-D objects -- a pretty wild paradigmatic leap forward in interface technology!
When you think about it, it's ridiculous to spend the effort lugging around spare batteries, hand-cranked chargers, piezoelectric gadgets, and all the other half-baked solutions we depend on to resuscitate a dead phone. There's a potent supply of free power just waiting to be tapped, right above our heads. No, not the sun -- overhead power lines.
The grain crops that we humans depend on daily to hold body and soul together are annual crops -- they have to be planted every year. They germinate, bear their delicious product, and then die off; the following year, a brand new crop is put in to take their place.
Such annual crops are high in yield, but they require vast amounts of artificial fertilizer, and their impermanence contributes to soil erosion.
When Oscar the cat lost both his hind paws in a farming accident, it was feared he'd have to trundle around in one of those wheeled-cat apparatuses. But Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic veterinary surgeon in Surrey, pioneered a groundbreaking technique instead, installing weight-bearing bone implants to create a bionic kitty.
The Hayabusa spacecraft landed in the Australian outback on June 13, after a seven-year space journey. It is the hope of JAXA, Japan's space agency, that the capsule Hayabusa is carrying contains a sample taken from asteroid Itokawa. If so, this will be the first sample of asteroid material ever returned to Earth by a space mission.
Now, the process of opening the capsule to see what's inside has begun.
The New York Times today has a long, detailed investigation into the concrete causes of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It describes how the well was equipped with only one blind shear ram, not a prudent two, and how the shear ram's hydraulic system failed, preventing it from shutting off the flow.
Yesterday we explained how to block the 233-Hz drone of the vuvuzela with software at home. Today, Host Broadcast Services, providers of the TV feed of the World Cup, announced that it has increased the EQ filtering on the back end, after viewer complaints about the controversial horn.
Long after the game has ended and the TV has been shut off, the vuvuzela continues to echo in our ears. The plastic stadium horn, blown by World Cup fans to celebrate such moments in a game as -- well, every moment -- has achieved unprecedented fame and rancor this Cup, as its B-flat drone is broadcast around the world.
From German blog Surfpoeten comes a DIY solution for home Cup-watchers driven to distraction by the stadium horns: a software filter that selectively mutes the particular frequency of the vuvuzela.
According to the newly published autobiography of Yang Liwei, head of China's first manned space mission in 2003, the crew's meals included dog meat from Huajiang county, which is renowned for its health benefits.
The meat is claimed to "cure high blood pressure, help build up old people's health, and reduce frequent urination," handy on a long voyage.
C-Crete, a startup company that makes a nano-engineered cement, has won $120,000 in the school's Entrepreneurship Competition. C-Crete's cement is reportedly stronger than any extant cement, and reduces CO2 emissions. Runners-up included makers of a nano-engineered insulin chewing gum and a silent alarm clock that was not nano-engineered.
The Senate has confirmed General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, to lead the Pentagon's new cyber command. The command, which is planned to be operational in October, will be conveniently based at NSA headquarters.
The command will be responsible for defending the nation against computer attacks from abroad, and also for attacking enemy computer networks.
In fourth grade science class, we learned that sodium chloride always, always forms simple cube-shaped crystals. That was before a gang of mad potato chip scientists got their hands on it.
In response to the Food and Drug Administration's imminent consideration of regulating the amount of sodium food manufacturers can include in consumer goods, Pepsico, whose Frito-Lay division makes Lay's potato chips, is redesigning the good old salt molecule to make it healthier.
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.