The Voyager 1 spacecraft might be crossing the interstellar boundary at the edge of our solar system much sooner than scientists thought, according to new data from the probe itself and from the Cassini spacecraft. This milestone — marking the first Earth-born object ever to leave the sun’s field of influence — could actually happen any day now. According to scientists' best estimates, it will happen by the end of 2012.
Every night in Texas, vast swarms of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from caves to dine, swarming in dense clouds and plucking huge amounts of insects out of the air. They dip, swirl and turn on a dime to chase their prey, while somehow avoiding collisions with each other. To study how they do this, bat researchers from Boston University built a quadcopter to fly with them and purposefully get in their faces.
Faced with arms shortages and continual bombing by NATO and the forces of Muammar Gaddafi, rebels in Libya are becoming DIY weapons manufacturers. A school in Misrata has been transformed into a makeshift factory, where toys and trucks are turning into machine gun-equipped robots.
Al Jazeera took a tour of the DIY weapons depot, where a Power Wheels toy was transformed into a robot with a machine gun. Mohammad bin Saud’s team designed the car, which can be remotely operated.
Sunspots may be going into hibernation, a phenomenon unseen since the 17th century that could lead to cooler global temperatures, scientists said Tuesday. It's not clear how rising temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions may offset global cooling, and scientists are still not totally sure how our star affects Earth's climate, however.
A nearby galaxy that looks like a smiley face harbors a dark secret: It has twin supermassive black holes, not just one. This rare find could shed light on what happens when ginormous galaxies collide.
Plenty of gadgets we take for granted come to us via the space program — GPS, cordless tools, the Fisher space pen. But NASA doesn’t always have to reinvent the wheel; sometimes off-the-shelf technology can serve the space agency just as well. Take the accelerometers in the iPhone, for example. Why build a space station-specific device when there’s already an app for that?
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital built a living laser partly to study interactions between electronic and biological systems, and partly out of sheer curiosity. The world’s first biological laser, made from a single living cell, could lead to better microscope imaging inside the body and even targeted light therapies, researchers say.
Our favorite robot is learning to shop for, prepare and serve entire meals — from cookies to a round of beers and now, breakfast. In this latest robot-cook experiment, PR2 gets some help from a German ‘bot named Rosie, and the pair serves up a traditional Bavarian sausage breakfast.
IBM researchers have built the first integrated circuit based on graphene, a breakthrough the company says could herald a future based on graphene wafers instead of silicon. The circuit, a 10 gigahertz frequency mixer, could give wireless devices greater range. At higher frequencies, the technology could someday allow law enforcement and medical personnel to see inside objects or people without the harmful effects of X-rays, according to IBM.
America’s grand particle smasher may not go out with a bang after all. A bump in data at the Tevatron, reported earlier this spring, turns out to be a false alarm — not a new particle or a new force of nature.