Science & Technology

U.S. faces another potential Sputnik moment

November 12, 2019

When news broke of Sputnik’s trip outside our atmosphere, it sent shock waves through the American public and the U.S. government. The Defense Department immediately announced funding for the Explorer -- the vehicle that would become the first American object in space -- and Congress created NASA. But now, the United States is once again facing a potential Sputnik moment as countries like Russia, China and even India rapidly develop capabilities that threaten our use of and our access to space.

NASA Wants 10 More Yearlong Space Station Stints to Prep for Mars

November 12, 2019

NASA will shake things up a bit in low Earth orbit to get ready for the giant leap to Mars. The agency has viewed the International Space Station (ISS) as a key training ground for trips farther afield since the first astronauts visited the orbiting lab in November 2000. But NASA plans to beef up this role for the station in the near future, treating the ISS more explicitly as a "Mars transit analog" to prep for crewed missions to the Red Planet in the 2030s.

Mercury Just Passed The Sun For The Last Time Until 2032

November 12, 2019

For the last time in this decade, Mercury has passed in front of the Sun in what's known as a transit - a rare chance to see a planet cross the face of our home star. And the images are truly something to behold.

SpaceX Deploys 60 More Starlink Satellites in Record-Breaking Launch

November 12, 2019

It has been a quiet fall for SpaceX, which launched a Falcon 9 rocket early August before taking a break to prepare for future missions. Now, SpaceX has successfully deployed a new batch of Starlink internet satellites, and the Falcon 9 that delivered them made history in the process.

Google has been gathering health data on millions of US citizens in hospital partnership

November 12, 2019

Google LLC has been busily collecting health data on millions of Americans across 21 states, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The initiative, which Google seemed to have kept secret from the public, is codenamed “Project Nightingale.” Documents obtained by the Journal reveal that the heath data has been shared in partnership with St. Louis-based chain of hospitals called Ascension, a Catholic hospital that calls itself “a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care.”

Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space: Scientists detect plasma density jump

November 11, 2019

Voyager 1 has a companion in the realm of the stars. Researchers at the University of Iowa report that the spacecraft Voyager 2 has entered the interstellar medium (ISM), the region of space outside the bubble-shaped boundary produced by wind streaming outward from the sun. Voyager 2, thus, becomes the second human-made object to journey out of our sun's influence, following Voyager 1's solar exit in 2012.

Why Astronomers Worry About the Brightness of SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Megaconstellation

November 11, 2019

When the company launched its first set of Starlink internet satellites in May, those with their eyes attuned to the night sky immediately realized that the objects were incredibly bright. Professional astronomers worried the satellites would interfere with scientific observations and amateur appreciation of the stars.

U.S. should consider pooling AI data with other countries, commission says

November 11, 2019

Data is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it will only grow as data-fueled technologies like AI become more advanced. It's used to train powerful AI systems to recognize patterns in human and machine behavior, to train AI on images, sounds, and objects. Essentially data is AI's window to the outside world. However, huge amounts of data are needed to train AI systems effectively, and China collects more data from its civilians than any other country.

NASA Opens Untouched Apollo Moon Rock Sample for First Time in 40 Years

November 10, 2019

Scientists at Johnson Space Center's Lunar Curation Laboratory in Houston opened the Apollo 17-recovered sample on Tuesday (Nov. 5). The 1.5-inch-wide (4-centimeter) tube holding the small stash of moon rocks and dust was sealed by astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt during the second of their three moonwalks on Dec. 12, 1972.

Trump tech chief criticizes Chinese surveillance in first major international remarks

November 08, 2019

President Trump's newly appointed Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios on Thursday criticized Chinese surveillance and censorship in his first major international remarks, ramping up the Trump administration's intensifying battle to beat out China's fast-growing tech industry. Kratsios, who was confirmed as the White House's top tech adviser in August, spent the bulk of a keynote speech in Portugal urging Europe and the U.S. to "embrace innovation and defend our free system against our adversaries."

Pages

Subscribe to Science & Technology