Science & Technology

Humans are probably safe from a catastrophic asteroid strike - for now

June 17, 2019

If you ever clean out the gutters on your roof, take note: The dirt you’re tossing may have come from outer space. “In an average day, about 100 tons of meteor dust falls on the planet,” May writes. “One of the best places to find it is on non-porous surfaces like city rooftops and gutters . . . The sludge in your gutter almost certainly contains a few particles that came from outer space.”

Gravity 'Anomaly' at Moon's South Pole Could Be Buried Metallic Asteroid

June 13, 2019

Scientists studying the moon have made an unexpected discovery. While we have good data on the surface topography, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what lies beneath the craggy craters and dunes. A large crater in the southern polar region appears to contain a large deposit of dense material, possibly the remains of an ancient metallic asteroid.

New Space Telescopes Could Look Like Giant Beach Balls

June 13, 2019

The effective diameter of the Terahertz Space Telescope, Walker says, would be about 25 meters. To put this in perspective, the James Webb Space Telescope--which is slated to launch in 2021, and will be the most sensitive telescope ever sent to space--has an aperture of about 6.5 meters. The price difference is even more dramatic: Walker estimates the inflatable telescope would cost around $200 million to send to orbit, whereas the James Webb telescope is expected to cost about $10 billion by the time it’s launched.

NASA's Mars Helicopter Enters Final Testing

June 12, 2019

NASA is just over a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 rover, and all systems are go for the rover’s flying passenger. After completing its flight test early this year, the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is undergoing final preparation and could join the rover this summer. If it works as planned, the MHS will be the first flying machine on another planet.

Physicists See a Quantum Leap, Halt It, and Reverse It

June 11, 2019

Many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics assumed they were instantaneous. A new experiment shows that they aren’t. By making a kind of high-speed movie of a quantum leap, the work reveals that the process is as gradual as the melting of a snowman in the sun. “If we can measure a quantum jump fast and efficiently enough,” said Michel Devoret of Yale University, “it is actually a continuous process.”

China Is Willing to Do Whatever It Can to Surpass the U.S. Military

June 11, 2019

A new report has warned that the Chinese military is close to achieving technological parity with the U.S., as part of a deliberate and long-term plan for Beijing to develop the world's dominant military force. The report--written by former deputy defense secretary Robert Work and his former special assistant Greg Grant--was published by the Center for a New American Security. It warns that the long period of American global military dominance may be coming to an end as China rises.

New Car Technology Causes Confusion

June 10, 2019

A new research article published in the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making argues that there should be minimum driver training standards for partially automated cars. According to the authors, today’s cars are full of new technology that drivers may not understand or know how to respond to. They point out that the research on how drivers interact with automated systems is just beginning.

The GDPR Was Supposed to Boost Consumer Trust. It Has Failed.

June 10, 2019

According to recently released survey data that was collected in November 2018, European trust in the Internet is at its lowest in a decade. These results show that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)--which the EU has touted as the gold standard for data protection rules--has had no impact on consumer trust in the digital economy since it came into force last May.

U.S.-China trade war - the levers they can pull

June 09, 2019

The escalating trade war between the United States and China has gone beyond tariffs as the countries increase pressure on each other to cede ground.

NASA opens space station to private-sector astronauts

June 09, 2019

NASA unveiled an ambitious program Friday to commercialize low-Earth orbit, making way for visits by private-sector astronauts to the International Space Station as early as next year. It would also allow product development and even advertising aboard the space station, along with use of a station docking port for privately financed research and development modules.


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