Science & technology

National Science Board to meet May 5-6, 2015, in Arlington, Va.

The National Science Board (NSB) will meet May 5-6, 2015, to address science and engineering policy of interest to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Members of the media and the public are invited to public portions of the meeting. The meeting will also be webcast.

SpaceX Targets May 6 for Pad Abort Test of New Crew Spacecraft

SpaceX now is targeting Wednesday, May 6, for a pad abort test of its Crew Dragon, a spacecraft under final development and certification through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The test window will open at 7 a.m. EDT. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the test, which will simulate an emergency abort from a test stand on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.

Is NASA one step closer to warp drive?

NASA, according to NASASpaceFlight.com, is quietly claiming to have successfully tested a revolutionary new means of space travel that could one day allow for such insane speed, and to have done it in a hard vacuum like that of outer space for the first time. The technology is based on the electromagnetic drive, or EM drive. The science behind the EM drive is, well, complicated to say the least, but the basic idea is to convert electrical energy into thrust without propellant (the fuel in rockets), which should be impossible because it violates the law of conservation of momentum.

How studying Saturn moon Titan could unlock secrets of alien planets

With nearly 2,000 confirmed planets now known beyond our solar system, astronomers are attempting to identify the atmospheresof these distant bodies to determine if they could possibly host life. But viewing a body so far away remains a challenge. Astronomers are honing their techniques in exoplanet observation using an object we know much more about in our own solar system — Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

The Fight to Build Earth’s Most Powerful Optical Telescope

The Thirty Meter Telescope is supposed to go on the summit of Mauna Kea, on Hawai’i Island. It’s a planned $1.4 billion project to study early galaxies, able to look back in time 13 billion years. But the TMT’s construction, which began in March 2015, has paused amid heavy opposition. With its unobstructed views, Mauna Kea offers not just a portal to infinity for science but also for Native Hawaiian culture, which considers the summit one of its most sacred sites.

Students Design Furniture For Future Space Habitats

So how exactly will astronauts take a load off on the red planet? A student team at Rice University is helping NASA to figure that out. At the behest of the space agency, five Rice seniors in mechanical engineering developed prototype furniture that could someday be used in space habitats on another planet. Given the weight restrictions and limited space on any future interplanetary vehicles, the designs had to be lightweight and flexible, serving multiple purposes in a low-gravity environment.

NASA’s ambitious new effort to detect life on other planets

A new interdisciplinary research program from NASA called NExSS (Nexus for Exoplanet System Science) brings together an interdisciplinary team of scientists at ten universities, three NASA centers, and two research institutes to devise new technologies and techniques for detecting life on exoplanets (planets around other stars).

NASA Successfully Tests Shape-Changing Wing for Next Generation Aviation

NASA researchers, working in concert with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and FlexSys Inc., of Ann Arbor, Michigan, successfully completed initial flight tests of a new morphing wing technology that has the potential to save millions of dollars annually in fuel costs, reduce airframe weight and decrease aircraft noise during takeoffs and landings.

IBM demonstrates superconducting quantum computer

IBM scientists Wednesday April 29 unveiled two critical advances towards creating a practical quantum computer by detecting and measuring both kinds of quantum errors simultaneously. They also demonstrated a new, square quantum bit circuit design that they suggest is the only physical architecture that could successfully scale to larger dimensions.

Yellowstone magma discovery

A team of University of Utah seismologists has discovered a reservoir of hot, partly molten rock hidden 12 to 28 miles beneath Yellowstone's supervolcano--enough to fill the 1000 cubic-mile-Grand Canyon more than 11 times. The pool is over four times larger than a shallower, long-known magma chamber.

Improving the Lives of Older Americans Through Science and Technology

Advances in science and technology hold much promise for helping older Americans remain healthy and prepare for their future across all of these themes. For example, technology may help older Americans to exercise, take medication on time, eat healthy meals, and connect with family and friends. It can also make it easier for them to travel, find volunteer/employment opportunities, prevent financial exploitation, and live independently in their homes.

Net vitality should be the cornerstone of US broadband policy

The Federal Communication Commission's recent Open Internet Order is intended to develop an enforceable regulatory scheme to ensure that net neutrality would be achieved. One of its rationales is that unless such government intervention is put in place, the United States is likely to slip into the category of Internet also-rans, hurting innovation and our economy as a whole as Internet "fast lanes" and "slow lanes" thwart competition and impede consumer demand. But how accurate is this perception?

Smartphone eye-exam 'Blink' is coming to New York

New Yorkers in need of an eye exam could soon get their check up from a smartphone. According to the Technology Review, a new service called Blink is launching in the Big Apple that will make getting an eye exam easier than ever -- with less equipment and cost. Blink is a return to the house call-style medical administration of yesteryear, and will bring $75 exams to the home or workplace. Given by professional technicians -- technicians, not optometrists or doctors -- the exam generates results that are sent off to actual medical professionals who can then prescribe lenses if necessary and email you additional information.

NASA’s administrator discusses the challenges facing the United States’ space program

Yes, the universe is a big place, and NASA since its inception has been about looking outward, helping us to understand the universe in which we live but, more importantly, helping us to understand this planet on which we live, because it all begins right here. We were established in 1958, and since then, we've been challenged by the National Space Act to make discoveries about our planet, make discoveries about the universe and, oh, by the way, continue to keep the U.S. first in aeronautics and space exploration.

Talking net neutrality with the FCC Commissioner

“We live in the digital age where everything is getting converted into 0s and 1s, and everything we have is getting connected through broadband and wireless networks,” Rosenworcel said. According to her, the FCC works to make sure the broadband networks that initiate communication are far-reaching and robust. In fact, the agency recently approved net neutrality regulations under Title II of the Communications Act. Under this act, service providers cannot charge content creators different prices depending on the amount of bandwidth they require.

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