science

November 07, 2018

Puny particles have given scientists a glimpse inside the Earth. For the first time, physicists have measured the planet’s mass using neutrinos, minuscule subatomic particles that can pass straight through the entire planet. Researchers also used the particles to probe the Earth’s innards, studying how the planet’s density varies from crust to core.

November 06, 2018

While the International Space Station (ISS) is a technological marvel, it has not traditionally had a lot of onboard processing capacity. That changed last year when NASA delivered a supercomputer to the station. It was only there for a test run, but now the agency plans to use it for processing data and running experiments. Eventually, NASA and manufacturer HP hope to understand why some parts of the computer work well in orbit and others don’t.

November 05, 2018

David Strauss, an analyst and oddsmaker at MyBookie, says NASA is the underdog and Musk is the favorite. “Bezos may have the discipline, but Musk has the infrastructure and just the right amount of craziness to make a successful mission happen,” he said today in a news release. “The days of government organizations staging trips to another planet are behind us. I would be surprised if NASA truly makes it back to the moon.”

November 04, 2018

Hubble went into safe mode when one of its three working gyroscopes failed, leaving mission managers with a weighty challenge: They could try getting a glitchy gyro working again, bringing the telescope’s pointing system back to its normal three-gyro mode. Otherwise, they would have to go to a one-gyro procedure for pointing at observational targets, and keep the second gyro in reserve.

October 29, 2018

How thick is Earth’s atmosphere? Sorry, that’s a bit of a trick question: Our planet’s air simply gets thinner with altitude, fading away to nothingness somewhere far above the height at which the lowest satellites orbit.

October 28, 2018

As algorithms and artificial intelligence infiltrate science, don’t expect bots to replace researchers -- but AI may guide scientists and funding agents toward the most promising unexplored territory. There’s a lot of room for improvement in the way humans are choosing scientific questions, said sociology professor James Evans, who suggested the use of algorithms for guidance in a special section of Science Magazine called “Toward a More Scientific Science.”

October 21, 2018

NASA is following up on its plan to purchase rides on commercial lunar landers by soliciting ideas for the scientific and technological payloads to put on them.

October 21, 2018

After 3 days of intense debate, a nonbinding vote by planetary scientists meeting in Glendale, California, resulted in a virtual tie between several candidate landing sites for NASA’s next $2.5 billion Mars rover, due for launch in 2020. The straw poll is the culmination of years of scientific and engineering analysis of three NASA-approved sites...

October 21, 2018

As I write this, renegade genetic engineers in California and Minnesota are creating pig-human and sheep-human chimeras whose vital organs are human. They are doing it against the wishes of and without any funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But they’re reportedly motivated by a noble cause: to create a limitless source of body parts for patients in need of them.

October 19, 2018

Across the country, there are nearly 6.9 million scientists and engineers, representing 4.8 percent of the nation’s workforce. There are 20 states having at least 100,000 workers in these occupations. Scientists and engineers are concentrated around the nation’s capital, making up the largest share of the workforce in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

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