A "potentially hazardous asteroid" known as 2002 AJ129 is set to fly by Earth at a whopping 67,000 miles per hour next month -- but there is no need to worry, scientists say. The 0.7-mile long body -- larger than the tallest building on Earth, Dubai’s half-mile high Burj Khalifa skyscraper -- will rocket past our planet on Feb. 4 by 2.6 million miles, giving it no chance of hitting us.
In 2011, 23-year-old Alexandra Elbakyan did something radical: She created Sci-Hub, a digital repository housing copies of 64.5 million scientific journal articles. That might seem, on its face, ho-hum. But Sci-Hub was radical because it was free to anyone with an internet connection, threatening to disrupt the research publishing industry, which holds its copyrighted material behind a paywall.
The administration genuinely appears to be motivated to accomplish real human space exploration goals within its term of office. It remains unclear, however, whether a sufficient budget will actually be allotted to enable execution of its ambitious policy, either in whole or in part. Federal budgets are challenging—and will be for the foreseeable future--but there is an extremely compelling reason why the administration should go “all in” on this plan and propose a budget that will enable the United States to aggressively move forward.
New “videomicroscopes” offer astounding images, helping surgeons perform and collaborate on delicate brain and spine operations. The equipment produces magnified, high-resolution, three-dimensional digital images of surgical sites, and lets everyone in the room see exactly what the surgeon is seeing. The videomicroscope has a unique ability to capture “the brilliance and the beauty of the neurosurgical anatomy,” Dr. Langer said.
The Navier-Stokes equations capture in a few succinct terms one of the most ubiquitous features of the physical world: the flow of fluids. The equations, which date to the 1820s, are today used to model everything from ocean currents to turbulence in the wake of an airplane to the flow of blood in the heart.
The past year has been a momentous one for science and technology.
In 1933, Fritz Zwicky first predicted the existence of invisible “dark matter” when he noticed galaxies were spinning faster than their masses predicted. Decades later, Vera Rubin found more evidence of dark matter in other galaxies. Physicists now think dark matter makes up 85 percent of the universe’s mass.Still, no one has seen the stuff down on Earth.
The basic outline of this mission was presented in mid-December at American Geophysical Union conference in New Orleans. JPL’s Anthony Freeman called the plan “nebulous,” noting that the mission doesn’t even have a name yet. The goal is to launch the as-yet theoretical probe in 2069, the one-hundred year anniversary of the moon landing. The design of the craft, launch vehicle, and propulsion system all remain unknowns.
Our Top 10 stories of 2017 cover the science that was earthshaking, field-advancing or otherwise important. But choosing our favorite stories requires some different metrics. Here are some of our staff’s favorites from 2017, selected for their intrigue, their power, their element of surprise -- or because they were just really, really fun.
Keeping up with new developments in science, tech, and innovation during 2017 was a bit like trying to tread water during a tsunami. From a dramatic solar eclipse and breathtaking advances in gene-editing technology to the detection of ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein more than a century ago, the stories just kept coming.