Science & Technology

NASA puts out the call for science and technology payloads made for the moon

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. Those payloads could be flying to the moon as early as next year, NASA said today in its announcement of a program known as Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads.

Scientists home in on landing site for the next Mars rover

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...

Sketchy genetic engineering practices could spell the end of the world as we know it

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.

Science and engineering workforce, by state (2003-2017)

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.

China's Moon Missions Could Threaten US Satellites: Pentagon

October 18, 2018

China’s lunar probes may one day threaten critical U.S. satellites, said one of the military’s top experts on space threats. “We’ve seen [reports] in open press…that say the Chinese have a relay satellite flying around…the flipside of the moon. That’s very telling to us,” Jeff Gossel, the senior intelligence engineer in the Space and Missile Analysis Group at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said at an Air Force Association event on Friday.

Self-driving cars see better with cameras that mimic mantis shrimp vision

October 18, 2018

The camera -- which detects polarized light, or light waves vibrating on a single plane -- has roughly half a million sensors that each capture a wide range of light and dark spots within a single frame, somewhat similar to how mantis shrimps see the world.

Not everyone is ready to ride as autonomous vehicles take to the road in ever-increasing numbers

October 17, 2018

Pennsylvania regulators this week gave the nod to Aurora, an autonomous vehicle software company, to begin testing its prototypes on state roads, joining a growing list of states, from Alabama to Washington and, of course, California, that have approved public testing.

50 years after Apollo moonshots, will rivalry with China spark a new space race?

October 17, 2018

An American rivalry with China could stoke a new space race in the years ahead, prominent members of the space community said at a session marking the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo missions. But it may not play out the way the U.S.-Soviet space race did, said Scott Pace, executive secretary for the White House’s National Space Council.  Billionaire-backed space efforts such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin could play a leading role, he said.

Microsoft co-founder leaves legacy of innovation, philanthropy, bold bets

October 16, 2018

Paul G. Allen, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates before making his mark in technology investing, sports ownership, commercial space, global philanthropy, the environment, museums and the arts, has died at the age of 65, two weeks after announcing that he was diagnosed with a recurrence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a statement Monday from his company Vulcan.

One of the world's most important crop gene storehouses just got a funding boost

October 16, 2018

Safeguarding all crops stored in the world’s roughly 25 major gene banks would take an endowment of about $850 million. So far, the Crop Trust has raised about $300 million for its seed bank endowment, with contributions mainly from the United States, Norway, and Germany. So, “We have some ways to go,” Haga says.

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