Europe's Mars Lander Is Probably DeadMars has apparently claimed another robotic explorer. Europe's Schiaparelli Mars lander is most likely dead on arrival, after something went wrong during its parachute flight and its hover-rockets ... More >
Kodak Will Make A Camera-Focused SmartphoneWhen you think of Kodak, the words "Android smartphone" don't usually come to mind. But that may change: the camera company is shifting its gaze from film and disposable cameras to letting you ... More >
Speech Recognition Hits Human LevelsSpeech recognition software isn't perfect, but it is a little closer to human this week, as a Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research team reached a major milestone in speech-to-text ... More >
Maybe Alien Life Runs On Cosmic RaysEarth is very much powered by the sun. Beams of photons shoot down at us, dumping their energy into green plants. Then we eat the plants, or we eat the animals that eat the plants (or so on, up ... More >
Loading the Dice for Megadrought RiskAs the American Southwest grows hotter, the risk of severe, long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90 percent likelihood by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their ... More >
The past few years have seen marijuana become more accepted within the medical community as an increasingly useful pain treatment. But marijuana isn't alone. Groups of researchers across the country have also been studying the potential benefits of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound that gives so-called "magic mushrooms" their power. Soon the drug could become an effective medical treatment.
On Sunday, a NASA satellite caught a hypnotic image of wildfire smoke threading its way up from the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. The sight of wildfires raging throughout the Southeast is news for some, but for the region it's confirmation of what locals have been going through for weeks. Since October, more than 150,000 acres have burned throughout Appalachia. But why?
"To travel in space is to be awestruck, over and over and over."--Don Pettit, Spaceborne. Don Pettit and his crewmates flew into space three times, capturing about 600,000 photos from their shuttle missions and long-term stays on the International Space Station. In his new book, Spaceborne, the astronaut/photographer highlights some of the best of the collection, leading to page after page of mind-blowingly beautiful space imagery. This is a good one for the coffee table. Popular Science's photo director, Thom Payne, chose 10 of his favorite Spaceborne images. Here are his picks, with captions excerpted from the book.
Dogs have used their incredible sense of smell to help us find missing people, bombs, corpses, and drugs; detect diseases like cancer; and even aid conservation efforts by sniffing out koala poop. Now, their powerful noses may inspire better tools to detect traces of explosives, drugs, and other substances.
For the past several years, every time a single barrel of oil gets pumped up from deep under the Earth's surface in Oklahoma, 10-15 barrels of salty, often contaminated wastewater gets pumped up with it. After being separated from the desired oil and gas, the water is injected back into the Earth, far enough down that the oil operators hope the watery byproduct won't contaminate groundwater supplies in the region. But, much like many toddlers, this part of the country hates injections.
"Lucy" has fascinated scientists ever since her 3.2-million-year-old skeleton was found in Ethiopia over 40 years ago. The exquisite Australopithecus afarensis specimen, one of the oldest and most complete human relatives ever found, gave researchers a glimpse back into a time when diminutive hominids, no larger than modern kindergarteners, took the first upright steps toward modernity.
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is a massive jetliner, designed to comfortable carry 280 people across oceans and between continents. Or, for one special customer with millions to spare, it can carry 40 passengers for 17 hours non-stop in what can only be fairly described as a sort of beige opulence.
If you're a large, tree-dwelling ape like an orangutan, what's the best way to get across a gap in the branches? Should you jump or swing across, or maybe climb down and cross the gap on the ground? Scientists suspect the ape's decision will depend on which method uses the least energy, but that has been difficult to study because orangutans are endangered and elusive. So a group of researchers in the U.K. turned to a different kind of ape: humans.
Leaked Black Friday ads have changed the shopping game for bargain hunters, says Stephen Baker, veteran tech industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group. Now, he says, people who queue up hours before store openings can be better informed about what they're waiting in line for, and whether it's worth their time (and shivering).
Japan was rattled yesterday by a large earthquake off the Pacific coast. It shook the nation and triggered a tsunami warning that sent people hurrying towards higher ground, waiting anxiously for the all-clear. The earthquake was large, but not monstrous. It attracted so much attention because it occurred just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, where the largest recorded earthquake in Japan's history struck just five years ago.