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  • The Whole Brilliant Enterprise: NASA’s First 50 Years In One Interactive Graphic

    50 Years of NASA in One Infographic

    Ever since NASA established its history program in 1959, the agency has periodically compiled the world’s aeronautics advances into a single report. Assembled mostly from ... More >
  • What Sort Of Weapon Shot Down Flight MH-17?

    Which Weapon Shot Down Flight MH-17?

    Earlier today, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board. Following Ukraine's ouster ... More >
  • The US Air Force Is Working On A New Bomber

    The US Air Force Is Working On A New Bomber

    The U.S. Air Force is quietly ramping up spending on a future bomber, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service published earlier this month. The Air Force also sent ... More >
  • Five Questions About The Smallpox Vials Found In Maryland

    Should We Worry About That Smallpox?

    Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced something surprising: Federal researchers discovered six 60-year-old vials with smallpox virus in them. The vials ... More >
  • Meet The Scientist Who Might End The Climate Culture Wars

    Can This Scientist End The Climate Culture Wars?

    Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe is among the American Geophysical Union's 2014 award-winners for science communication, announced on July 3. "She's someone who has been tireless in having ... More >
Lindsay Handmer
at 13:11 PM Jul 29 2014
Amanda Le Couteur
Science // 

Last night Sydney enjoyed an amazing winter sunset that slowly faded between endless colours. While beautiful sunsets are common, this one was particularly long lasting and photogenic. Not surprisingly, Facebook and the internet was soon awash with pictures. But what made the Sydney sunset so spectacular?

Sarah Fecht
at 12:59 PM Jul 29 2014
Mark Burchell et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
Space // 

There’s some evidence that microbes living inside a rock could be blasted from their home planet, travel through space, and then crash-land on a new planet relatively unscathed. Throughout the ALH84001 debate, scientists assumed fossils could also withstand the grueling journey, but it looks like nobody actually set out to test ituntil now. 

Alexandra Ossola
at 07:17 AM Jul 29 2014
Alexandra Ossola

As a traditionally Catholic country, Peru has been slower than most to accept contraceptives. Over the past decade, most citizens’ ideology has gradually stretched to accommodate the need for birth control, but emergency contraception (AKA the “morning after” pill) is still highly controversial in Peru. Although some question the pill on moral grounds, others are starting to question it based on sinister scientific findings: some of the pills are not the pill.

Noa Younse and Jer Thorp
at 07:17 AM Jul 29 2014
Office for Creative Research
Space // 

For the July issue of Popular Science, we—the Office for Creative Research—created a data visualization celebrating NASA’s long history of aerospace innovation. Since 1959, NASA has published a document called “Astronautics & Aeronautics Chronology” nearly every year, compiling news coverage of science, technology, and policy at the agency. In these compilations, NASA is reporting its own history. What kinds of stories do these documents hold? How has their language changed over the last six decades? To explore these questions, we created “The Whole Brilliant Enterprise,” a text-based visualization drawn from—by our count—4,861,706 words of NASA history.

Katie Peek
at 07:17 AM Jul 29 2014
Office for Creative Research
Space // 

Ever since NASA established its history program in 1959, the agency has periodically compiled the world’s aeronautics advances into a single report. Assembled mostly from press releases and news stories, the documents recount coverage of budget negotiations alongside milestones like the shuttle program and the moon landing. Data illustrators at the Office for Creative Research distilled the trove of reports from 11,000 pages and 4.9 million words into just over 4,000 discrete phrases. Their illustration charts the frequency of some of the most important terms, colored by topic and arranged by time, and presents a new view of how NASA took humanity to the stars.

Emily Gertz
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
CountyLemonade on Flickr, CC by 2.0
Cars // 

What if your car could sense when you were falling asleep behind the wheel, and wake you up before you caused an accident? That's the notion around a sensor device being developed by Harken, a public-private European consortium.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
Yinan Chen, via Wikimedia Commons
Drones // 

Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.

Emily Gertz
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
Wikimedia Commons
Nature // 

If you're not worried about a future without toro sushi or rare tuna steaks, you probably should be. Five of the eight species of this tasty marine predator are endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, source of the Red List of threatened species. In January 2013 an international group of fisheries researchers told the world (PDF) that Pacific bluefin tuna had been fished to their lowest levels in history, with the population near to collapsing as a commercial stock.

Francie Diep
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
KENPEI on Wikimedia Commons
Nature // 

Following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, monkeys living in nearby forests have been found to have lowered blood cell counts, according to a new study. What that means for people living—or who once lived—in the area is unclear.

Douglas Main
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
MIT
Tech // 

The researchers don't claim the device could be used to create electricity, at least not yet. But it could relatively easily be scaled up to make fresh water out of salt water via distillation, for example, or to sterilize medical or food-processing equipment in areas of the world where electricity is hard to come by, said MIT researcher Hadi Ghasemi in a statement.

Francie Diep
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
Hanwha Eagles
Robots // 

The Hanwha Eagles of Daejeon, Korea, have been on a long losing streak, the BBC reports… but they are winners in our hearts here at Popular Science. That's because they have decided to amp up their fans by giving them access to three rows of telepresence robotsNot able to score a ticket to an Eagles game? No problem. These robots will be able to cheer, chant, show the faces of remote fans on their own screen faces, and hold up LED panels showing encouraging texts from fans.

Neel V. Patel
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
NIAID/Flickr

Yesterday, Chinese authorities finally lifted a nine-day quarantine of 151 individuals from the northwestern city of Yumen, instituted after a 38-year-old man died of a bubonic plague infection last week. Entry and exit points were also sealed off, trapping nearly 30,000 residents. In the end, no other cases of bubonic plague developed.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 12:04 PM Jul 26 2014
Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs, US-Navy via Wikimedia Commons
Nature // 

Polar bears are the largest land predators in the world. Confined to arctic climes, they are huge, powerful swimmers, and deadly hunters. In addition to being the second-best bear, they risk going extinct from global warming's environmental changes. Thanks to an offering by a luxury cruise line, customers can take a cruise through the newly navigable arctic, and try to see polar bears struggling to stay alive on what remains of Arctic ice. 

Francie Diep
at 12:04 PM Jul 26 2014
D. L. Hendrickson
Science // 

150,000: the number of weather observations that have been recorded by a 101-year-old farmer, the U.S. National Weather Service's longest-serving volunteer, who has called in temperatures, rainfall and other measurements from his home for 84 years.

Lindsay Handmer
at 14:16 PM Jul 25 2014
Sunswift
Tech // 

On Wednesday the 23rd of July, a team of UNSW students successfully attempted to break a 26 year old world speed record for the fastest electric vehicle over 500 kilometres. The team broke the record, but is still waiting for final approval from the world Motorsport governing body, FIA. The car averaged a speed of more than 100 km/h during the attempt, beating the previous world record of 73 km/h.

 
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