NASA Finds Lost Mars ProbeAfter more than 11 years of mystery, the European Space Agency has finally found their long lost Mars lander, the Beagle-2. The tiny spacecraft was recently spotted in high-resolution images taken ... More >
Is Dark Snow Bad?The snow in the America's Heartland isn't as "snow white" as one might hope. That's because pollution trapped in the snow is making it darker. Dark snow often contains black carbon—a ... More >
Photos Of SpaceX's Failed Rocket LandingEarly this morning, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, released images from the company's rocket landing attempt on Saturday. The photos show how the Falcon 9 rocket did indeed hit its intended landing ... More >
How a Cyberattack Causes Physical DamageThe terrifying specter of a future of cyberattacks is that someday, a malicious actor will reach through the internet and cause real, tangible, physical harm. It sounds like a Hollywood plot: a ... More >
How do Planetary Flybys Work?Gravity assists -- flybys -- are pretty neat. These precision maneuvers that involve harnessing and using the gravity of a planet to accelerate and direct a spacecraft to its destination. It's ... More >
Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics is publishing a report on recreational marijuana use among kids under the age of 18. Like a good pediatrician, the report summarizes the latest research to answer kids' and parents' most pressing questions. Is pot bad for young brains? Will the newest wave of changes in American law about marijuana make things better or worse? The report ends with a recommendation for lawmakers and voters: Laws need to change so that young people aren't punished severely for recreational marijuana use.
While NASA's Dawn mission is hot on the tail of the biggest rock in the asteroid belt, researchers are still finding new things within the treasure trove of data the spacecraft collected in 2011 and 2012. Back then Dawn was visiting Vesta, the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, which scientists thought would be bone-dry.
In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama mentioned drones exactly once. Out of respect for human dignity, he said, our use of drones should be “properly constrained.” When he said “constrained,” Obama was referring to military drones, not toy drones, but now, he might have a personal interest in constraining smaller ones. Early this morning, while the president was away visiting India, the Secret Service found a crashed drone on the south lawn of the White House.
29 million people in the northeastern United States are currently under a blizzard warning. That means 29 million people are being warned off the roads, desperately crowding grocery stores to buy bread and milk, and preparing for the inevitable arguments that will arise when the entire family is trapped together in the house for days at a time.
If you ask me, driving during a snowstorm is something to be avoided at all costs, but if you have no choice on the matter, or if you're just curious, high-tech tracking systems in some cities now let you remain well-informed about the state of the roads. Some locations have begun to implement tracking of their snow removal vehicles, potentially helping you figure out which roads have already been plowed, and which are better left avoided.
The Rosetta mission made history last year, by being the first manmade spacecraft to ever orbit or land on a comet. Things didn't go exactly as planned, though. The lander Philae bounced around and got lost somewhere on the comet's surface. Wherever it is, it's not getting enough sunlight on its solar panels to keep it fully charged, so ESA has shut it down until the springtime, when the comet will be closer to the Sun. Meanwhile, the orbiter has been busy collecting data. The journal Science just published a boatload of new findings from the duck-shaped Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Here are some of our favorites.
News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less pressure than the 13 psi required by the rules, so it seems that the most bizarre sports scandal of recent memory is real. But there are still plenty of questions: why would a team deflate footballs? Could there be another explanation? And most importantly, what does physics tell us about all this?
In early March, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will enter the orbit of the dwarf planet Ceres. “We're going to see a whole new world,” says Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission director. Eight years since its launch, and four years after visiting the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, Vesta, Dawn will be the first spacecraft to orbit two alien protoplanets in a single mission.
There is only so much Mars a rover can see from the ground. A drone scout could let the rover see further, so NASA's working on a small flying robot copter for a future Mars mission. Drones are proving themselves cheap and versatile on Earth, so it's natural to think they might be useful on Mars too. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory just released a video about their Mars Helicopter, designed to do just that.