Mars One Colonists Could StarveThe students, part of a research group specializing in large-scale multi-billion dollar space programs, used publically available information about the Mars One mission plans to simulate ... More >
The New Right StuffTen years ago this week, commercial spaceflight took off when a private spaceflight company won the Ansari X Prize: a space competition that was offering a $10 million reward to any ... More >
The Christian ScientistEditor's note: Our profile of Bill Nye [September 2014] elicited an impassioned response from readers. We received more than 100 letters, many from readers grappling with how to reconcile ... More >
Ebola Patients Need More Than MedicineThe dusty hills around Lima sprout concrete at all angles. There are many words here for the gray delineation of poverty-struck areas: áreas tugurizadas (slum zones), the less formal tugurios ... More >
Space Combat Won't Look At All Like 'Star Wars'If humanity brings war into space, what will those battles look like? Well, if our understanding of physics is anything close to correct, they won’t look at all like Star Wars. In this six ... More >
New York City is the city that never sleeps, and if a new study from the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering is any indication, it’s home to plenty of active Internet connections around the clock. But there are plenty of places around the globe where the Internet actually does sleep at night.
About a year ago, Popular Science introduced a robot into the office (the fancy Park Ave New York office, that is - Australian Ed). One of the many virtues of working at a magazine such as ours is that we’re free to test all sorts of cool stuff. So we called the guys at Suitable Technologies and asked them to send us a BeamPro, the telepresence robot made famous by Edward Snowden (no doubt, he got the idea from us).
Humans love their LEDs. So much so, they’re winning Nobel Prizes in physics. Given their electrical efficiency and long lifespan, these remarkable light-emitting diodes are being used more and more as primary light sources, and experts argue they could help reduce the world’s overall electricity and material consumption for lighting.
In a paper in Physical Biology, scientists have published the first mathematical model of how human nails grow. The researchers have found that nail health is a delicate balance between the adhesive forces that hold the nail securely in the finger, versus the nail’s movement as it slides forever forward toward the fingertip. Other factors, like thickness, biomechanical stress, and the way you trim your nails can influence whether you develop nail problems.
It’s easy to forget that the International Space Station isn’t just a place for astronauts to hang out and take epic selfies. Because of its unique microgravity environment, the station is actually a valuable hub for research and development, housing hundreds of ongoing experiments that involve everything from human tissue growth to protein crystal formation. Except there’s one little snag when it comes to conducting experiments on the ISS: It’s kind of far away. Getting critical samples from the station to Earth can be a lengthy process, and researchers usually have to wait anywhere from six months to a year before samples can make the trip to laboratories on the ground. These long waits can be risky, as live biological samples have a perishable lifespan and often need to be reviewed quickly before they degrade.
The magnetic poles of the earth have switched back and forth many, many times during the 4.54 billion years that the Earth has been around. Previous research suggested that the process of reversing the poles took place over a long time period, potentially over a few thousand years. But new research shows that the reversal could actually happen much faster than that, with the magnetic North Pole migrating to the South Pole in a time span as short as a century.
More than 30 people who have been paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries could soon get an experimental treatment that involves sending electric currents to their spines. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is raising funds to add volunteers to an ongoing study of the treatment.
Science chases progress. Researchers live under pressure from grant agencies, their peers, and the public to produce exciting results. New finds make headlines; checking old work usually does not. But when a recent study of human behavior by Sarah Brown-Schmidt and Sid Horton failed to reproduce a result from the authors' earlier research, they published a paper in the online journal PLOS ONE saying so. The response has been almost unanimously positive.
Can you tell the difference between robot fish and real ones? You can take this online test to find out. Here's the catch: For every question, both fish schools are rendered as green dots on the screen. It's just that one set of dots corresponds to the actual movements of Pacific Blue Eye fish researchers filmed. The other set of dots moves according to algorithms researchers wrote.
It sounds practically perfect in every way, but there’s still a considerable amount of time and research that needs to happen before we send astronauts off to Mars via the shores of sleep. The technology that SpaceWorks is looking at is a form of therapeutic hypothermia that will drop the temperature of the astronauts’ bodies by just 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing their metabolism and putting them in a kind of hibernation. “It doesn’t take much to get the body to start slowing down,” says John Bradford, President of SpaceWorks Enterprises.