The planet Venus, named for the Roman goddess of Love, certainly wouldn't be a very loving place to live. On the surface, Venus hosts scorching temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat capable of melting lead, as well as an atmospheric pressure 92 times greater than Earth's. That's the same kind of pressure found at nearly 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface.
You've heard the statistics: the world population may hit between 9 and 12 billion within the century. The middle class is especially growing fast, and will likely continue to demand more meat and dairy, which take more energy to make compared to plant-based staples. The big question is: how are we going to feed all those people?
Since the first gun appeared on a battlefield, bullets have dealt death in straight lines. As the shortest distance between two points, lines are great, but they mean enemies can hide behind walls or buildings and not get hit, a clearly undesirable prospect for anyone in the business of shooting enemies. Now, the Department of Defense is testing a bullet that can change direction in mid-air.
In the old days, the battle between condiments was fought by Hellmann's Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. That was mostly a debate about taste rather than substance. Nowadays, vegan mayonnaise that uses plant ingredients instead of eggs is shaking up the world of sandwich slathers. One brand in particular, Hampton Creek's "Just Mayo" has drawn the wrath of food giant Unilever, maker of Hellmann's. (In 2013, Popular Science gave Hampton Creek a Best Of What's New award for their eco-friendly eggless eggs.)
Earlier this week, roughly 50,000 Skype users woke up to a new way of communicating over the Web-based phone- and video-calling platform, a feature that could've been pulled straight out of Star Trek. The new function, called Skype Translator, translates voice calls between different languages in realtime, turning English to Spanish and Spanish back into English on the fly. Skype plans to incrementally add support for more than 40 languages, promising nothing short of a universal translator for desktops and mobile devices.
Last week, a new U.S. Navy robot swam near the Joint Expeditionary Base near Norfolk, Virginia. The robot is known by two names that run the gamut from Pixar-cuddly to over-the-top action movie. Project Nemo, a.k.a. GhostSwimmer, is a tuna-inspired bot that might protect soldiers in the future by going where humans can't or shouldn't.
When Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad launched aboard Gemini V on August 21, 1965, they were the first astronauts to have mission patches sewn into their suits, a patch depicting a covered wagon. The motto of “8 days or bust,” however, had been nixed by NASA management; they worried it would make a shortened mission look like a failure. But the mission managed the full eight days, but it was probably as fun as traversing the country in a covered wagon. The view, on the other hand, was spectacular.