A star in a faraway solar system has caused quite a stir among astronomers. Its light fluctuates dramatically and in strange patterns, so scientists think something large and weird-shaped might be circling around it and occasionally blocking its light. It could be a family of cold comets, or pieces of busted-up planets and asteroids. One group has even suggested that it's worth exploring the possibility of a huge alien structure, such as a swarm of solar collectors.
There's an experiment you may have done in high school: When you mix cornstarch with water—a concoction colloquially called oobleck—and give it a stir, it acts like a liquid. But scrape it quickly or hit it hard, and it stiffens up into a solid. If you set the right pace, you can even run on top of a pool of the stuff. This phenomenon is called shear force thickening, and scientists have been trying to understand how it happens for decades.
A century before Apollo astronauts walked on the Moon, science fiction told the public of a future with outposts on the Moon and orbiting high above the Earth. In the decades that followed, these earliest space station concepts evolved into orbital platforms that could launch manned missions to the Moon and Mars. After its inception, NASA picked up where visionaries left off, dabbling in space stations of varying layouts and capabilities before building the International Space Station that orbits the Earth today.
In an effort to generate more publicity for their soon-to-be-released, little-known independent film, the makers of Star Wars released a brand new clip from The Force Awakens. The action, which we've seen in bits and pieces in other trailers, shows 15 seconds of running and panic on a desert planet. Daisy Ridley's Rey and John Boyega's Finn, along with the mechanical BB-8, are chased by someone and looking for an escape route. They spy what Rey identifies as a “wuad-jumper,” and just after she's explained that she's a pilot and can fly it, the whole thing explodes: