For the first time since the Viking missions to Mars in the 1970s, NASA is making the search for evidence of life on another world the primary science goal of a space mission. The target world is Jupiter’s moon Europa, considered possibly habitable because of its subsurface ocean.
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is about to go surfing — at the Red Planet.
Through 13 months of delicate maneuvers, the spacecraft will carefully skim above Mars’ atmosphere to refine its orbit. Once that’s finished in 2018, TGO will be all set to do science at Mars — and also ready to communicate with robots on the surface, such as the upcoming ExoMars rover.
Despite humanity’s reliance on the sun to survive, not much is known about the blazing star at the center of the universe. In fact, it’s one of the least understood objects in the solar system. NASA announced a plan to change that, not just to better understand the sun, but to prevent possibly deadly threats from solar weather.
Over the past decades, scientists have wrestled with a problem involving the Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang Theory suggests that there should be three times as much lithium as we can observe. Why is there such a discrepancy between prediction and observation?
To get into that problem, let’s back up a bit.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.
In a few million years, Mars’s moon Phobos will be shredded into pieces that will settle into a flat ring like Saturn’s. But bits of Mars’s two moons may already be circling the Red Planet, some of it in the form of nascent rings.
Astronomers have long thought it was possible for Mars to be encircled by rings made of bits of rock kicked up from its moons Phobos and Deimos, but no one had ever observed them.
Researcher Dr. Mary Bourke from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley in Mars’ Lucaya Crater that appears to have held water in the not-too-distant past, making it a prime target to search for past life forms on the Red Planet. Signs of water past and present pop up everywhere on Mars from now-dry, wriggly riverbeds snaking across arid plains to water ice exposed at the poles during the Martian summer.
The Earth’s core consists mostly of a huge ball of liquid metal lying at 3000 km beneath its surface, surrounded by a mantle of hot rock. Notably, at such great depths, both the core and mantle are subject to extremely high pressures and temperatures.
An “atmospheric river” is a colorful term for a sinuous plume of moisture that travels up from the tropics — a single plume can carry more water than the Mississippi River at its mouth. But new research shows that atmospheric rivers are also among the most damaging weather systems around.
Each year, 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances, according to a new study. The analysis identified 6,648 spills reported across Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania during a 10-year period.
Related: These Are the Defiant “Water Protectors” of Standing Rock
As 3D printing continues to transform manufacturing, doctors are hoping it could also help the 30 million people worldwide in need of artificial limbs and braces
When it comes to growing intestines, the first inch is the hardest—especially in a petri dish. Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have met that benchmark: they recently reported in Nature Medicine that they had grown a piece of gut—nerves, muscles and all—from a single line of human stem cells. In the future such tissue could be used for studying disease and more.
Microscopic machines that swim through the bloodstream to deliver drugs or perform minor surgeries have been a dream of scientists for decades. In the past 15 years researchers have created micro-engine variants that rely on chemical reactions, magnetism or vibration for thrust—but they often motor around erratically. The main challenge is guiding them to where they are needed
Related: Tiny magnetic implant offers new drug delivery method
New details of the aging process have been uncovered by a research team. They discovered an altered balance between certain signaling molecules in the smooth muscle cells of blood vessels and the heart. The team also discovered a new class of drugs that combats an important part of the aging process.
Robotic movement sensing systems in the homes of elderly people can predict with a high level of accuracy when a person is at high risk of having a fall and send warnings to support workers or relatives, say researchers
Artificial intelligence has a new job: setting a good example for your kids. It seems that children’s behaviour can be influenced by the personality of a robot companion – playing with an enthusiastic or attentive robot, for instance, made them engage more and work harder.
Earlier this month, a company named Agility Robotics unveiled its first ever robot: a bipedal creation named Cassie that looks like a headless, wingless ostrich. Cassie has reverse knees, motor-powered ankles, and can walk over different sorts of terrain at a decent clip.
Related: Are Cyborgs In Our Future? ‘Homo Deus’ Author Thinks So