Tag Archives: Science News

SDO Celebrates Five Years Starring at the Sun…

The Solar Dynamics Observatory celebrated its 5th birthday on February 11 and NASA has put together two spectacular videos to celebrate the occasion.

While spending 5 years starring at the Sun may not be everyone’s idea of fun SDO has provided us with an unprecedented view of the star at the heart of our solar system. SDO has the best seat in the house when it comes to capturing the amazing and captivating images that help us to expand our understanding of our solar system.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are the stunning videos captured during SDO’s first five years, videos of our living sun in action. Sit back, relax and prepare to be amazed by the stunning solar show.

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Hubble’s Amazing New Images, the Andromeda Gigapixel and the Pillars of Life Revisited…

Hubble is our eye in the skies orbiting high above the distortions of our blue atmosphere. With Hubble’s 25th birthday fast approaching (April 2015) NASA and ESA have started the celebrations early with the release of two very special images, images that are dazzling the world.

The first image presents a new view of one of Hubble’s most famous images, the Eagle Nebula.  While the second is an incredibly detailed gigapixel image of the Andromeda Galaxy. Both images capture the vastness of space and spectacular nature of our universe.

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The Skylon Hypersonic Space Plane, the Real Next Generation Shuttle…

The journey to space is still to this day the most difficult journey any person can take; breaking the surly bonds of Earth’s gravity, releasing ourselves from its grip is no small feat.

While the world looks on in wonder at NASA’s Orion launch system it is in fact at least two steps backwards from the space shuttle. The technology used by Orion to achieve the incredible journey to space is based on the work of Erik Von Braun and other geniuses from the 30’s. Sure the materials we use to make rockets have advanced and the technology has become far more reliable but it is still a technology that was born in the 30’s and represents zero advancement.

For the next generation launch vehicle you must look elsewhere. Look towards the end of a runway to the Skylon space plane, the real next generation space shuttle.

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The Age of Hubble, a Cosmic Journey…

Hubble and other space borne satellites are our eyes in the sky and have been peering into the depths of space for nearly a quarter of a century. The sights they have seen with our eyes is nothing short of spectacular.

These instruments of learning that are perched at the very edge of space with a view unlike any here on Earth are helping us to unravel the mysteries of the Cosmos and reminding us just how much there is left to discover, how very little we know.

YouTube channel SpaceRip have scoured the archives of video captured by these high tech telescopes and produced the stunning short film ‘The Age of Hubble 4k Rough Cut’. In one short video SpaceRip have captured the heart of the original 1980’s ‘Cosmos: A Personal Voyage’ series by Carl Sagan. Relieving for just a moment the disappointment that was the remake of Cosmos by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Seth McFarlaine, a show that had less wonder and amazement than a conference on accounting principles.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is a short journey into the wonders of space, a video that reminds us just how small the world we live in is and how many mysteries are left to discover. Sit back relax and get the popcorn ready for this interstellar journey.

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MIT’s Online Education Revolution MITx…

In the world of Science and Technology three little letters on your resume can make all the difference, especially if those three letters are MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT – is one of the worlds leading education institutions that is also a powerhouse for research and development. Not only are MIT’s course subjects leading edge but the way courses are being delivered is going through an online revolutionary.

MIT’s latest education initiative, MITx isn’t just a platform to make their courses available online, they’ve been doing that for 10 years through the OpenCourseWare – OCW – program that has served over 2,100 courses to more than 100 million people world-wide. Instead MITx is a complete open source education platform. Other education institutions – public or private – are free to join and integrate MITx into their own education platform.

MIT has long believed that anyone in the world with the motivation and ability to engage MIT coursework should have the opportunity to attain the best MIT-based educational experience that Internet technology enables. OpenCourseWare’s great success signals high demand for MIT’s course content and propels us to advance beyond making content available. MIT now aspires to develop new approaches to online teaching.” said MIT President Susan Hockfield

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Australia’s Evolving Hybrid Shark…

Marine biologists have for the first time observed a potential new mechanism of evolution. While cataloging sharks it was discovered that Australian Black Tipped sharks are adapting to the changing environment off the Australian East Coast through interbreeding with it’s cousin, the common Black Tipped shark. It is believed that if the changes are successful this will produce a stronger species, unlike all of Hollywood’s versions of man building a super shark nature is in charge here, and unfortunately she hasn’t integrated lasers just yet.

DNA tests have shown the hybridized version to be a mix of the Australian Black Tipped shark and the common Black Tipped shark found in other parts of the world, two distinct species of shark. While the Australian Black Tip is a tropical water shark the hybrid version has adopted its overseas cousins ability to travel into cooler waters. This will allow the new Black Tip to travel further south expanding its hunting territories and increasing the sharks chances of survival. This is evolution in action.

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Made In Space: The Industrial Revolution in Space…

The industrial revolution has changed every aspect of life in the last 200 years, now it is moving on to the final frontier, Space. Made In Space – MIS -, is a recent entrant into the race to manufacture in space and they have recently completed their first series of zero-gravity manufacturing tests. With more than a billion dollars of parts flown into space every year MIS hopes to manufacture up to 30% of those parts in space, directly where they are needed, when they are needed. More than just a good idea this is the start of the industrial revolution of space.

3D printing and in-space manufacturing will dramatically change the way we look at space exploration, commercialization, and mission design today.” said Aaron Kemmer, CEO and Co-Founder of Made In Space. “The possibilities range from building on-demand parts for human missions to building large space habitats that are optimized for space.”

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World First: Supercomputer H1N1 Flu Virus Simulated…

Our understanding of the universe is expanding in all directions, expanding outwards as we see more and more of the cosmos and inwardly as we learn more about the nano world. In the nano world the tools for capturing the action shots are improving but there are still a number of destinations we are unable to explore. Organic organisms – for example, influenza virus – are too delicate for the standard tools of nano exploration. Powerful x-rays and laser illumination used in modern microscopes simply disintegrate such delicacies. In these situations scientists have been turning to simulations – computer models – for answers. Until now, studying viruses has been challenging in laboratories, this new technology not only allows for greater offline research, it belies the complexity associated with simulating billions of particles in the correct conditions to create such simulations

Dr. Ying Ren along with a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Process Engineering have also been searching for answers using simulators, in the process they have developed the Computational Microscope, a breakthrough in simulation technology.

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Borg Satellites of DARPA: The Phoenix Program…

Satellites envelop our world like a web, another kind of world wide web. Proving to be indispensable for communications, scientific exploration and avoiding getting lost when shopping, they have become our eyes and ears in the sky, an essential part of everyday life.

DARPA, America’s greatest research and development organizations has turned it’s attention to space junk and satellites. With such previous contributions to society such as the Internet and GPS satellites DARPA isn’t the sort of company you ignore. Sure they may have their odd flight of fancy, the flying Humvee idea turned a lot of heads, turned heads with curious looks wanting to ask flying what now? Project Phoenix aims to create a new class of satellite, the Borg Satellite.

The Borg or Tender – DARPA’s designation – space robot will be able to disassemble and maintain other satellites. Eventually DARPA hopes the Tender’s will be able build working satellites from various spare parts floating around in GEO – geostationary – orbit. Could the DARPA Borg satellites begin eating other satellites and produce kill-bots to take over the world, possibly but there are a lot of technological hurdles to overcome yet.

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World’s Largest Terrestrial Radio Telescope, ALMA Opens It’s Eyes…

The human senses are a marvel of natural design but they are limited by their physical qualities. Perfectly adapted to life on the surface of the planet Earth, not so great if you want to listen to faint stars on the other side of the universe.

Luckily enough one of humanities greatest survival techniques is making use of other sensory systems. Whether it be listening for the bark of a guard dog to pointing the largest telescope in the world at just the right bit of the sky humanity has always made use of tools to extend our senses.

The latest addition to our extra sensory abilities is the Worlds Largest Millimeter / Sub-Millimeter Radio Telescope in Chile, The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub millimeter Array – ALMA – sits upon the high planes of the Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile. At an altitude of 5000 meters.in the middle of an isolated plateau the ALMA telescope has one of the clearest sky to look through. The array itself consists of 66 individual radio telescopes networked together, with their combined power being pointed at a single point they are able to produce the highest resolution images possible of the furthest reaches of our universe. Helping us look at the coldest darkest parts of the Universe with new clarity. ALMA joins other great names such as Hubble and SDO in our list of most valuable scientific instruments, or was that most popular scientific instruments.

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