Science & technology

NASA finds first signs of water on Mars

Researchers have long been aware of the existence of ice on Mars, but the planet’s climate was thought to be too rough for the existence of liquid water. The discovery, announced on Monday and published in the journal Nature Geosciences, could have far-reaching implications for humanity’s exploration of Mars and could point toward the possibility that the planet, at some point, was home to life.

LSST lays first stone

Equipped with a 3-billion pixel digital camera (the world's largest digital camera), LSST will observe objects as they change or move, providing insight into short-lived transient events such as astronomical explosions and the orbital paths of potentially hazardous asteroids. LSST will take more than 800 panoramic images of the sky each night, allowing for detailed maps of the Milky Way and of our own solar system and charting billions of remote galaxies.

NASA releases first color image of Pluto and its moon Charon

The portrait released Tuesday was taken by the piano-sized probe's Ralph color imager on April 9, from a distance of about 71 million miles (115 million kilometers). "Starting in May, Pluto will get the highest-resolution images ever, and it's going to get better every day from there," said Cathy Olkin, a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute who serves as deputy project scientist for the mission.

NASA Celebrates Earth Day with Public Events, Online Activities

NASA will celebrate the 45th annual Earth Day April 17-22 with a variety of live and online activities to engage the public in the agency’s mission to better understand and protect our home planet. NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. The agency develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records, shares this unique knowledge, and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

Next-generation supercomputer will have 180 petaflop/s peak performance

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has invested $200 million to deliver a next-generation supercomputer, known as Aurora, with a peak performance of 180 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second). Scheduled for completion in 2018, Aurora will be based on a next-generation Cray supercomputer, code-named “Shasta,” and will use Intel’s HPC scalable system framework. The  supercomputer will be open to all scientific users.

Google Innovation Goes Beyond Search to Robotics, Wearables, Cars and More

Google plans to be a major player in these wearable fields and has been pioneering some incredibly innovative technologies, including one fitness tracking service that could possibly be used for cancer detection. Look around a little further and it’s amazing to consider the incredible scope of our daily lives in which Google plans to have a say. With our focus this year on the great speed of innovation involving cars that employ autonomous driving technology, Google is a name that keeps coming up on our radar.

Pentagon kick-starts program to maintain superiority of US technology

When it comes to the Pentagon’s technology-buying strategy, the Defense Department wants to focus more on research and development that will spur innovation. Its updated acquisition plan will also streamline how those purchases are made. The DoD ordered the implementation of the latest update to its acquisitions program, called ‘Better Buying Power 3.0’, on Thursday afternoon.

US military worries about losing hi-tech edge

The US military is in danger of losing its technological advantage unless it invests in research and finds ways to build innovative weapons much faster, top officials said Thursday. The Pentagon unveiled an initiative to streamline its bureaucracy and tap into technological breakthroughs in the private sector amid growing anxiety that American forces' longtime hi-tech edge is slipping away.

Spiderlike Robots Could Build Giant Space Structures

Humanity could soon be building huge structures in space one piece at a time, the way spiders spin their webs here on Earth. A company called Tethers Unlimited is developing an in-space manufacturing system called "SpiderFab," which would use arachnidlike robots to put together large objects in orbit or beyond. SpiderFab could help build big radio antennas, spacecraft booms and solar arrays in the next decade or so, said Rob Hoyt, CEO and chief scientist of Tethers Unlimited.

Signs of alien life will be found by 2025, NASA's chief scientist predicts

Humanity is on the verge of discovering alien life, high-ranking NASA scientists say. "I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said Tuesday (April 7) during a panel discussion that focused on the space agency's efforts to search for habitable worlds and alien life.

Has the U.S. lost technological supremacy?

Technology in general and digital technology specifically has impacted every aspect of our daily lives. Our dependency on it will only grow as we move toward 2020. Let's face it: Our nation's economic well-being and national security are substantially dependent upon digital technology. That's what makes the following figures so troubling.

Miniaturized camera chip provides superfine depth resolution for 3D printing

Imagine you need to have a precise copy of an object. You take a snapshot with your smartphone, send it to your 3D printer, and within minutes you have a replica accurate to within microns of the remote original object. That’s what a tiny new high-resolution 3D imager developed at Caltech called a “nanophotonic coherent imager” (NCI) could achieve in the future.

Microsoft at 40, the iPad at 5 and the always-changing nature of tech

At Microsoft, it's certainly better for the company to focus on the future, rather than the past. That's partially because the last decade has been difficult for the company. In fact, the last five years have been particularly challenging, with Microsoft being passed in market cap and mindshare by the likes of Apple and Google.

US scientists celebrate the restart of the Large Hadron Collider

With the collider back in action, the more than 1,700 U.S. scientists who work on LHC experiments are prepared to join thousands of their international colleagues to study the highest-energy particle collisions ever achieved in the laboratory. In addition to the scientists pushing toward new discoveries on the four main experiments, the U.S. provides a significant portion of the computing and data analysis – roughly 23 percent for ATLAS and 33 percent for CMS.

Workshop Sees Humans In Mars Orbit By 2033 At Current Funding

Briefing reporters on the outcome of a by-invitation workshop of scientists, engineers and spaceflight managers organized by The Planetary Society, workshop co-chairs Scott Hubbard and John Logsdon said a fast start now could put humans into a yearlong stay in Mars orbit by 2033, and down on the surface by 2039.

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