science

July 04, 2019

Tom Kalil served in the White Houses for two presidents (Obama and Clinton), helping to design and launch national science and technology initiatives in areas such as nanotechnology, the BRAIN initiative, data science, STEM education, and the federal use of incentive prizes. He spoke with Spotlight about the role of science and technology in addressing societal challenges such as promoting opportunity and diminishing income inequality.

June 30, 2019

Most of what we know about Saturn’s moon Titan comes from the Cassini probe, which studied it repeatedly during its 13-year mission orbiting Saturn. Cassini is gone, but Titan is going to get another robotic visitor in the coming years. NASA has given the green light to the Dragonfly mission, a project to send a multi-rotor flying vehicle to the surface of Titan. This mission is on track to make history in more ways than one.

June 25, 2019

The poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, released Thursday, one month before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, lists asteroid and comet monitoring as the No. 1 desired objective for the U.S. space program. About two-thirds of Americans call that very or extremely important, and about a combined 9 in 10 say it's at least moderately important.

June 24, 2019

Mars is home to dust storms, several robots, and as of today, a new crater. Images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) show a fresh impact crater on the surface. Conditions on Mars may eventually sweep the details away, but the reliable probe has spotted the crater while it’s still sharp.

June 24, 2019

NASA's Curiosity Rover has detected the highest ever levels of methane in the course of its mission on Mars, an exciting discovery because the gas could point to the existence of microbial life. But the methane could also be produced as a result of interactions between rocks and water.

June 24, 2019

American businesses will help NASA land astronauts on the Moon in five years and establish a sustainable presence there, as part of the agency's larger Moon to Mars exploration approach. NASA has selected 363 proposals from small businesses and research institutions across 41 states to help advance the types of capabilities needed for those future missions, as well as to support the agency in other areas.

June 20, 2019

A rise in US visa denials for Chinese academics and intensified scrutiny of alleged links to Beijing over fears of potential espionage are having a chilling effect on long-standing research collaboration, researchers say. American and Chinese scientists have co-authored thousands of papers each year, far outpacing the output from scientific collaborations between any other two nations, according to a 2018 survey by academic database Nature Index.

June 18, 2019

Unfortunately, “bias” can mean a great many things, none of which are quite the same. Sometimes, people use simply to refer to two groups that are unequal. Sometimes it means prejudice. Sometimes, it means discrimination. How these ideas, or claims, are related yet different is beyond the scope of this essay, which, instead, deals only with gender bias.

June 18, 2019

A new study suggests that complex alien life -- the sort of life we could one day meet and potentially communicate with -- might be present on far fewer worlds than previously thought, due to the toxic presence of so much CO2 on certain planets that are otherwise within the Habitable Zone (HZ) of their respective stars.

June 18, 2019

The dossier on cancer researcher Xifeng Wu was thick with intrigue, if hardly the stuff of a spy thriller. It contained findings that she’d improperly shared confidential information and accepted a half-dozen advisory roles at medical institutions in China. She might have weathered those allegations, but for a larger aspersion that was far more problematic: She was branded an oncological double agent.

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