Astronomers have finally found the last of the missing universe. It’s been hiding since the mid-1990s, when researchers decided to inventory all the “ordinary” matter in the cosmos--stars and planets and gas, anything made out of atomic parts. (This isn’t “dark matter,” which remains a wholly separate enigma.)
This week, 23andMe shut down external apps’ access to its anonymized genomic data through its application programming interface. 23andMe was the first DNA testing company to open an API, back in 2012, and the idea at the time was to “allow authorized developers to build a broad range of new applications and tools for the 23andMe community.”
Sending humans back to the moon won't require a big Apollo-style budget boost, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. During the height of the Apollo program in the mid-1960s, NASA gobbled up about 4.5 percent of the federal budget. This massive influx of resources helped the space agency make good on President John F.
Evidence for Planet Nine continues to mount, but there may be a good reason why scientists have yet to find it - it may be hiding. In October 2017, NASA released a statement saying that Planet Nine may be 20 times further from the Sun than Neptune is, going so far as to say "it is now harder to imagine our solar system without a Planet Nine than with one."
After 19 months without a director, the Trump administration recently tapped meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier to lead the the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy. Perhaps surprisingly, given the administration's previous efforts to slash funding for government-backed research, Droegemeier is a strong supporter of increased federal science funding.
The Pentagon’s research arm is looking for teams to build an artificial intelligence tool that can automatically generate, test and refine its own scientific hypotheses. By essentially automating steps of the scientific process, the tool would let top decision-makers take discoveries from the lab and rapidly apply them to the real world, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
NASA hasn't sent a robot designed to identify traces of life on Mars since the Viking missions in the 1970s. But with the soonest possible human Mars mission still a decade and a half away, is there any hope that robots could pinpoint ancient Martian life before humans get there?
Future human exploration and habitation on the moon rely on the presence of water hiding out in shadowy craters on the lunar surface. Past missions have provided good evidence that there’s water ice in there, but now we have absolute confirmation that ice exists on the surface thanks to India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Technically, we had the evidence almost a decade ago and no one noticed until now.
The US community faces a daunting task. Each generation of facilities is getting more expensive and harder to build. Operational costs are mounting. Meanwhile, the research budgets of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA have remained more or less flat since the 1990s (see ‘Astronomical costs’). Hard decisions have been made to close old but still-productive telescopes, which has proved insufficient to pay for new ones. And these pressures will only get worse as more big projects come online.
John Holdren, Obama’s science adviser, called him “a very good pick.” Climate scientists such as Katherine Hayhoe and Judith Curry have expressed their approval. It’s rare we see Myron Ebell, who headed the EPA transition team, and Rush Holt, the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in emphatic agreement.