NASA is just over a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 rover, and all systems are go for the rover’s flying passenger. After completing its flight test early this year, the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is undergoing final preparation and could join the rover this summer. If it works as planned, the MHS will be the first flying machine on another planet.
An almost unlimited supply of electricity could be generated on the moon’s surface by huge arrays of solar cells and beamed to Earth by laser. Sunlight falling on a crater … could produce from 10,000 to 100,000 megawatts of power.
Many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics assumed they were instantaneous. A new experiment shows that they aren’t. By making a kind of high-speed movie of a quantum leap, the work reveals that the process is as gradual as the melting of a snowman in the sun. “If we can measure a quantum jump fast and efficiently enough,” said Michel Devoret of Yale University, “it is actually a continuous process.”
NASA unveiled an ambitious program Friday to commercialize low-Earth orbit, making way for visits by private-sector astronauts to the International Space Station as early as next year. It would also allow product development and even advertising aboard the space station, along with use of a station docking port for privately financed research and development modules.
All of humanity save for a handful of astronauts have the advantage of living inside the protective bubble of Earth’s magnetic field. As space agencies and private companies look toward a future of people living on the moon and Mars, we have to contend with an unpleasant reality: the radiation out there is lethal. Any attempt to send humans to Mars right now would undoubtedly result in severe health problems, but scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are studying the issue in hopes of making space safe for humanity.
A congressional proposal that would overturn a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that barred the patenting of human genes and ease other restrictions on patenting software and biomedical inventions is drawing fierce criticism from some scientific societies and patient advocates.
Under contracts valued at $253.5 million, NASA is funding three fast-track Moon landers in a programme intended to kick-start private-sector exploration and technology development, key elements in the space agency’s drive to return astronauts to the Moon’s surface in 2024.
Ten years ago, such genetic changes would have been considered science fiction - or so far off into the future of breeding as to be almost unimaginable. But gene editing, particularly with a tool called Crispr-Cas9, has made it much easier and more efficient to tinker with the genomes of plants and animals. The first Crispr-edited products will begin reaching the market this year, and researchers believe it’s only a matter of time before US grocery shelves could be filled with gene-edited produce, grains and meat.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been studying the red planet since 2006, making amazing discoveries the whole time. As a testament to how much there still is to learn about Mars, the MRO just spotted signs of a huge volume of water ice on the planet. Scientists believe this may be the remains of Mars’ long-lost ice caps.
At the center of a galaxy more than 55 million light-years away, there's a supermassive black hole with the mass of several billion suns. And now, for the first time ever, we can see it. Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, speaks with TED's Chris Anderson about the iconic, first-ever image of a black hole -- and the epic, worldwide effort involved in capturing it.