SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy rocket with two flight-proven booster cores

SpaceX has succeeded in launching its third mission with the Falcon Heavy high-capacity rocket it first launched successfully last year. The rocket’s STP-2 mission took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida towards the end of a four-hour launch window that opened at 11:30 PM EDT on Monday, with liftoff taking place at 2:30 AM […]

Read more

This robot crawls along wind turbine blades looking for invisible flaws

Wind turbines are a great source of clean power, but their apparent simplicity — just a big thing that spins — belie complex systems that wear down like any other, and can fail with disastrous consequences. Sandia National Labs researchers have created a robot that can inspect the enormous blades of turbines autonomously, helping keep our green power infrastructure in good kit.

Read more

Scientists discover a new way to provide plants the nutrients they need to thrive

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered a new method for delivering key nutrients to plant roots – without having to ensure they’re present in the soil where the plants are growing. The landmark study greatly increases the efficiency of surface delivery of nutrients and pesticides to plants. Currently, when crops are sprayed with stuff […]

Read more

Watch SpaceX’s spectacular first Falcon Heavy night launch live

SpaceX is going to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket for only the third time ever tonight, should all go according to the current mission plan. The launch, set to take place during a four-hour launch window that opens at 11:30 PM EDT (8:30 PM PDT) tonight, will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at Florida’s […]

Read more

NASA’s Curiosity rover finds levels of gas on Mars that could suggest possibility of life

NASA’s Curiosity Rover has detected high levels of methane output during its mission on the Martian surface, the New York Times reports. The discovery, found during a measurement taking on Wednesday by the robot and observed by NASA researchers, could indicate that microbial lifeforms may have taken up residence underground on Mars. Methane is often […]

Read more

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing on sunlight

Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday’s Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 may be the most interesting. If all goes well, a week from launch it will be moving through space — slowly, but surely — on nothing more than the force exerted on it by sunlight.

Read more

Space startup Wyvern wants to make data about Earth’s health much more accessible

The private space industry is seeing a revolution driven by cube satellites, which are affordable, lightweight satellites that are much easier than traditional satellites to design, build and launch. It’s paving the way for new businesses like Wyvern, an Alberta-based startup that provides a very specific service that wouldn’t even have been possible to offer […]

Read more

One of NASA’s robotic astronaut helpers just flew on its own in space for the first time

NASA’s very own free-floating Companion Cube equivalent took its own first tentative ‘steps’ in space today, demonstrating its ability to rotate on its own in zero gravity inside the International Space Station. The robot, called ‘Bumble’ and one of a series of Astrobee robots that NASA developed to work along with astronauts on the ISS, is […]

Read more

Tripping grad students over and over for science (and better prosthetic limbs)

Prosthetic limbs are getting better, but not as quickly as you’d think. They’re not as smart as our real limbs, which (directed by the brain) do things like automatically stretch out to catch ourselves when we fall. This particular “stumble reflex” was the subject of an interesting study at Vanderbilt that required its subjects to fall down… a lot.

Read more

Researchers create first mind-controlled robot arm that works well without surgery

Carnegie Mellon researchers working with peers from the University of Minnesota have made a big breakthrough in brain-computer interface (BCI) and robotic technology: They’ve developed a way for a person to to control a robot arm with their minds – with no surgery or invasive procedures required to make it possible. The mind-controlled robot in […]

Read more