June 14, 2012

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Cassini Detects Methane Lakes on Titan

Cassini Sees Lakes on Titan

Using its visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected methane lakes in the tropical region known as Shangri-La on Saturn’s moon Titan. Pasadena, California – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spied long-standing methane lakes, or puddles, in the “tropics” of Saturn’s moon Titan. One of the tropical lakes appears to be about half […]

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June 13, 2012

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HMP Maps the Healthy Human Microbiome

map of the healthy human microbiome

With microbes outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1, the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) Consortium looks at how these microorganisms coexist with their human hosts and explains in a series of scientific publications how and why microbial communities vary. Human beings are ecosystems on two legs, each of us carrying enough microbes to outnumber our […]

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June 13, 2012

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First Direct Observation of an Under-Ice Algal Bloom in the Arctic

biologists find massive algal blooms under Arctic sea ice

During a NASA-sponsored ICESCAPE expedition, scientists found a massive algal bloom under the Arctic sea ice. Once thought impossible, this marks the first direct observation of an under-ice bloom. Scientists also noted that the Algal cells were doubling more than once a day and that the appearance of under-ice blooms may signal shifts in the […]

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June 13, 2012

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Methane Levels Higher Than Previous Estimates in California

scientists develop new method for evaluating short-lived pollutants

By combining methane measurements from a tower with model predictions of expected methane signals, scientists were able to revise estimate the methane emissions from central California, finding that annually averaged methane emissions were 1.5 to 1.8 times greater than previous estimates. New research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that levels of […]

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June 13, 2012

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Study Challenges Prevailing Ideas about How Supermassive Black Holes Grow

how supermassive black holes grow in the centers of galaxies

A new study challenges prevailing ideas about how supermassive black holes grow in the centers of galaxies, finding that two supermassive black holes and their evolution are tied to their dark matter halos and that they did not grow in tandem with galactic bulges. Cambridge, Massachusetts – New evidence from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory challenges […]

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June 13, 2012

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Ultrafine Loops of Solar Material Scattered on the Sun’s Surface

Ultrafine Loops in the Sun's Corona

Using images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the New Solar Telescope to study the sun and the dynamics behind solar explosions, scientists discovered narrow loops of solar material scattered on the sun’s surface, which are 10 times narrower and at least 10 times cooler than the higher loops often seen by SDO. A key […]

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June 13, 2012

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Scientists Find No Evidence of Cosmic Textures in Space

no evidence of knots in the fabric of space known as cosmic textures

Scientists from the Imperial College London and the Perimeter Institute have completed their search for the existence of knots in the fabric of space using data from NASA’s WMAP satellite, finding no evidence of these cosmic textures. Theories of the primordial Universe predict the existence of knots in the fabric of space – known as […]

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June 13, 2012

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New Glucose Fuel Cell May Power Future Medical Implants

Implantable fuel cell built at MIT could power neural prosthetics

A team of engineers have developed a glucose fuel cell fabricated from silicon and consisting of a platinum catalyst that strips electrons from glucose, mimicking the activity of cellular enzymes that break down glucose to generate ATP and generating enough power for a neural implant. MIT engineers have developed a fuel cell that runs on […]

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June 13, 2012

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Textured Surface Maintains Efficiency and Reduces Thickness of Silicon Solar Cells

Textured surface may boost power output of silicon solar cells

By using a pattern of tiny inverted pyramids etched into the surface of silicon, engineers at MIT found a new technique for building silicon solar cells that can trap rays of light as effectively as conventional solid silicon and reduce the thickness of the silicon used by more than 90 percent. Highly purified silicon represents […]

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June 12, 2012

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Understanding How Reionization Moved Through the Universe

how the Universe emerged from its ‘dark ages' some 13 billion years ago

By examining nearby galaxies for signs of reionization, international researchers gained important insight about the Universe and how it emerged from the “dark ages.” An international team of astronomers have uncovered an important clue about how the Universe emerged from its ‘dark ages’ some 13 billion years ago. By looking at nearby galaxies, they can […]

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June 12, 2012

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Conscious Perception from a Global Network of Neurons

consciousness is not localised in a unique cortical area

New research from scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics supports the view that the content of consciousness is not localized in a unique cortical area but, rather, that a global network of neurons from different areas of the brain is responsible for it. Consciousness is a selective process that allows only a […]

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June 12, 2012

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LCLS Zaps Electrons Out of Atoms, Resulting in Chemical Analysis with Atomic Resolution

new method for chemical analysis by zapping the innermost electrons out of atoms

A new technique developed by an international research team uses X-ray laser pulses from SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source to zap the innermost electrons out of atoms, resulting in chemical analysis with atomic resolution. In experiments resembling an atomic-scale shooting gallery, researchers are pioneering a new method for chemical analysis by zapping the innermost electrons […]

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June 12, 2012

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Female Butterflies Prefer Flashier Mates

female butterflies can be taught to prefer mates with more spots on their wings

A new study from evolutionary biologists at Yale University examined the butterfly species Bicyclus anynana and their mating patterns, finding that female butterflies of the species learn to prefer males with four spots on their forewings over those with two spots. If female butterflies are programmed to identify males of their species by the patterns […]

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June 12, 2012

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Fermi Detects the Highest-Energy Light Ever Associated with an Eruption on the Sun

image from Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT)

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured dramatic views of the March 7 X5.4 solar flare in extreme ultraviolet light. The gold images show the sun at a wavelength of 171 Angstroms, which corresponds to a temperature of 1 million degrees F (600,000 C). Teal images (131 Angstroms) show features 18 times hotter. The blast triggers […]

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June 12, 2012

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Algorithm Enables Robots to Learn and Adapt to Help Complete Tasks

algorithm allows robots and humans to work side by side

A new algorithm created by MIT researchers enables a robot to quickly learn an individual’s preference for a certain task and adapt accordingly to help complete the task. The researchers believe this is a step forward in the process of creating robots that are able to work side by side with humans on common tasks. […]

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June 12, 2012

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How Chronic Inflammation of Organs Can Become Cancerous

comprehensive look at chemical and genetic changes that occur as inflammation progresses to cancer

A new study from scientists at MIT gives a comprehensive look at how chronic inflammation of organs, often caused by viral or bacterial infections, provokes tissues into becoming cancerous. The research may lead to a better understanding of chronic inflammation and intervention methods to protect against it. One of the biggest risk factors for liver, […]

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June 12, 2012

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Valery Rozov BASE Jumps from 21,000 feet off the Summit of Shivling in the Himalayas

valery-rozov-wingsuit-jump

While Valrey Rozov didn’t set a BASE jumping world record when he jumped off the 21,466-foot summit of Shivling, a Himalayan mountain in India, it’s still an impressive feat. Rozov is 47 years old and his BASE jumps include leaping into the active volcano Kamtschatka and from Ulvetanna Peak in the Antarctic. It took Rozov […]

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June 11, 2012

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SLIPS Prevents Ice from Sticking on Metal Surfaces

Researchers create ultra slippery anti-ice and anti-frost surfaces

A team of material science engineers from Harvard developed SLIPS (Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surfaces), a technology that can prevent ice sheets from developing on metal surfaces and sliding off effortlessly if they do develop. Cambridge, Massachusetts – A team of researchers from Harvard University have invented a way to keep any metal surface free […]

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