This Pride, Be Inspired by Sally Ride's Legacy

Seen on board the space shuttle Challenger, astronaut Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space on June 18, 1983. Sally Ride, the United States' first woman in space, who flew 35 years today (June 18), in 1983, has inspired countless people, as she lived a life committed to science, education and inclusion. And while she only "came out" publicly as a member of the LGBTQ community in her obituary, written by Tam O'Shaughnessy, Ride's surviving partner of 27 years, Ride is still the first

Why You Need to Go to a Rocket Launch This Summer

It turns out you can just go to a rocket launch — and, after attending my first, I can say with certainty that everyone should watch a rocket launch at least once in their life. On Monday (May 21), Orbital ATK's Antares rocket launched a Cygnus spacecraft full of supplies and scientific equipment to the International Space Station from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This mission, OA-9, which followed the November launch of OA-8, sent up clothi

Here's What Sophia, the First Robot Citizen, Thinks About Gender and Consciousness

In a video that's as unsettling as it is awe-inspiring, Sophia — the world's first robot citizen — breaks down everything from gender to ethical robot design. Sophia spoke last month at a festival of the future called Brain Bar in Budapest, Hungary. Since Sophia was activated in April 2015, she has appeared publicly to speak about women's rights issues, her own citizenship and other topics. The android made big news in October 2017, when she was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia at the tech s

Brrr! Earth-Like Alien Planets Could Experience 'Snowball States'

A NASA artist visualized what Earth would look like if it entered the "snowball state" predicted by new research from the University of Washington. Earth-like planets with severe tilts and orbits could enter abrupt "snowball states," in which entire oceans freeze and surface life cannot survive, according to new research. Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have found a new reason why, just because a planet is located in a "habitable zone" — meaning it's close enough to its host s

What will future space robots look like?

The Star Wars saga is peppered with adorable space robots. NASA engineer W. Kris Verdeyen thinks that future space bots will have the capabilities of droids like BB-8, with humanoid frames like C-3PO. Astronauts need a lot of help from robots. Whether it’s the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) or future recruits on missions exploring the depths of the Solar System, robots help us to complete tasks beyond our human capabilities. But what type of robots are best suited for these c

Hazy experiments could teach us about alien life

Haze has prevented scientists from exploring exoplanets for a long time. To better understand exoplanet atmosphere, scientists conducted the first-ever lab experiment on haze formation in a simulated environment. We know of many planets orbiting outside the solar system that, according to scientists, could potentially hold the ingredients responsible for life. However, they are often so far away we can’t glean much information from them. One way to bypass the problem is to simulate the atmosphe

It's really hard to give AI "common sense"

In humans, common sense is relatively easy to identify, albeit a bit difficult to define. Get in line at the end of it? That’s common sense. Grab the red-hot end of a metal poker that was in the fire moments before? Not so much. How do we teach something as nebulous as common sense to artificial intelligence (AI)? Many researchers have tried to do so and failed. But that might soon change. Now, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is joining their ranks. Allen is investing an additional $125 milli

Hacking a Cow's Gut Bacteria Could Make More Meat, Less Pollution

Could changing cows' gut microbes alter how much methane they produce, or how large they get? Scottish researchers are working to find out. Humans are not unique for our often-lauded gut microbes; different species host a dizzying variety of microscopic organisms that are an integral part of digestion. In cows, gut bacteria are critical to their ability to process a high-fiber diet — yet these same bacteria also produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. However, scientists now think that it’s p

The European Space Agency's new ion thruster "breathes" air

Researchers just test-fired a new type of ion thruster that “breathes” air, and one day, it could help humanity reach Mars and beyond. Better propulsion systems are key to advancing our space capabilities, and one of the most promising kinds is ion propulsion. An ion thruster “ionizes” a propellant, most commonly xenon, by either adding electrons to it or taking electrons away. This creates thrust that can position a satellite or propel spacecraft, for example. Ion thrusters are much cleaner,

Graphene Could be the Superconductor Scientists Always Dreamed of

Graphene seems to have endlessly remarkable abilities. In two new papers, researchers found that by sandwiching two layers of graphene and twisting them, the material becomes a superconductor. In a potentially groundbreaking new study, scientists have discovered how to make a graphene superconductor in the material’s natural state. These researchers found that two graphene layers on top of one another can conduct electrons with zero resistance if they are twisted at a “magic angle.” Researcher

We Now Know What Lies Beneath Jupiter's Clouds

Scientists have long wondered what lies beneath Jupiter's surface. Now, using data from NASA's Juno mission, four research teams have published studies revealing incredible new information about the gas giant. Scientists know surprisingly little about the deep interiors of gas giants, such as Saturn and Jupiter, but that’s changing. In four new studies, separately published in Nature, scientists provide incredible insights into what life is like below Jupiter’s clouds. Their observations and an

Why are British Beaches Littered with Dying Marine Life? 3 Things you Need to Know.

After last week's "Beast from the East" storm, marine life has been washing up dead or dying all along the UK's East Coast. Many are pointing to low tides that corresponded with the extreme weather as a potential cause. “There are places where you are ankle-deep, or calf-deep, in animals.” Those words, said by Bex Lynam of the marine conservation charity Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to BuzzFeed News, describe an apocalyptic-looking scenario currently found in the United Kingdom. All across the UK’s
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