LightSail 2 took this picture of itself, with Earth in the background, while deploying its sail on July 23. (Credit: The Planetary Society)
The Planetary Society, a non-profit organization focused on space exploration, has successfully transferred their LightSail 2 spacecraft from one orbit to another using only the power of sunlight, a first. The recent success not only proves the effectiveness of solar sailing technology, but also opens up a new, more cost-effective way to propel small sp ...read more
The placenta has no native microbes, scientists say. (Credit: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock)
The placenta is a unique organ. The temporary body part forms in the uterus during pregnancy and supplies the developing baby with nutrients and oxygen while also carrying away waste products. The organ is also a common source of pregnancy complications.
Recently scientists have wondered whether microbes might be to blame. Some research has suggested that, like the gut, a host of bacteria coloni ...read more
A river channel filled with cliff swallow holes carved into the Desert Spring Tuff. Image by Erik Klemetti
Earlier this month, I spent a little over a week exploring one of the biggest mysteries in then Cascade Range. These volcanoes span from Northern California into British Columbia and host such well-known peaks as Mount St. Helens, Hood and Shasta. Yet, some of the largest eruptions over the past million years in the Cascades may have come from volcanoes that are totally hidden from view ...read more
(Credit: Jakub Grygier/Shutterstock)
It’s possible to choose between being the captain or the co-pilot of your dreams. Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon that sees people taking control of the narrative of their dreams, often with thrilling results. Always wanted to fly? You can lift right off. Hungry for a giant cheeseburger? Dive right in.
Practitioners say that the technique requires discipline and patience to master. But there are also chemical shortcuts: supplements that seem to bri ...read more
This image of the Crab Nebula in x-rays shows the pulsar clearly spinning at the nebula's center. (Credit: NASA/CXC/ASU/J. Hester et al.)
Astronomers using the Tibet AS-gamma Experiment have discovered the highest-energy light ever measured from an astrophysical source. Photons streaming from the Crab Nebula were recently measured at energies well over 100 tera-electronvolts (TeV). That's a trillion electron volts, or some 10 times the maximum energy that the Large Hadron Collider sees when ...read more
Military missions can expose service members to horrible and life-threatening situations. As a result, 20 to 30 percent of combat veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – ongoing feelings of guilt, anger, and shame that surface as outbursts, reckless behavior and intense flashbacks. But despite PTSD's prevalence among vets and other survivors of traumatic experiences, scientists know little about the condition’s biological roots ...read more
The internet could one day reach every corner of the Earth courtesy of satellite constellations. (Credit: sdecoret/Shutterstock)
For decades, the basic principles governing how the Internet works have remained pretty much unchanged. But with massive growth on the horizon — thanks to everything from AI to blockchain, and from the 5G rollout to the ubiquitous Internet of Things — the amount of data we produce could eventually outpace physical storage capacity.
The solution? Look ...read more
Reports of screen time's harms may have been greatly exaggerated. (Credit: aslysun/Shutterstock)
Today, our phones can seem less like friends and more like the other half of a toxic relationship. We rely on them for our daily activities, even as concerns over the effects of screen time on well-being mount. The phobia has even prompted the development of a new consulting gig: screen-free parenting coaches. But now researchers argue the terror surrounding screens lacks evidence and they sa ...read more
While I was on a whale-watching trip out of Akureyri, Iceland in late June, a humpback whale approached our boat and began vigorously slapping its tail and pectoral fins on the water. The humpback was breathtakingly close to us, and the dramatic behavior lasted for more than five minutes.
Check it out in the video I shot above. (Please accept my apologies for the distracting wind noise — I was not equipped at the time with an external mic and windscreen ...read more
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