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News on the most recent advances in science

Staying updated with the most recent advances in science has never been easier. ThePhysicist gathers news about the most recent advances in the world of scientific research and analyses them regularly.


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Earth's Atmospheric Glow
This high exposure photograph revealed Earth's atmospheric glow against the backdrop of a starry sky in this image taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 21, 2024. At the time, the orbital lab was 258 miles above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Papua New Guinea. The Nauka science module and Prichal docking module are visible at left.
A New Home for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Prototype
The aerial prototype of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Chantilly, Va. The prototype, which was the first to demonstrate it was possible to fly in a simulated Mars environment at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was donated to the museum on Friday.
Day of Remembrance
From left to right, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, and Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Israel Eliav Benjamin, place wreaths at the Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial during a ceremony that was part of NASA's Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The wreaths were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration.
Celebrating NASA's Spirit and Opportunity Rovers’ Mars Landings
On the 20th anniversary of the landing of Spirit and Opportunity, celebrate NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Project with this two-sided poster that lists some of the pioneering explorers’ accomplishments on the Red Planet.
Axiom Mission 3 Launches to the International Space Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft for Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) to the International Space Station lifts off at 4:49 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. Ax-3 is the third all private astronaut mission to the space station, sending crew members Commander Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Walter Villadei, and Mission Specialists Marcus Wandt and Alper Gezeravci into orbit. The crew will spend about two weeks conducting microgravity research, educational outreach, and commercial activities aboard the space station.
NASA Interns at Johnson’s Rock Yard
A NASA intern uses an augmented reality headset to test out heads-up display technology being developed for future Artemis missions. This technology was created as part of the NASA Spacesuit User Interface Technologies for Students, or SUITS, design challenge in which college students from across the country help design user interface solutions for future spaceflight needs.
NASA’S OSIRIS-REx Curation Team Reveals Remaining Asteroid Sample
A top-down view of the OSIRIS-REx Touch-and-Go-Sample-Acquisition-Mechanism (TAGSAM) head with the lid removed, revealing the remainder of the asteroid sample inside. Erika Blumenfeld, creative lead for the Advanced Imaging and Visualization of Astromaterials (AIVA) and Joe Aebersold, project management lead, captured this picture using manual high-resolution precision photography and a semi-automated focus stacking procedure. The result is an image that can be zoomed in on to show extreme detail of the sample. The remaining sample material includes dust and rocks up to about .4 in (one cm) in size.
Hubble Captures a Monster Merger
This Hubble Picture of the Week features Arp 122, a peculiar galaxy that in fact comprises two galaxies — NGC 6040, the tilted, warped spiral galaxy and LEDA 59642, the round, face-on spiral — that are in the midst of a collision.
An Aurora in Another Light
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensor on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite captured this image of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, over western Canada on November 5, 2023.
NASA’s X-59 Quiet Supersonic Research Aircraft Unveiled
NASA and Lockheed Martin publicly unveil the X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft at a ceremony in Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. The X-59 is the centerpiece of NASA’s Quesst mission, which seeks to solve one of the major barriers to supersonic flight over land, currently banned in the United States, by making sonic booms quieter.
NASA Releases STEM Toolkit for Advanced Air Mobility
NASA Aeronautics has released a new STEM toolkit focusing on Advanced Air Mobility for educators and students of all ages. The toolkit, comprised of numerous educational activities, is a free resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Advanced Air Mobility mission’s goal of enabling the use of drones and other new […]
NASA Extends Goddard Logistics, Technical Information Services Contract
NASA has awarded a contract extension to TRAX International Corporation of Las Vegas for the Goddard Logistics and Technical Information II (GLTI II) services contract. GLTI II is a cost-plus, fixed-fee contract extension including technical performance incentive fees with a six-month base beginning Jan. 31, 2024, and three one-month options. The total potential award if […]
NASA Science, Hardware on Northrop Grumman Mission En Route to Station
NASA science investigations and cargo aboard a Northrop Grumman resupply spacecraft are on the way to the International Space Station. Launch occurred at 12:07 p.m. EST Tuesday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Live coverage of the spacecraft’s arrival will begin at […]
NASA Celebrates First Decade of International Asteroid Warning Network 
On January 13-14, 2014, representatives from NASA and various global research organizations convened the first meeting of the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) steering committee. This group was charged with strengthening coordinated international response to a potentially hazardous near-Earth object (NEO). One decade, 17 meetings, and five global exercises later, IAWN continues to build collaboration […]
International Space Station Welcomes Trio of Experiments Focused on Enhancing Life Beyond Earth
NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division is sending three physical sciences and space biology experiments and equipment to the International Space Station aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply services mission. These experiments aim to pioneer scientific discovery, enable sustainable deep space exploration, and support transformative engineering. The launch is scheduled to take place no earlier […]
Earth’s Atmospheric Glow
This high exposure photograph revealed Earth’s atmospheric glow against the backdrop of a starry sky in this image taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 21, 2024. At the time, the orbital lab was 258 miles above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Papua New Guinea. The Nauka science module and Prichal docking module are […]
NASA Search and Rescue Technology Saves Explorers, Enables Exploration
In 2023, NASA-developed search and rescue technologies aided first responders in locating and saving 350 lives in the United States. Now, NASA is incorporating that same technology in astronaut missions. NASA provides technical expertise to the international satellite-aided search and rescue effort known as Cospas-Sarsat. This technical expertise has enabled the development of multiple emergency […]
How the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Is Different than the 2017 Eclipse
On April 8, the Moon’s shadow will sweep across the United States, as millions will view a total solar eclipse. For many, preparing for this event brings memories of the magnificent total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. In 2017, an estimated 215 million U.S. adults (88% of U.S. adults) viewed the solar eclipse, either […]
Poised for Science: NASA’s Europa Clipper Instruments Are All Aboard
The science performed by the complex suite of instruments recently added to the spacecraft will reveal whether Jupiter’s moon Europa has conditions that could support life. With less than nine months remaining in the countdown to launch, NASA’s Europa Clipper mission has passed a major milestone: Its science instruments have been added to the massive […]
BioNutrients: A Five-Year Experiment in Space Nears Completion
NASA’s bio-manufacturing experiment called BioNutrients is testing a way to use microorganisms to produce on-demand nutrients that will be critical for human health during future long-duration space missions. Launched to the International Space Station in 2019, the experiment assesses the stability and performance of a hand-held system – dubbed a production pack – to manufacture fresh vitamins […]
NASA's Lucy asteroid probe to fire main engines in space for 1st time this week
NASA's Lucy mission will fire its main engines for the first time on Wednesday (Jan. 31.)
NASA's TESS telescope spots 6 exoplanets around 'misbehaving' toddler star
NASA's TESS telescope has discovered a system of six young exoplanets that race around a newborn star, offering a snapshot of what our solar system looked like 4 billion years ago.
Space travel taxes astronauts' brains. But microbes on the menu could help in unexpected ways
Providing astronauts with the right diet is also paramount in supporting their mental and cognitive health, in a way unlike previous missions.
'Starfield' spacesuit contest: ESA and Xbox will build the winner their own custom design (video)
Design your own spacesuit and enter for a chance to win a real-life replica of it in this new fan contest from Microsoft and the European Space Agency.
Endeavour lifted onto space shuttle stack for California Science Center exhibit (video)
A space shuttle is standing upright for the first time in more than a decade. Cranes lifted Endeavour off a Los Angeles side street and onto an external tank with solid rocket boosters for display.
Are they exomoons or not? Scientists debate existence of 1st moons seen beyond our solar system
Recent research suggested the first and only moons seen around planets outside the solar system didn't actually exist; now, the scientists who initially found them are back to defend their discovery.
Total solar eclipse 2024: Live updates
Stay up-to-date with the latest news on the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
Boeing's Starliner capsule still on track for mid-April astronaut launch to ISS
Boeing remains on track to launch the first-ever crewed mission of its Starliner capsule, a test flight to the International Space Station, in mid-April.
Total solar eclipse April 8, 2024: What you'll see if you're outside the path of totality
On April 8, 2024, if the weather is fair, you should have no difficulty observing a partial eclipse of the sun from much of North America - even outside the path of totality.
NASA wants to fly another 1-year astronaut mission. But when will it happen?
Frank Rubio recently became the first American to spend more than a year in space on a single mission. When will the agency send another astronaut up for a full turn around the sun?
Scientists pinpoint growth of brain's cerebellum as key to evolution of bird flight
Evolutionary biologists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report they have combined PET scans of modern pigeons along with studies of dinosaur fossils to help answer an enduring question in biology: How did the brains of birds evolve to enable them to fly?
Unlocking the secrets of natural reef recovery
Corals, the literal foundation of any reef, have adjusted and adapted to their environment over millennia. Yet with rapid global warming, the key question is whether their natural resilience can keep up with this extreme environmental change.
Earth's atmospheric glow can be seen from the International Space Station
This high exposure photograph revealed Earth's atmospheric glow against the backdrop of a starry sky in this image taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 21, 2024. At the time, the orbital lab was 258 miles above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Papua New Guinea. The Nauka science module and Prichal docking module are visible at left.
'Black Summer' bushfires wiped $2.8 billion from tourism supply chains, finds study
A first-of-its-kind study of the 2019-2020 "Black Summer" bushfires in Australia has revealed that the tourism industry nationwide took an immediate hit of $2.8 billion in total output to its broader supply chains and almost 7,300 jobs disappearing nationwide.
Paranoid CEOs hide from government, react strongly to competitors, says research
The higher CEOs score on measures of paranoia, the more likely they are to avoid lobbying government, according to new research of 925 CEOs across 774 firms.
A breath of fresh air in plasmonic catalysis: Black gold and solar light's renaissance
Prof. Polshettiwar's group at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai has developed a novel "plasmonic reduction catalyst stable in air," defying the common instability of reduction catalysts in the presence of air. The catalyst merges platinum-doped ruthenium clusters, with "plasmonic black gold." This black gold efficiently harvests visible light and generates numerous hot spots due to plasmonic coupling, enhancing its catalytic performance.
Learning to read in times of alternative facts
The child runs a finger along the lines of text, painstakingly mouthing the words. Teaching children to read and write has always been a major task for our schools, but developments in society require a new, broader view of what this means, according to researcher Ulrika Bodén at Linköping University, Sweden.
Protecting rice plants from heat when it attacks at nighttime
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the staple food for more than half of the world's population. Based on mathematical modeling, worldwide cereal production is estimated to have a loss of 6%–7% yield per 1°C increase in seasonal mean temperature associated with extreme heat disasters.
Efficient photothermal CO₂ methanation over NiFe alloy nanoparticles
The massive emissions of CO2 from the utilization of fossil fuels have caused a series of environmental issues and climate change. Driven by the fast development of green hydrogen and CO2 capture technologies, the hydrogenation of CO2 to hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals is becoming a promising process for the reduction of carbon footprint and the storage of renewable energy. Photothermal catalysis enables efficient CO2 conversion under mild conditions.
Design, synthesis and applications of functional zirconium-based metal-organic frameworks
In a review led by Prof. Zhijie Chen's group from Department of Chemistry at Zhejiang University, an overview of recent progress in the development of Zr-MOFs is provided. The article titled "Design, synthesis and applications of functional zirconium-based metal-organic frameworks" is published in the journal Science China Chemistry.
Elon Musk's Neuralink has Implanted its First Chip in a Human Brain. What's Next?

The wealthiest person on Earth has taken the next step toward a commercial brain interface

Why New Liquified Natural Gas Infrastructure Is on Hold

A Biden administration review of natural gas exports could show the U.S. was relying on outdated assumptions about gas’s impact on renewable energy and carbon pollution

Japan's SLIM Mission Is Revived on the Moon

After a nine-day shutdown, the upside-down lunar lander received enough sunlight to power up again

Why Insects Are Attracted to Light at Night

Contrary to popular lore, insects do not confuse artificial light for the moon

First Space-Based Gravitational Wave Detector Gets Go-Ahead

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna could discover gigantic ripples in spacetime from merging supermassive black holes and more

Poem: 'Midlife Calculus'

Science in meter and verse

Tomorrow's Quantum Computers Threaten Today's Secrets. Here's How to Protect Them

Researchers are racing to create codes so complex that even quantum computers can’t break them

Shrinking Family Sizes May Change Our Experience with Aging

Throughout the world, the number of relatives that people have may dramatically shrink by 2095, which could change care for children and aging people

Can 'Conversations' with Whales Teach Us to Talk with Aliens?

A controversial 20-minute interaction with a humpback whale might help scientists communicate with extraterrestrials and nonhuman Earthlings alike

Disinformation Is the Real Threat to Democracy and Public Health

Disinformation abounds, and it can kill. Fortunately, it can often be unambiguously identified

Parrots can move along thin branches using ‘beakiation’
The movement involves swinging along the underside of branches with their beaks and feet, similar to how primates swing between trees.
Insects flocking to artificial lights may not know which way is up
Insects may use light to figure out where the ground is. Artificial lights send them veering off course, data from high-speed infrared cameras suggests.
Geneticist Krystal Tsosie advocates for Indigenous data sovereignty
A member of the Navajo Nation, she believes Indigenous geneticists have a big role to play in protecting and studying their own data.
Under very rare conditions, Alzheimer’s disease may be transmitted
Alzheimer’s isn’t contagious. But contaminated growth hormone injections caused early-onset Alzheimer’s in some recipients, a new study suggests.
Here’s why COVID-19 isn’t seasonal so far
Human immunity and behavior may be more important than weather for driving seasonality when it comes to COVID-19.
Cold, dry snaps accompanied three plagues that struck the Roman Empire
New climate data for ancient Italy point to temperature and rainfall influences on past infectious disease outbreaks.
What parrots can teach us about human intelligence
By studying the brains and behaviors of parrots, scientists hope to learn more about how humanlike intelligence evolves.
Handwriting may boost brain connections more than typing does
Students asked to write words showed greater connectivity across the brain than when they typed them, suggesting writing may be a better boost for memory.
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter officially ends its mission on Mars
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter suffered damage during a recent flight and has ended its mission on Mars after nearly three years on the Red Planet.
How an invasive ant changed a lion’s dinner menu
An invasive ant is killing off ants that defend trees from elephants. With less cover, it’s harder for lions to hunt zebras, so they hunt buffalo instead.
How to Build an Origami Computer
Two mathematicians have shown that origami can, in principle, be used to perform any possible computation.

The post How to Build an Origami Computer first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Researchers Approach New Speed Limit for Seminal Problem
Integer linear programming can help find the answer to a variety of real-world problems. Now researchers have found a much faster way to do it.

The post Researchers Approach New Speed Limit for Seminal Problem first appeared on Quanta Magazine

The Quest to Decode the Mandelbrot Set, Math’s Famed Fractal
For decades, a small group of mathematicians has patiently unraveled the mystery of what was once math’s most popular picture. Their story shows how technology transforms even the most abstract mathematical landscapes.

The post The Quest to Decode the Mandelbrot Set, Math’s Famed Fractal first appeared on Quanta Magazine

The Surprisingly Simple Math Behind Puzzling Matchups
If Anna beats Benji in a game and Benji beats Carl, will Anna beat Carl?

The post The Surprisingly Simple Math Behind Puzzling Matchups first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Why Locusts Swarm, Humans Do Good and Time Marches On
The Joy of Why podcast returns for a third season, with two co-hosts, 24 brilliant guests and 24 all-new episodes.

The post Why Locusts Swarm, Humans Do Good and Time Marches On first appeared on Quanta Magazine

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