Virgin's passenger spaceship completes first rocket test flight
Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:54:51 -0400
By Irene Klotz (Reuters) - A six-passenger spaceship owned by an offshoot of Virgin Group fired its rocket engine in flight for the first time on Monday, a key step toward the start of commercial service in about a year, Virgin owner Richard Branson said. The powered test flight over California's Mojave Desert lasted 16 seconds and broke the sound barrier. "It was stunning," Branson told Reuters. "You could see it very, very clearly. Putting the rocket and the spaceship together and seeing it perform safely, it was a critical day. ...
Alexander Graham Bell speaks, and 2013 hears his voice
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 08:25:43 -0400
By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nine years after he placed the first telephone call, Alexander Graham Bell tried another experiment: he recorded his voice on a wax-covered cardboard disc on April 15, 1885, and gave it an audio signature: "Hear my voice - Alexander Graham Bell." The flimsy disc was silent for 128 years as part of the Smithsonian Museum's collection of early recorded sound, until digital imaging, computer science, a hand-written transcript and a bit of archival detective work confirmed it as the only known recording of Bell's voice. ...
Campaigners call for ban on "killer robots"
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:16:48 -0400
By Li-mei Hoang LONDON (Reuters) - Machines with the ability to attack targets without any human intervention must be banned before they are developed for use on the battlefield, campaigners against "killer robots" urged on Tuesday. The weapons, which could be ready for use within the next 20 years, would breach a moral and ethical boundary that should never be crossed, said Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, of the "Campaign To Stop Killer Robots". ...
Hubble telescope spies incoming Comet ISON
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 19:45:07 -0400
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A recently discovered comet, dazzlingly bright even though it is still almost as far away as Jupiter, is racing toward a November rendezvous with the sun, officials said on Tuesday. If it survives the encounter - and that's a big if - the comet may be visible even in daylight in Earth's skies at the end of the year. ...
Space junk needs to be removed from Earth's orbit: ESA
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 11:04:11 -0400
By Maria Sheahan FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Space junk such as debris from rockets must be removed from the Earth's orbit to avoid crashes that could cost satellite operators millions of euros and knock out mobile and GPS networks, the European Space Agency said. At the current density of debris, there will be an in-orbit collision about every five years, however research presented at a conference hosted by ESA in Germany showed that an increase in such junk made more collisions likely in the future. ...
Zombie Worms Drill Whale Bones with Acid
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:37:38 -0400
So-called zombie worms — and yes, they actually exist — like to munch on whale bones for dinner. The creatures also use the bones for shelter. Spread throughout the world's oceans, zombie worms are quite adept at making the bones of whales and other large marine animals look like Swiss cheese.
Why Shark Embryos Gobble Each Other Up In Utero
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:05:18 -0400
Shark embryos cannibalize their littermates in the womb, with the largest embryo eating all but one of its siblings.
What Stranded Dolphin Guts Reveal
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:05:16 -0400
The stomach contents of bottlenose dolphins that wash ashore accurately reflect the usual diet of healthy animals, new research suggests.
Mars Mission May Carry Asteroid-Smashing Probe in 2016
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 14:48:42 -0400
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — When a NASA mission to study Mars' deep interior blasts off in 2016, it may also carry a tag-along experiment that will slam an impactor into a potentially hazardous asteroid.
World's Largest Infrared Space Telescope Shuts Down Forever
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 12:01:45 -0400
After nearly four years mapping the "hidden universe," the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space has reached the end of its life, European Space Agency officials say.