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Space Station’s Robotic Astronaut Gets Powered Up

The U.S. space agency had planned for the first human-like robot on the International Space Station to make its operational debut on the orbiting lab Thursday, six months after the space shuttle Discovery delivered it to the station. NASA said Robonaut 2 did not get to make its first moves because of “commanding issues,” but […]

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NASA gives public new internet tool to explore the solar system

The “Eyes on the Solar System” interface combines video game technology and NASA data to create an environment for users to ride along with agency spacecraft and explore the cosmos. Screen graphics and information such as planet locations and spacecraft maneuvers use actual space mission data. “This is the first time the public has been able […]

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Stem cells may save rhinos from extinction

The odds aren’t great for male northern white rhinos looking for love. Only two females are left on the planet, and imminent extinction does not seem to make rhinos particularly horny: the last time this captive population produced a baby was in 2000. Now, there may be a way to save this and other endangered […]

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Tesla: Master of Lightning

Tesla: Master of Lightning

Nikola Tesla invented or developed many of the electrical technologies which form the basis of modern life, including: alternating-current (AC) power transmission and electric motors; high-frequency (HF) communications, the basis for radio and television; neon lighting; remote radio-control; and X-rays. But his visionary genius and technical skill was countered by his lack of business acumen […]

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Your brain chemistry existed before animals did

WHEN wondering about the origins of our brain, don’t look to Homo sapiens, chimpanzees, fish or even worms. Many key components first appeared in single-celled organisms, long before animals, brains and even nerve cells existed. Dirk Fasshauer of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues were studying a pair of essential neural proteins called Munc18/syntaxin1 […]

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Quantum computer chips pass key milestones

Quantum computer users may soon have to wrestle with their own version of the “PC or Mac?” question. A design based on superconducting electrical circuits has now performed two benchmark feats, suggesting it will be a serious competitor to rival setups using photons or ions. “The number of runners in the race has just gone […]

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Internet databases reveal new uses for old drugs

IT IS a disarmingly simple idea: to find out if a drug might treat a disease it wasn’t intended for, check out whether it has an opposite effect on gene activity to the illness itself. How do you find such drugs? By mining large public biological datasets. For more than a decade, so-called DNA chips […]

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RoboBee speaks honeybee dance language

IT SMELLS, it buzzes, it even dances like a honeybee. In a field in Germany, RoboBee is making its first attempts at speaking to the insects in their own language. Bees are famous for communicating using the waggle dance – walking forward while rapidly vibrating their rear. In the 1940s, biologist Karl von Frisch realised […]

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