Ian Van Stralen

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Could Saturn's moon Titan host an alternate type of life?

In a world first, chemical engineers have taken a different look at a question astronomers and biologists have been pondering for decades: Does …

Cosmic radio burst caught in the act

Astronomers announced this week that – for the first time – they have observed a so-called ‘fast radio burst’ in real time.<p><i>Cosmic radio bursts</i> – what …

Universe

There could be two more planets in the Solar System

At least two as-yet undiscovered Earth-size planets may be lurking in the frozen outer reaches of the Solar System. The claims come after analysis of …

Universe

The Legend of Korra achieved more in under a minute than most shows do in their lifetime

<i>This article includes spoilers for the series finale of The Legend of Korra.</i><p>The final moments of <i>The Legend of Korra</i>, Nickelodeon's follow-up to animated hit <i>Avatar: The Last Airbender</i>, unfold in a very familiar way. The hero triumphs over evil and, hand-in-hand with a loved one, departs into the …

Making gravity-free espresso in space really is rocket science

Specially designed ‘ISSpresso’ machine overcomes absence of gravity by firing pressurised water through capsule of coffee<p>Perhaps one of the last barriers to the human conquest of space has been removed; a space-rated espresso machine has now been delivered to the International Space Station …

Pregnant Snake Prepares For Motherhood By Eating Toxic Toads

Some expectant mothers prepare for the arrival of their babies by reading books of parenting tips, painting nurseries, and buying a pram. The tiger keelback snake takes a different approach. When females get pregnant, they slither into the forest to eat as many poisonous toads as they can find.<p>The …

Sizing up a new particle accelerator, and the 'cosmic stupid' limit

Somehow, you have to like a paper which contains the phrase<p>Now, let us assume that the effective cross section for the inelastic scattering of two cosmic rays is of the size of the Universe.<p>Cosmic rays are tiny things - mostly protons, or atomic nuclei - travelling through space, so the idea that …

Black holes reveal a cosmic clue

Or at least it seems so. The science isn’t fully “in”. But what we have is highly tantalising.<p>And nobody knows why.<p>Fresh data gathered by the Very …

Dark Matter Murder Mystery: Is Weird Substance Destroying Neutron Stars?

The mysterious substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe may be destroying neutron stars by turning them into black holes in the …

Xi Jinping says China will always seek to resolve disputes peacefully

The Chinese president tells the Australian parliament that although some may be suspicious of ‘the big guy in the crowd’, the nation is committed to peace<p>Xi Jinping has asserted China’s dominant position in the Asia-Pacific region while assuring neighbours and the US that it will seek to resolve …

Ears of Ancient Chinese Terra-Cotta Warriors Offer Clues to Their Creation

Technology yields new insight into how a Chinese emperor produced an army for eternity within his tomb.<p>China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was a man haunted by death.<p>In 246 B.C. the adolescent ruler commissioned a massive tomb furnished with everything he'd need for the next life, including an …

Striking Pictures From International Space Station Reveal Gorgeous Earth

5 of Nature's Wildest Animal Showdowns

Octopuses that tear off tentacles and crustaceans with a punch like a bullet are featured in a new book.<p>Animals fighting usually makes people think of two majestic elk, antlers locked in battle, or possibly a pair of male lions, bloodstained with teeth bared.<p>But conflict in the natural world goes …

Aust astronomers examine death of a star

Astronomers have used radio telescopes in Australia and Chile to see inside the remains of a supernova, in what researchers describe as a forensic …

Huge sunspot causes tremendous flares that puzzle scientists

The biggest sunspot to grace the face of the sun in more than two decades just rotated out of Earth’s view, but it was responsible for kicking up some truly amazing solar activity last month.<p>The sunspot, called AR 2192, recently shot off four powerful flares in four days, along with many more …

Obama endorses net neutrality, recommends FCC reclassify internet access as utility

The Obama administration came out in favor of net neutrality today, releasing a strong statement in which the president exhorted the Federal Communications Commission to implement rules to keep the internet free and open.<p>"An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to …

Billions Have Been Spent on Technology to Find IEDs, but Dogs Still Do It Better

These working dogs have saved countless soldiers' lives—and helped prevent PTSD.<p>Next Tuesday, Veterans Day, is a time to show gratitude to all the soldiers who've helped keep America safe, including the furry, four-legged ones. In a new book, <i>War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History and Love</i>, …

Astronomical Mirrors Open Deep Window Into the Early Universe

At a mirror-making lab, discoveries depend on a hair's width of polished perfection.<p>The universe doesn't spill its secrets easily, say scientists who are making immense mirrors meant to be the engines of future astronomical discoveries.<p>In a look at the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory at the …

Black Hole Fails to Destroy Mystery Cosmic Cloud

An object zipped by the gravitational monster at our galaxy's center, revealing that it is likely a star.<p>A cosmic gas cloud seemingly destined for a deadly encounter with the gigantic black hole at the core of the Milky Way has surprisingly survived a close pass by the monster's maw.<p>The reason, a …

Japan's Kamikaze Winds, the Stuff of Legend, May Have Been Real

Storms in 1200s could have helped thwart attacks by Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan's fleets, a study of lake sediments finds.<p>An ancient story tells of the kamikaze, or "divine wind," that twice saved Japan from Kublai Khan's Mongol fleets. So powerful was the legend that centuries later thousands of …

Asteroids Offer Stepping-Stones to Mars, Expert Says

Rather than lassoing asteroids, NASA could use the space rocks to prepare for a visit to Mars.<p>Nearby asteroids are humanity's ticket to Mars, says a planetary scientist who's calling for an ambitious survey to map ones that could serve as stepping-stones to the red planet. (Video: "Would You Go to …

Cops can make you unlock your smartphone with fingerprint, says judge

Cops can force you to unlock your smartphone with your fingerprint — but they can't force you to unlock it with your passcode, according to a judge …

Why NASA Blew Up a Rocket Just After Launch

A National Geographic staffer's on-scene account of the Antares rocket failure.<p><b>WALLOPS ISLAND, Virginia—Every time NASA launches a rocket, two safety officers have one weighty decision: They have to decide whether to push a self-destruct button if it appears the launch is going awry.</b><p>If they make …

Mystery of Earth's Water Origin Solved

Instead of arriving later by comet impact, Earth's waters have likely existed since our planet's birth.<p>The water that makes Earth a majestic blue marble was here from the time of our planet's birth, according to a new study of ancient meteorites, scientists reported Thursday.<p>Where do the oceans …