Conrad Beukes

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How Did Mars Die? NASA's Newest Spacecraft Aims to Find Out

MAVEN will try to decipher the history of Mars' atmosphere and how it was lost.<p>CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In their infancy, maybe even into their adolescence, Earth and Mars were more alike than they were different. Each rocky world was pockmarked by volcanoes, and waterways carved both surfaces. …

Space

NASA's MAVEN mission seeks answers about Mars' atmosphere

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN orbiter mission, due to launch Monday, will look for clues about why the Red Planet's once-thick atmosphere has thinned out.<p>November 15, 2013|By Amina Khan<p>NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is hoisted toward the top of an Atlas V rocket… (Kim Shiflett / NASA )<p>Four …

In Japan, Eight People With Two Laptops Launch A Telescope Into Orbit

The telescope will study the atmospheres of Venus, Mars and Jupiter.<p>A new low-cost, highly automated rocket from Japan's space agency launched Saturday with just eight crew members and two laptops on-site. Japan's previous launches required teams of 150.<p>The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency sent …

Valve CEO Gabe Newell Says Linux Is The Future Of Gaming, Hints At SteamBox Announcement

In his keynote today at Linuxcon, Valve CEO and Founder Gabe Newell said Linux is the future of gaming and hinted about the announcement next week of a gaming box built on the open-source operating environment.<p>As proof of Linux’s bright future, Newell pointed to Steam, the company’s online …

The Next Space Shuttle: Hybrid Engines Make Runway-To-Orbit Missions A Reality

A new type of engine could usher in an era of affordable spaceplanes<p>A disembodied jet engine, attached to a hulking air vent, sits in an outdoor test facility at the Culham Science Center in Oxfordshire, England. When the engine screams to life, columns of steam billow from the vent, giving the …

FYI: Can Anything Move Faster Than Light?

Yes, the universe itself will eventually outpace the speed of light. Just how this will happen is a bit complicated, so let's begin at the very beginning: the big bang. Around 14 billion years ago, all matter in the universe was thrown in every direction. That first explosion is still pushing …

How Squid Are Inspiring Better Camouflage For Soldiers

A squid-like film can be switched on and off chemically to change how infrared light is reflected.<p>If there's one thing squid are good at, it's hiding. The mysterious giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures on Earth, and even the common calamari squid can alter its appearance to blend into …

Did a Comet Really Kill the Mammoths 12,900 Years Ago?

Did the planetary upheaval 12,900 years ago come from the heavens—or Earth?<p><b>Why did mammoths, mastodons, and other mega-beasts vanish from North America?</b><p>Was it because:<p>1) humans killed them;<p>2) they couldn't hack the climate after the Ice Age ended; or<p>3) an exploding comet ignited continent-wide …