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New data obtained by NASA’s GRAIL mission reveals that the Procellarum region on the near side of the moon — a giant basin often referred to as the “man in the moon” — likely arose not from a massive asteroid strike, but from a large plume of magma deep w

True Origin of the Man in the Moon

October 3, 2014 | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | Comments

New data obtained by NASA’s GRAIL mission reveals that the Procellarum region on the near side of the moon — a giant basin often referred to as the “man in the moon” — likely arose not from a massive asteroid strike, but from a large plume of magma deep within the moon’s interior. 

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The effectiveness of current laser-propulsion techniques is limited by the instability of supersonic gas flow, caused by shock waves that “choke” the inlet of the nozzle, reducing thrust. Those effects can be reduced with the help of laser ablation, redir

Supersonic Laser-propelled Rockets may Enable Aircraft to Exceed Mach 10

October 31, 2014 2:21 pm | by The Optical Society | Comments

Scientists and science fiction writers alike have dreamed of aircrafts that are propelled by beams of light rather than conventional fuels. Now, a new method for improving the thrust generated by such laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. A new system integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft. 

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A new system lets programmers identify sections of their code that can tolerate a little error. The system then determines which program instructions to assign to unreliable hardware components, to maximize energy savings while still meeting the programme

Harnessing Error-prone Chips Trades Computational Accuracy for Energy Savings

October 31, 2014 2:09 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | Comments

As transistors get smaller, they also grow less reliable. Increasing their operating voltage can help, but that means a corresponding increase in power consumption. With information technology consuming a steadily growing fraction of the world’s energy supplies, some researchers and hardware manufacturers are exploring the possibility of simply letting chips botch the occasional computation.

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Starry Sky from the Space Station -- Courtesy of NASA

Starry Sky from the Space Station

October 31, 2014 11:13 am | Comments

An Expedition 41 crew member aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station on September 13, 2014, captured this image of a starry sky. The white panel at left belonging to the ATV-5 spacecraft, which is docked with the orbital outpost, obstructs the view of Scorpius.

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Understanding cell transformation can help clinical researchers tackle medical problems. The images show how a growth factor caused cells to change forms and regroup from tight packs of epithelial cells to more mobile, loose arrays of mesenchymal cells —

Modeling Cancer: Researchers Prove Mathematical Models Can Predict Cellular Processes

October 30, 2014 5:08 pm | by Virginia Tech | Comments

How does a normal cellular process derail and become unhealthy? A multi-institutional, international team led by Virginia Tech researchers studied cells found in breast and other types of connective tissue and discovered new information about cell transitions that take place during wound healing and cancer.

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Rotifer showing the mouth interior and heart shaped corona, by Rogelio Moreno

Jaw-Dropping Image of Open-Mouthed Rotifer wins Nikon Small World Competition

October 30, 2014 5:00 pm | by Nikon | Comments

Nikon has revealed the winners of the 40th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first prize to veteran competitor Rogelio Moreno of Panama for capturing a rarely seen image of a rotifer’s open mouth interior and heart-shaped corona. A computer system programmer by occupation, Moreno is a self-taught microscopist whose photomicrograph serves to show just how close the beauty and wonder of the micro-world truly is.

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MIT researchers explain their new visualization system that can project a robot's "thoughts." Video screenshot courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Projecting a Robot’s Intentions: New Spin on Virtual Reality to Read Robots’ Minds

October 30, 2014 4:46 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | Comments

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter.

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The software stores only the changes of the system state at specific points in time. Courtesy of Université du Luxembourg, Boshua

New Algorithm Provides Enormous Reduction in Computing Overhead

October 30, 2014 4:37 pm | by University of Luxembourg | Comments

The control of modern infrastructure, such as intelligent power grids, needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists have developed an algorithm that might revolutionize these processes. With their new software, researchers are able to forego the use of considerable amounts of computing capacity, enabling what they call micro mining.

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Bovine Pulmonary Artery Epithelial Cells -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Bovine Pulmonary Artery Epithelial Cells

October 30, 2014 12:53 pm | Comments

This 63X photo shows bovine pulmonary artery epithelial cells. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope, and was taken using confocal microscopy.

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The Met Office uses more than 10 million weather observations a day and an advanced atmospheric model to create 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings each day that are delivered to customers ranging from government, businesses, the general public, armed

UK National Weather Service Awards $128M Supercomputer Contract

October 29, 2014 11:43 am | by Cray | Comments

Cray announced it has been awarded a contract to provide the Met Office in the United Kingdom with multiple Cray XC supercomputers and Cray Sonexion storage systems. Consisting of three phases spanning multiple years, the $128 million contract expands Cray’s presence in the global weather and climate community, and is the largest supercomputer contract ever for Cray outside of the United States.

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Caddisfly Nymph -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Caddisfly Nymph

October 29, 2014 10:21 am | Comments

This 25X photo shows detail of a Trichoptera nymph, or caddisfly. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope, and was taken using stereomicroscopy.

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Indiana University received one of the largest individual awards from the NSF’s $31 million Data Infrastructure Building Blocks program this year. Researchers will use the $5 million in funding to help boost the nation’s big data efforts. Courtesy of NSF

NSF Awards $5M to Empower Researchers with New Data Analysis Tools

October 29, 2014 10:15 am | by Indiana University Bloomington | Comments

A team of computer scientists working to improve how researchers across the sciences empower big data to solve problems have been awarded $5 million by the National Science Foundation. The team will address one of the leading challenges in tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues in science: the ability to analyze and compute large amounts of data.

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Discrete bands of superconductivity: A diagram depicts unpaired spin up electrons congregating in discrete bands.

New Evidence for Exotic, Predicted Superconducting State

October 29, 2014 10:07 am | by Brown University | Comments

Superconductors and magnetic fields do not usually get along. But a research team has produced new evidence for an exotic superconducting state, first predicted a half-century ago, that can indeed arise when a superconductor is exposed to a strong magnetic field.

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Erik Demain is a computer scientist turned artist, whose scientific area of expertise lies in computational geometry — specifically, computational origami, that is, the mathematical study of bending and folding. Martin Demaine, Erik's father, is an artist

Ancient Art Form of Origami Launches into Space

October 29, 2014 9:57 am | by Miles O'Brien and Marsha Walton, NSF | Comments

Most people who know of origami think of it as the Japanese art of paper folding. Though it began centuries ago, origami became better known to the world in the 20th century when it evolved into a modern art form. In the 21st century, origami has caught the attention of engineers who are using it to create all sorts of new structures — from collapsible packaging to airbags for cars. Origami has even found its way into space.

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The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, a European research organization that operates the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

Understanding the Balance of Matter and Antimatter

October 28, 2014 2:03 pm | by Rob Enslin, Syracuse University | Comments

Physicists have made important discoveries regarding Bs meson particles — something that may explain why the universe contains more matter than antimatter. At CERN, Stone and his research team have studied two landmark experiments that took place at Fermilab, a high-energy physics laboratory near Chicago, in 2009. 

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Combined map showing holidays and working periods

Mobile Phone Mapping Proves Reliable

October 28, 2014 1:58 pm | by University of Southampton | Comments

A study by an international team, including the University of Southampton, has shown population maps based on anonymous mobile phone call record data can be as accurate as those based on censuses. Their findings show maps made using mobile records are detailed, reliable and flexible enough to help inform infrastructure and emergency planners; particularly in low income countries, where recent population density information is often scarce.

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