Science

3:02am

Fri December 19, 2014
Science

7 Miles Beneath The Sea's Surface: Who Goes There?

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:11 am

The research vessel Falkor in August 2013.
Courtesy of Mark Schrope

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

Read more

3:45am

Tue December 2, 2014
Space

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 1:43 pm

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

Read more

1:37pm

Wed November 12, 2014
Oil and Gas

Study Finds Shared Chemicals Between Toothpaste, Ice Cream – And Fracking Fluid

A drill rig in Northern Colorado.
KUNC File Photo

Fracking fluid -- is it a dangerous substance, full of secret chemicals and cancer-causing toxins? Or is it safe enough to drink?

A new study from researchers at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Boulder takes a stab at answering that question. Their take: much of what's found in fracking fluid isn’t all that different from common chemicals found in your house -- and some of it's even in your ice cream.

Read more

9:11am

Mon November 3, 2014
Science

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 12:51 pm

Strontium atoms floating in the center of this photo are the heart of the world's most precise clock. The clock is so exact that it can detect tiny shifts in the flow of time itself.
Courtesy of the Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA

"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian. O'Brian has thought a lot about this over the years. He is America's official timekeeper at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

To him, days, hours, minutes and seconds are a way for humanity to "put some order in this very fascinating and complex universe around us."

Read more

4:07pm

Sun October 26, 2014
Research News

From Brain To Computer: Helping 'Locked-In' Patient Get His Thoughts Out

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 8:08 am

Patients with certain kinds of brain damage can wind up with locked-in syndrome: they may be able to think just fine, but are unable to communicate their thoughts to others. A recently published case study shows that a non-invasive brain-computer interface can help.
iStockphoto

In 2009, a man named Barry Beck suffered a series of strokes, which caused extensive damage to his right occipital lobe and to the brain stem. The geologist and author of several books was left completely unable to communicate, in a state known as locked-in syndrome.

The condition was famously described by Jean-Dominique Bauby in his memoir The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, which he dictated by blinking.

But thanks to a team of researchers and some technological advances, Beck had another option.

Read more

Pages