A company involved in genetically engineered spider silk has received a $100,000 contract from the US Army to see if its material can be used in armor. Kraig Biocraft is going to test the silk to see how it responds to basic material stressors over time.
Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt that's located beyond Pluto and is 20 times farther from the Sun than the planet Neptune. The dwarf planet, 2015 RR245, has an elliptical orbit around the Sun that takes 700 Earth years.
Flight tests of the Virgin Spaceship Unity are underway on the ground and the tests will soon move to the skies. Virgin Galactic plans to finish its ground tests in August prior to sending up the Unity. Complete flight tests are scheduled to begin in 2017.
An exoplanet (named HD 131399Ab) four times larger than Jupiter has been found orbiting three suns in the constellation Centaurus, which is located 340 light-years from our planet. During its 550-year journey, all three suns are visible in the sky half of the time.
Microsoft, together with researchers from the University of Washington, has stored 200 MB of data on synthetic DNA. The information was decoded and read without any issues. The data includes a music video, books, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Belgian researchers have built a sensor system ("electronic nose") that can detect very small concentrations of substances like nerve gas and pesticides. Ivo Stassen, the lead researcher, says the team looked towards odor receptors found in nature when designing the system.
In its second collaboration with the UK's National Health Service, Google's DeepMind division will help doctors detect eye diseases early. By analyzing over a million eye scans, DeepMind's machine learning will generate algorithms that can pick up on early warning signs.
After five years of heading towards the planet, NASA's Juno spacecraft has entered Jupiter's orbit. Once it was close to Jupiter, Juno's engines were activated and it began a complex 35-minute maneuver to get into place. Juno will take many pictures and measurements.
China has completed the world's largest radio telescope which it plans to use in the search for extraterrestrial life. The FAST telescope (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope) is located in Guizhou. Work on the project began five years ago and FAST cost $180 million.
The simulation hypothesis, which suggests we're not actually living in a "real" world, is plausible, according to Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Speaking at the recent Code Conference, Musk said "there's a billion to one chance we're living in base reality."
SpaceX will attempt to land its Falcon 9 rocket on the ocean as soon as this Friday. A launch had been scheduled for May 26, but a "tiny glitch in the motion of an upper stage engine actuator" forced SpaceX to postpone, says CEO Elon Musk. The launch could take a couple days.
Using the Kepler spacecraft, NASA has discovered 1,284 new planets, doubling the number of known exoplanets (ones which orbit a star other than our sun.) Of the planets discovered, more than 100 are believed to be somewhat similar to Earth in size and composition.
A material capable of bonding with and acting like your skin has been detailed in a study out of MIT. The material is made of a silicone polymer that is strong, stretchy, and will remain on the skin even when rubbed or covered with water. It's already been tried on humans.
While it believed a successful landing was unlikely to occur on its latest mission, SpaceX has landed its Falcon 9 rocket at sea once again. This is the second time SpaceX has landed the rocket on a drone ship and the success comes after it said a landing wasn't likely.
A human embryo has developed up to day 13 in a lab for the first time, allowing scientists to carefully examine how an embryo develops during its first days. Prior to this work, scientists had only observed growth up to day 7, at which point an embryo would be implanted.
The European Space Agency and Russia are going to launch their Mars rover in 2020, not 2018. The joint ExoMars mission has been pushed back because the Russian engineers involved with the mission are having a hard time designing the rover's landing mechanism.
Three planets that could potentially support advanced life have been discovered by a team of scientists. In a study published in Nature, the three Earth-like planets were detailed and they appear to be some of the best candidates for extraterrestrial life so far.
SpaceX has won its first military launch contract which will see the company carry a GPS satellite into space on behalf of the US Air Force. According to Reuters, the contract is worth $83 million and the launch is going to occur in May 2018. SpaceX will use its Falcon 9 rocket.
Microsoft has partnered with Twist, a biotech startup, to test data storage on synthetic strands of DNA. The company has obtained 10 million strands which can be used to store data for a long time in a secure manner. Data is stored like normal biological information.
SpaceX intends to land on Mars within the next two years and a full plan for the mission will be revealed in September 2016. The company says it'll send its Red Dragon spacecraft to the planet in 2018 and SpaceX has suggested there will be multiple dragon missions to Mars.