Um, About That Asteroid That Wasn't Going to Hit Us...

For a while there in 2004, the newly-discovered asteroid 99942 Apophis looked like it had Earth's number. Then scientists crunched some numbers, and the odds of a terrestrial bullseye dropped to 1 in 45,000, where they stand today. Sort of. It turns out that there are a few things we still don't know about the orbit… » 7/16/08 10:00am 7/16/08 10:00am

Humpback Whales Teach Humans to Build Better Wind Turbines

Whales have given us a reliable source of energy for centuries: oil for our lamps, wax for our candles, and of course margarine. All that's required to harvest these lovely fuels is wholesale slaughter of the harmless creatures, and that's starting to go out of fashion, mostly because the whales were starting to go… » 7/14/08 9:37am 7/14/08 9:37am

Meet the Tardigrades: The Solar System's Most Extreme Survivors

There is an organism living on this planet who can travel through space without a suit. Cute, unassuming little invertebrates, these organisms are called tardigrades, or water bears, and usually spend their days crawling around on a piece of nice wet moss in a forest, or meandering through our vast oceans. They only… » 7/10/08 9:41am 7/10/08 9:41am

Space Chic: Artist Will Paint in Zero Gravity

For his new project "Life in Space," artist Nasser Azam plans to paint aboard a "vomit comet"-style airplane ride while in zero-g 23,000 feet in the air. During the twenty-second intervals of weightlessness he plans to complete several large paintings, and he'll be outfitted in a designer jumpsuit put together by … » 7/09/08 9:13am 7/09/08 9:13am

Sheep Dialysis Machine: Are Pets the Medical Devices of the Future?

Using animals to grow human body parts has been done, but how about using a live sheep for dialysis? The idea comes from one design student Revital Cohen. The project she's calling "Life Support" seeks to use a sheep whose genome has been spliced with a human to produce human blood. The transgenic sheep then becomes… » 7/08/08 10:09am 7/08/08 10:09am

Prosthetic Speech Implant Turns Your Thoughts to Words

Imagine waking up one morning and being unable to speak. Your mind still churns away, trying to form words, but no sounds will come out. It's like the bleak ending of Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream only, you know, real. This is a fact of life for many people with varying levels of paralysis, who… » 7/03/08 9:32am 7/03/08 9:32am

World's Greatest Astronomical Detective Strikes Again!

Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University has a habit of taking well-known historical facts and turning them upsidown. Using the stars and Moon and a little bit of math, he's re-dated the original running of Marathon in 491-490 BC, precisely determined the spot in which Edvard Munch painted "The… » 7/01/08 9:50am 7/01/08 9:50am

Tuguska Explosion: 100 Years Later, Still Unsolved

One hundred years ago today, June 30th, 1908, a great explosion rained Hell over Siberia, flattening 830 square miles of forest. Easily big enough to destroy a city, the 30-meter diameter space rock missed Moscow by about 4 hours. And it will happen again. But even as we track the objects headed our way in the next… » 6/30/08 2:00pm 6/30/08 2:00pm

Freakiest Form of Alternative Energy: Tornadoes

One of the most terrifying, destructive forces in nature may help keep your lights on. Louis Michaud, a retired engineer living in Ontario, Canada thinks he's created a tornado-powered generator. First, he'll create a raging tornado inside a massive cylindrical arena 100 meters high by pumping hot air into it at the… » 6/27/08 10:13am 6/27/08 10:13am

Biggest Crater in the Solar System Found on Mars

For a small planet, Mars sure knows how to go big. It's about half as large as Earth, but it's got the hugest volcano in the solar system in the Arizona-sized Olympus Mons and the grandest of all canyons in the 7 kilometer-deep Vallis Marineris. Now it can add its coolest, most-braggable title: the Biggest Impact… » 6/26/08 9:41am 6/26/08 9:41am

Asteroid Apocalypse Prevention Finally Gets Some Funding

With all the space rocks zipping by Earth these days, we're pretty much cruising for an interplanetary bruising. But NASA's line on the situation is, to paraphrase administrator Mike Griffin: "Forget about that whole thing; we're going back to the Moon! Yay!" Fortunately, the B612 Foundation is slightly more serious… » 6/24/08 9:48am 6/24/08 9:48am