Artificial intelligence could diagnose rare disorders using just a photo of a face
Jan 8, 2019

By Frankie Schembri Rare disorders often show up in someone’s appearance. Individuals with Noonan syndrome—a genetic condition that inhibits the body’s growth and development—can have wide-set eyes, for example, and those with Bain type intellectual disability—caused by a mutated gene on the X chromosome—sport almond-shaped eyes and small chins (see above). Now, researchers have trained …

NASA exoplanet hunter racks up bizarre worlds and exploding stars
Jan 8, 2019

By Alexandra Witze Just nine months after its launch, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has found at least eight planets, with more than 300 planetary candidates waiting in the wings. A bizarre planet at least 23 times the mass of Earth, unveiled on 7 January, is among the confirmed planets — some of which have …

Scientists despair as US government shutdown drags on
Jan 7, 2019

By Lauren Morello, Amy Maxmen, Sara Reardon & Alexandra Witze Karen Osborn was supposed to be exploring hidden worlds in the Turks and Caicos, cataloguing the mysterious creatures that thrive in pools connected to the ocean by deep underwater caves. But instead of barcoding blind crustaceans on a trip she’s planned for six months, the marine …

Impending Galactic Crash Could Rip Open the Black Hole at the Milky Way’s Center
Jan 7, 2019

By Brandon Specktor The end of the Milky Way as we know it may come a few billion years ahead of schedule. According to a new paper published Jan. 4 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, our home galaxy appears to be on a crash course with one of its nearest satellites, the spiral of …

Japan’s pioneering detector set to join hunt for gravitational waves
Jan 4, 2019

By Davide Castelvecchi Inside a house-sized scaffolding wrapped in thick plastic sheets, Takayuki Tomaru is in full clean-room attire. The physicist is performing one of the most delicate and crucial tasks in the construction of a gravitational-wave observatory: installing one of the machine’s four mirrors, each a 23-kilogram cylinder of solid sapphire known as a test …

The Hunt Is On for Moons Around Ultima Thule
Jan 4, 2019

By Mike Wall The most distant celestial object ever explored may well have moons, and astronomers are trying hard to find them. In the wee hours of Jan. 1, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zoomed past the small, frigid object Ultima Thule, which lies more than 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) from Earth. The probe has …

China Makes 1st-Ever Landing on Moon’s Mysterious Far Side
Jan 3, 2019 · 3 

By Mike Wall Humanity just planted its flag on the far side of the moon. China’s robotic Chang’e 4 mission touched down on the floor of the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater Wednesday night (Jan. 2), pulling off the first-ever soft landing on the mysterious lunar far side. Chang’e 4 will perform a variety of science work …

NASA’s New Horizons Mission Releases Snowman-like Picture of Ultima Thule
Jan 2, 2019 · 1 

By Kenneth Chang Ultima Thule, an icy world 4 billion miles from the sun, looks like a big snowman. At a news conference on Wednesday, scientists working with NASA’s New Horizons mission released several images that the spacecraft took as it flew by on Jan. 1. The scientists now say with confidence that Ultima Thule …

Why Nobody In Renewable Energy Had A Better 2018 Than First Solar
Dec 31, 2018 · 2 

By John Parnell In mid-2017 Arizona’s First Solar was set up for a tricky 2018. It was overhauling its manufacturing facilities, juggling inventory, wary of the impact of Trump’s planned trade duties on all imports of solar panels and facing even stiffer competition from China. As the months rolled on and 2018 arrived, things seemed …

Shutdown: What’s Open at NASA?
Dec 31, 2018

By Patrick Attwell With no sign that it will be resolved soon, the ongoing partial U.S. government shutdown looks to continue well into the first days or weeks of 2019. As such, it is having wide-reaching effects on NASA’s operations. The shutdown started at midnight EST (05:00 GMT) on Dec. 22, 2018, when a continuing resolution to …

Surprising Changes Will Affect Biodiversity in 2019
Dec 28, 2018

By Mary Hoff and Kaitlyn Kubat From Ensia (find the original story here); reprinted with permission. More than two dozen futurists, environmental scientists and others from around the world recently put their heads together to do a “horizon scan”of emerging trends that are getting relatively little attention but have the potential to have substantial impact on biodiversity conservation in …

NASA’s New Horizons Probe Prepares To Make History—Again
Dec 28, 2018

By Robbie Gonzalez Way, way out at the cold, dark edges of the solar system—past the rocky inner planets, beyond the gas giants, a billion miles more remote than Pluto—drifts a tiny frozen world so mysterious, scientists still aren’t entirely sure if it’s one world or two. Astronomers call it Ultima Thule, an old cartography term meaning “beyond the …