After 20 years, thousands of gorgeous photos, and a whole lot of science, the Cassini spacecraft is finally ready to retire. But there'll be no relaxing days on the beach for this old spacecraft; instead, it will go out in a blaze of glory. More specifically, NASA's planning to crash it into Saturn's atmosphere, where it will melt and vaporize.
Articles from Popular Science
The Arctic, in our popular imagination, is a frozen expanse teetering figuratively and literally on the edges of human culture. It remains primal and wild and unsullied by human contagions. It's a nice idea, but one that doesn't match reality.
About one in five Americans believes that the Sun revolves around the Earth. And if you happened to collect 12 of those people on a jury in which the orbiting properties of our solar system were up for debate, the headlines about the verdict would probably read “Earth revolves around Sun, declares American jury.” But that wouldn't make it true.
Language is all about repetition. Every word you're reading was created by humans, and then used by other humans, creating and reinforcing context, meaning, the very nature of language. As humans train machines to understand language, they're teaching machines to replicate human bias.
Your biological clock is probably the most reliable machinery in your body: it runs 24-7 to regulate vital functions from sleep to metabolism and remains stubbornly steadfast when you fly across time zones. Scientists still don't know exactly how this this internal clock works. But now researchers have identified a missing gear that could offer a cure for jet lag.
Just over two years ago, Rob Brown was transfixed by an eBay auction. He and colleagues Chad Brown (no relation) and James Hashmi were bidding on a record pressing machine. It was the only one the new entrepreneurs could find, and it was in the middle of nowhere—in Russia. No one knew if it worked, or could even be refurbished back into working order. Yet, the bidding was feverish: Brown's team walked away, but the press ultimately sold for some $60,000.
We eliminated measles in the U.S. in 2000. Somebody should tell the measles. Because even though the virus has no permanent home stateside, it keeps getting in—more and more, it seems.
At 7:41 p.m. local time, the Tianzhou 1 robotic cargo ship blasted off on a Long March 7 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan Island. Now in orbit, it will soon rendezvous with the Tiangong 2 space station, in yet another first for the Chinese space program.
On Thursday, Google announced that its Home smart hub device can now recognize and identify up to six different users by the sound of their voice. It's an inevitable—but crucial—step in the development of smart home virtual assistants. The new skill means that different people in a household will be able to ask the Google Assistant questions about what's on their calendar, or what their commute looks like, and the Home device will know who is speaking to it and give tailored responses.
Although the night sky often seems so peaceful and still, a closer look reveals constant movement and change. The Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) in California looks for ephemeral phenomena in the heavens, like stars that fluctuate in brightness, or planets passing in front of their stars.