Video: MIT's soft robotic fish moves like the real thing

Soft robots — which don’t just have soft exteriors but are also powered by fluid flowing through flexible channels — have become a sufficiently popular research topic that they now have their own journal, Soft Robotics.

Plasma plumes help shield Earth from damaging solar storms

The Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere, stretches from the planet's core out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted by the sun. For the most part, the magnetosphere acts as a shield to protect the Earth from this high-energy solar activity.

Catching signals from a speeding satellite

Soaring high above Earth as they speed through space, satellites are difficult targets to track. Now a new approach developed in Europe is helping ground stations to acquire signals faster and more accurately than ever before.

Cassini spacecraft uses "pi transfer" to navigate path around Saturn

On Jan. 19, 2007, the Cassini spacecraft took this view of Saturn and its rings -- the visible documentation of a technique called a "pi transfer" completed with a Titan flyby.

Did you know oxygen has different shapes?

Oxygen-16, one of the key elements of life on earth, is produced by a series of reactions inside of red giant stars. Now a team of physicists, including one from North Carolina State University, has revealed how the element’s nuclear shape changes depending on its state, even though other attributes such as spin and parity don’t appear to differ. Their findings may shed light on how oxygen is produced.

Number of days without rain to dramatically increase in some world regions

By the end of the 21st century, some parts of the world can expect as many as 30 more days a year without precipitation, according to a new study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researchers.

Computer model predicts vastly different ecosystem for Antarctica's Ross Sea

The Ross Sea, a major, biologically productive Antarctic ecosystem, "clearly will be extensively modified by future climate change" in the coming decades as rising temperatures and changing wind patterns create longer periods of ice-free open water, affecting the life cycles of both predators and prey, according to a paper published by researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Quantum physics secures new cryptography scheme

The way we secure digital transactions could soon change. An international team has demonstrated a form of quantum cryptography that can protect people doing business with others they may not know or trust – a situation encountered often on the internet and in everyday life, for example at a bank's ATM.

Creating a graphene-metal sandwich to improve electronics

Researchers have discovered that creating a graphene-copper-graphene “sandwich” strongly enhances the heat conducting properties of copper, a discovery that could further help in the downscaling of electronics.

Some galaxies in the early universe grew up quickly

Some galaxies grew up in a hurry. Most of the galaxies that have been observed from the early days of the universe were young and actively forming stars.

See Venus in all its glory!

A rainbow-like feature known as a ‘glory’ has been seen by ESA’s Venus Express orbiter in the atmosphere of our nearest neighbour – the first time one has been fully imaged on another planet.

How did life arise? Fuel cells may have answers

How life arose from the toxic and inhospitable environment of our planet billions of years ago remains a deep mystery. Researchers have simulated the conditions of an early Earth in test tubes, even fashioning some of life's basic ingredients. But how those ingredients assembled into living cells, and how life was first able to generate energy, remain unknown.

Report: Scientists find new way to upgrade natural gas

America's current energy boom may take a new direction thanks to the discovery of a new way to turn raw natural gas into upgraded liquid alcohol fuel.

Surface characteristics influence cellular growth on semiconductor material

Changing the texture and surface characteristics of a semiconductor material at the nanoscale can influence the way that neural cells grow on the material. The finding stems from a study performed by researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Purdue University, and may have utility for developing future neural implants.

NASA's Robonaut Legs headed for International Space Station (ISS)

NASA's built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station's robotic crewmember. The new legs will be delivered to the space station aboard the SpaceX-3 cargo resupply mission, due to launch March 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

VLT spots largest yellow hypergiant star

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), Olivier Chesneau (Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Nice, France) and an international team of collaborators have found that the yellow hypergiant star HR 5171 A is absolutely huge — 1300 times the diameter of the Sun and much bigger than was expected.

Quantum chaos in ultracold gas discovered

The team of Francesca Ferlaino, Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck, Austria, has experimentally shown chaotic behavior of particles in a quantum gas. "For the first time we have been able to observe quantum chaos in the scattering behavior of ultracold atoms," says an excited Ferlaino.

Can material rivaling graphene be mined out of rocks? Yes, if...

Will one-atom-thick layers of molybdenum disulfide, a compound that occurs naturally in rocks, prove to be better than graphene for electronic applications? There are many signs that might prove to be the case. But physicists from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw have shown that the nature of the phenomena occurring in layered materials are still ill-understood and require further research.

Turing’s theory of morphogenesis validated 60 years after his death

British mathematician Alan Turing’s accomplishments in computer science are well known—he’s the man who cracked the German Enigma code, expediting the Allies’ victory in World War II.

Water-rich gem points to vast 'oceans' beneath the Earth

A University of Alberta diamond scientist has found the first terrestrial sample of a water-rich gem that yields new evidence about the existence of large volumes of water deep beneath the Earth.