2014 is a good year to find a comet

A team of European astronomers has found a previously unknown comet, detected as a tiny blob of light orbiting our Sun deep in the Solar System. Europe’s Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey team has been credited with discovering comet P/2014 C1, named ‘TOTAS’ in recognition of the teamwork involved in the find.

IBEX helps paint picture of the magnetic system beyond the solar wind

Understanding the region of interstellar space through which the solar system travels is no easy task. Interstellar space begins beyond the heliosphere, the bubble of charged particles surrounding the sun that reaches far beyond the outer planets. Voyager 1 has crossed into this space, but it’s difficult to gain a complete global picture from measurements in only one direction.

NASA moves longest-serving Mars spacecraft for new observations

NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has tweaked its orbit to help scientists make the first systematic observations of how morning fogs, clouds and surface frost develop in different seasons on the Red Planet.

Could action video games help people with dyslexia learn to read?

In addition to their trouble with reading, people with dyslexia also have greater difficulty than typical readers do when it comes to managing competing sensory cues, according to a study reported February 13 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The findings suggest that action video games might improve literacy skills in those with dyslexia, which represent five to ten percent of the population.

Claim: Cars, computers, TVs spark obesity in developing countries

The spread of obesity and type-2 diabetes could become epidemic in low-income countries, as more individuals are able to own higher priced items such as TVs, computers and cars.

Cities support more native biodiversity than previously thought

The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city.

World's largest solar thermal plant goes online

Whether you see it as a brash and impressive American feat of energy engineering in the tradition of Hoover and Grand Coulee dams, or a blight on nature in the tradition of, uh, Hoover and Grand Coulee dams, it’s here. Ivanpah is here.

New system combines control programs so fleets of robots can collaborate

A new system combines simple control programs to enable fleets of robots -- or other 'multiagent systems' -- to collaborate in unprecedented ways.

Report: Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel

Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.

Largest solar system moon detailed in geologic map

More than 400 years after its discovery by astronomer Galileo Galilei, the largest moon in the solar system – Jupiter's moon Ganymede – has finally claimed a spot on the map.

How stellar death can lead to twin celestial jets

Astronomers know that while large stars can end their lives as violently cataclysmic supernovae, smaller stars end up as planetary nebulae — colorful, glowing clouds of dust and gas.

NASA's Curiosity rover drives on after crossing Martian dune

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is continuing its traverse toward enticing science destinations after climbing over a dune spanning a gap in a ridge.

This hybrid has its own drone

French automotive brand Renault, at an auto show in India recently, unveiled a new plug-in hybrid concept “aimed at meeting the needs of young customers in new markets as closely as possible.” It is its first concept car to be unveiled outside of Europe, and it’s known as the Kwid Concept. Oh, yeah, and it comes with its own drone.

Kia unveils slick Niro hybrid concept

Kia Motors, normally relatively quiet on the alternative automotive front, has been busy in the last week. Not only did it showcase the 2014 Optima Hybrid in Chicago at an auto show, but it also used that venue to unveil its Soul EV electric car. One other offering turning up there is well, and making its U.S. debut, was the Niro hybrid urban lifestyle concept vehicle.

Maps show expected redistribution of global species due to climate change

As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to follow their ideal climate. A new study provides an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. The findings appear in the science journal Nature.

Source of ‘moon curse’ revealed by eclipse

Strange events have long been linked to nights of a full moon, though careful scrutiny dispels any association. So, when signals bounced off the lunar surface returned surprisingly faint echoes on full moon nights, scientists sought an explanation in reason rather than superstition. Still, the most compelling evidence arrived during another event that once evoked irrational fears—on a night when Earth's shadow eclipsed the full moon.

NASA spacecraft get a 360-degree view of Saturn's auroras

NASA trained several pairs of eyes on Saturn as the planet put on a dancing light show at its poles. While NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting around Earth, was able to observe the northern auroras in ultraviolet wavelengths, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, orbiting around Saturn, got complementary close-up views in infrared, visible-light and ultraviolet wavelengths. Cassini could also see northern and southern parts of Saturn that don't face Earth.

NASA wants better batteries for electric vehicles

Electricity producing batteries are a vital part of daily life on Earth and in space. Power storage devices keep spacecraft operating, cars running, cell phones connected and flashlights lit. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) now is funding 22 projects across 15 states with a total of $36 million to develop better, more efficient power sources for electric vehicles (EV).

This house uses mushrooms as insulation

ast spring, we explored the fascinating work of Ecovative Design, an upstate New York company that was expanding from using fungi as the basis for greener-than-plastics shipping materials into the building insulation realm.

Used EV batteries put to work

As older hybrids and electric cars start to reach the end of the life cycle for the high density batteries installed in them, research has been going on to what exactly can be done with the energy storage devices to keep them out of landfill.