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Let's make the coppers wear cameras! That'll make the ba... Oh. No sodding difference

Police forces have been told to temper their expectations of body-worn cameras, as a randomised study involving almost 2,500 US cops throws up little evidence of purported benefits. The work, carried out by an applied research team at the mayor’s office in Washington DC, claims to be one of the largest randomised control …
Rebecca Hill, 23 Oct 2017
Blue Origin's BE-4 rocket engine

Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX

Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos' rocket company Blue Origin has successfully tested its main engine for the first time. The BE-4 engine is, as the name suggests, Blue Origin's fourth generation rocket. B-1 was a wee thing that boasted 2,200 pounds of thrust. B-2 hit 31,000 pounds and B-3 reached 110,000. The BE-4 cranks things up …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Oct 2017
CERN BASE experiment

Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

One of the outstanding questions in physics is why matter and antimatter didn't wipe each other out at the Big Bang?” A new, hyper-accurate measurement of an antiproton characteristic at CERN leaves that difficult question entirely intact. In Nature last week, boffins from the CERN BASE (Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment) …
Mars' twisty magnetic tail

Once more, with feeling: Dawn to take a closer look at Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has received another reprieve, with its mission to dwarf planet Ceres extended for another, closer, flyby. The probe has orbited Ceres since March 2015 and has already revealed a 4,000 metre high mountain that's evidence of cryovolcanism on the dwarf planet. The science is good enough – as is Dawn's …
Astronauts on the International Space Station are ready to sample their harvest of a crop of "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce from the Veggie plant growth system that tests hardware for growing vegetables and other plants in space. Credit: NASA

Plants in SPAAAAAAACE are good for you

Living in space is grueling. The repetitiveness of daily exercise, experiments, crappy food, and claustrophobia can chip away at an astronaut’s psychological well-being, but scientists have suggested a preventative measure: plants. The idea of booting plants into space has been around for a while. The first batch of seeds – …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Oct 2017
Dragonfly sits on a yellow flower

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

"Insects are at the bottom of the ecosystem," the lead author of a study into a massive decrease in collected insects told The Reg. Their loss, he added, is "likely to collapse the entire pyramid". Between 1989 and 2016, boffins used nets to fill about 1,500 one-litre bottles with flying insects from 63 conservation sites in …
Andrew Silver, 20 Oct 2017

Red (Planet) alert: Future astro-heroes face shocking adventures on Martian moon Phobos

Vid Strong solar eruptions may be blasting the Martian moon Phobos with an avalanche of electrically charged particles, charging parts of it to hundreds of volts, and hampering attempts to land on and study the alien landscape. Interest in human spaceflight to Mars has ramped up as scientists keep finding promising signs that the …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Oct 2017
A giant space slug, or "Exogorth", from The Empire Strikes Back

Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

Japan's lunar orbiter has found a long, deep tunnel under the Moon's surface. The find is significant because Earth's Moon is a nasty place: surface temperatures vary wildly, there's radiation galore to contend with and Luna's lack of an atmosphere means the surface is subject to micrometeorite bombardments. Plans to colonise …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Oct 2017
Uranus

Hate to break it to you, but billions of people can see Uranus tonight

Attention, inhabitants of the northern hemisphere of our fragile home world. You're about to get one of the best peeks at Uranus in years – because the strange alien planet will reach opposition with the Sun and be at the closest point in its orbit to Earth. On Thursday and Friday, Earth will be directly in between the second- …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2017
stars

Neutron stars shower gold on universe in big bang, felt on Earth as 100-second grav wave

Barely two years after it came online, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has scored a double success. Last week, the instrument earned its creators a Nobel Prize – and this week we're told it helped spot the first neutron star collision from both its gravitational wave and radiation emissions. At …
Iain Thomson, 16 Oct 2017
elon musk

Elon Musk says Harry Potter and Bob the Builder will get SpaceX flying to Mars

SpaceX, Tesla and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk has suggested Bob the Builder and Harry Potter will help his space exploration efforts. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session dedicated to the Big F**cking Rocket, but which quickly veered into discussion of the Big F**cking Spaceship (BFS) he plans to fly to Mars, the magnate …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Oct 2017

Beardy Branson chucks cash at His Muskiness' Hyperloop idea

Richard Branson, the billionaire behind the Virgin brand, has reportedly invested an undisclosed sum in Elon Musk’s barmy Hyperloop supersonic tube train project, seemingly competing with the billionaire ideas man's own firm. Beardy gets to join the Hyperloop One board, according to the Beeb, and the firm will also add its …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Oct 2017
The Lovell Telescope, credit Mike Peel; Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester

Top of the radio charts: Jodrell Bank goes for UNESCO World Heritage status

Jodrell Bank is going forward for nomination as a World Heritage Site early in 2018. As featured in Geek’s Guide to Britain, Jodrell Bank is home to the Lovell Telescope, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world, and "probably the only Grade 1 listed structure that’s on wheel," according to the site. Reg man …
Kat Hall, 12 Oct 2017
Intel's 17-qubit quantum chip

Look! Over there! Intel's cooked a 17-qubit chip quantum package

Intel reckons it's stolen a base in the race to build quantum chippery, by shipping a cryogenically-cooled 17-qubit chip to Netherlands-based QuTech. QuTech is Chipzilla's quantum research partner – QuZilla, so to speak. Regular readers of spooky-action-stories will know a qubit is a fragile creature, losing data if there's …
Visualisation of Haumea's rings

Someone liked dwarf planet Haumea so much they put a ring on it

VIDEO Back in January, a Spanish-led group of astroboffins turned telescopes skywards to watch an occultation of dwarf planet Haumea, and got a surprise. With the analysis in, it turns out the space rock that circles the sun beyond Pluto has a ring – the first planet discovered beyond Neptune to sport such cosmic jewellery. The …

They've only gone and made a chemical-threat-detecting ring

Smartwatches and Fitbits might be the cool wearables du jour, but they're hardly able to tell you if you're standing in a cloud of noxious chemicals. However, a team of boffins hopes to some day fill this, er, gap in the market with their hip prototype, the broad goal of which is to help keep you alive. Juliane Sempionatto, …
Andrew Silver, 11 Oct 2017
2012 TC4 - NASA impression

NASA readies its asteroid warning system for harmless flyby

With asteroid 2012 TC4 about to pass between Earth and the moon, NASA is gearing up for its much-anticipated live test of its warning system. Back in July, the approaching rock caused a brief flurry of speculation that an impact was imminent, before the European Space Agency issued a “calm down” statement. With error bars …

Three words: Synthetic gene circuit. Self-assembling bacteria build pressure sensor

Beware, 3D printers. Self-assembling bacteria are coming for your jobs. Specially designed bacteria can organise themselves to make a three-dimensional pressure sensor, new research shows. Scientists are engineering these critters in order to some day help more cheaply and efficiently manufacture materials that can perform …
Andrew Silver, 10 Oct 2017
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Boffins' bonkers fibre demo: 53 Tbps down ONE piece of glass

If you've always wanted to pump more than 50 Tbps down a data centre fibre, good news: it can be done. The bad news is that right now, it needs a fair whack of boffinry and equipment. Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology has laid claim to a four-fold increase over previous fibre transport …

What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

Our Moon had an atmosphere visible from space almost four billion years ago – thanks to volcanic eruptions on its surface spewing a concoction of gases at a rate faster than they could escape the heavenly body. A NASA study published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters this week describes our ancient rocky companion in a …
Katyanna Quach, 07 Oct 2017
Spacewalkers repairing Canadarm2

After seven-hour operation, the ISS has a new 'hand'

NASA commander Randy Bresnik and astronaut Mark Vande Hei have spent seven hours upgrading one of the International Space Station's robot arms. The pair worked to attach a new Latching End Effector – the “hand” at the end of the Canadarm2 – to replace one that wore out. Canadarm2 is any old gripper: as well as performing …

In current affairs news: Teen boffin with lots of potential crafts electric honeycombs out of oil

A teenager studying electrically charged particles has captured the formation of an ill-understood electric honeycomb structure called the Rose window. The Rose window – named after stained-glass designs in Gothic churches – is interesting to physicists, because how electricity moves through fluids is important for printing, …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Oct 2017
ViaSat2

Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

Blighty's defence boffins are now spending £10m per year on space research, including a satellite mission set for blast-off in 2019. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is spending a total of £50m over the next five years on space "innovation", in particular for two space-related projects. One of these is the …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Oct 2017
The Soyuz capsule descending under its parachute this morning. Pic: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA tests supersonic parachute, to help us land on Mars

Vid NASA has successfully tested a parachute designed for low-density atmospheres like that found on Mars. The test saw the NASA Wallops facility launch a Black Brant IX rocket, a 58-footer often used for tests and sub-orbital missions, as part of the agency's Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE). …

Biochem boffins win the Nobel Prize for cryo-electron microscopy

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to a trio of researchers that have developed a new technique that captures three dimensional images of biological molecules. Jacques Dubochet, an honorary professor at the Swiss University of Lausanne, Joachim Frank, a professor at New York's Columbia University and Richard …
Katyanna Quach, 05 Oct 2017
Super-villain Dr Evil puts finger to lip in scheming manner, asks for one million dollars. Pic: New Line Cinema

Li-quid hot mag-ma: There's a Martian meteorite in your backyard. How'd it get there?

New research adds extra support for where exactly six meteorites that travelled from Mars to Earth millions of years ago, called "nakhlites", may have originated. It also helps establish what the very unusual volcanic activity on the red planet at the time may have looked like. As the paper states, "Martian plume-fed edifices …
Andrew Silver, 04 Oct 2017
Radio waves reach earth from space

Rosetta probe's final packets massaged into new snap of Comet 67P

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been able to squeeze one last photo out of the Rosetta probe. Rosetta crash-landed onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in September 2016 and the ESA revealed the last image it captured. That snap was thought to have been taken from an altitude of about 50m, but the agency now thinks it was …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Oct 2017

Physicists win Nobel Prize for spotting ripples in fabric of space-time

The 2017 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to three researchers crucial to the first detection of ripples in the fabric of space-time – gravitational waves. Half the prize went to MIT physicist Rainer Weiss and the other half to California Institute of Technology physicists Barry Barish and Kip Thorne. They're all …
Andrew Silver, 03 Oct 2017
drawing of live cat and cat skeleton

Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

That “we live in a simulation" trope being advanced by Elon Musk and some folk on the fringes of science? Fuggeddaboutit, because it's impossible to build a simulator that would reproduce what humans already know about quantum systems. That's the confident conclusion drawn from a paper that revels in the title “Quantized …

Life began after meteorites splashed into warm ponds of water, say astronomers

Life began on Earth only a few hundred million years after the planet’s surface was cool enough for pools of liquid water to form, according to a new study published today. Astronomers from McMaster University, Canada and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany have calculated the probability of meteorites carrying …
Katyanna Quach, 03 Oct 2017
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Bad news! Astroboffins find the stuff of life in space for the first time

Scientists have announced today that a stable organohalogen, a class of compounds normally produced by organisms on Earth, has been detected for the first time in space. But discovering the faint traces of the chemical known as Freon-40 or methyl chloride (CH3Cl) or chloromethane in places that predate life has dashed hopes of …
Katyanna Quach, 03 Oct 2017

Nobel Prize for boffins who figured out why you feel like crap after long-haul flights

Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbach and Michael Young have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm". Those who travel the world will recall the uncomfortable feeling of adjusting their internal clocks to a new time zone. These so-called …
Andrew Silver, 02 Oct 2017
asteroid

Geoboffins claim to find oldest trace of life in rocks 4bn years old

Scientists claim to have found the oldest evidence of life on Earth – contained in Canadian rocks 3.95 billion years ago, when our planet had no oxygen and was being pelted by asteroids. A paper published on Thursday in Nature describes grains of graphite found encased in a rock structure called the Saglek Block along the …
Katyanna Quach, 30 Sep 2017
BFR

Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Elon Musk thinks he can get humans onto Mars within the next seven years. On Friday, he told the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, how he intends to do it. Key to Musk's plans is the BFR (aka a Big Fucking Rocket), a 106-metre (348-foot) tall beast slightly shorter than the Saturn V, and 9 …
Iain Thomson, 29 Sep 2017

Hubble spies most distant comet zipping through Solar System

The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped a picture of the farthest-away inbound comet, at a whopping 1.5 billion miles from Earth. It's a strange find. The comet – codenamed C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS, or K2 for short – has already become active. It is developing a vast 80,000-mile-wide halo of dust as its surface sublimes, despite …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Sep 2017
Black hole - spaghetti visualisation. Artist's impression.  NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

Ancient fat black holes created by belching Big Bang's dark matter

The largest and oldest supermassive black holes were created from a giant clump of dark matter and gas after the Big Bang, according to a supercomputer simulation. Supermassive black holes have long been a mystery to the world's eggheads. It’s a puzzle how the gigantic voids over 13 billion light years away – and date back to …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Sep 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT ? 1998–2017