Oct 012015

Starting November 2015, two driverless electric vehicles will start travelling between Wageningen University and the city of Ede in the Netherlands, writes Foxcrawl. The fully autonomous minibuses, called WEpods, are programmed to travel a distance of 5-6 kilometers and passenger will be able to stop them via a smartphone mobile app.

autonomous vehicles

Autonomous buses will mix with common traffic in Holland starting November (pic: BBC)

Wepods are designed serve the public transport by carrying up to 12 passengers along the route at a speed of 25 kilometers per hour.

The unmanned busses will be using the regular roads, however, during the first stage of the program they won’t mix with regular traffic if harsh weather conditions – raining, snowing – or if night falls.

The passengers are not left unwatched during their journey: besides the onboard surveillance video cameras and other sophisticated high tech equipment, they will have an emergency button at their disposal which stops the bus whenever pressed. At the same time the technicians at the control center are informed of any possible incident.

The developers of the WEpods project are confident that there will be no unpleasant events, and the entire Netherlands will be able to make use of such uncrewed vehicles starting next year.

Mar 272015

In the center of our galaxy, Milky Way, there is a huge black hole with a mass estimated to be millions of times bigger than that of the Sun but according to NASA scientists who study the phenomenon, this hole is “relatively quiet “.

However, not the same could be said about a black hole spotted in a distant galaxy dubbed as IRAS F11119+3257.

black hole

Distant active black hole blasts outflows of matter and star-making molecules (public domain)

Herschel Observatory’s Telescope snapped images with a supermassive black hole that is simply devouring matter around, and throwing outwards powerful jets of star-making gas molecules.

Researchers have been seeking for long the driving force behind these molecular outflows which fascinated the scientific world.

A new study in the journal Nature, published March 26, 2015, provides the first observational evidence that a supermassive black hole at the center of a large galaxy can power these huge molecular outflows from deep inside the galaxy’s core. These outflows remove massive quantities of star-making gas, thus influencing the size, shape and overall fate of the host galaxy.

“This is the first time we see a black hole in action. It features a tremendous attractive power and could swallow everything around,” explains Francesco Tombesi from the University of Maryland.
Source: Maryland University

Mar 142015

Astronomers at Queen’s University in Belfast have measured the speed of a wandering white dwarf star that travels though space at 1,200 kilometers per second, the highest speed ever recorded for such a celestial body in our galaxy.

The hyper-velocity unbound star, named US 708, is free of gravity, which means that is gonna leave the Milky Way sooner or later.

US 708 star

US 708 is fastest unbound star in Milky Way Galaxy (public domain/NASA)

It is believed that US708 was once part a solar system consisting of two stars, which also included a giant white dwarf star.

The white dwarf turned into a “thermonuclear supernova” and exploded, hitting US708 and sending it for a “walk” into space.

US 708 was first discovered in 1982 by Peter Usher and colleagues of Pennsylvania State University as a faint blue object in the Milky Way halo. Sloan Digital Sky Survey measured the star again in 2005.

The current speed measurement of US708 star sheds some light on the mysteries of the solar systems composed of two stars that ultimately cause thermonuclear explosions. Thermonuclear supernovae are used to calculate the distances to distant galaxies, measurements that help researchers to determine how the universe changes and expands.

The study was conducted by scientists from several countries, including Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and China.
Source: ScienceDaily

Mar 142015

U.S. space agency NASA has confirmed the existence of a new source of water in our solar system. After analyzing scientific data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists confirmed on Thursday that under the frozen surface of Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons, there is an impressive salty ocean.

The discovery solved thus the mystery that engulfed the largest natural satellite of our Solar System, after NASA’s space probe Galileo had provided a number of indications that Ganymede would host an underground ocean. Galileo conducted an exploratory mission to Jupiter and its satellites from 1995 to 2003.

Ganymede moon Jupiter

Ganymede, the moon of Jupiter (public domain/NASA)

Just as Earth, Ganymede has a core of liquid iron that generates a magnetic field, but moon’s field is actually embedded into the magnetic field of Jupiter. This detail creates a special dynamic that lead to spectacular visual phenomena – twin rings of bright auroras around the two poles of Ganymede. As Jupiter rotates, its magnetic field reverses, causing auroras on Ganymede to “swing”.

After studying this swinging motion, researchers figured out that it is not as broad as it should be and after using computing models concluded that a saltwater ocean conductor of electricity, under the surface of the moon, counteracts the magnetic attraction exerted by Jupiter.

Scientists believe that Ganymede’s ocean has a maximum depth of 100 km, making it 10 times deeper than oceans on Earth, and is hidden under a crust of ice, which is about 150 kilometer thick.

Mar 142015
NASA launches four satellites to monitor Earth's magnetic field

An Atlas 5 rocket took off took off at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday carrying four NASA satellites that aim to monitor the energy bursts as well as the electrically charged particles that enter into contact with the Earth’s magnetic field. Atlas V rocket was built and launched by United Launch Alliance, in partnership [Read more]

Mar 142015
Sony Xperia Z4, a flagship smartphone thinner than iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6?

Sony Xperia Z4, the flagship of company’s mobile line-up, is scheduled for roll out over six months at the IFA 2015 event, but some of the features of the new smartphone leaked already on internet. It is rumored that Sony’s gadget, which will most likely see its launch earlier than iPhone 6S, will be 0.04 [Read more]

Mar 142015
ASUS Republic of Gamers G501, a remarkable ultra-slim gaming laptop

ASUS unveiled ROG G501, one of the thinnest gaming notebooks that features an impressive 0.81-inch (2.05 cm) thickness and a 4K display. ASUS Republic of Gamers G501 has a weight of 2.06 kilograms and in terms of specifications, comes with a 4GB GDDR5 Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, an Intel Core i7 quad core [Read more]

Mar 142015
Apple welcomes flexible edge display patent for iPhone

Apple is ready to build side displays into the next generation of iPhones! Various sources argue that the Cupertino-based IT giant has received approval from USPTO with respect to a patent application for edge display technology submitted in 2013. Thus, besides rumors claiming that the iPhones will feature Force Touch just as Apple Watches, it [Read more]

Mar 022015

Internet Engineering Task Force announced that it has finalized the new protocol HTTP/2, and its standardization awaits only the final technical assessment. The new protocol HTTP/2 is the most important improvement of the World Wide Web infrastructure in the past 16 years. HTTP emerged from the appearance of the first World Wide Web server in [Read more]

Jan 232015
Russian cosmonaut Boris Morukov died suddenly on New Year's Day

Boris Morukov, a Russian cosmonaut and physician who conducted simulation experiments for a human mission to Mars, died unexpectedly on Thursday, January 1, 2015 at the age of 64, announced the Institute of Biomedical problems (IBMP) in Moscow. “We announce with deep sorrow that Boris Morukov died suddenly on the New Year’s Day”, the Moscow [Read more]