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  • Science Visualized

    Rise of reusable rockets signals a new age of spaceflight

    The era of reusable rockets is poised for liftoff.

    As of December 7, the aerospace company SpaceX had reported six successful landings — two on land and four at sea — of its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. The August 14 launch of one of the rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida delivered a commercial communications satellite into orbit around the Earth.

    Reusable...

    12/13/2016 - 11:58 Technology
  • Feature

    Five challenges for self-driving cars

    Self-driving cars promise to transform roadways. There’d be fewer traffic accidents and jams, say proponents, and greater mobility for people who can’t operate a vehicle. The cars could fundamentally change the way we think about getting around.

    The technology is already rolling onto American streets: Uber has introduced self-driving cabs in Pittsburgh and is experimenting with self-...

    12/12/2016 - 09:00 Technology, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Graphene Silly Putty detects pitter-patter of spider footsteps

    Graphene-infused Silly Putty forms an electrical sensor that is sensitive enough to detect the gentle caresses of spider feet walking across it.

    Mixing graphene, or atom-thick sheets of carbon, and polysilicone, the substance found in the children’s toy Silly Putty, made it conduct electricity. Its electrical resistance was highly sensitive to pressure: Squishing the putty caused the...

    12/08/2016 - 14:00 Materials, Technology
  • News

    Zippy new jumping bot catches air again and again

    View the video

    Meet the robot that can do parkour.

    Salto, a lightweight bot that stands on one skinny leg like a flamingo, can leap from floor to wall, then off again — like parkour athletes bouncing between buildings, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley report December 6 in Science Robotics.

    Salto’s not the highest jumping robot out there, but it’s got...

    12/06/2016 - 14:00 Robotics, Technology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers respond to the SN 10, and awards for Science News

    Science’s human side

    In “The SN 10: Scientists to Watch” (SN: 10/1/16, p. 16), Science News recognized 10 up-and-coming scientists across a range of scientific fields who will be answering big questions in the decades to come.

    Barry Maletzky thought that highlighting 10 young scientists may have been unfair and detrimental to other researchers. “By drawing attention to just 10, I wonder...

    11/16/2016 - 11:07 Science & Society, Technology
  • Teaser

    Double-charging material makes a run in the sun extra powerful

    A self-charging textile captures both solar and mechanical energy to power wearable electronic devices — no bulky batteries needed. The top layer contains thin, flexible solar cells woven into a material that harvests energy from the sun. The bottom layer is made from similarly pliable supercapacitors that store the energy for later use, researchers report October 26 in Science Advances.

    ...
    11/15/2016 - 16:31 Technology
  • News in Brief

    New technique shows cells’ molecules in color

    Electron microscopy is finally getting its Kodachrome moment.

    The high-powered scopes can now produce images that simultaneously highlight different molecules in different colors, scientists report online November 3 in Cell Chemical Biology. That’s helpful for researchers hoping to visualize the complex structures of cells or tissues — such as connections between brain cells, shown here...

    11/04/2016 - 07:00 Technology, Cells
  • Teaser

    How to read a book without opening it

    Book lovers: Scientists have devised a way to read without cracking a volume’s spine or risking paper cuts (and no, we’re not talking about e-books). The new method uses terahertz radiation — light with wavelengths that are between microwave and infrared waves — to view the text of a closed book. The technique is not meant for your average bookworm, but for reading rare books that are too...

    10/19/2016 - 06:00 Technology
  • Science Visualized

    CT scans show first X-rayed mummy in new light

    X-rays were the iPhone 7 of the 1890s. Months after X-rays were discovered in late 1895, German physicist Walter Koenig put the latest in tech gadgetry to the test by scanning 14 objects, including the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian child. Koenig’s image of the child’s knees represented the first radiographic investigation of a mummy.

    At the time, details on the mummy itself...

    10/05/2016 - 08:00 Technology, Archaeology
  • Reviews & Previews

    XPRIZE launched new kind of space race, book recounts

    How to Make a SpaceshipJulian GuthriePenguin Press, $28

    On the 47th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch, former Navy pilot Brian Binnie flew a rocket-powered ship past the brink of outer space.

    Named SpaceShipOne, the ship cruised up 112 kilometers, then plunged back to Earth, wings flared like a shuttlecock to slow its descent. SpaceShipOne’s October 4, 2004, flight, the second in two...

    10/04/2016 - 15:53 Technology, Astronomy, Science & Society