Science posts on CNET

Science

Tour the Milky Way in 20 billion pixels

Most of us will never leave the Earth -- but that doesn't stop us dreaming of the stars. There are a few tools that let you explore, though -- and NASA has just launched a killer.

Created from the Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (Glimpse) project, it's the most comprehensive visual map of the Milky Way Galaxy released to date -- and yet it only shows just over half of the galaxy's stars. Stitched together from more than 2 million images taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope over the course of a decade, the zoomable, 360-degree image comes in at 20 gigapixels.… Read more

Paleontologists discover 'chicken from hell' dinosaur

A 66-million-year-old dinosaur has been discovered -- a birdlike creature that provides palaeontologists with a first in-depth look at an oviraptorosaurian species called Caenagnathidae (SEE-nuh-NAY-thih-DAY) -- one that has long been difficult to study, since most remains have only been skeletal fragments.

Named Anzu wyliei (Anzu after a bird-demon from Mesopotamian myth and wyliei after Wylie, the grandson of a Carnegie museum trustee), the new species was put together from three separate skeletons found in North and South Dakota, forming almost one entire skeleton. The resultant dinosaur measures 3.5 metres from nose to tail-tip, weighing in at 225 kilograms (496 pounds), with sharp claws and a feathered body -- resembling, according to the researchers, led by Matthew Lamanna of Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, a "chicken from hell."… Read more

Where should CNET Road Trip go in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas?

The days are warm and sunny here in Northern California, and though it's only the middle of March, it already feels like summer is just around the corner.

One reason is that I've started the planning in earnest for Road Trip 2014, my ninth-annual journey to highlight some of the best destinations around for technology, military, aviation, architecture, science, nature, and so on.

For seven of the past eight years, CNET Road Trip has taken me all around the roads of the United States, giving me the opportunity to visit the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, the Southeast, the … Read more

Preserved woolly-mammoth autopsy shows cloning is a real possibility

The female woolly mammoth unearthed in the Lyakhovsky Islands in May 2013 could one day become the "mother" of the first woolly mammoth to walk the earth in millennia.

The discovery of the beast caused excitement when the scientists who unearthed her found that she was very well preserved -- to the point that her blood was still liquid after all these years.

Now, after a necropsy (an autopsy on an animal), the team has discovered that the mammoth's soft tissues are in excellent condition, so much so that they may be able to extract enough high-quality … Read more

Zombie moss: Plant revives after 1,500 frozen years

It sounds like the next purposefully bad SyFy channel production: "Zombie moss! It came from beneath the Antarctic!" Researchers pulled up a sample of moss that had been sitting frozen for the last 1,500 years. Remarkably, it came back to life and started to grow again. This isn't quite the same as an unfrozen caveman lawyer, but it's pretty cool.

The moss sample came from a frozen core extracted from a moss bank in the Antarctic. It was sliced and placed in an incubator set to maintain normal light and temperature conditions geared for growth. A few weeks later, the sample began to grow. Carbon dating places the age of the moss at at least 1,530 years old.… Read more

See physicist surprised by news his Big Bang theory was right

Physicists on Monday revealed a major discovery in our understanding of how everything got started by spotting gravitational waves that can be traced back to the exponential expansion that occurred in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

These ripples in space-time back up a theory of cosmic inflation developed by physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde in the early 1980s. Linde is now a professor at Stanford and could not hide his excitement when he first learned of the discovery from his colleagues.… Read more

Quadcopter captures footage of active volcano

Active volcanoes, for obvious reasons, are hard to study up close. They're dangerous to human-piloted aircraft -- as well as human bodies -- which means footage of active craters is difficult to obtain.

YouTuber Shaun O'Callaghan, however, figured out a way: with a quadcopter. He attached a GoPro action camera to a DJI Phantom and flew that baby right into the crater of Mount Yasur, an active volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.… Read more

3D-printed medical device rescues baby's breath

Garrett Peterson is only 18 months old, but he has been hooked to a ventilator just to stay alive. He suffers from a serious form of tracheobronchomalacia, which causes his breathing airways to collapse. Even slight movements can trigger the problem, so he has been unable to go home with his parents, Natalie and Jake Peterson. That's about to change thanks to the use of a 3D-printed trachael splint.

"Nothing would stop him from turning blue," said Natalie Peterson in a release from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, where Garrett underwent surgery in January. "Just lifting his legs for diaper change would collapse his airways and that was it. There was nothing we could do to help him."… Read more

Evidence of the Big Bang found in a cosmic 'double rainbow'

While you were thinking about where you'll be spending St. Patrick's Day on Monday night, the hard-working folks at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics were sharing the first direct evidence of a concept first put forward by Albert Einstein almost a century ago that helps explain where we -- and everything else in the universe -- come from.

If your list of to-dos and projects doesn't suddenly seem a little less impressive by comparsion, then congratulations! You're a narcissist.

If you want to cut right to it, scientists have spotted the remnants of the until-now-theorized massive, mind-melting exponential expansion of the universe that occurred in the one trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. This evidence comes in the form of gravitational waves that Einstein predicted back in 1916 as part of his theory of general relativity.… Read more

Could bionic plants save our lives one day?

Bionics, such as this device invented to replace the functionality and feeling of a man's hand lost in an accident, are steadily finding their way into human lives. Thanks to new research conducted at MIT, such devices may soon be infiltrating the plant world as well -- leading to plants that could monitor their surroundings, communicate via cell phone signals, act as living streetlamps, and create more robust crops.

To engineer their bionic plants, the researchers applied a solution containing carbon nanotubes to the underside of the leaves on a Arabidopsis thaliana plant. The plant sucked up the tubes through its leaves using a process known as vascular infusion, incorporating them into its chloroplasts, the structures responsible for photosynthesis. The researchers found that the energy subsequently produced by the plant increased 30 percent, as measured by the amount of electrons that got flowing during the photosynthetic process. … Read more