Malt whiskey experiment aboard the ISS

If you’re a fan of scotch or other malt whiskey beverages, the latest experiment headed to the ISS might grab your attention. An experiment in the chemistry of whiskey maturation is being conducted on the ISS. A liquor company with headquarters on the island of Islay in Scotland called Ardbeg Distillery announced this week that it had sent vials of raw materials to the ISS aboard a Russian cargo flight that took off last October.


Strong hints of the Higgs boson from Tevatron particle collider in US

Scientists at the Tevatron particle collider in the US have found the strongest evidence yet for the existence of the Higgs boson. Their results lend credence to the tentative glimpses of the subatomic particle reported at the end of last year by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern in Geneva – suggesting that the particle is indeed real.


Einstein pwns CERN physicists from the grave

I wonder when it comes to physics geeks if their dream in life is to prove one of Einstein’s theories as correct or incorrect. A group of physicists at a CERN lab near Geneva announced to the world last September that they had recorded particles that move faster than the speed of light. That discovery has grave implications for Einstein’s theory of special relativity that he proposed in 1905. That theory states that nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.

NASA probe discovers ‘alien’ matter from beyond our solar system

For the very first time, a NASA spacecraft has detected matter from outside our solar system — material that came from elsewhere in the galaxy, researchers announced today (Jan. 31).

This so-called interstellar material was spotted by NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a spacecraft that is studying the edge of the solar system from its orbit about 200,000 miles (322,000 kilometers) above Earth.

“This alien interstellar material is really the stuff that stars and planets and people are made of — it’s really important to be measuring it,” David McComas, IBEX principal investigator and assistant vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a news briefing today from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Planet-hunting Kepler hits EXOPLANET JACKPOT

NASA’s exoplanet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has identified a slew of new subjects, adding 26 planets in 11 systems to its inventory.

“Prior to the Kepler mission, we knew of perhaps 500 exoplanets across the whole sky,” said Kepler program scientist Doug Hudgins in a statement announcing the discovery.

“Now, in just two years staring at a patch of sky not much bigger than your fist, Kepler has discovered more than 60 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates,” he added. “This tells us that our galaxy is positively loaded with planets of all sizes and orbits.”

Hudgins didn’t elaborate on exactly what he meant by that well-examined patch of sky being a bit larger than your fist, but we can only assume that he’s referring to a fist being held at arm’s length – and if that’s the case, the sky being “positively loaded” with exoplanets may even be a bit of an understatement.

Space station dwellers safe from massive radiation storm

NASA scientists also routinely monitor space weather conditions in order to protect astronauts and hardware in orbit from harmful radiation, and today’s solar storm is no exception, agency officials said.