You drop a ball. You drop a key. You drop a piece of lead. They each slip from your hand and tumble to the ground. But you have an orderly mind (you're a physicist) and, to you, falling things don't seem haphazard — they seem neat. The unruly world has rules, laws. So instead of saying "Bummer!" you say, "Of course! How beautiful! How logical!"
Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 2:18 pm
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Scientists are celebrating after receiving a signal from a spacecraft on a very long journey. The Rosetta is traveling through the heavens to study a comet in more detail than ever before. As NPR's Rob Stein reports, the Rosetta spacecraft's call home meant the robot onboard had successfully awakened itself from a long hibernation, and is now on course to achieve its historic mission.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:38 pm
Couch potatoes everywhere, rejoice.
New commercial devices, using technology borrowed from the field of neuroscience, are making it possible to control objects with brain power alone. The idea is to help train users to become more focused — and relaxed.
EEG headsets, which detect electrical activity in the brain, were once found only in research labs. Today, the technology has become cheaper and easier to use. That's made it possible to connect EEG headsets to other consumer devices.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 2:01 pm
... That's the message received from a bleary-eyed comet-chasing space probe on Monday, much to the relief of ground-based controllers who sent it a long distance wake-up call after nearly a three-year nap.
The European Space Agency received the communique from deep space on schedule at 1 p.m. ET from Rosetta, some 500 million miles away on a trajectory to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. It's been in sleep mode to conserve power.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:46 pm
This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.
The United States and European Union say they will lift some sanctions against Iran after reports from international inspectors that Tehran has suspended high-level enrichment of uranium under an interim pact to scale back its nuclear program.
Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 5:42 pm
"I don't know why you're on Mars, but whatever the reason for going to Mars is, I'm glad you're there and I wish I was with you."
That was a part of astrophysicist Carl Sagan's message, recorded a few months before he died in 1996, to the future human inhabitants of Mars.
Some of the earliest science fiction imagined voyages to the Red Planet. We now have the space-faring technology, and getting humans to Mars actually seems within reach. It would certainly involve massive resources and a lot of danger, but some believe the rewards would be massive.