A little robotic explorer will be rolling into Antarctica this month to perform a gymnastic feat — driving upside down under sea ice.

BRUIE, or the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration, is being developed for underwater exploration in extraterrestrial, icy waters by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It will spend the next month testing its endurance at Australia’s Casey research station in Antarctica, in preparation for a mission that could one day search for life in ocean worlds beyond Earth.  

 

 

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Forty years ago, a Voyager spacecraft snapped the first closeup images of Europa, one of Jupiter’s 79 moons. These revealed brownish cracks slicing the moon’s icy surface, which give Europa the look of a veiny eyeball. Missions to the outer solar system in the decades since have amassed enough additional information about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA’s search for life.

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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made one of the highest-performance cameras ever composed of sensors that count single photons, or particles of light.

 

With more than 1,000 sensors, or pixels, NIST’s camera may be useful in future space-based telescopes searching for chemical signs of life on other planets, and in new instruments designed to search for the elusive "dark matter" believed to constitute most of the "stuff" in the universe.

 

 

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A skeleton from the Cretaceous found in Japan reveals an early bird with a tail nub resembling the avians of today.

 

Birds are ancient creatures. Every hawk, sparrow, pigeon and penguin alive today has ancestral roots dating back to the Jurassic, when the first birds were just another form of raptor-like dinosaur. Dozens of fossils uncovered and described during the last three decades have illuminated much of this deep history, but the rock record can still yield surprises. A fossil recently found in Japan is one such unexpected avian that raises questions about what else may await discovery.

 

 

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Black holes ‘have no hair’: no attributes that can be used to tell them apart. Extreme black holes (spinning at maximally allowed rate) can have an additional property, permanent hair that is made of a massless scalar field. Nearly extreme black holes (like Gargantua, the black hole featured in the movie "Interstellar") have hair that is a transient phenomenon: nearly extreme black holes that attempt to regrow hair will lose it and become bald again.

 

The black holes of Einstein’s theory of relativity can be completely described by just three parameters: their mass, spin angular momentum, and electric charge. Since two black holes that share these parameters cannot be distinguished, regardless of how they were made, black holes are said to "have no hair"—they have no additional attributes that can be used to tell them apart.

 

 

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Researchers, inspired by diving bell spiders and rafts of fire ants, have created a metallic structure that is so water repellent, it refuses to sink—no matter how often it is forced into water or how much it is damaged or punctured.

 

Could this lead to an unsinkable ship? A wearable flotation device that will still float after being punctured? Electronic monitoring devices that can survive in long term in the ocean? All of the above, says Chunlei Guo, professor of optics and physics, whose lab describes the structure in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

 

.The structure uses a groundbreaking technique the lab developed for using femtosecond bursts of lasers to “etch” the surfaces of metals with intricate micro- and nanoscale patterns that trap air and make the surfaces superhydrophobic, or water repellent.

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