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NASA’s Quiet Supersonic Plane Readies for Flight and More Major Science News of the Week

Next week we’ll see NASA’s supersonic plane without sonic boom

The X-59 is parked in a hangar in Palmdale, California.

NASA’s supersonic experimental aircraft: the centerpiece of the agency’s program mission mission– will leave its warehouse in the California desert next week. We’re excited for this momentous occasion: The X-59 has been in development for six years and, if successful, will demonstrate supersonic flight without sonic booms. -Isaac Schultz read more


South Korea’s artificial sun is cooking up 100-million-degree plasma

Workers inside the KSTAR tokamak vacuum vessel.

Workers inside the KSTAR tokamak vacuum vessel.
photo: Korea Fusion Energy Research Institute (KFE)

The Korea Fusion Energy Research Institute has installed a new steering gear on the KSTAR tokamak device, allowing the artificial sun to maintain high ion temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius for a longer period of time. ——Isaac Schultz read more


Good luck with your pee, as scientists discover why urine is yellow

Pictures of articles titled NASA's Quiet Supersonic Plane Ready to Fly and More Key Science News of the Week

image: Chiolga (Shutterstock)

Scientists say they have finally answered an age-old question: Why is our urine yellow? In new research, a team has found that enzymes produced by gut bacteria play an important role in making our urine softer. Curiosity aside, the discovery may help scientists better understand the gut microbiome and how it affects certain health conditions, such as neonatal jaundice. -Ed Kara read more


Quadrantid meteor shower: How to see hundreds of meteors tonight

In January 2022, a quasi-meteor shower appeared over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In January 2022, a quasi-meteor shower appeared over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
photo: Xue Bing/Costfoto/Future Publishing (Getty Images)

Meteor lovers, rejoice. The first heavy rain of the year is coming. If you want to catch a glimpse of these fireballs, here’s everything you need to know.

Located between the constellations of Boötes and Draco (just near the Big Dipper), the Quadrantids, known as the Quadrantids, are a now-extinct constellation. They are an annual meteor shower that peaks in early January, and in my meteor-loving opinion, it’s a great way to start the new year. ——Isaac Schultz read more


ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket set to launch on Monday, a challenge for SpaceX

Vulcan rocket booster and second stage undergoing testing in Florida.

Vulcan rocket booster and second stage undergoing testing in Florida.
photo: ULA

On Monday, January 8, United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur was finally able to make its first flight. ULA has been a cornerstone of the space industry since its founding in 2006, and as this launch approaches, the company is ready to take its next bold step into space. Here’s what you need to know about America’s newest rocket booster and how it could disrupt the industry and compete with the ever-dominant SpaceX. ——George Dworsky read more


Watch wild new close-up images of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io

NASA's Juno mission captured Jupiter's moon Io on December 30 during its closest flyby of Jupiter.

NASA’s Juno mission captured Jupiter’s moon Io on December 30 during its closest flyby of Jupiter.
image: NASA/Image processing by Kevin M. Gill

The fragmented surface of Jupiter’s moon Io has been revealed in detail by the Juno spacecraft, which has been exploring the Jupiter system since 2016 and recently conducted the closest flyby of the volcanic world. ——Pasante Rabbi read more


SpaceX’s latest launch will bring Starlink to T-Mobile phones

The latest batch of Starlink satellites includes six direct-to-cell satellites.

The latest batch of Starlink satellites includes six direct-to-cell satellites.
photo: space exploration technologies corp.

SpaceX is preparing to test the ability of its Starlink satellites to connect directly to mobile phones in the United States, launching the first six satellites under a temporary license in hopes of extending its connectivity beyond cellular signals. -Passant Rabie read more


NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX flies past the sun on its way to a new asteroid target

Artist's rendering of a spaceship on the surface of Apophis.

Artist’s rendering of a spaceship on the surface of Apophis.
illustration: Conceptual Imaging Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

New mission, who is it? The spacecraft, formerly known as OSIRIS-REx, made an impromptu close encounter with the sun and harnessed one of its solar powers as it followed an elaborate new route to a second asteroid. Battery array provides sun shading. ——Pasante Rabbi read more


Fossils from 1.75 billion years ago are the oldest records of oxygenic photosynthesis

Stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

The story of life on Earth cannot be told without photosynthesis, the process by which plants (and some other life forms) transform sunlight. in chemical energy. Now, a team of researchers has announced the discovery of the oldest known fossilized photosynthetic structure to date, dating back a staggering 1.75 billion years. ——Isaac Schultz read more


Scientists slightly hack people’s brains to make them more susceptible to hypnosis

Pictures of articles titled NASA's Quiet Supersonic Plane Ready to Fly and More Key Science News of the Week

image: Brian Jackson (Shutterstock)

Researchers at Stanford University say they have made the kind of discovery one would expect to see in science fiction. In a randomized controlled trial published this week, evidence has been found that people become more receptive to hypnosis after just two brief sessions of non-invasive brain stimulation. The findings suggest that brain stimulation could make hypnosis a more effective way to treat a variety of health conditions, including pain, although more extensive research is needed to know for sure. -Ed Cara read more

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