Hubble gazes into a black hole of puzzling lightness

The beautiful spiral galaxy visible in the center of the image is known as RX J1140.1+0307; a galaxy in the Virgo constellation imaged by Hubble Space Telescope, and it presents an interesting puzzle. At first glance, this galaxy appears to be a normal spiral galaxy, much like the Milky Way, but first appearances can be deceptive! According to Science daily.

The Milky Way galaxy, like most large galaxies, has a super massive black hole at its center, but some galaxies are centered on lighter, intermediate-mass black holes.

How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

Sixty six million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large asteroid and blocking the sunlight for several years, had a profound influence on life on Earth. Plants died, and death spread through the food web. Previous theories focused on the shorter-lived dust ejected by the impact. The new computer simulations show that the droplets resulted in long-lasting cooling, a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs. An additional kill mechanism might have been a vigorous mixing of the oceans, caused by the surface cooling, severely disturbing marine ecosystems according to Science daily.

Has the mystery of the Earth's core been solved?

It has baffled scientists for decades - exactly what is the mystery 'third element' at the Earth's core?

Now, a team has the answer - and says its silicon according to Daily mail.

Researchers have been searching to solve the mystery at the centre of our planet for decades after discovering there is something other than iron and nickel there

Japanese scientists believe they have established the identity of a 'missing element' within the Earth's core.

Great Barrier Reef almost drowned; climate implications

An analysis of the Great Barrier Reef during a time prior to it becoming the modern shallow reef has found the World Heritage Listed 'wonder' almost drowned because of rapid sea-level rise from melting glaciers and polar ice sheets -- with implications for conservation in an era of climate change according to Science daily.

The international research shows the Great Barrier Reef is resilient, with shallow reef growth recommencing once the rapid sea-level rise stabilised during the Last Interglacial period more than 125,000 years ago.

Mimicking biological movements with soft robots

Designing a soft robot to move organically -- to bend like a finger or twist like a wrist -- has always been a process of trial and error. Now, researchers have developed a method to automatically design soft actuators based on the desired movement according to Science daily.

"Rather than designing these actuators empirically, we wanted a tool where you could plug in a motion and it would tell you how to design the actuator to achieve that motion," said Katia Bertoldi, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor.

Designing a soft robot that can bend like a finger or knee may seem simple but the motion is actually incredibly complex.

"The design is so complicated because one actuator type is not enough to produce complex motions," said Fionnuala Connolly, a graduate student. "You need a sequence of actuator segments, each performing a different motion and you want to actuate them using a single input."