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Could a Massive Collision Produce a Subsurface Ocean on Pluto?

Pluto and Charon have captured our hearts and imaginations. But how did these adorably strange worlds form, and what consequences could that have on what we see now? Researcher Amy Barr Mlinar chatted with us about catastrophic collisions, subsurface oceans, and Pluto’s lack of craters. » 7/22/15 11:08am 7/22/15 11:08am

This Dying Star Is The Center Of The Coldest Place In The Universe

Until NASA's Cold Lab comes online in 2016, the coldest place in the universe is a faint scattering of gas and dust 5,000 light years away in the Centaurus constellation. The Boomerang Nebula is just 1 degree above absolute zero, colder than the natural background temperature of space. » 12/18/14 5:02pm 12/18/14 5:02pm

Why Julius Robert von Mayer was one of the unluckiest men in science

It's a truism of science that concepts and inventions are rarely attributed to the person who actually came up with them. Most concepts and inventions have several creators, from the Pythagorean theorem to the radio. But one particular concept — the first law of thermodynamics — has two creators who came up with it… » 2/22/13 8:00am 2/22/13 8:00am

The world's tiniest steam engine uses lasers instead of coal

Steam engines run because of statistics — the particles in the machine have a predictable overall behavior, which drives the engine's piston up and down. But if you shrink the engine down to micrometer size, it'll contain far fewer particles, few enough that the behavior of each individual particle could potentially… » 12/16/11 12:27pm 12/16/11 12:27pm