Eric the robot, 3-D hurricane simulator and Mars up close

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Bring UK’s first robot back to life

The Science Museum London launched a Kickstarter campaign to rebuild UK’s first robot, Eric. Originally built in 1928 – less than a decade after the word robot was first used – he travelled the globe with his makers and amazed crowds in the UK, US and Europe, before disappearing.

The project aims to raise £35,000, which will enable the museum to rebuild Eric and add him to its permanent collection in 2017.

To support the project to rebuild Eric visit

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Close-up of the Red Planet

During May 2016, Earth and Mars are closer to each other than at any time in the past decade. The Hubble Space Telescope exploited this special configuration to catch a new image of our red neighbor with its Wide Field Camera 3.

The final image shows a sharp, natural-colour view of Mars and reveals several prominent geological features, from smaller mountains and erosion channels to immense canyons and volcanoes.

This image supplements previous Hubble observations of Mars and allows astronomers to study large-scale changes on its surface.

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University of Newcastle

Scientists develop world first helium microscope

University of Newcastle scientists in Australia and colleagues at the University of Cambridge in the UK announced this week that after 20 years of painstaking development they created a prototype of a new type of microscope that uses helium to image samples rather than traditional technologies such as light or electrons.

Paul Dastoor, who led the Australian team, said it was the only microscope in the world to enable the true study of organic samples in their unchanged state.
Previously, delicate samples had to be coated with a film such as gold to protect the sample from damage by traditional microscopes – but this too changes the sample.The new, zero-damage Scanning Helium Microscope eliminates the need for coatings.

It will allow scientists to study plant and animal samples – such as this honey bee eye – as well as computer chips, medical samples and pharmaceutical drugs.

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Stellar ornamentation

In this image from European Space Organisation’s Very Large Telescope, light from blazing blue stars energises gas left over from the stars’ recent formation.
The result is a strikingly colourful emission nebula, called LHA 120-N55, in which the stars are adorned with a mantle of glowing gas. Astronomers study these beautiful displays to learn about the conditions in places where new stars develop.

LHA 120-N55 is a glowing gas cloud in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way located about 163,000 light-years away. N55 is situated inside a supergiant shell, or superbubble, called LMC 4. 

Superbubbles, often hundreds of light-years across, are formed when fierce winds from newly formed stars and shockwaves from supernova explosions work in tandem to blow away most of the gas and dust that originally surrounded them and create huge bubble-shaped cavities.


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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

3-D hurricane simulator

Churning waters are seen inside the Surge Structure Atmosphere Interaction Facility at the Ocean Sciences Department at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science as the device simulates category 5 winds being blown over the open ocean on this week in Miami, Florida.

The official start of the northern hemisphere hurricane season is 1 June. The device is being used to understand and better forecast storm surges that accompany hurricanes.

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