News That Matters

Science

New UK housing ‘dominated by roads’

New UK housing ‘dominated by roads’

Science
Planners and engineers have been rapped for allowing new housing developments to be dominated by roads.A report says too many highways engineers are still approving roads that do not fully account for pedestrians and cyclists.It follows a government survey suggesting three quarters of people think drivers should drive less to protect our health and the environment. The new report comes from University College London (UCL). Its author, Prof Matthew Carmona, told BBC News: “Far too many new developments are still all about the car.“It’s all about making sure cars don’t need to slow down. Pedestrians and cyclists just have to get out of the way.“It’s an approach from the 1960s. We should be allowing people to walk and cycle to get to local facilities instead
Barometric pressure in London ‘highest in 300 years’ at least

Barometric pressure in London ‘highest in 300 years’ at least

Science
The weather forecasters have just given us an impressive display of their skill by predicting the scale of the current high pressure zone over the UK.Overnight, Sunday into Monday, London's Heathrow Airport recorded a barometric pressure of 1,049.6 millibars (mbar).It's very likely the highest pressure ever recorded in London, with records dating back to 1692.But the UK Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasts had seen it coming well ahead of time. "Computerised forecast models run by the Met Office and the ECMWF predicted this development with near pinpoint precision, forecasting the eventual position and intensity of the high pressure area several days in advance, before it had even begun to form," said Stephen Burt, a visiting fell...
SpaceX completes emergency crew escape manoeuvre

SpaceX completes emergency crew escape manoeuvre

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device SpaceX has conducted a test of the abort manoeuvre it would use if one of its crew-carrying rockets ever developed a problem during flight.The rehearsal at Kennedy Space Center saw a Falcon-9 vehicle's ascent into the sky deliberately terminated just 80 seconds after lift-off. The Dragon astronaut capsule on top fired its escape engines to carry itself clear of the "faulty" booster.Parachutes brought the vessel to a safe splashdown some 30km off Florida.No humans were involved in the practice abort; the only occupants of the Dragon ship were a couple of Anthropomorphic Test Devices, or "dummies".This was considered to be the last major milestone for California's SpaceX company before the US space ag...
SpaceX abort test succeeds, paving way for astronaut flight

SpaceX abort test succeeds, paving way for astronaut flight

Science
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- SpaceX blew up a rocket in Florida on Sunday in a final test launch of its Crew Dragon space capsule, proving it can carry astronauts to safety in a launch emergency. The successful test means SpaceX is poised to launch the first astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. NASA Administrator James Bridenstine said there is still work to be done, such as a few more parachute tests, but the last big hurdle was Sunday's launch. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said the first launch with astronauts is likely to happen in the second quarter of 2020, no earlier than April. The capsule would carry veteran NASA fliers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. "Given what looks to be a very successful ...
Scientists pinpoint release of energy that powered series of solar flares

Scientists pinpoint release of energy that powered series of solar flares

Science
Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Scientists have precisely pinpointed the explosive release of energy that powered a series of solar flares -- a first. The solar flares were originally recorded in 2017 by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array, EOVSA, a radio telescope operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. While studying solar activity, the radio telescope spotted the birth of a new region of magnetic energy adjacent to an existing sunspot. The explosion of energy sent extremely hot plasma spewing from the solar atmosphere out into space. Recently, scientists reexamined the data collected by the EOVSA, looking for unique patterns recorded in microwave spectrum. Until now, scientists have only been able to study solar flares by examining the electromagnetic signatures registered at the phot...