In case you missed them, here’s another chance to catch this week’s biggest hits. A rare image of the International Space Station passing in front of the moon; breakthrough memory technology; the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star; amateur astronomers spotting a highly-unusual star system; AI experts warning against killer robots; text from a damaged 1,500-year-old scroll brought back to life; and a material with a higher melting point than any known substance were all among our top stories.
Material with Record-setting Melting Point Predicted
Using powerful computer simulations, researchers have identified a material with a higher melting point than any known substance. The computations showed that a material made with just the right amounts of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon would have a melting point of more than 4,400 kelvins (7,460 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun, and 200 kelvins higher than the highest melting point…
Biblical Text Revealed from Damaged 1,500-year-old Scroll
For the first time, advanced technologies made it possible to read parts of a scroll that is at least 1,500 years old, which was excavated in 1970 but at some point earlier had been badly burned. High-resolution scanning and a revolutionary software prototype designed to do “virtual unwrapping” of surfaces from within volumetric scans revealed verses from the beginning of the Book of Leviticus suddenly coming back to life.
Say No to Skynet: Hawking, Wozniak lead AI Experts who want to Ban Killer Robots
Scientists and tech experts — including Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — warned of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence. An open letter, signed by 700 researchers and more than 600 other experts, argues that, if any major military power pushes ahead with development of autonomous weapons, “a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory…”
Amateur Astronomers Spot One-in-a-billion Star
Researchers and amateur astronomers have discovered a very rare type of binary star system: the first known such system where one star completely eclipses the other. In the two-star system, a Cataclysmic Variable, a super dense white dwarf is stealing gas from its companion star, and both stars have lost all of their hydrogen. The highly-unusual system could be an important laboratory for studying ultra-bright supernova explosions.
NASA Kepler Mission One Step Closer to Finding Earth 2.0
NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.” The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone of a G2-type star, like our sun.
Intel and Micron Report Breakthrough Memory Technology
Intel and Micron Technology unveiled 3D XPoint technology, a non-volatile memory that they say has the potential to revolutionize any device, application or service that benefits from fast access to large sets of data. Now in production, Intel reports that 3D XPoint technology is a major breakthrough in memory process technology and the first new memory category since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989.
International Space Station Moon Transit
This image of the Moon was taken by amateur photographer Dylan O’Donnell as the International Space Station passed by at 28,800 km/h. At such speeds, the weightless research laboratory was visible for only about a third of a second before returning to the dark skies. O’Donnell captured the moment in Byron Bay, New South Wales, the eastern-most point of Australia, where the absence of larger towns offers low levels of light pollution.