Q&A: Nanobots could explore human cells – but their size is an engineering challenge

Scientists are developing virus-sized robots that could defuse blood clots, explore human cells or even scrub water of impurities. But as these inventions get smaller, the laws of motion that govern these machines are not very intuitive, so researchers are drawing inspiration from nature, says Brad Nelson, professor of robotics at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, who … Read more

‘Impossible to adapt’: Surprisingly fast ice-melts in past raise fears about sea level rise

Studies of ancient beaches and fossilised coral reefs suggest sea levels have the potential to rise far more quickly than models currently predict, according to geologists who have been studying past periods of warming. At one point in a comparable period they were rising at three metres per century, or 30mm a year, according to … Read more

What happens below Earth’s surface when the most powerful earthquakes occur

At 03:34 local time on 27 February 2010, Chile was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in a century. The shock triggered a tsunami, which devastated coastal communities. The combined events killed more than 500 people. So powerful was the shaking that, by one NASA estimate, it shifted Earth’s axis of spin by a full 8 … Read more

Do you trust automated cars? If not, you’re not alone

Picture yourself speeding down the highway with no hands on the wheel, checking your emails while your car takes care of responding to what’s happening on the road. Would you trust your car to make the right decisions? If you have doubts, you’re not alone.  Car manufacturers believe that people are ready to trust computer-controlled autonomous cars. In March, Honda released the first car with … Read more

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