Stardust or star bust? Betelgeuse’s dimming light puzzles astronomers

PARIS, France (AFP) — Astronomers have managed to take pictures of Betelgeuse showing that the star, one of the brightest in the Milky Way, has been losing luminosity over recent months, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said on Friday. The mysterious dimming of one of the most visible stars in the Orion constellation has astronomers scratching their heads, with some saying Betelgeuse could be about to explode while others point to passing conditions. “The stunning […]

US defense chief warns NATO of China’s Huawei ‘threat’, asks allies not to allow it to build new 5G networks

by Damon WAKE Agence France Presse MUNICH, Germany (AFP) — Top US officials fired a fresh broadside at Huawei on Saturday, warning the Chinese tech giant posed a threat to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)  if allies allowed it to build new 5G communications networks. Washington has been pressing European allies hard to ban Huawei, one of the world’s largest tech firms, from next-generation mobile data networks, saying it is a security risk. A day […]

Space explorers wanted: NASA seeks next generation of astronauts

HOUSTON, United States (AFP) — Wanted: The next generation of astronauts to walk on the Moon and journey to Mars. You’ll need a relevant Master’s degree, be prepared to live and work 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth on the International Space Station, and be a US citizen. NASA announced Tuesday it was seeking to boost its astronaut corps, which currently stands at 48 active personnel, as part of plans to dramatically expand its crewed […]

UK team tests novel coronavirus vaccine on mice

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — A team of British scientists believe they have become the first to start animal testing of a vaccine for the new coronavirus that has killed more than 900 people. Researchers at Imperial College London said their ultimate goal was to have an effective and safe way of halting the SARS-like strain’s spread by the end of the year. “At the moment we have just put the vaccine that we’ve generated […]

Solar Orbiter set to launch in mission to reveal Sun’s secrets

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — The US-European Solar Orbiter probe launches Sunday night from Florida on a voyage to deepen our understanding of the Sun and how it shapes the space weather that impacts technology back on Earth. The mission, a collaboration between ESA (the European Space Agency) and NASA, is set to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at 11:03 pm (0403 GMT Monday) and could last up to nine […]

Food-share apps seeking to help environment

by Véronique DUPONT Agence France-Presse London, United Kingdom (AFP) — Jack Convery pops into a London branch of Italian eatery Coco di Mama to grab a cut-price lunch ordered on his smartphone’s food-sharing app Karma. The 27-year-old Amazon employee — with an eye for a bargain and for helping the environment — uses a mobile phone app that sells surplus food from hundreds of UK restaurants at discounted prices. “Anything I can do to help […]

Scientists race to develop vaccine for new coronavirus

  by Catherine Lai Agence France Presse SINGAPORE (AFP) — Scientists from the United States to Australia are using new technology in an ambitious, multi-million-dollar drive to develop a vaccine in record time to tackle China’s coronavirus outbreak. The new virus has spread rapidly since emerging late last year in China, killing more than 800 people in the mainland and infecting over 37,000. Cases have been reported in two dozen other countries. Coming up with […]

US astronaut returns to Earth after longest mission by woman

by Christopher RICKLETON ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AFP) –NASA’s Christina Koch returned to Earth safely on Thursday after shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts with a stay of almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station. Koch touched down at 0912 GMT on the Kazakh steppe after 328 days in space, along with Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency. Koch was shown seated and smiling broadly after […]

Record-breaking US astronaut set to return to Earth

by Christopher RICKLETON ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AFP) — US astronaut Christina Koch is set to return to Earth Thursday having shattered the spaceflight record for female astronauts by spending almost a year aboard the International Space Station. Koch of NASA is expected to touch down in the Kazakh steppes with colleagues Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency at 0912 GMT after 328 days in space. The 41-year-old […]

Disappointing growth hits Google parent Alphabet shares

by Glenn CHAPMAN Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google parent Alphabet missed revenue expectations in the fourth quarter despite stellar growth at YouTube and in the cloud, earnings figures released Monday showed. Detailing its cloud computing and YouTube revenues for the first time, Alphabet reported that profits rose 19 percent from a year ago in the quarter to nearly $10.7 billion as revenues increased 17 percent to $46 billion. Alphabet and Google chief […]

Facebook’s settlement puts spotlight on ‘biometric privacy’

by Rob Lever Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) — Facebook’s massive settlement in a class action case over violating a state law on how it uses facial recognition is being hailed as a watershed moment for “biometric privacy.” The leading social network said Wednesday it agreed to the $550 million payout after failing to win dismissal of the case alleging it illegally collected biometric information for “face tagging” in violation of a 2008 Illinois […]

Two defunct satellites speed toward possible collision

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Two decommissioned satellites sped towards each other Wednesday at a combined speed of almost 33,000 miles (53,000 kilometers) an hour, raising the risk of a collision that would send thousands of pieces of debris hurtling through space. The satellites — a pioneering international space telescope and an experimental US craft traveling in opposing orbits — are expected to pass within 100 meters (yards) of each other at 2339 GMT, according […]