Delivering VR in perfect focus with nanostructure meta-lenses

 Delivering VR in perfect focus with nanostructure meta-lenses

If wearing a virtual reality or augmented reality headset is ever to become commonplace, hardware manufacturers will need to figure out how to make the devices small and lightweight while ensuring their images are sharp and clear. Unfortunately, this task faces a key limitation in optics: Conventional lenses are curved glass objects that focus different wavelengths of light in different locations, which would show viewers blurry images. As a result, pretty much anything with a lens – from tiny smartphone cameras to large-scale projectors – uses multiple lenses, which add weight, thickness and complexity, increasing cost.

The challenges of an alien spaceflight program: escaping super earths and red dwarf stars

The challenges of an alien spaceflight program: escaping super earths and red dwarf stars

Since the beginning of the Space Age, humans have relied on chemical rockets to get into space. While this method is certainly effective, it is also very expensive and requires a considerable amount of resources. As we look to more efficient means of getting out into space, one has to wonder if similarly-advanced species on other planets (where conditions would be different) would rely on similar methods.

This meteorite is one of the few remnants from a lost planet that was destroyed long ago!

This meteorite is one of the few remnants from a lost planet that was destroyed long ago!

What if our Solar System had another generation of planets that formed before, or alongside, the planets we have today? A new study published in Nature Communications on April 17th 2018 presents evidence that says that’s what happened. The first-generation planets, or planet, would have been destroyed during collisions in the earlier days of the Solar System and much of the debris swept up in the formation of new bodies.

Mysterious red spots on Mercury get names – but what are they?

 Mysterious red spots on Mercury get names – but what are they?

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, but far from being a dull cinder of a world, it has instead turned out to be a real eye opener for geologists. Among the revelations by NASA’s MESSENGER probe, which first flew past Mercury in 2008 and orbited it between 2011 and 2015, is the discovery of a hundred or so bright red spots scattered across the globe. Now they are at last being named.

Did you know the earth has a second magnetic field? Its oceans

Did you know the earth has a second magnetic field? Its oceans

Earth’s magnetic field is one of the most mysterious features of our planet. It is also essential to life as we know it, ensuring that our atmosphere is not stripped away by solar wind and shielding life on Earth from harmful radiation. For some time, scientists have theorized that it is the result of a dynamo action in our core, where the liquid outer core revolves around the solid inner core and in the opposite direction of the Earth’s rotation.

The NewSpace revolution is about to bring us tiny space telescopes we can all control

The NewSpace revolution is about to bring us tiny space telescopes we can all control

One of the defining characteristics of the modern era of space exploration is the way the public and private aerospace companies (colloquially referred to as the NewSpace industry) and are taking part like never before. Thanks to cheaper launch services and the development of small satellites that can be built using off-the-shelf electronics (aka. CubeSats and microsats), universities and research institutions are also able to conduct research in space.

How we found a giant ichthyosaur almost as big as a blue whale

 How we found a giant ichthyosaur almost as big as a blue whale

When fossil collector Paul De la Salle discovered pieces of a giant bone on Lilstock beach in Somerset in May 2016, he didn’t realise he had stumbled on a clue to a near 170-year-old mystery. Returning to the beach the following month, he found more pieces that together measured about a metre in length. De la Salle realised he was looking at the lower jaw of a huge ichthyosaur, an ancient type of marine reptile that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.

Dense star clusters could be the places where black hole mergers are common

Dense star clusters could be the places where black hole mergers are common

In February of 2016, scientists working for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made history when they announced the first-ever detection of gravitational waves. Not only did this discovery confirm a century-old prediction made by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it also confirmed the existence of stellar binary black holes – which merged to produce the signal in the first place.

Supercontinent formation may be linked to a cycle of supertides

 Supercontinent formation may be linked to a cycle of supertides

Earth’s crust is made up of fractured slabs of rock, like a broken shell on an egg. These plates move around at speeds of about 5cm per year – and eventually this movement brings all the continents together and form what is known as a supercontinent. The last supercontinent on Earth was Pangaea, which existed between 300-180m years ago.