Satellites about the size of a loaf of bread may one day explore space.

Unlike most spacecraft, which are powered by rocket engines and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, these tiny satellites are expected to cost a few million dollars each and use the sun’s energy to push them across a windless space.

It all underlines that solar physicists really don’t know what the heck is happening on the sun.
A newly discovered fossil from Changyuraptor yangi, a species of “four-winged” flying dinosaur, reveals a design more like a plane than a bird, according to a team of scientists. Science reporter Amina Khan explains how its extra-long tail feathers could have helped it to get around despite its comparatively large size.
Image: Stephanie Abramowicz / Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

A newly discovered fossil from Changyuraptor yangi, a species of “four-winged” flying dinosaur, reveals a design more like a plane than a bird, according to a team of scientists. Science reporter Amina Khan explains how its extra-long tail feathers could have helped it to get around despite its comparatively large size.

Image: Stephanie Abramowicz / Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of a 2-inch-long hedgehog that lived 52 million years ago. They named it Silvacola acares, which means “tiny forest dweller.” The team also found fossils from a tapir-like animal at the same site.
Image: An artist’s rendering of the tapir-like mammal, left, and the tiny hedgehog. Credit: Julius Csotonyi

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of a 2-inch-long hedgehog that lived 52 million years ago. They named it Silvacola acares, which means “tiny forest dweller.” The team also found fossils from a tapir-like animal at the same site.

Image: An artist’s rendering of the tapir-like mammal, left, and the tiny hedgehog. Credit: Julius Csotonyi

All that work that chefs do to make your food look pretty? It’s not just for aesthetics – pretty food tastes better, a new study says.
Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

All that work that chefs do to make your food look pretty? It’s not just for aesthetics – pretty food tastes better, a new study says.

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Do dogs smile? Do rats laugh? Do ducks mourn lost friends?
We talked to some experts, and the answers are: Yes, yes and yes.
Photo: Sydney Brink / Sedalia Democrat / AP

Do dogs smile? Do rats laugh? Do ducks mourn lost friends?

We talked to some experts, and the answers are: Yes, yes and yes.

Photo: Sydney Brink / Sedalia Democrat / AP

Meet Mercuriceratops (the dinosaur in the middle), a recently discovered relative of Triceratops whose bony frill sports wing-like protrusions on either side of its head.

Meet Mercuriceratops (the dinosaur in the middle), a recently discovered relative of Triceratops whose bony frill sports wing-like protrusions on either side of its head.

There are fish-eating spiders out there – on every continent except Antarctica.
Photo: Jason Butler

There are fish-eating spiders out there – on every continent except Antarctica.

Photo: Jason Butler

I’m hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it’s certainly possible for that to occur. But the thing that really matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars. To make life multi-planetary.
In August, Lego will produce a limited-edition set called Research Institute, featuring three female scientists — an astronomer, a paleontologist and a chemist. The set was designed by Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Image: Ellen Kooijman

In August, Lego will produce a limited-edition set called Research Institute, featuring three female scientists — an astronomer, a paleontologist and a chemist. The set was designed by Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

Image: Ellen Kooijman

Tiny swimming robots inspired by sperm could one day be used in surgical procedures, scientists say in a new report.

Tiny swimming robots inspired by sperm could one day be used in surgical procedures, scientists say in a new report.

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has captured video of a coronal mass ejection — solar material shooting out of the sun — in unprecedented detail.

With IRIS, scientists are trying to get to the bottom of what is known as “the solar corona mystery” (a phrase that a cursory Google search suggests is not yet a band name, if you were wondering).

Reporter Deborah Netburn talked to an IRIS scientist about the project.

Video: NASA