No announcement yet.

[November 28th, 2018] Sci-Tech News Megapack

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    [November 28th, 2018] Sci-Tech News Megapack

    First, news about the InSight lander on Mars, which successfully landed on Monday!

    NASA's InSight lander delivers its first clear photo from Mars

    Earlier today the InSight lander successfully touched down on Mars, and it's already crushing the 'gram. Signals indicating that its solar panels had opened and were generating power came back to Earth at about 8:30 PM ET, along with a few photographs relayed via another visitor to Mars: the Odyssey orbiter. While it's expected to take two to three months to fully deploy the lander's instruments, this image came from its Instrument Deployment Camera which is mounted on a robotic arm.

    InSight Mission Shows That CubeSats Can Relay Messages From Deep Space - IEEE Spectrum

    [QUOTE]Two CubeSats, MarCO A and MarCO B, have gone where no CubeSats have gone before: beyond low Earth orbit. MarCO A and B—short for Mars Cube One—traveled to the Red Planet in a mission to prove that the tiny satellites can be useful in deep space.

    The MarCO satellites made the journey alongside NASA’s InSight lander. According to NASA, the lander successfully touched down on Mars just before 3 p.m. ET on Monday, 26 November. InSight will break new ground as it probes deeper into Mars’s surface than previous landers, in order to explore the composition of the planet’s interior.

    Not to be outdone, however, MarCO did more than set a new distance record for CubeSats. The two satellites have potentially changed how NASA puts rovers and landers on other worlds./QUOTE]

    This company created a high-tech solution to a 2,500-year-old problem – TechCrunch

    Ever thumped over a pothole while driving and cringed, wondering if you’re one step closer to a flat tire and cursing the powers-that-be that roads never seem to get fixed? The founders of RoadBotics certainly have. They developed technology that identifies and catalogs every crag and crack in streets, alerting authorities of issues through an interface that zooms into the tiniest detail of the asphalt beneath your wheels.

    RoadBotics is one of several companies that has received crucial funding and guidance from URBAN-X, an accelerator for startups reimagining city life powered by MINI and Urban Us, whose mission is to solve the challenges that face cities and their populations. We teamed up with MINI to share how RoadBotics makes for fewer bumps in the road on the way to the city of the future – and how URBAN-X helped to pave the way there.

    New brain region 'could be what makes humans unique'

    A neuroscientist has just found a previously unknown brain area. The newly identified brain region could inform scientists' efforts into curing neurological diseases such as Parkinson's or motor neuron disease.

    Self-Driving Volvo Trucks Ready to Work the Mines -

    Volvo Trucks inked its first-ever commercial autonomous vehicle deal with Norwegian mining firm Brønnøy Kalk AS.

    Six self-driving Volvo FH trucks will carry limestone along a three-mile route between an open pit mine and nearby port.

    Don’t be fooled by the short journey from mine to crusher: These high-tech lorries must navigate tunnels and outdoor environments without anyone behind the wheel.

    Laser-driven electron accelerator fits on a microchip

    (Nanowerk News) Electrical engineers in the accelerator physics group at TU Darmstadt have developed a design for a laser-driven electron accelerator so small it could be produced on a silicon chip. It would be inexpensive and with multiple applications. The design, which has been published in Physical Review Letters ("Alternating-Phase Focusing for Dielectric-Laser Acceleration"), is now being realised as part of an international collaboration.

    Particle accelerators are usually large and costly, but that will soon change if researchers have their way. The Accelerator on a Chip International Program (AChIP), funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in the U.S., aims to create an electron accelerator on a silicon chip.

    The fundamental idea is to replace accelerator parts made of metal with glass or silicon, and to use a laser instead of a microwave generator as an energy source. Due to glass’s higher electric field load capacity, the acceleration rate can be increased and thus the same amount of energy can be transmitted to the particles within a shorter space, making the accelerator shorter by a factor of approximately 10 than traditional accelerators delivering the same energy.

    Biologists discover an unusual hallmark of aging in neurons | MIT News

    As we age, neurons in our brains can become damaged by free radicals. MIT biologists have now discovered that this type of damage, known as oxidative stress, produces an unusual pileup of short snippets of RNA in some neurons.

    This RNA buildup, which the researchers believe may be a marker of neurodegenerative diseases, can reduce protein production. The researchers observed this phenomenon in both mouse and human brains, especially in a part of the brain called the striatum — a site involved in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

    “The brain is very metabolically active, and over time, that causes oxidative damage, but it affects some neurons more than others,” says Christopher Burge, an MIT professor of biology. “This phenomenon appears to be a previously unrecognized consequence of oxidative stress, which impacts hundreds of genes and may influence translation and RNA regulation globally.”

    Elon Musk: Ticket to Mars will cost about $200,000 - Big Think ampaign=Feed%3A+bigthink%2Fblogs%2Fdr-kakus-universe+%28Dr.+Kaku%27s+Universe%29

    A ticket to the red planet aboard a SpaceX rocket will likely cost "a couple hundred thousand dollars," according to CEO Elon Musk.

    That may be expensive, but it's a price point that would make the voyage feasible for people who aren't incredibly wealthy.

    "If we can get the cost of moving to Mars to be roughly equivalent to a median house price in the United States, which is around $200,000, then I think the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilization is very high," Musk said last year.

    Ebola Treatment Trials Launched In Democratic Republic Of The Congo Amid Outbreak : NPR

    Deep in the grips of an Ebola outbreak, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has embarked on an "important step" toward finding an effective treatment for the deadly virus. The World Health Organization said the country has launched the first-ever multidrug clinical trial for potential Ebola treatments.

    "The giant step DRC is taking now will bring clarity about what works best, and save many lives in years to come," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general, said in a statement released Monday. "We hope to one day say that the death and suffering from Ebola is behind us."

    The trial aims to determine which of the four leading Ebola treatments — referred to by the WHO as mAb114, Regeneron, Remdesivir and ZMapp — proves most successful in combating a virus that can have a high fatality rate.

    Ultra thin lenses use 2D materials instead of glass - Futurity

    In recent years, physicists and engineers have been designing, constructing, and testing different types of ultrathin materials that could replace the thick glass lenses used today in cameras and imaging systems.

    Critically, these engineered lenses—known as metalenses—are not made of glass. Instead, they consist of materials researchers construct at the nanoscale into arrays of columns or fin-like structures. These formations can interact with incoming light, directing it toward a single focal point for imaging purposes.

    But even though metalenses are much thinner than glass lenses, they still rely on “high aspect ratio” structures, in which the column or fin-like structures are much taller than they are wide, making them prone to collapsing and falling over. Furthermore, these structures have always been near the wavelength of light they’re interacting with in thickness—until now.

    Electrically-induced smells pave way for "cochlear implant for the nose"

    Cochlear implants allow deaf people to hear by electrically stimulating their auditory nerves, and have been doing so for years. While that's all very well and good, what about people who have lost their sense of smell? Well, new research suggests that we may be getting closer to an electrical implant for them, too. In a study conducted by scientists at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear institute, five test subjects had electrodes endoscopically placed within their sinus cavity. Aged 43 to 72 years old, all of the people had an intact ability to smell, which was confirmed by a 40-item smell identification test.
    Those electrodes were subsequently used to stimulate nerves connected to each individual's olfactory bulb, which is a part of the brain that processes and relays smell information from the nose. When this happened, three of the participants reported scents such as those of onions and antiseptic, along with sour and fruity aromas – the perception of these odors was artificially induced by the electrical stimulation.

    Bill Gates' TerraPower developing molten-chloride nuclear reactor - Business Insider

    Bill Gates sees nuclear energy as a potential solution to lowering carbon-dioxide emissions around the world, and he has spent the past decade funding new ways to produce the energy in a safe, affordable way.

    About 10 years ago, Gates cofounded a company called TerraPower to build new kinds of nuclear reactors.

    TerraPower is developing a line of reactors that use a molten-chloride coolant, drawing on a decades-old, but still unused, invention to lower costs and reduce waste. The most common reactors use light (or regular) water as a coolant.

    How scientists are working together to solve one of the universe's mysteries

    One of the most baffling puzzles of modern astrophysics is the nature of Fast Radio Bursts, which were discovered in 2007. These are seemingly rare, extremely bright flashes of light with radio wavelengths. They last only milliseconds; originate outside our galaxy, the Milky Way; come from regions with enormously strong magnetic fields; and pass through a significant amount of gas or dust before reaching Earth.

    All of these facts may make it sound as though scientists know a lot about Fast Radio Bursts. In reality, we don’t. For instance, though we know they’re not from our galaxy, we don’t know where exactly they come from. We don’t know what causes them. And we’re not sure whether they might be useful as cosmological standards to measure the large scale properties of our universe.

    Dozens of theories about Fast Radio Bursts have been proposed. Some conform to standard physics. Others are more exotic, including cosmic strings – hypothetical, one-dimensional structures formed in the early universe – or even rather bizarre: one theory suggests that aliens are responsible.

    (Finally! Flying cars!)

    Audi is starting to test its 'all-electric flying and self-driving car' - Electrek

    Audi, Airbus and Italdesign are all working together on an electric “flying taxi” concept and they are now starting to test the vehicle.

    The concept was first unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show.

    They now have a more refined working prototype, but it’s still a 1:4 scale model – though it is flying and driving at Amsterdam Drone Week.

    It consists of an electric vehicle platform able to accommodate a passenger pod. The platform can drive on the road and park itself under a drone frame, which then receives the passenger pod – becoming a passenger drone.

    Physicists demonstrate a new device for manipulating and moving tiny objects with light

    When you shine a beam of light on your hand, you don't feel much, except for a little bit of heat generated by the beam. When you shine that same light into a world that is measured on the nano- or micro scale, the light becomes a powerful manipulating tool that you can use to move objects around – trapped securely in the light.
    Researchers from the Structured Light group from the School of Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, have found a way to use the full beam of a laser light, to control and manipulate minute objects such as single cells in a human body, tiny particles in small volume chemistry, or working on future on-chip devices.While the specific technique, called holographic optical trapping and tweezing, is not new, the Wits Researchers found a way to optimally use the full force of the light – including vector light that was previously unavailable for this application. This forms the first vector holographic trap.

    Scientist unveils blueprint to save bees and enrich farmers | Environment | The Guardian

    The collapse in bee populations can be reversed if countries adopt a new farmer-friendly strategy, the architect of a new masterplan for pollinators will tell the UN biodiversity conference this week.

    Stefanie Christmann of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas will present the results of a new study that shows substantial gains in income and biodiversity from devoting a quarter of cropland to flowering economic crops such as spices, oil seeds, medicinal and forage plants.

    The UN conference is already debating new guidelines on pollinators that will recommend reducing and gradually phasing out the use of existing pesticides, but Christmann’s research suggests this can be done without financial pain or a loss of production.

    The first post deserving the title "Megapack" I've done in a while. Phew!