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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 13

UV rays can be as addictive as heroin, scientists claim

People can become addicted to ultraviolet rays from the sun and that stimulates endorphin production in the same way someone abusing heroin or other opiate-based drugs, according to scientists.

 

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"This information might serve as a valuable means of educating people to curb excessive sun exposure in order to limit skin cancer risk as well as accelerated skin ageing that occurs with repeated sun exposure," said Dr. David Fisher, Harvard Medical School, in a statement. "Our findings suggest that the decision to protect our skin or the skin of our children may require more of a conscious effort rather than a passive preference."

 

Using mice during his experiments, Dr. Fisher found mice placed under a sunlamp would go into withdrawal if removed from their light fix - and sunlight helped ease pain. This might help reveal why humans want to sit on the beach or visit the local tanning salon, even though it increases the potential of skin cancer.

Continue reading 'UV rays can be as addictive as heroin, scientists claim' (full post)

Cassini spacecraft gathers data on Saturn's moon Titan

NASA has been planning to gather data on one of Saturn's moons called Titan for a while now. The Cassini spacecraft recently flew past Titan and was able to bounce a radio signal off the surface of the moon and send it towards the Earth. That signal was then received by a telescope array on Earth.

 

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Cassini's radio signal traveled about a billion miles back to Earth. The team controlling the mission says that by looking at the echo of the radio signal that bounced off the surface, researchers can learn about the nature of the surface of Titan.

Continue reading 'Cassini spacecraft gathers data on Saturn's moon Titan' (full post)

SolarCity and Elon Musk to build world's biggest solar farm in NY

SolarCity has signed an agreement to acquire Silevo, which is a solar panel technology and manufacturing company, where the two are now in discussions with the state of New York to build an initial manufacturing plant in the state.

 

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This plant will eventually be generating 1GW of solar power in the next two years, making it one of single largest solar panel production plans in the world. Better yet, it will be followed in the years after by another one or more significantly larger plants, "at an order of magnitude greater annual production capacity", according to a blog post on SolarCity written by Elon Musk, Peter Rive and Lyndon Rive. Musk being the founder of SpaceX, eBay and Tesla Motors.

 

The problem with companies of today, is that they are producing "relatively low photonic efficiency solar cells at uncompelling costs" but the work between SolarCity and Silevo should hopefully see a change to that. They continue, saying: "Without decisive action to lay the groundwork today, the massive volume of affordable, high efficiency panels needed for unsubsidized solar power to outcompete fossil fuel grid power simply will not be there when it is needed".

Elon Musk plans colonizing Mars, establishing sustainable space city

Unless humans evacuate the planet and colonise Mars the species faces complete extinction, Tesla's Elon Musk suggested his company could be the one to do it.

 

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Speaking in an interview with CNBC, Musk said that not only should Mars be a long term goal, he believes the first people could land on the red planet in 10-12 years. "I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," Musk said, adding that this space colony should also be a "self-sustaining city" to "make life multi-planetary."

 

"We should be on a path to creating a self-sustaining civilization on Mars," Musk said. "It will ensure the continued existence of humanity and life as we know it if there is a calamity on Earth, and it will be the greatest adventure in history."

Continue reading 'Elon Musk plans colonizing Mars, establishing sustainable space city' (full post)

Group tells UK's beekeepers: microchip hives to stop honey theft

The British Beekeepers Association is urging the UK's beekeepers to microchip their hives to prevent their theft by specialist gangs of thieves.

 

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Robbing bee hives is quite lucrative, according to the Express, and the UK is seeing the emergence of a seedy honey black market. Colonies have been stolen in King's Lynn, Woodbastwick and Norfolk. "Beekeepers are normally honest people," John Gubb, a 68 year old beekeeper, told the Express. "They won't steal another beekeeper's equipment, but you might get the odd one."

 

He added that they must have had at least some rudimentary knowledge of bee keeping: "If they hadn't known what they were doing there would have been a thick black cloud," he said. But the BBKA's press officer, Gill Maclean, said beekeepers shouldn't panic just yet. "Thefts in most years are reported as less than 100 colonies," Maclean said. "This is a tiny proportion of the total."

will.i.am joins 3D Systems for recycled-Coca Cola powered 3D printer

Prolific pop artist, Intel affiliate and 3D Systems creative director, will.i.am is lending his name to a collaborative project between 3D Systems, Coca-Cola and Ekocycle, which will create a 3D printer that runs on recycled drinks bottles.

 

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The Ekocycle Cube runs on plastic cartridges made from a PET plastic filament, each of which is created from recycled materials - namely empty drinks bottles. It can print an area of 6 x 6 x 6 inches with a 70 micron resolution.

 

But it won't come cheap, initially priced at $1,199. It will also ship with 3D printable accessory designs picked by Mr. i.am himself.

Continue reading 'will.i.am joins 3D Systems for recycled-Coca Cola powered 3D printer' (full post)

Hubble is searching for a New Horizons mission after it passes Pluto

The Hubble space telescope is searching the solar system past Pluto to find something for the New Horizons mission to aim for after it passes Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft is expected to fly by Pluto in July of 2015.

 

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Hubble searching a small area of the sky looking for a Kuiper Belt object that the spacecraft can visit as it leaves the solar system. The Kuiper Belt is a debris field with lots of icy bodies left over from the formation of the solar system.

Continue reading 'Hubble is searching for a New Horizons mission after it passes Pluto' (full post)

Italy eyes sending a special espresso machine to the ISS

If you have ever tried the 80's breakfast staple Tang, you know a little about what astronaut food tastes like compared to the real thing. Tang is nothing compared to actual OJ. The same goes for the coffee aboard the ISS. It seems the Italian component of the ISS crew is tired of drinking instant coffee.

 

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Italy is currently investigating a special espresso machine that may be sent to the ISS. An Italian engineering and software firm called Argotex is working with a coffee giant called Lavazza to create an espresso machine that can be used to make espresso in space.

Continue reading 'Italy eyes sending a special espresso machine to the ISS' (full post)

NASA recreates the smell of Saturn's moon Titan

There are many planets, moons, and other celestial bodies that scientists on Earth are studying. One of the places that NASA is studying is the Saturn moon called Titan. NASA knows what the chemical makeup of the atmosphere of Titan is thanks to the Cassini probe.

 

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The analysis of chemicals in the atmosphere of Titan by Cassini allows NASA to recreate the same composition in the lab and smell it. The scientists added in different products until the mix of methane and nitrogen was as close to the readings from Titan as possible.

Continue reading 'NASA recreates the smell of Saturn's moon Titan' (full post)

PiBot Raspberry Pi DIY robotics kit gears up for Kickstarter

One of the coolest little developer boards out there is the Raspberry Pi. That board can be used for any project needing electronics for control that you can dream up. A new robotics kit made for use with the Raspberry Pi is getting ready to hit Kickstarter.

 

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That robotics kit is called the PiBot. PiBot will have a range of features that electronics fans will appreciate including voice recognition, face recognition, and live HD streaming from the PiBot camera. The robot will be controllable from a smartphone and tablet.

Continue reading 'PiBot Raspberry Pi DIY robotics kit gears up for Kickstarter' (full post)

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