Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 250
Soft Robotics just took a step forward into the future with a new advancement that sees the development of stretchable skin-like robots.
This new technology has been published in Soft Robotics and has come out of the University of Bristol. The difference between 'soft robots' and normal robots is that soft robots can adapt to their environment by stretching and shifting design, while normal robots are much more ridged. Up until now, researchers have had to choose between the soft robots ability to move and its ability to be able to grip onto surfaces.
Now, researchers from the University of Bristol have taken large inspiration from biological life such as slugs and snails and developed a new robotic skin that can do both. This new robotic skin can crawl across surfaces by the new artificial muscles that researchers have developed for it and grips to surfaces using electrical charges. The new invention has been titled ElectroSkin and its so stretchable that it can be compressed down a normal pants pocket.
SpaceX is currently in the midst of testing its prototype Starship Mk1 vehicle, and with every good prototype you are bound to run into some complications.
During the Starship's max pressure testing that occurred yesterday in Texas, the next-gen spacecraft blew its top and erupted huge plumes of gas into the sky. Some pieces of the craft busted off the ship and scattered around the testing site. A spokesperson for SpaceX told The Verge that "The purpose of today's test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected."
The spokesperson also said that "There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback." While the above video might seem like its a massive problem, SpaceX is assuring the public that this is no set back and is routine testing procedure. Instead of repairing Mk1 and continuing ahead with that design, SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk has said on Twitter that they will instead move towards a new and more up-to-date design that the company had on the shelf.
NASA has said that the Hubble Space Telescope is giving astronomers a look at the location of the most powerful gamma-ray burst ever recorded.
According to the post on the official NASA website, in January this year, a gamma-ray burst was detected by many of NASA's telescopes, and since then further study has been made by Hubble and astronomers. This gamma-ray burst was a trillion times more powerful than visible light, and just within the few seconds of the blast happening, it emitted more energy than the sun has provided over its 10 billion year life.
Andrew Levan of the Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics Department of Astrophysics at Radboud University in the Netherlands said, "Hubble's observations suggest that this particular burst was sitting in a very dense environment, right in the middle of a bright galaxy 5 billion light years away. This is really unusual, and suggests that this concentrated location might be why it produced this exceptionally powerful light".
You might not have heard about Heliogen before, but you will soon if their new technology continues breaking barriers -- the Bill Gates-backed energy startup has successfully concentrated solar energy at "breakthrough" temperatures breaching 1000C (1832F), making it hot enough that it could replace fossil fuels in industrial tasks like producing cement and steel.
Heliogen is tapping AI in the form of computer vision to precisely align a bunch of mirrors to reflect sunlight on a single target, therefore concentrating all of the sun's energy into one point. Until now, this wasn't exactly possible and it's what Heliogen has done differently - and successfully.
At their commercial facility in Lancaster, California, Heliogen experienced what is just our first taste at the realms of replacing fossil fuels by using carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun, transforming that sunlight into fuels. Before now, commercial concentration of sunlight have only reached 565C (1049F) -- but Heliogen's work here saw them hit 1000C (1832F). These temperatures are normally only reached by burning fossil fuels, making this a big breakthrough.
SpaceX seems to have just breathed life into its biggest rocket yet, the full-size Starship Mk1 vehicle. Are we ready to take off yet?
Perhaps not just yet, but the preliminary testing before take-off is underway. According to onlookers of the Starship testing at SpaceX's facilities near South Texas town Boca Chica, the Starship prototype entered a pressure testing phase. Above, we have a video from the NASASpaceflight YouTube Channel, who captured SpaceX employees working on Starship and then it's first-ever vent test.
SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk has said that the Starship Mk1 will be companies deep-space transportation vehicles and that the rockets used aboard the ship will be reusable to minimalize flight costs. Starship is 165-feet tall and uses SpaceX's biggest rocket yet, the Super Heavy. SpaceX recently got selected by NASA to work on the Artemis lunar program to design a lunar lander, check out that article here.
Since humans could see there were other planets nearby, we have always wanted to pursue these distant worlds, but what are the risks of traveling there?
NASA has recently conducted a new study on astronauts that spent some time on the International Space Station (ISS) and returned back to Earth. The study showed evidence of the human being affected by low-gravity, and more specifically, in the astronaut's upper body. The study looked at eleven astronauts, nine men and two women who spent an average of six months aboard the ISS.
NASA used ultrasounds on the astronauts and found that by the 50th day aboard the floating lab that seven of the eleven astronauts had a lack of blood flowing through their internal jugular vein. The study also found that the blood sometimes even went in reverse. For those that don't know what the internal jugular vein is, it's a vital vein located on the side of your neck that collects blood from the brain and face. NASA also found that one of the astronauts developed clotting in the vein while still in flight back to Earth.
So what happens when we run out of food due to climate change pushing us in that direction? A Swedish scientist has said that we should consider the idea of eating human flesh.
A Swedish scientist called Soderlund spoke throughout an interview on the State Swedish Television channel TV4. Throughout his interview he gave a power-point presentation called "Can you Imagine Eating Human Flesh?". As you can imagine this power-point included many topics that pointed towards cannibalism being the solution to the ill effects of climate change.
Soderlund explained that he isn't calling for people to go out and kill their neighbours and eat their corpses for dinner like humans did back in ancient times. Instead, he argues that over time food sources will become more scarce which would then result in people having to think outside the box to obtain food. That outside of the box thinking would first start with humans consuming pets, insects and then eventually other humans. The scientist believes that if people were introduced to human flesh over a long period of time there wouldn't be that much of a resistance.
Scientists have been pondering the origins of life since they have had the mental capacity to do so. Today we have been brought one step closer to the answer.
A team of scientists has made a brand new breakthrough discovery regarding the origins of life and how they occurred on Earth. The team has found ribose, arabinose, and xylose sugars in two different meteorites, which has now been added to an already growing list of biologically relevant compounds that have been found in space rocks. Ribose is a critical component of RNA (ribonucleic acid), and in modern life, RNA is the messenger molecule that copies genetic instructions from DNA.
Yoshihiro Furukawa of Tohoku University, Japan, lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said "Other important building blocks of life have been found in meteorites previously, including amino acids (components of proteins) and nucleobases (components of DNA and RNA), but sugars have been a missing piece among the major building blocks of life. The research provides the first direct evidence of ribose in space and the delivery of the sugar to Earth. The extraterrestrial sugar might have contributed to the formation of RNA on the prebiotic Earth which possibly led to the origin of life."
Just over 200km north of me here in South Australia is the huge Tesla battery storage array in Hornsdale, with the Hornsdale Power Reserve currently having battery output of 100 megawatts -- and that's to soon increase by 50%.
Tesla, the South Australian government and federal government, as well as French renewable energy company Neoen will be expanding the Hornsdale Power Reserve from 100 megawatts, to 150 megawatts. The upgrades will also include battery storage capacity boosts, which will see it expand up to 193.5 megawatt hours -- enough juice to keep it operating at 100% for over an hour.
The deal comes at the perfect time, with weather here in South Australia for November 20 set to be the hottest November on record with temperatures hitting 40C (104F) at just 10AM. I'm writing this news with all air conditioning on right now and I'm just surviving, but the electrical grid will be taking a big strain today.
NASA has introduced five more companies into the Artemis lunar program, and these companies will be designing what they think is the best moon lander for an astronaut return trip.
NASA has selected the following companies to join its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS): SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp., Ceres Robotics and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. The basis of this program is that private companies will be able to compete for contracts to deliver NASA science to the surface of the moon. This means that the previously listed companies will all be designing their lunar lander, along with nine other NASA selected companies.
According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, "American aerospace companies of all sizes are joining the Artemis program. Expanding the group of companies who are eligible to bid on sending payloads to the moon's surface drives innovation and reduces costs to NASA and American taxpayers. We anticipate opportunities to deliver a wide range of science and technology payloads to help make our vision for lunar exploration a reality and advance our goal of sending humans to explore Mars."