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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 4

The answer to cheap space travel to other planets is a 1,000km Skyhook

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 20 hours, 13 mins ago

The answer to efficient and cheap space travel might just be simpler than you think; all it requires is a cable and a weight.

Above, we have a video from Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell, and this time around, the scientific YouTube Channel is exploring the idea of cheap and effective space travel. The idea that is proposed begins with what is called a 'Tether,' which is simply a weight with a cable attached to it. Kurzgesagt suggests that humans build extremely long versions of these tethers and place them at a safe distance around our planet and use them as a 'free' means of propulsion to other planets.

Since the tether would be spinning around our planet, spaceships would be able to attach onto the tether and use its rotational force to be pushed towards a designated planet. The video says that there will be a few problems in doing this; humans would have to create smaller spacecrafts that would be able to match the tethers speed throughout our atmosphere (12,000km per hour). While that might sound extremely difficult, it should be noted that traditional spacecrafts need to reach 45,000km per hour to exit our planet's gravity.

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Mountains to be used as jumbo batteries for long-term energy storage

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 20 hours, 48 mins ago

A new means of storing renewable energy is being researched, and strangely enough in incorporates using mountains as big batteries.


The study by Julian Hunt and his colleagues of Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) details a new system of energy storage called "Mountain Gravity Energy Storage (MGES)". MGES places cranes on the edges of steep mountains and then moves sand/gravel from a storage site located at the bottom of the mountain to another storage site located at the top.

This process is much like a ski-lift and requires a motor or a generator to transport the storage vessels but instead it generates electricity when the sand is lowered back down from the top site. How is this done? MGES uses gravity to its advantage, converting energy into storeable electricity that is proportional to the sand's mass, gravity and height of the mountain its situation on.

NASA: oxygen is being created and used on Mars and they don't know why

By: Anthony Garreffa | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 4 days, 2 hours ago

NASA has admitted that it is "struggling to explain" why oxygen is being created, and then consumed on Mars. The US space agency has been left scratching their collective heads since.


The reason behind this is that NASA's own Curiosity rover that is chilling on the Red Planet has returned some rather interesting data back to our Pale Blue Dot, showing that elevated methane levels were recorded, and NASA can't explain why. There have been tests conducted and completed to try and work out why these levels were so high, but NASA doesn't know why.

NASA's Curiosity rover "breathes" in the air on Mars, analyzes it and tells NASA what types of gasses are detected. But something interesting was discovered -- here on Earth the background levels of certain gasses will increase and decrease as the seasons change, and something similar is happening on Mars.

Continue reading 'NASA: oxygen is being created and used on Mars and they don't know why' (full post)

Scientists create sci-fi 3D holograms that you can see, feel and hear

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 4 days, 17 hours ago

Scientists out of Britain have managed to create realistic 3D holograms that can be seen with the naked eye, heard and even felt.

A team of scientists working at the University of Sussex in southern England has managed to use technology to create a prototype called Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display (MATD). This prototype has the ability of "simultaneously deliver visual, auditory and tactile content". This is done through using sound waves or "acoustophoresis" that move and manipulate particles to form an image.

The team spoke out about how they achieved this, saying "Our system traps a particle acoustically and illuminates it with red, green and blue light to control its color as it quickly scans the display volume." Due to the system being developed with sound waves, it allows the hologram to not only be seen but also heard and felt.

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NASA side-step big Nazi controversy by renaming Kuiper Belt object

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 4 days, 19 hours ago

The Kuiper Belt object located deep in our solar system has had its named changed from MU69 Ultima Thule, to Arrokoth.

Why have NASA decided to make the name change? Well, 'Ultima Thule' means "farthest place", but it also has the same term that white supremacists and Nazi's in particular used to refer to a mythical homeland. The 'Thule Society' was a German occultist group founded in Munich right after World War I.

The society was also heavily recognised by Adolf Hitler, and as you can imagine many people that knew these facts didn't think that NASA's name for the object fit. So in an effort to side-step the controversy, NASA decided to rename the object from 'Ultima Thule' to 'Arrokoth'. This new name is derived from Powhatan/Algonquian language and it means 'sky'. Above is a video of Dr. Phoebe Farris of the Powhatan-Pamunkey Tribe officially renaming the Kuiper Belt object.

This star moving at hyperdrive-speeds was spat out from our black hole

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 5 days, 21 hours ago

Astronomers have confirmed that a star was ejected out the supermassive black hole that is located at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy.


A team of researchers of Carnegie Mellon University's McWilliams Center for Cosmology spotted the star, which is titled S5-HVS1 in a constellation called Grus. When spotted by the team, it was traveling at insane speeds, 10x the speed of most other stars in our galaxy. According to the team, S5-HVS1 was moving at a ridiculous 3.7 million mph after it was ejected out the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*.

The team of researchers was led by Sergey Koposov, who said, "This is super exciting, as we have long suspected that black holes can eject stars with very high velocities. However, we never had an unambiguous association of such a fast star with the galactic center." Douglas Boubert, a researcher at the University of Oxford and a co-author of the study, said: "The velocity of the discovered star is so high that it will inevitably leave the galaxy and never return".

Continue reading 'This star moving at hyperdrive-speeds was spat out from our black hole' (full post)

Morphing stingray-like spacecraft plans to explore dark side of Venus

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 6 days, 19 hours ago

Researchers are currently designing an extremely unusual but still awesome spacecraft for NASA. The spacecraft resembles a stingray, but it's not all just for show.


Researchers out of the University of Buffalo are designing the Bio-inspired Ray for Extreme Environments and Zonal Explorations (BREEZE). This is a project that has been selected by NASA to receive funding as it has the potential of changing space exploration forever. The researchers designing the spacecraft are envisioning a morphing spacecraft that can flap its wings and make efficient use of the high winds that are in Venus' upper atmosphere.

Researchers are planning on having BREEZE circumnavigate Venus every four to six days, with solar panels also located on the hull it can charge over two to three days on the planets illuminated side. This solar energy would be stored and then power the other instruments that will take atmospheric samples, track weather patterns, monitor volcanic activity, and more.

Continue reading 'Morphing stingray-like spacecraft plans to explore dark side of Venus' (full post)

Mercury spotted passing between Sun & Earth in rare 30-year event

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 6 days, 20 hours ago

Just this past Monday, astronomers viewed Mercury sliding past the face of our Sun in quite a rare celestial event.


Astronomers equipped themselves to see the most inner-planet in our solar system go in-between Earth and the Sun. From the above image, we can see a tiny black dot, that's Mercury in comparison to the size of the Sun. US, Canada, and Central and South America managed to get the transition for around 5.5 hours, while Asia and Australia only got a brief show.

Why is this a rare transition? Due to the orbit of Mercury, astronomers don't expect to this occur until 2032, and North America, in particular, won't be able to see it again until 2049. Unfortunately, there was some weather coverage in Maryland for NASA solar astrophysicist Alex Young, he said "It's a bummer, but the whole event was still great. Both getting to see it from space and sharing it with people all over the country and world." A set of images have been provided in the entirety of this article.

Continue reading 'Mercury spotted passing between Sun & Earth in rare 30-year event' (full post)

SpaceX launches 60 more global internet satellites, only 41,940 to go

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 6 days, 21 hours ago

On Monday, SpaceX's Falcon rocket took off to the stars, and aboard the rocket was Starlink mini-satellites. 60 mini-satellites in total to be precise.


The satellites aboard the Falcon rocket are just 575 pounds each (260kg), and have joined the other 60, which were launched back in May. Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and chief executive eventually wants to have thousands of these Starlink satellites floating around in orbit, as the plan is to offer the world a global high-speed internet connection everywhere.

Not only are there 60 more Starlink satellites now in orbit, but SpaceX also achieved two new milestones with this launch. This launch was the first time SpaceX flew a rocket with a previously used nose cone and an orbital booster that has been used three times previously. According to Musk, "These boosters are designed to be used 10 times. Let's turn it around for a fifth, guys".

Continue reading 'SpaceX launches 60 more global internet satellites, only 41,940 to go' (full post)

16,000 core supercomputer completes best galaxy simulation video ever

By: Jak Connor | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 1 week ago

The most detailed large-scale simulation has been released showing just after the Big Bang, all the way until the present day.

Scientists have been struggling with the creation of accurate simulations of cosmic-level events due to the limitations of computing power. The computational limitations forced scientists to choose between large-scale designs or fine detail. But now, scientists from Germany and the United States have completed and released the most detailed large-scale simulation of a galaxy forming.

The simulation is called TNG50 and is a state-of-the-art simulation of the formation of a galaxy similar in mass to our neighboring galaxy Andromeda. The video shows a formation of a single massive galaxy, with cosmic gas becoming denser and denser over the course of billions of years. The Hazel Hen supercomputer, located in Stuttgart, created the simulation over the course of a year using 16,000 computational cores. The results are an extremely detailed cosmic visualization that consists of 230 million light-years in diameter and more than 20 billion particles that represent dark matter, stars, cosmic gas, magnetic fields, and supermassive black holes.