Futurology ~ space photography, our other moon, robots, Eiffel power, Xerox DNA, wooly rhino baby


A view of deep space resulting from the next generation of IFU spectroscopy.
A view of deep space resulting from the next generation of IFU spectroscopy.

3D view of deep space — This deep space photo is a view of space no one has ever seen before.
The picture comes from the European Southern Observatory’s ultra-powerful and very aptly-named Very Large Telescope. It took over 27 hours for the telescope’s MUSE instrument to capture the photo, but it means they can now see at least 20 objects that were previously unseen even by Hubble’s exceptionally powerful eye, plus get a better idea of how some previously-known galaxies are situated.
~ No one’s every seen it before? Who nows who’s out there?

Dark Energy Camera snaps Lovejoy — In a happy accident, Comet Lovejoy just happened to be in the field of view of the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, the world’s most powerful digital camera. One member of the observing team said it was a shock to see Comet Lovejoy pop up on the display in the control room.
~ I do love that headline.

Wide-angle selfie from Mars — NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has snapped a spectacular — if not inexplicable — wide-angled self-portrait at the Mojave Site on Mount Sharp where the probe is currently drilling for samples.
~ Look at me, mom!

3753 Cruithne  makes a nice pattern, anyway
3753 Cruithne makes a nice pattern, anyway

Earth’s other moon — The moon is not the Earth’s only natural satellite. Here’s what you need to know about 3753 Cruithne and what its weird orbit reveals about the solar system.
As recently as 1997, we discovered that another body, 3753 Cruithne, is a quasi-orbital satellite of Earth.
~ But it’s only ever spotted once in a blue 3753 Cruithne.

Dissolving robot inner-body self-dissolving grippers — As robots get small enough to easily swim around inside the human body, they will soon be used to perform medical procedures all from within a patient. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are making such an idea even more plausible with the development of tiny robotic grippers that will actually dissolve away inside a patient after a medical procedure is complete.
~ They can be remotely positioned to grab things or release drugs.

3D printed jet engines — Working with colleagues from Deakin University and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), researchers from Australia’s Monash University have created the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine. While they were at it, they created the world’s second one, too.
~ Come back to me when you can print its fuel. 

3D printers invade the kitchen — Such devices are still too expensive and too special-purpose for home kitchens, professionals in restaurants and large cafeterias are figuring out ways they can automate certain time-intensive tasks. For example, pasta is a perfect material to print.
~ Print me dinner, I’m hungry!

Robots taking white collar jobs — University of Oxford researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne estimated in 2013 that 47% of total US jobs could be automated and taken over by computers by 2033. That now includes occupations once thought safe from automation, AI, and robotics. Such positions as journalists, lawyers, doctors, marketers, and financial analysts are already being invaded.
~ Some of these jobs have been mindless for a long time.

Eiffel Tower has hidden wind-powered energy generators — If you look closely at the cross-bracing of the tower, you might spot them: two vertical-axis wind turbines installed about 120m above ground level, positioned to catch as much wind as possible. The turbines were installed by Urban Green Energy, a seven-year-old company based in NYC. To make them less conspicuous, the company painted the turbine blades the same shade as the tower’s legs.

Super-mouse might result from ‘Xeroxed Gene’ — Researchers have expanded the size of mouse brains by giving rodents a piece of human DNA. Another team recently topped that feat, pinpointing a human gene that not only enlarges the mouse brain but also gives it the distinctive folds found in primate brains.
~ If they grow the brains, don’t they also need to grow the skulls to accommodate them?

First baby wooly rhino discovered — Siberian hunters have stumbled upon the remains of a 10,000-year-old baby wooly rhino. It’s the first discovery of its kind, and one of only several wooly rhino specimens ever found. As reported in The Siberian Times, the rhino was about 18 months old when it died. Its wool was well preserved, while an ear, one eye and its mouth remain intact.
~ Now I’m picturing wooly rhino jackets.