NASA hunting for life in an asteroid — NASA is planning a trip to get a sample of the large asteroid Bennu and see if any organic materials can be found on it. If you remember hypercolor t-shirts, you’ll want to know about an air pollution sensing shirt that changes colour and patterns when carbon monoxide, radioactivity and particle pollutants are detected.
~ ‘I’m thinking about you, and nothing, else …’
Something is erasing the craters on Ceres — Ceres, the tiny asteroid belt world we’ve come to know and love through NASA’s Dawn mission, seems to delight in mysteries, from flickering bright spots to unexpected ocean minerals. Now, astronomers have discovered yet another puzzle while examining images of Ceres’ surface. Something has been erasing its craters.
~ It’s house-keeping.
Chinese satellite to test secure quantum communications — China is set to launch a satellite that could form part of an unassailable, worldwide communications network. The 600 kg (1,300 pound) QUESS craft, launching sometime in August, will perform the first ever quantum experiments in space. A special crystal onboard will generate pairs of “entangled” photons that will be fired at labs in China and Austria. Ground based teams will then perform tests to see if the photons remain bonded even when 1200 km (700 miles) apart.If the experiment works, it could lead to an encrypted, space-based internet.
~ Now we get to pollute space with comms traffic, too.
Super-fast magnetic motor to keep tiny satellites on track — Researchers at Celeroton have created a magnetically levitated motor that achieves the effect of a regular reaction wheel with virtually none of the drawbacks. Since its rotor floats in a magnetic field, it can spin much faster (up to 150,000RPM) without wearing out, creating vibrations or requiring a special, lubricated environment.
~ It’s still in prototype, but there’s lots of interest.
Undersea’ desert’ teeming with life — An enormous region of the eastern Pacific, long considered a biological wasteland, is proving anything but. New research reveals the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ), which is being prospected for deep ocean mining, is teeming with never-before-seen forms of life. Covering some 3.5 million square miles between California and Hawaii, the seafloor of the CCZ is one of the most poorly understood ecosystems on Earth. At depths of roughly 13,000 feet (4,000 meters), it’s a monotonous, pitch-black abyss featuring crushing pressures and temperatures just a few degrees above freezing.
~ But what the hell, they can mine it anyway.
Australia has moved — Australia is changing from ‘down under’ to ‘down under and across a bit’. The country is shifting its longitude and latitude to fix a discrepancy with global satellite navigation systems. Government body Geoscience Australia is updating the Geocentric Datum of Australia, the country’s national coordinate system, to bring it in line with international data. The reason Australia is slightly out of whack with global systems is that the country moves about 7 centimetres per year due to the shifting of tectonic plates.
~ Refugees can’t move Australia, just tectonic plates..
Solar capture burns CO2 — Engineers at the University of Chicago have created a new kind of solar cell that efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide into usable hydrocarbon fuel – and it does so using only sunlight for energy.
~ Profit from pain.
Hyperloop factory — Hyperloop One has announced it’s opening its first manufacturing plant to build the future of high-speed transportation. Metalworks is a 105,000 square foot facility in the city of North Las Vegas where components for DevLoop, the first testbed for the platform, will be constructed.
~ First the hyper-bole, then the hyper-loop.
Robot spiders can patch airships in flight — Lockheed Martin is unveiling a new hybrid airship in a couple years but is first addressing any potential tears in the hull by creating magnetic robots they call spiders. These will crawl over the ship and work autonomously to patch holes as they appear.
~ How fast, though?