Titan’s methane lakes — A radar scan of methane-filled lakes on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, was taken by the international Cassini mission as part of a study into what forms depressions on Titan. Although scientists have a handle on why the lakes are filled with hydrocarbons — turns out it rains liquid methane, thanks to the -180°C climate — the origins of the depressions are less obvious.
~ It’s the economy.
NASA is heading for Europa — Jupiter’s moon Europa is covered in a thick layer of constantly-shifting ice which appears to be floating atop a deep, warm ocean. Scientists have long suggested that it’s the most likely place that life might have evolved beyond Earth. NASA has just confirmed its first mission to Europa has entered the development phase.
~ I await the report.
The world’s first 3D-printed platinum spacecraft thruster — More than 600 ignitions and an hour of firing was the heavy test for the world’s first spacecraft thruster with a platinum combustion chamber and nozzle made by 3D printing. And it successfully passed its baptism of fire.
~ I wonder if they started with a mug.
Your kids will need upgrades to go to space — In the six decades we’ve been sending humans into space, scientists have learned just how truly bad it is for us to live off-planet. So we need a redesign.
~ I have a much better idea: sort out Earth.
This map of 2100 should make you nervous about the future of farming — When we imagine the farms of the next century, the images tend to be cleaner, more clinical, perhaps more akin even to a laboratory than a field. But the future that’s actually on our horizon looks much darker and messier than all that.
~ Asia under pressure.
Earth videos from space — UrtheCast published three videos captured by its ISS-mounted ultra HD camera, which Gizmodo compiled into a short montage. The camera (named Iris) can zoom into an area of about 1.92km x 1.08km. You can see footage of London, Boston and Barcelona, almost as animated maps: freeways buzzing with cars, colourful container yards in motion, boats drifting …
~ These things can also be seen from ground level – if you go there.
Russia develops anti-armed-drone tech — A state-owned Russian engineering company has developed, and is now testing, a new kind of super-high-frequency gun that is said to be capable of deactivating unmanned aerial vehicles from 10km away.
~ There goes that particular US advantage.
Heart-on-a-chip uses gravity to mimic a human pulse — A small, clear block may not look much, but it uses some of the world’s most basic physics to accurately recreate the rhythms of the human heart in the laboratory. A team from the University of Michigan has turned to gravity to help recreate the biological phenomena of the heartbeat.
~ I just watch rom-coms to replicate the affect of a human heart.
Slithering modular snakebots the future of robotics — Snakebots could change robotics as we know it – they are modular robots that look and move like snakes. They aim to make robots both reprogrammable and responsive.
~ What about our instinctive snake revulsion?
Japanese robot reads your emotions — Starting this weekend in Japan, people can buy a talking, person-shaped robot that reads your body language and gets sad when you turn off the lights. Pepper has its own emotions, a feature that’s been added since the robot was initially announced last year. In Tamagotchi fashion, Pepper gets lonely if you ignore it, and laughs if you tell it a joke. It cann’t do manual labour – it’s more an app-customisable animated computer.
~ US1600 and it’s yours.