Around the World of Science

By Carl Slaughter: (1) Chinese cowboy astronauts. “China considering mission to ‘capture’ asteroid and fire it into moon’s orbit”.

China plans to ‘capture’ an asteroid by landing and anchoring a spacecraft on its surface, fire up multiple rocket boosters and project it into the orbit of the moon.

The excavation of mineral ores and its transportation back to Earth will be undertaken by robots, Ye was quoted as saying.

He estimated that it could take another four decades before China will have the necessary technology and infrastructure in place to mine the asteroid.

(2) Welcome to the Moon, Chinese astronaut.  Now park it. “China simulates extended moon stays amid space drive”.

China is testing the ability for future astronauts to stay on the moon for extended periods, as Beijing accelerates its space program and looks to put people on the surface of the moon within the next two decades.

The official Xinhua news agency said volunteers would live in a “simulated space cabin” for between 60-200 days over the next year helping scientists understand what will be needed for humans to “remain on the moon in the medium and long terms”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for China to become a global power in space exploration, with plans to send a probe to the dark side of the moon by 2018, the first ever such trip, and to put astronauts on the moon by 2036.

(3) Latest Silicon Valley perk:  freeze your (dead) body. “Cryonic freezing is the coolest employee perk in Silicon Valley — literally”.

The good news? Numerai‘s new employee benefit is — quite literally — the coolest one we have heard about. The bad news? You won’t be able to enjoy it until you’re dead.

“We are allowing employees cryonic body preservation as a benefit,” Richard Craib, founder of Numerai, told Digital Trends. “Employees sign up through a life insurance policy and upon legal death, the life insurance claim is handed over to cryonics provider Alcor.”

(4) Bioprint  –  body parts from 3-D printers. “Ability to ‘print off’ new body parts within next 10 years as 3D bioprinting continues to grow”.

Most promising is its potential applications within healthcare, where 3D printing is poised to open up a new age of regenerative medicine allowing doctors to print off human cells.

3D bioprinting is the process by which 3D printing technology is used to create artificial tissue. Recent advancements in the field have enabled researchers to 3D print living human skin, blood vessels and even a human ear.

(5) Trump consults Gore  –  twice. “Trump has been talking to Al Gore about the Paris Climate Agreement. Seriously.”

President Donald Trump can’t seem to make up his mind about whether to keep the U.S. in the landmark Paris Climate Agreement or pull out of the pact altogether, but there are signs he is getting advice from across the ideological spectrum.

(6) Robots are getting closer to fully imitating human motion. “This bipedal running robot is the last thing you’ll see before robots claim the Earth”.

Robotics engineers with companies like Boston Dynamics have been hard at work on complex computer systems paired with motion sensors and gyroscopes to give their bipedal robots the stability they need to, well, be useful. But what if such robots didn’t need computers to help them remain upright? A new robot design called the Planar Elliptical Runner, engineered and built by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Florida, can not only run via two legs, it can do without any added stability technology.

3 thoughts on “Around the World of Science

  1. (1) In Stephen Baxter’s novel Titan, the Chinese attempt to capture an asteroid in this way, but they miscalculate with some negative consequences for folks on Earth.

    The ones who die are the fortunate ones, because the rest of us get to finish the novel.

  2. (1) Yeah, this sounds like a bad idea for tides, orbits, all that.

    (5) This is the most unbelievable part of this entire post.

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