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Aug 19, 2022

NASA Seeks Student Ideas for Extracting, Forging Metal on the Moon

Posted by in categories: materials, space travel

2023 annual Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge asks university students to design a metal production pipeline on the Moon — from extracting metal from lunar minerals to creating structures and tools. The ability to extract metal and build needed infrastructure on the Moon advances the Artemis Program goal of a sustained human presence on the lunar surface.

Its strength and resistance to corrosion make metal key to building structures, pipes, cables and more, but the metal materials for infrastructure are heavy, making them very expensive to transport. Student teams participating in the BIG Idea Challenge, a university-level competition sponsored by NASA and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), will develop innovative ways to extract and convert metals from minerals found on the Moon, such as ilmenite and anorthite, to enable metal manufacturing on the Moon.

The BIG Idea Challenge, now in its eighth year, invites university students to tackle some of the most critical needs facing space exploration and help create the mission capabilities that could make new discoveries possible. The challenge provides undergraduate and graduate students working with faculty advisors the opportunity to design, develop, and demonstrate their technology in a project-based program over the course of a year and a half. This NASA-funded challenge provides development awards of up to $180,000 to up to eight selected teams to build and demonstrate their concept designs and share the results of their research and testing at the culminating forum in November 2023.

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Aug 19, 2022

Scientists design new inks for 3D-printable wearable bioelectronics

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, chemistry, nanotechnology, wearables

Flexible electronics have enabled the design of sensors, actuators, microfluidics and electronics on flexible, conformal and/or stretchable sublayers for wearable, implantable or ingestible applications. However, these devices have very different mechanical and biological properties when compared to human tissue and thus cannot be integrated with the human body.

A team of researchers at Texas A&M University has developed a new class of biomaterial inks that mimic native characteristics of highly conductive , much like skin, which are essential for the ink to be used in 3D printing.

This biomaterial ink leverages a new class of 2D nanomaterials known as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). The thin-layered structure of MoS2 contains defect centers to make it chemically active and, combined with modified gelatin to obtain a flexible hydrogel, comparable to the structure of Jell-O.

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Aug 19, 2022

Rocket Lab is self-funding a mission to search for alien life in the clouds of Venus

Posted by in category: alien life

The private space firm hopes to send a small probe to Venus by 2023.

Rocket Lab is self-funding a mission to go to Venus in search of signs of extraterrestrial life, a report from *Ars Technica* reveals.

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Aug 19, 2022

Self-charging device built of sea salt produces electricity from air moisture

Posted by in category: futurism

Aug 19, 2022

Facebook Wants to Rebrand the Company Image by Changing Its Name

Posted by in category: futurism

Aug 19, 2022

Google is teaching robots to think for themselves

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

How intelligent can robots get?Robots are getting smarter, which means they are better able to execute our commands. A number of different companies worldwide focus their attention on creating robots but one company in particular is really taking the lead on this lofty goal: Google.


Giving a robotic assistant a broad-based understanding of how to be helpful at home or work isn’t easy. But Google researchers are making progress.

Aug 19, 2022

Retro-Futuristic-Steampunk Technologies (Part 2)

Posted by in category: futurism

In Part 1 of this who-knows-how-many-parts-there-will-be mini-series, we focused on one of my favorite display technologies in the form of Nixie tubes. We also featured a photograph showing the main control room of an abandoned power plant in Hungary that—much like your humble narrator—was simply oozing with style.

In that photograph, you may have spotted another of my favorite display technologies—vintage analog meters—which I typically acquire at Hamfests and electronic flea markets. I really like the look and feel of these little beauties so long as they are of a certain age, thereby bestowing an air of gravitas upon the occasion of their use.

One of my ongoing hobby projects is what I call my Vetinari Clock, which is named after one of the characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Lord Havelock Vetinari, who is the Lord Patrician in charge of the city-state of Ankh-Morpork, has a strange clock in his waiting-room. While it does keep completely accurate time overall, it sometimes ticks and tocks out of sync (for example, “tick, tock … ticktocktick, tock …”) and it occasionally misses a ‘tick’ or a ‘tock’ altogether. As a result, by the time Lord Vetinari’s visitors are finally granted an audience, their nerves are already frayed and frazzled.

Aug 19, 2022

Google’s New Robot Learned to Take Orders

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The machine learning technique that taught notorious text generator GPT-3 to write can also help robots make sense of spoken commands.

Aug 19, 2022

NASA finds a new MOON orbiting an asteroid 480m miles from Earth

Posted by in category: space

The newly-found, three-mile-wide natural satellite orbits the 17-mile-wide asteroid Polymele, which is about 480 million miles from Earth.

Aug 19, 2022

Voyager, NASA’s Longest-Lived Mission, Logs 45 Years in Space

Posted by in category: space

Launched in 1977, the twin Voyager probes are NASA’s longest-operating mission and the only spacecraft ever to explore interstellar space.

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