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May 11, 2016

Can plants grow on the moon? NASA plans test in 2015

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, habitats, space travel

We knew this was going to happen. Just still neat to read about it.


(Phys.org) —NASA is planning to launch a milestone experiment involving growing plants on the moon. The target date is 2015, when the agency will deposit plants on the moon’s surface. The initiative is being driven by the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team. They intend to use coffee-can sized containers designed to protect the plants against harsh elements of the climate, and will also provide cameras, sensors, and electronics in order to relay information about how the plants fare back to earth. NASA’s plan is “to develop a very simple sealed growth chamber that can support germination over a five to-ten day period in a spacecraft on the Moon.”

What will NASA try to grow? The containers will attempt to grow turnip, basil and Arabidopsis The latter is used often in plant research; Simon Gilroy, University of Wisconsin-Madison botany professor, has referred to the Arabidopsis as “the lab rat of plant biology.” Will the life forms survive the lunar surface? NASA’s plan is to find some answers when this “self-contained habitat,” which will have a mass of about 1 kg and would be a payload on a commercial lunar lander, is on the , How it gets there is another interesting side of the story, because NASA is taking advantage of a parallel event to save costs significantly.

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May 11, 2016

Drones will take $127bn worth of human work by 2020, PwC says

Posted by in categories: business, drones, food

Google and Amazon were quick to put drones to use delivering orders.

But new research suggests delivery is just one small way drones are going to replace humans. The tiny airborne vessels will soon clean windows on skyscrapers, verify insurance claims and spray pesticide on crops.

The global market for drones, valued at around $2 billion today, will replace up to $127 billion worth of business services and human labour over the next four years, according to a new research by consulting firm PwC.

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May 11, 2016

GM Executive Credits Silicon Valley for Accelerating Development of Self-Driving Cars

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

These automaker knuckleheads were planning to try and hide self driving cars into the 2030’s:

Head of GM’s foresight and trends unit says timetable for autonomous vehicles likely moved from 2035 to 2020, if not sooner.


A General Motors Co. executive credited Silicon Valley companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google car division and Tesla Motors Inc., for accelerating the development of autonomous vehicle technology and shortening the timetable for when safer self-driving cars hit the road.

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May 11, 2016

Starshot Breakthrough Initiative for laser pushed interstellar nanocraft

Posted by in categories: engineering, space travel

Breakthrough Starshot aims to demonstrate proof of concept for ultra-fast light-driven nanocrafts, and lay the foundations for a first launch to Alpha Centauri within the next generation. Along the way, the project could generate important supplementary benefits to astronomy, including solar system exploration and detection of Earth-crossing asteroids.

Breakthrough Starshot is a $100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled nanocrafts. These could fly at 20 percent of light speed and capture images of possible planets and other scientific data in our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, just over 20 years after their launch.

Nextbigfuture covered the project last month when it was announced. Here is more information from the Breakthrough Initiative website.

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May 11, 2016

New tattoo ink disappears in a year, can be removed on demand

Posted by in category: particle physics

Anyone who has ever gotten, or even thought about getting a tattoo had heard a snarky warning from others about how they’re forever. Well, maybe they aren’t. A company called Ephemeral has designed a two-part system for tattoos that last about a year. It’d probably be a smart move for people who have trouble with commitment.

Traditional tattoos are permanent because the ink particles embedded in the skin are too large for the immune system to clear. Existing methods of tattoo removal with lasers essentially break the particles down until they can be easily cleared. Of course, it really, really hurts. Ephemeral has engineered a two-part system consisting of dye molecules encapsulated in a protective structure and a removal solution.

The protective coating of the dye molecules is engineered to last about one year, at which time it starts breaking down. The tattoo will begin fading rapidly at that point, though it’s not clear how long it will take to fully disappear. The removal solution can be added to the skin at any time by a tattoo machine over top of the Ephemeral tattoo to instantly break down the coating and “erase” parts or all of a tattoo.

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May 11, 2016

Samsung unveils the world’s highest capacity microSD card

Posted by in category: futurism

It’s gonna be a while before you get a ‘low storage’ warning with this tiny-yet-huge card.

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May 11, 2016

Stairs Light up with LED’s Each Time you Step

Posted by in category: futurism

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May 10, 2016

Parallel-universe search focuses on neutrons

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Particles could be in a superposition of different branes, say physicists.

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May 10, 2016

Interesting Robotics/AI Animation 3

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Now, that’s a robot!

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May 10, 2016

Artificial intelligence turns $20 into $11,000 in Kentucky Derby bet

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

An artificial intelligence platform that has previously predicted the winners of the Oscars and the Super Bowl has now won the “holy grail” of gambling: the Kentucky Derby Superfecta.

The human-based artificial intelligence—called UNU—predicted the first, second, third and fourth horses in the Derby at 540–1 odds, earning the technology’s inventor Louis Rosenberg $10,842 from a $20 dollar bet.


The technology wins holy grail of betting by predicting Kentucky Derby Superfecta.

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