NASA announced today that their Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This means that water may actually be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. That’s right, water molecules (H2O) were found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Read more for a video and additional information.
Microsoft researchers unveil Capacitivo, an interactive smart fabric that can automatically recognize objects. Technically speaking, it’s a contact-based object recognition technique developed for interactive fabrics, using capacitive sensing, that can detect things such as food (different types of fruits, liquids, etc.) and other types of objects often found around the house or workplace. Read more for a video demonstration and additional information.
Photo credit: Purdue University / Jared Pike
There’s Vantablack, one of the darkest substances known, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light, and then this new super-white paint capable of keeping surfaces up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than their ambient surroundings, similar to a refrigerator, but without the energy consumption. This paint could actually replace the need for air conditioning by absorbing nearly no solar energy and sending heat away from the building. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event was a success, and it managed to capture some incredible footage along the way. The SamCam imager’s field of view shows the NASA spacecraft approaching and touching down on asteroid Bennu’s surface, over 200 million miles away from Earth. The researchers state that preliminary data confirms the one-foot-wide sampling head touched down on the asteroid’s surface for approximately 6-seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn. Read more for two short videos and additional information.
Photo credit: Jesus Rivera / UCI
Found mainly in the U.S. Southwest, the diabolical ironclad beetle hides under rocks and inside trees, but thanks to an exoskeleton, it can even survive being run over by a car. That’s right, its crush-resistant structures makes it nearly indestructible, specifically, its elytra. The elytra are basically the forewing blades that open and close to safeguard the flight wings from bacteria, but the ironclad’s elytra have evolved to become a solid, protective shield. Read more for two videos and additional information.
NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft briefly touched down on asteroid 101955 Bennu and unfurled its robotic arm Tuesday to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth in 2023. This ancient rock is currently more than 200 million miles from Earth, and the materials collected will give insight to the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell
Unlike other rovers, NASA’s DuAxel consists of two-wheeled rovers, each called Axel. How does it work? The rover stops, lowers its chassis and anchors it to the ground before separating into two halves. When the rear half locks firmly in place, the forward half undocks and rolls away on a single axle. A tether connects the two, but unspools as the lead axle approaches the hazard and rappels down the slope, using instruments stowed in its wheel hub to study inaccessible terrain on Mars and beyond. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: University of Rochester
Scientists at the University of Rochester have synthesized the first room-temperature superconductor, which could be used in future electronics and transportation technologies. Put simply, superconductors transmit electricity without resistance, enabling the current to flow without any energy loss. However, all previously discovered superconductors must be cooled to very low temperatures, making them impractical for most uses. Read more for a video and additional information.
One person, better known as “Equalo”, online was intrigued by the many experiments of getting DOOM to run on various objects, including a pregnancy test. So, he decided to attempt and see how many potatoes it would take to power a TI-84 Plus graphing calculator running a version of the game. Potatoes contain phosphoric acid, so when something made of zinc is placed on one side, a chemical reaction results and generates electricity. By placing a copper conductor on the other side of the potato, it generates the needed electricity. Read more to see just how many potatoes it took to get everything running.
Scientists at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado have created transparent wood derived from the balsa tree, native to South America. This new material is not only stronger, but five-times more thermally efficient than traditional glass. Transparent wood is much more rugged as well, capable of withstanding more damage without bending or splintering. The balsa tree wood was first immersed in a bleach solution at room temperature to remove the light absorbing substance. Read more for two videos and additional information.