NASA’s Most Powerful Rocket

After NASA’s marvelous achievement of sending humans to the moon for the very first time in 1969, NASA is now aiming to send the very first woman to the moon through its Artemis program.

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NASA recently revealed a new rocket named the Space Launch System, entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the first woman to the moon at the beginning of the new decade. Almost 212 feet tall, the Space Launch System is the tallest of NASA rockets to be constructed with more than a thousand businesses taking part in the construction of the SLS. Not just the tallest, the Space Launch System is the most technologically sophisticated rocket built by NASA. The rocket is expected to play an instrumental role in future space endeavors.

Before being publicly revealed, the Space Launch System had been tested for its reaction to compression, tension, and integrity. SLS behaved accordingly to the engineers’ expectations so will now be launched on an unmanned mission to the moon in 2020 which, if proven successful, could open new doors for NASA to explore our vast solar system with the next destination being Mars.

Of course, exiting the Earth’s atmosphere and escaping into the vast universe is no easy job. For a rocket to overcome such a strong gravitational force, it requires an extremely powerful thrust and that is exactly what the engineers at NASA had in mind when designing the Space Launch System. While taking off Space Launch Rocket is capable of producing an unbelievable 8.8 million pounds of thrust. To imagine such a figure is mind-boggling let alone building a machine capable of doing it. If you think that wasn’t “jaw-dropping” enough, the Space Launch System is capable of achieving a record speed of Mach 23 or more than 17,000 miles per hour before separating from the crew capsule. For a rocket the size of a 20 story building, exiting earth at a rate of 17,000 miles per hour is simply a scientific marvel.

According to the NASA officials, The Space Launch System is capable of scientific feats.

“Missions to the Moon are about 1,000 times farther from Earth than missions to the International Space Station, requiring systems that can reliably operate far from home, support the needs of human life, and still be light enough to launch”

Moreover, According to NASA:

“These technologies will become increasingly more important for the 34 million mile trip to Mars.”

With billions of dollars spent on the construction and testing of NASA’s most powerful rocket the discovery of other distant planets including Mars may be another step closer.

Single Cell Creatures

Have you ever imagined which living creature was the first to be on Earth? Well, the answer is it was a unicellular organism, probably a bacterium. Unicellular organisms also known as single celled organisms, are believed to be the oldest form of life on Earth. These are organisms that consist of a single cell, unlike a multicellular organism that consists of multiple cells. Unicellular organisms do not have conscious thought, the sort you find in humans and other complex animals, due to the fact that single celled organisms do not have a nervous system.

It was believed that due to the fact that single celled organisms have neither a brain nor a nervous system, they do not have the ability to make complex decisions or the ability to memorize. However, scientists say they have recently discovered what they are calling signs and symptoms of complex decision making in a single celled organism, giving a new existence to an idea that was brushed off and not taken seriously over a century ago.

The single celled organism, named Stentor roeselii, is what sparked the interest of the scientists. This aquatic unicellular organism is a free-living ciliate species of the genus Stentor. It is a common and widespread protozoan, found throughout the world in freshwater ponds, lakes, rivers and ditches.

Scientists have found that Stentor roeselii responds differently over a period of a time to the same stimulus. This particular ability of the organism is evidence that it can make choices, or at least does whatever the single-celled equivalent of changing one’s thoughts are. It is not completely accurate to say that a creature without any type of nervous system is actively thinking, however, the discovery challenges many of scientists’ assumptions of animal intelligence.

Scientists started their research on the single celled organism to understand its behavior better. Multiple unicellular organisms were put through a ‘Poke Test’ where they were provided with the same stimulus over a period of time. It was observed that other organisms regularly responded less to repeated stimuli. Stentor roeselii, however, first bent far from the source of the stimulus, but later changed its procedures and flapped its cilia in defense, contracted, or floated away. This behavior is different from other similar single celled organisms.

The probability that the organism would pick one method over some other was almost a 50-50 split, suggesting that some biological mechanism is selecting one over the other almost like it is flipping a coin to choose. Saying that Stentor roeselii can make choices is a vague, rather than precise, explanation. However, until scientists keep probing the complex behavior of the organism, this may be the most accurate way to explain what is going on.

Venus Exploration

Every day, we hear stories and news of scientists willing to explore areas that are beyond a layman’s imagination. Now, scientists are planning a mission to Venus. Yes, Venus, the planet which is close to the Sun. It is believed that the planet is not bearable to humans mainly because of the high temperature and other toxic conditions including thick sulphuric acid clouds. However, scientists from NASA are on a mission to explore the planet in the hope of providing us with the most astonishing discoveries. Just like they discovered water while exploring the moon.

You might not be aware of the fact that Venus has been explored several times before. However, it is from the times when social media was non-existent and hardly any news went viral as it does now. Also, the explorations were largely carried out with the help of unmanned spacecraft so no one really has visited the planet personally before.

The existence of thick carbon dioxide clouds created many problems for the missions carried out in the past, making it very difficult for telescopes to penetrate further and this somehow defeated the real purpose of the mission.

NASA’s still don’t know how long it would take to implement a manned mission to Venus since the required technology is not yet available to the scientists. So that means, there is not only a lot of research to do, but the team also needs to figure and invent the right technology to turn the impossible into possible.

If the technology is unable to fulfil the mission properly then how could humans get to the final destination? Well, that depends on how well NASA research and plan out the entire process including the invention of technology that will help them reach their goals. With so many advancements in technology and research methods, we sincerely hope that scientists find the answers soon and that their technology will unveil some mind-boggling discoveries on Venus.

Sneakers Made from Algae

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With the impending doom of environmental change upon our heads and the development that is causing these drastic changes not looking like it will slow down any time soon, it has now come down to us as individuals to try and help the environment in whatever way we can. Celebrities have a larger platform to help – big names like Kanye West and Emma Watson have been joining the fight against climate change. Kanye West has recently shared a new prototype for his new Yeezy shoe which is due to come onto the market soon. The singer claims that the shoe is made from environmental friendly algae!

The designer of Yeezy says that eco concerns are integral to their company and they try to bring that into their work. Kanye believes that this shoe is the first step towards a bright future of eco-friendly and environmentally friendly shoes and accessories by the brand.

The sneakers are made from petroleum-based ethylene-vinyl acetate and the foam which is produced by algae. These sneakers were produced in Atlanta and the world has only been shown a prototype at the fast company festival. The rapper says that his headquarters in Wyoming will have a hydroponic farm where they will be growing their own algae. The pair that was shown to the audience was a very bland khaki type color, which may not be very appealing to some people – this is why the company is also looking into environmental friendly dyes. They want environmental friendly fashion to have more appeal to the market.

Making shoes from the foam of algae can help the environment in many different ways. Algae, unlike petroleum, is a renewable source, meaning it will regenerate and can be used multiple times, while petroleum once burnt can never be used again. However, due to the rise in the planet’s temperature we have more algae. The problem is that when algae dies, the bacteria that naturally decompose it also take in oxygen. This then leads to a lack of oxygen within the water which suffocates the marine life. Also, algae is on the surface of the water, so it begins to block sunlight from reaching into depths of the water. This leads to an over-production of toxins that would normal be killed by sunlight, which is bad for marine health as well as human health.

The Yeezy pair made from algae foam is said to be available in 2020, and are expected to be priced between 60 and 75 dollars. This really is a great initiative by a powerful and influential celebrity.

Holograms

Hearing the word hologram sparks the image of something fictional, unrealistic or out of this world, but actually holograms are very real. Whether you see them or not, they are a part of our everyday lives. Present on our identity cards, debit/credit cards and other items to make them harder to forge. They are undoubtedly impressive and fun to play with, but recently hologram technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. From using holograms in concerts, to opening a digital zoo that shows 3D holographic images of the animals. It is clear to say that the future looks bright for Holographic technology.

One such step taken towards the future is the construction of the world’s first hologram that can be touched, seen and even heard. Researchers from the University of Sussex have developed a prototype device by the name Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display (MATD).

Inspired from the technology used in the previous generation televisions that utilized a single color beam moving so fast on the screen that our brains perceived it as a single image. This next generation hologram technology makes use of a similar technique, but instead of incorporating a single color beam, the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display makes use of ultrasound waves. These ultrasound waves are then used to displace an extremely thin bead levitating in the air to trace the image of the desired object at such a high speed that it appears as a single image. Moreover, the LEDs are used to add detail and color to the image created by the moving bead. To put simply, the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display operates by creating an illusion similar to an illusion created by moving frames that appear as one image. Since our eyes cannot keep up with the pace of the light, our mind registers the movement as a single image.

Moreover, as far as the sensory and auditory feedback is concerned, Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display makes use of ultrasound waves, which are a type of mechanical wave that carry energy through the air. So when a hologram is displayed it utilizes the energy of the ultrasound waves to create a sensory and an audible feedback.

This could very well be the first step in hologram technology that could completely redefine the way we perceive and interact with hologram. The researchers believe that although the prototype was built for commercial reasons, it has the potential to prove beneficial in the fields of medicine as well as entertainment. The developers also believe that the devices could also be used to study and understand complex structures in detail.

Brain Reading Wearables

According to foreign media reports, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he wants to create a wearable device that can read brain waves to “control virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).”

Editorial credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock.com

It may also reveal what you are thinking.

After Facebook bought CTRL-Labs in September 2019, Facebook founder Zuckerberg recently revealed that he intends to focus on wearable devices and implant technology with brain control.

The Chan Zuckerberg BioHub Research Center, funded by Zuckerberg and his wife in Silicon Valley, said that the ultimate goal of brain technology development is to enable people to think and control through virtual reality or augmented reality head-mounted devices. Freedom in your mind.

CTRL-Labs is working on a wristband device that allows people to control signals from the spinal cord. After the transaction is completed, CTRL-labs will join Facebook Reality Labs, which is working on augmented reality smart glasses.

If technology companies really want to read brain waves, implant technology seems to be a must. From a medical perspective, a speech-limited disease such as a stroke could indeed be decoded by implanted technology to turn internal speech into a voice that people can understand in real time. However, there are also health risks.

In fact, since the establishment of “Building 8” in Facebook in 2016, the company has already been engaged in the development of brain computing technology. In July 2019, Facebook revealed that it had been funding the University of California to assist in the development of brain computing.

A paper published by the University of California pointed out that it developed a software that only had to be trained. 76% of the software could identify the problems heard by people with epilepsy, and 61% knew what epileptics wanted to know. Of course, the brain-reading software developed by the project is only applicable to pre-programmed sentences, but scientists believe that the software also lays a good foundation for the development of a more powerful system in the future. On the whole, it takes a long way to go to commercialize reading brain technology.

Most worrying, once the brain technology is commercialized, it could invade people’s privacy. Facebook believes that even if the future brain-reading technology matures, its application will be greatly restricted, so it will not invade personal privacy.