While we haven’t seen the Starship fly yet — SpaceX just got done with its test firings and short “hops” back in April — we might not have to wait that long for its first commercial flight. According to SpaceX VP of commercial sales Jonathan Hofeller, the company is hoping to send it to space for its first commercial mission in 2021. He revealed at an event in Indonesia that SpaceX is already in discussions with three different customers for that flight, all telecom companies likely looking to send satellites to orbit.
Solar winds are no threat to people on Earth, but can pose a danger to astronauts and spacecraft. NASA has selected two new missions that aims to better our understanding of how the Sun drives extreme space weather. The first mission, Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere (or PUNCH) will consist of four suitcase-shaped satellites that will track solar wind as it leaves the sun. The second, Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (or TRACERS) will use two spacecraft to study how magnetic fields around Earth interact with the Sun.
Bioengineers are one step closer to 3D printing organs and tissues. A team led by Rice University and the University of Washington have developed a tool to 3D print complex and “exquisitely entangled” vascular networks. These mimic the body’s natural passageways for blood, air, lymph and other fluids, and they will be essential for artificial organs.
As clean as electric aircraft can be, there’s still one kind of pollution they still produce: noise. Even that might go away before long, though. MIT researchers have successfully flown an ionic wind-powered aircraft that doesn’t use any moving parts. The 16-foot wide machine stays aloft by charging wires with a high enough voltage (40,000V) that they strip negatively-charged electrons from air molecules, which are promptly attracted to negative electrodes at the back of the aircraft. The collisions from that newly-formed ionic wind create the thrust needed to keep the vehicle airborne.
An MIT professor has built a prototype device that can wirelessly track your health — even through walls — using a mix of radio signals and machine learning. Dina Katabi’s gadget resembles a WiFi router and is designed to sit in your pad and monitor your breathing, heart rate, sleep, gait, and more as you go about your day. It’s already doing that in over 200 homes around the US of both healthy people and those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and pulmonary diseases.
Heatwaves, hurricanes and other extreme weather might be the “face of climate change,” but it’s not the only sign. A grim new visualization from NASA shows another problem caused indirectly by global warming: airborne particles and droplets. These “aerosols,” shown on a single day on August 23rd, come from dust, volcanic ash and other sources. They’re particularly brutal this year because of fires in California, British Columbia and the southern part of Africa. Continue reading NASA’s terrifying visualization of atmospheric aerosols
This week, The New York Times reported that tech companies met with US government officials to discuss security and possible foreign influence around the 2018 midterm elections. Representatives from Amazon, Google, Twitter, Oath, Microsoft, Snap and Apple met at Facebook’s headquarters in California. Christopher Krebs, an under secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and an unnamed representative from the FBI’s foreign influence task force were present at the meeting.