The US military’s experiments shooting lasers from vehicles continue with another important milestone: Laser-equipped attack helicopter fired at targets for the first time. The US Army keeps getting better at nailing UAV targets with ground-based truck lasers, but it’s harder to fire accurately from helicopters. Not only does their position fluctuate with airborne conditions, but their whole frame vibrates as their rotors spin fast enough to keep the whole vehicle aloft. Hitting a target almost a mile away from the air, as the Army just accomplished in a New Mexico tests series, is a big deal.
While reconstructive surgery techniques have improved greatly over the last decade or two, there’s one goal that remains elusive: actual regrowthof human skin. But now, scientists may be one step closer: Yesterday, Salt Lake City-based biotech company Polarity TE, Inc. announced that they had “regenerated full-thickness, organized skin and hair follicles in third degree burn wounds” in pigs.
You might not want to book that trip to Mars just yet. Researchers have published a study estimating that the risk of cancer from cosmic rays is twice as high as previously thought. They’ve determined that conventional risk models are incomplete. While NASA and other groups believe that radiation-based cancer stems only from direct cell damage and mutations, the new model accounts for the possibility that heavily damaged cells will increase the cancer risk for “bystander” cells. There’s a knock-on effect that would be difficult to escape.
President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, who recently led multiple investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was Secretary of State and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. Trump acted on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who argued Comey caused “substantial damage” to the FBI’s reputation and credibility over the past year.
A team of scientists have snipped away HIV DNA from the genome of live mice using a CRISPR system, and the rodents lived to (kinda) tell the tale. It’s still much too early to call the method a possible cure, but the fact that it worked on a living animal opens up a lot of possibilities. Will it work on other diseases, like cancer? Maybe, but that’s something scientists have to look into. These researchers headed by neurovirologist Kamel Khalili have been focusing on the use of the gene-editing technique to eliminate HIV for years. They successfully excised HIV DNA in live mice last year, but this round is a lot more thorough.
Back in December, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk sent a frustrated tweet vowing to alleviate traffic by grabbing a tunnel-boring machine and going to work. While this seemed like the usual What If thought Musk dispatches to the Twitterverse, it seems he’s actually going into the tunnel business with his adorably-named new venture, The Boring Company. Today, the futurist released a concept video for what an underground tunnel network might look like in today’s car-focused cities.