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Molten Silicon Is the Next Great Power Source

A render of MIT's new grid-scale energy storage system
A render of MIT’s new grid-scale energy storage system(Credit: Duncan MacGruer)

Lithium-ion batteries are the ones consumers are most familiar with, so it seems like the obvious choice to scale them up for grid-scale energy storage – as Tesla did with the world’s biggest battery in Australia. But since lithium is relatively hard to come by, it may not be the best choice. Researchers at MIT have outlined a new design they call a “sun in a box,” which stores energy as heat in molten silicon and harvests it by tapping into the bright light it emits. read more

Wasp Venom May be the Effective Antibiotic

MIT scientists have produced an antibiotic that's derived from wasp venom (although not from the species...
MIT scientists have produced an antibiotic that’s derived from wasp venom (although not from the species shown here)(Credit: vladvitek/Depositphotos)

As harmful bacteria continue to become resistant to standard antibiotics, it gets increasingly important to come up with alternatives. read more

Romotow Swing-Out Camper

Romotow owners will undoubtedly make full use of that deck on their journeys
Romotow owners will undoubtedly make full use of that deck on their journeys (Credit: W2)

Almost exactly six years ago, in the younger, more innocent days of 2012, we looked at an absolutely wild caravan concept from New Zealand architecture and engineering firm W2. The Swiss Army-like Romotow was a vision of a swing-out trailer with a combination of cabin space and sheltered deck, easily packed up and towed to camp but doubly spacious once there. At the time, even W2 wasn’t sure if it would move past the concept stage, and to be honest, we didn’t really expect to see it again. But fast-forward to late 2018 and W2 is deep in the works building the very first model, with sales to commence next year. read more

Ferox Azaris Six Wheel ATV

The Ferox Azaris was built to demonstrate the company's fluid drive technology
The Ferox Azaris was built to demonstrate the company’s fluid drive technology(Credit: Ferox)

The Ferox Azaris is a work of art to look at, and should offer some awesome rough terrain capabilities – but at its heart, it’s a test bed and demonstrator for a new, 98 percent efficient in-wheel motor, with a highly responsive fluid drive system that Ferox hopes will enable some pretty crazy future vehicle architectures. read more

Black Holes Aren’t Holes – They’re Fountains

Gas surrounding a supermassive black hole spews out from above and below the disk like a three-dimensional fountain, new simulations have revealed.

While it’s long been assumed that the rings of gas around active black holes took on the shape of a donut, researchers say the reality is far more complex.

Simulations and observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimetre Array (ALMA) suggest the ‘donut’ is actually a more dynamic structure made if three gaseous components that circulate constantly.

According to the team, it¿s more of a three-step process. First, the cold gas forms a disk near the plane of rotation, heating up until the molecules break down. Some of these molecules are expelled above and below the disk. This falls back down to create a fountain-like structure

According to the team, it’s more of a three-step process. First, the cold gas forms a disk near the plane of rotation, heating up until the molecules break down. Some of these molecules are expelled above and below the disk. This falls back down to create a fountain-like structure read more

Puppy Unearths Woolly Mammoth Tooth

A puppy has dug up a 13,000 year-old woolly mammoth tooth in the back garden of his owner’s home.

Eight-month-old Labrador Scout found the ancient artefact while digging a hole in the yard in Whidbey Island, Washington.

Owner, Kirk Lacewell, said that he thought the pooch was carrying a rock or piece of wood.

Scout was carrying the item around the following day when Mr Lacewell noticed that it looked ‘odd’.

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Weapon Wednesday – Britain’s Autonomous Warrior Exercise

Robots will be used in a variety of roles as part of Autonomous Warrior
Robots will be used in a variety of roles as part of Autonomous Warrior(Credit: Crown Copyright)

A century after it saw the first tanks roll across it, the British Army’s training grounds on Salisbury Plain is playing host to the largest military robotic exercise in British history. Over the next four weeks, the Autonomous Warrior exercise will test over 70 different types of unmanned prototype aerial and ground systems, ending in a battlegroup experiment under simulated combat conditions. read more

New Ember Camp Stove

Ember is designed to work with solid fuel rather than gas
Ember is designed to work with solid fuel rather than gas

There’s a lot of high-tech gear you could haul into the outdoors these days, but there’s also plenty to be said for solutions that take a simpler approach. The Singapore-based designers behind the Ember Stove aren’t ones to complicate things, taking to Kickstarter with a compact two-piece cooking solution designed to fit in your pocket and fire up with just a handful of twigs. read more

Going Back to the Moon

NASA has revealed plans to take America back to the moon – but will rely on private firms to run the missions.

The space agency plans to work with nine private firms, ranging from small startups to giants like Lockheed Martin, to develop robotic landers and systems to mine the natural resources on the moon.

This will help develop the technology need for eventual manned missions, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine pledged to have a manned lunar base within a decade.

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine announces new Moon to Mars partnerships with American companies

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine announces new Moon to Mars partnerships with American companies read more

NASA Announces Commercial Space Flights

Artist's concept of the Crew Dragon
Artist’s concept of the Crew Dragon(Credit: SpaceX)

NASA has announced the dates for the first flights of the commercial manned space capsules that will be used to ferry astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station (ISS). read more