Science

Chicken fat supercapacitors could store green energy of the future

As vital as it is for society to transition to renewable energy, it’s not as easy as simply swapping out fossil fuels for solar panels. To ensure they’re as efficient as possible, power infrastructures need powerful batteries to reliably house their excess generated energy for later use. Storage equipment has increasingly utilized carbon materials due to their natural abundance and efficiency, but making graphene is expensive and pollution-heavy. But carbon can be harvested through other sources—if you have the stomach…

Science

A father and son designed the world’s fastest quadcopter drone

A father-and-son team recently set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest quadcopter drone, speeding past the previous title holder. After months of fiery trial-and-error, Luke and Mike Bell’s remote-controlled Peregrine 2 design buzzed through the air at a ridiculous 298 mph. While the team’s four-propellor drone achieved its top speed back on April 21, Luke Bell posted his project rundown and Guinness confirmation earlier this week on YouTube. According to Bell, there was a lot to overcome before…

Science

Welcome aboard the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell superyacht

Superyachts are notoriously dirty luxury toys, with a single billionaire’s boat emitting as much as 7,020 tons of CO2 per year. And while it’s unlikely uber-wealthy shoppers are going to forgo from their statement vessels anytime soon, at the very least there’s now a chance to make superyachts greener. That’s the idea behind the new Project 821, billed as the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell superyacht. Announced over the weekend by Danish shipyard cooperative Feadship, Project 821 arrives following five…

Science

Makers of the world’s largest 3D printer just beat their own record

After a five-year reign, the world’s largest 3D printer located at the University of Maine has been usurped—by a newer, larger 3D printer developed at the same school. At a reveal event earlier this week, UMaine designers at the Advanced Structures & Composite Center (ASCC) showed off their “Factory of the Future 1.0,” aka the FoF 1.0. At four times the size of their previous Guinness World Record holder from 2019, MasterPrint, FoF 1.0 is capable of printing 96-by-32-by-18-foot tall…

Science

NASA will unfurl a 860-square-foot solar sail from within a microwave-sized cube

NASA hitched a ride aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron Launcher in New Zealand yesterday evening, and is preparing to test a new, highly advanced solar sail design. Now in a sun-synchronous orbit roughly 600-miles above Earth, the agency’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) will in the coming weeks deploy and showcase technology that could one day power deep-space missions without the need for any actual rocket fuel, after launch. The fundamentals behind solar sails aren’t in question. By capturing the…

Science

Greetings, Earth! NASA can understand Voyager 1 again

For the first time since November 2023, NASA is receiving meaningful communication from its Voyager 1 probe. The agency has spent months troubleshooting a glitch in why the famed probe was sending home messages that looked like garbled up gibberish and not scientific data. The probe is now coherent, but according to NASA, the next step is to enable Voyager 1 to begin to return usable science information again.  Alongside its twin Voyager 2, these probes are the only spacecraft…

Science

Watch a tripod robot test its asteroid leaping skills

Before astronauts leave Earth’s gravity for days, weeks, or even months at a time, they practice aboard NASA’s famous parabolic flights. During these intense rides in modified passenger jets, trainees experience a series of stomach-churning ups and downs as the aircraft’s steep up-and-down movements create zero-g environments. Recently, however, a robot received similar education as their human counterparts—potentially ahead of its own journeys to space. A couple years back, eight students at ETH Zürich in Switzerland helped design the SpaceHopper.…

Science

Driving a McLaren at 200 mph is a thrilling, dangerous experience

Here’s a fast fact you may not know: the Brits have dubbed driving 100 mph “doing the ton.” So it is perhaps appropriate that the British supercar-maker McLaren provided me with the opportunity to go two tons—yes, that’s 200 mph—in the company’s Artura hybrid-electric V6 model. You remember the Artura from my test drive; it’s a $289,000 mid-engine supercar with 671 horsepower and 531 lb.-ft. torque. McLaren says it’ll accelerate to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds and through the quarter-mile…

Science

A new solution proposed for drought-stricken Panama Canal goes around it

As droughts continue to deplete the Panama Canal’s water levels, the maritime trading hub’s operators are planning a workaround. On Wednesday, Panama officials announced a new Multimodal Dry Canal project that will begin transporting international cargo across a “special customs jurisdiction” near the 110-year-old waterway. The Panama Canal, which connects Atlantic and Pacific trading routes, has been in dire straits for some time. To function, ocean vessels pass through a series of above-sea-level “locks” filled with freshwater provided by nearby…

Science

Japan and NASA plan a historic lunar RV roadtrip together

Japan has offered to provide the United States with a pressurized moon rover—in exchange for a reserved seat on the lunar van. Per NASA, the two nations have themselves a deal.  According to a new signed agreement between NASA and Japan’s government, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will “design, develop, and operate” a sealed vehicle for both crewed and uncrewed moon excursions. NASA will then oversee the launch and delivery, while Japanese astronauts will join two surface exploration missions…

Science

Watch two tiny, AI-powered robots play soccer

Google DeepMind is now able to train tiny, off-the-shelf robots to square off on the soccer field. In a new paper published today in Science Robotics, researchers detail their recent efforts to adapt a machine learning subset known as deep reinforcement learning (deep RL) to teach bipedal bots a simplified version of the sport. The team notes that while similar experiments created extremely agile quadrupedal robots (see: Boston Dynamics Spot) in the past, much less work has been conducted for…

Science

Smugglers melted and spray painted $10 million in gold to look like machine parts

It could have been the perfect crime, had they used better spray paint. Recently, authorities have seized over 320 lbs worth of suspected smuggled gold during a cargo freight search at Hong Kong International Airport, according to yesterday’s customs announcement. Bound for Tokyo on March 27, investigators recovered the roughly $10.7 million haul from within two actual air compressors, the bureau’s largest ever in terms of overall gold value. But these weren’t goldbond bricks or stacks of doubloons stashed deep…