By India Ashok
A lot happened over the past week in the world of science and technology last week. From Nasa deciding to send up a helicopter to Mars, to Boston Dynamics’s robots running and climbing—these are some of the most interesting and important things that happened last week in the science and tech industry.
Boston Dynamics’s robots can now literally chase you
American robotics company Boston Dynamics appears to be all set to unleash it robots into the world—bots that can run, climb and give chase. The robotics firm uploaded two videos on YouTube last week, one of which showcased SpotMini, the company’s yellow robot-dog navigate and entire office space. The second video showcases the firm’s humanoid robot Atlas jogging in a park.
The two videos are meant to show off the robots’ abilities to circumvent physical obstacles and reach a goal autonomously. However, one can’t help shake the eerie feeling that it likely won’t be long before robot-dogs and Robo-cops will be ready to literally chase us about.
Massive singing space cloud captured in 3D
Scientists studying a massive interstellar cloud, named Musca, discovered that the cloud is actually a giant flat disk, and not thin-needle structure. The discovery resulted in the scientists concluding that the interstellar cloud actually contains 10 times more cosmic particles than previously assumed. Interstellar clouds are considered to be the birthplace of stars, and are challenging to study. However, the new research will likely help scientists uncover how stars are born and alien planets formed.
The new study, published in the journal Science, saw scientists develop a 3-D model of the space cloud, which according to the senior author of the study, Konstantinos Tassis, an astrophysicist at the University of Crete,”has been a ‘holy grail’ in studies of the interstellar medium for many years now,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nasa wants to send a helicopter up to the Red Planet
Nasa has decided to send a helicopter up to Mars in the next mission to the Red Planet. The space agency wants to study whether heavier-than-air aircrafts can successfully fly in Mars’s atmosphere.
“Exploring the Red Planet with NASA’s Mars Helicopter exemplifies a successful marriage of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future,” NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s associate administrator, Thomas Zurbuchen, said in a statement. “After the Wright Brothers proved 117 years ago that powered, sustained, and controlled flight was possible here on Earth, another group of American pioneers may prove the same can be done on another world.”
WHO prepares to battle terrifying Ebola outbreak in Congo
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it was preparing to battle the new Ebola outbreak that has already claimed 18 lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Reuters reported that the WHO plans to deploy an experimental Ebola vaccine, which the organisation hopes will stem the outbreak’s propagation.
“We are very concerned and planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario,” said Peter Salama, WHO’s deputy director-general of Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Ancient dinosaur tracks are being repeatedly destroyed by tourists
Around 200 million years ago, giant, eight-foot tall raptors stomped about in what is today the American state of Utah. The ancient dinosaur tracks were forever imprinted into rocks that now reside in the Utah State Park. Unfortunately however, the state park has recently had a worrying vandalism issue, with young tourists ripping apart the ancient stones and chucking them into a nearby reservoir.
“This has been an ongoing problem that we really would like to stop,” Devan Chavez, spokesman for the Utah Division of State Parks, told the Washington Post. “These tracks are an important part of what makes Red Fleet State Park such a beautiful and special place. Being able to walk, hike, and even swim or boat next to where dinosaurs once stood is an amazing feeling.”
India Ashok is a senior copy editor at Qrius.
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