According to NASA, the larger Martian moon, Phobos, is spiraling in toward the Red Planet and will eventually be destroyed in tens of millions of years, but it turns out that it may have a second career after its death. University of California, Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Science postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Black and graduate student Tushar Mittal have calculated that the doomed satellite will be so torn by tidal forces that its fragments will form a ring like those that encircle Saturn and the other gas giants of the outer Solar System.
Asteroid mining is a potential trillion-dollar industry, but before any prospectors start fitting their mules of spacesuits, surveying is going to be more important than extraction. To help find out if its worth going to a particular asteroid, scientists from Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and the Planetary Science Institute are developing a new gamma-ray spectroscope that's capable of scanning asteroids, moons, and other airless bodies for gold, platinum, rare earths, and other valuable minerals.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have announced that the Telesat Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite today made a successful launch from the Yoshinobu launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center. The broadcast and telecommunication satellite lifted off at 3:50 pm JST atop the upgraded H-IIA Launch vehicle No. 29 (H-IIA F29). The launch was the first using the H-IIA upgraded second stage and the first commercial launch for the platform.
In what seems like the most unlikely of unions, a team of scientists at the Linköping University Laboratory for Organic Electronics are working to combine flowers, bushes, and trees with electronics to produce a breed of botanical cyborgs. Led by Professor Magnus Berggren, the researchers have used semiconductive polymers to create the key components of analog and digital electronic circuits inside a rose plant.
Once upon a time, the choice in dog feeding bowls was metal, ceramic or plastic. The ProBowl from Obe takes things a step further with a smart design that monitors a dog's food and water intake in real time and sends alerts if there are abnormal changes, helping owners to keep watch on their pet's diet.
A time capsule that's not to be opened until the year 2957 has been recovered on the MIT campus. Discovered by workers building the new MIT.nano building, it contains a letter to the people of the next millennium and historical artifacts, including an experimental electronic component that once gave the transistor a run for its money.
Belgian researchers working in collaboration with the world's largest chocolate producer, Barry Callebaut, have bred robust yeasts that ferment cocoa to produce bespoke aromas and flavors in the finished chocolate. According to the team, this makes possible a new range of boutique chocolates that can match particular flavors in the same way that craft beer, coffee, tea, and wine can.
NASA has ordered the first mission by SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft to ferry astronauts from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station. This is the second mission planned with a private company under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts, which guarantees at least four such orders with two companies. The launch is scheduled for late 2017.
When NASA's Orion deep space capsule makes its next unmanned flight, it will be a bit shinier thanks to a new thermal coating. The new coating and an improved heat shield will protect the spacecraft against the extremes of heat and cold that it will encounter on its journey, as well as from the heat of reentry when it returns to Earth.
It may look like a bit of disco bling for the equestrian set, but the Tail Lights Rider Safety System has a very serious purpose. According to Michigan-based Tail Lights, thousands of horses and riders are injured and killed each year in collisions, so it's come up with an LED lighting safety system for horses.