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— Space

NASA details CubeSats to launch aboard SLS

As its 2018 maiden flight edges closer, NASA has provided further details on what exactly the Space Launch System (SLS) will be carrying deep into space. The agency has today revealed 13 CubeSats in total will be loaded onto the most powerful rocket it has ever built, some of which will be deployed to inspect asteroids, while others will gather data on the Moon.

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— Materials

Nanoscale lattice is world's smallest

Scientists from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created a tiny lattice they claim is the world's smallest. Formed with struts and braces measuring less than 10 micrometers in length and less than 200 nanometers in diameter, the 3D lattice has a total size of less than 10 micrometers, but boasts a higher specific strength than most solids.

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— Science

Sandcastle worms inspire strong, fast-acting underwater adhesive

Science has turned its torch to many corners of the animal kingdom in the pursuit of advanced adhesives. Immoveable mussels, grippy geckos and stubborn shellfish have helped nudged these efforts along in the past, and now another critter has emerged with a few sticky secrets of its own. Researchers have replicated the adhesive secreted by sandcastle worms to form a new kind of underwater glue, a substance they say could find use in a number of applications including tissue repair and dentistry.

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— Robotics

Swarming robot boats demonstrate self-learning

Robots may be the wave of the future, but it will be a pretty chaotic future if they don't learn to work together. This cooperative approach is known as swarm robotics and in a first in the field, a team of engineers has demonstrated a swarm of intelligent aquatic surface robots that can operate together in a real-world environment. Using "Darwinian" learning, the robots are designed to teach themselves how to cooperate in carrying out a task.

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— Drones

Drone takes the lead in Antarctic icebreaking mission

Each year, the US military set outs on a resupply mission to McMurdo Station, the National Science Foundation's Antarctic research center. With swathes of sea ice standing in its way, the Polar Star icebreaker first plows channels for other ships loaded with food, fuel and other supplies to pass through. But this year it has received a helping hand, by way of an unmanned drone that flies out ahead of the ship to scout the safest path forward.

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— Telecommunications

Microsoft's undersea data center uses the ocean to keep its cool

Although many people may think that cloud computing exists purely in cyberspace, it does in fact have a physical home – data centers located around the world, each one full of linked servers. These data centers use a lot of power, they create a lot of heat, and it helps if they're close to populated areas. While we've already seen some creative approaches to meeting these needs, Microsoft recently announced that it's tried something else yet … it anchored an unmanned data center to the bottom of the sea.

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