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Science


— Environment

Coated polymer stack promises to keep your roof cool in summer

Of all the scenarios you'd want to find yourself in a heatwave, being barefoot on a hot tin roof would be toward the bottom of the list. These exposed surfaces soak up sunlight to slowly but surely transform into corrugated hotplates, compounding the sweltering ambient temperatures and warming the living space below. But a team of Sydney-based scientists has developed a new material that's claimed capable of keeping a rooftop cooler than the air that surrounds it, saving energy and sweating residents in the process.

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— Science

New SUSTAIN wind-wave research center creates roaring indoor hurricanes

Scientific curiosity around how air interacts with the ocean in the event of powerful storms has inspired a number of wind-emulating facilities around the world, from a high-speed wind-wave tank at Kyoto University to the Hydrodynamics Laboratory at Imperial College London. But just as hurricane season kicks off in the US, a team at the University of Miami is looking to step things up a notch. A freshly built indoor tank designed to study category five storms is now open for business, and as the only one of its kind in the world, is hoped to offer a new understanding of these destructive superstorms.

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— Electronics

Biodegradable computer chips made almost entirely from wood

As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem. That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in flexible electronics.

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— Space

NASA begins testing InSight Mars lander in anticipation of a 2016 launch

NASA has begun a comprehensive series of tests for its Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander. Once on the Red Planet, the lander will operate as a stationary science platform, attempting to answer a plethora of questions regarding the interior structure of Mars, and hopefully granting us some of the information needed to make a manned mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s a reality.

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— Space

The International Space Station gets a remodel

Mankind's most remote outpost underwent a significant remodel this week, as an entire module of the International Space Station was relocated in order to make way for the next generation of American commercial spacecraft. The move didn't require a spacewalk, with operators instead making use of the 16-m (52-ft) robotic arm to grapple and maneuver the Leonardo, or Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM).

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