7 NASA discoveries that will blow your mind

June 29, 2016 by  
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1. A second mini moon circling Earth The moon has figured prominently in our culture, popping up in songs, poems, and literature throughout the centuries. So NASA’s confirmation that there’s a second moon piqued the curiosity of the masses. Asteroid 2016 HO3 is between 120 to 300 feet in diameter, and really needs a better name so the poets can start composing. While the tiny asteroid likely didn’t enter the scene until about 100 years ago, NASA scientists anticipate it will continue to orbit Earth for several more centuries. 2. 1,284 new planets discovered by Kepler 4.302 exoplanets. That’s the staggering number delivered recently by the Kepler space telescope, and NASA determined 1,284 of those could likely be classified as planets . Past that, 1,327 might be planets too, but the agency needs to research them a little further to officially slap a label on them. On top of all that, the same study confirmed 984 other space objects are also planets. Sifting through these large numbers produces more exciting numbers: out of all of these planets, about nine could potentially support life. It’s the ” largest number of exoplanets ever identified at one time .” The universe we know just got a whole lot broader. 3. Six Earth-like planets that might be able to accommodate life Are we the only sentient beings in the universe? It’s a question typically asked by conspiracy theorists and science fiction authors; NASA’s not known for chasing aliens and UFOs. But the Kepler mission aims to discover terrestrial planets , especially those that might have water and might be able to support life. Before the massive amount of exoplanets were discovered, the Kepler mission identified six other planets in the ” habitable zone ” of their suns . Two are rocky like Earth, and three could contain liquid water. Science Mission Directorate associate administrator John Grunsfeld said, “Each result from the planet-hunting Kepler mission’s treasure trove of data takes us another step closer to answering the question of whether we are alone in the Universe.” Sounds like maybe they could be searching for aliens after all. 4. Flowing water on Mars When we think of weather on Mars , we usually imagine freezing cold temperatures. Usually we’re right; the red planet’s temperature hovers around -80 degrees Fahrenheit most days. That’s one reason why NASA’s discovery of water on Mars was so riveting. Apparently during the summer time, temperatures can swing up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is plenty warm enough to thaw ice . The agency said they now think ‘rivers’ of water flow intermittently on Mars. Water is one of the keys to supporting life, and while Mars may not have enough water now, it’s an exciting sign that maybe, just maybe, the planet could someday support a colony of humans. 5. Astronaut pee recycled into sugary drink NASA’s discoveries come not only in the form of second moons and habitable planets, but also in advances to help astronauts thrive in space. The agency developed ” forward osmosis ” technology to transform pee into a sugary drink. Old urine filters required tons of electricity to function, but the new product relies on a semi-permeable bag, performing marvelous feats without needing much energy. In space, every inch matters, and the forward osmosis technology would not only save room, but allow astronauts to reuse even their own pee. Talk about a win for long space journeys – like a mission to Mars. 6. Monkey-like robot designed for rescue missions NASA’s also tackling robotics . Researchers at their Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed a robot that’s reminiscent of a monkey , called RoboSimian, for search and rescue missions in environments dangerous for humans. JPL entered the monkey-like robot in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, where robots entered had to drive a vehicle, open a door, open a valve, use a power drill to cut a hole, navigate difficult terrain, and walk up stairs. Maybe real monkeys typically don’t use power drills or drive vehicles, but RoboSimian was up for most of the tasks . While the robot ultimately stumbled over a few of the jobs, like moving a plug between sockets, in a competition with 22 entrants it still placed fifth. 7. Ice volcanoes on Pluto One mind-blowing discovery isn’t so much a discovery as it is a confession: we know so little about Pluto . We’ve known for many years the planet is extremely cold, but the New Horizons mission has provided loads new information about the dwarf planet that reveals there’s still much to learn. Here’s that thought summed up in two words: ice volcanoes . There are two mountains near Pluto’s south pole that appear to have depressions at the peak, kind of like a volcano. NASA thinks they might have formed when ice, ammonia, methane, or nitrogen erupted, so the agency has started referring to them as “cryovolcanoes.” We’re still not quite sure if they are indeed ice volcanoes, but NASA’s working on answers to the mysteries of Pluto, so stay tuned for future mind-blowing discoveries. Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech , NASA/W. Stenzel , NASA , NASA , NASA , NASA/JPL , and NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

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7 NASA discoveries that will blow your mind

Public Urinals Help Amsterdam Harvest Pee as Fertilizer for Green Roofs

November 22, 2013 by  
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Photo of green roof via Shutterstock The idea of someone sprinkling urine on building rooftops sounds like a major health hazard, but that’s just what Amsterdam’s water utility, Waternet , recently proposed. Though it sounds like a cruel prank, the project is actually part of an effort to find cheap, natural alternatives to traditional fertilizer . In order to flourish, Amsterdam’s many green roof tops need lots of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, substances that some say could become scarce by 2030. Knowing that human urine contains a lot of all three of these nutrients, Waternet recently set up a demonstration project to harvest pee from public urinals. It hopes to process what it gleans into an upcycled fertilizer for public gardens and vegetated rooftops around the city. Read the rest of Public Urinals Help Amsterdam Harvest Pee as Fertilizer for Green Roofs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Amsterdam , fertilizer , green roofs , green roofs in Amsterdam , human urine , natural fertilizers , organic fertilizers , peak fertilizer , peak phosphorus , Pee Power , Peecycling , peecycling in Amsterdam , phosphates , phosphorus , public urinals in Amsterdam , recycling urine , urinals , uses for human urine        

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Public Urinals Help Amsterdam Harvest Pee as Fertilizer for Green Roofs

The World’s First Bionic Eye Implant Hits US Market Next Month

November 22, 2013 by  
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The world’s first bionic eye is set to hit the US market next month! The Argus II is a retinal implant that helps restore vision to patients blinded by a degenerative eye disease. The FDA officially approved the device early this year, following successful trials that allowed some patients to read the newspaper or see in color for the first time in years. Read the rest of The World’s First Bionic Eye Implant Hits US Market Next Month Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bionic eye , blindness , clinical trials , electronic implants , macular degeneration , medical devices , medical technology , optic nerve , retinal implant , retinitis pigementosa , second sight medical products        

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The World’s First Bionic Eye Implant Hits US Market Next Month

Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $3 Million to Double Nepal’s Tiger Population by 2022

November 22, 2013 by  
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The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation just donated a whopping $3 million to help the World Wildlife Fund double the population of wild tigers in Nepal by 2022. The grant will aid the WWF in working with the Nepalese government to protect and monitor tiger populations and enact stronger anti-poaching controls. The gracious grant is expected to help increase the tiger population from 3,200 to 6,400 in the next nine years – by year of the tiger in the Chinese calendar. Read the rest of Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $3 Million to Double Nepal’s Tiger Population by 2022 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “World Wildlife Fund” , eco design , green design , images of Leonardo DiCaprio , Leonardo DiCaprio donates $3million to tiger conservation , Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation , Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation $3 million to tigers , Leonardo DiCaprio saves tigers , Nepal tigers , Save Tigers Now , sustainable design , WWF and Leonardo DiCaprio        

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Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $3 Million to Double Nepal’s Tiger Population by 2022

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