Could India Beat China To Mars?

A pending launch has supporters excited about a possible Asian space race and opponents concerned about more pressing needs here on Earth.

What's the Latest Development?

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) could become the fourth national space agency -- after the US', the European Union's, and Russia's -- to successfully send a probe to Mars. Scheduled to launch in the next few weeks, the unmanned Mangalyaan orbiter will collect data about the planet's surface and atmosphere. Its mission was fast-tracked by the Indian government after China's 2011 attempt to send a craft was aborted due to technical issues. New Delhi television science editor Pallava Bagla says, "If India does beat China to Mars you can imagine the national pride."

What's the Big Idea?

India's space program has been in existence for over 30 years. Unlike China's considerably more advanced program, most of the ISRO's focus has been on developing technologies to help address poverty. However, starting in 2008, it made a "hard-headed" shift towards exploration, spending £55 million (US$88.8 million) to send a probe to the moon. The Mangalyaan mission will cost another £60 million (US$96.9 million), money that Bagla says "can't bring the 400 million [Indians] out of poverty." Action Aid in India executive director Sandeep Chachra agrees: "Investing in new technology, including space technology is an important part of the aspirations for an economy such as India. What is important is to...use those advances to overcome ingrained poverty and build hope for future generations."

Photo Credit:

Read it at BBC News

Biohacking: Why I'll live to be 180 years old

From computer hacking to biohacking, Dave Asprey has embarked on a quest to reverse the aging process.

  • As a teenager, founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, began experiencing health issues that typically plague older adults.
  • After surrounding himself with anti-aging researchers and scientists, he discovered the tools of biohacking could dramatically change his life and improve his health.
  • He's now confident he'll live to at least 180 years old. "It turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass," he says.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less

European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
Keep reading Show less