Google Sparks New Moon Race with $20 Million Prize
University students and private companies are racing to build the first private spacecraft to land on the moon. Google and the X Prize Foundation are offering $20 million to the winner.
What's the Latest Development?
Google has teamed up with the X Prize Foundation to offer a $20 million prize to the first private organization to land a spacecraft on the moon, move it 500 meters and send video back to Earth as proof. "The first to register for the competition was Odyssey Moon Limited, which is Richard Branson's partner in bidding for NASA contracts to carry scientific apparatus around the Earth." Perhaps the strangest design comes from Team Puli in Hungary, whose craft looks like a sea urchin and uses many pipe 'feet' to move around. To keep the pressure up, the prize must be claimed in the next three years.
What's the Big Idea?
The competition is offering a further $10 million prize for accomplishing more complex tasks, including travelling at night (when there is no sun to power solar cells), finding ice or landing next to an old NASA Apollo lander (this last task has upset some who want to preserve the condition of the historic moon landing sites). The competition itself is evidence of a sea change in space exploration, which will be increasingly given over to the private sector in the years ahead. Commentators said the private crafts look much less sturdy than NASA technology, but that their purpose—simply moving 500 meters—is less demanding.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
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It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.
Image from the study.
As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.
Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.
"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.
It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.
Image by authors of the study.
Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
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