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Why SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Is Such a Big Deal

SpaceX unveils its most powerful rocket.

Credit: SpaceX


SpaceX has given the world a first look at its most powerful rocket yet - the Falcon Heavy. Not only is this beast the most powerful rocket that the Elon Musk-led SpaceX ever made, it will be “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” according to their site. When it launches with its initial cargo, its destination will be the orbit of Mars, according to Musk. Eventually, the rocket might be the one to carry humans to the Red Planet as well.

Sharing the rocket’s photos and video on Twitter and Instagram, SpaceX put the space vehicle's might in perspective, saying it’s equal to eighteen 747 aircraft “at full power”.

"With more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff — equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power — Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two," SpaceX reps wrote.

To get that 5 million pounds of thrust and liftoff, the two-stage rocket has 27 first-stage Merlin engines, as states SpaceX.  That’s three times as many engines as are on SpaceX’s current workhorse rocket - the Falcon 9. 

In fact, the first stage for the Falcon Heavy essentially involves three Falcon 9 cores strapped together. The reusable boosters will get it into orbit, then fly back to Earth and land vertically like other Falcon 9s. The second stage will be powered by just one Merlin engine, same as the Falcon 9.

Here is the Falcon Heavy getting vertical:

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Leonardo da Vinci could visually flip between dimensions, neuroscientist claims

A neuroscientist argues that da Vinci shared a disorder with Picasso and Rembrandt.

Christopher Tyler
Mind & Brain
  • A neuroscientist at the City University of London proposes that Leonardo da Vinci may have had exotropia, allowing him to see the world with impaired depth perception.
  • If true, it means that Da Vinci would have been able to see the images he wanted to paint as they would have appeared on a flat surface.
  • The finding reminds us that sometimes looking at the world in a different way can have fantastic results.
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Women who go to church have more kids—and more help

Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.

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Culture & Religion
  • Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
  • A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
  • Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
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Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

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Coronavirus
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
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Future of Learning

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

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