The Most Interesting Science Stories Of The Week

Posted: Apr 30 2017, 5:29am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 30 2017, 5:36am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
The Most Interesting Science Stories of the Week
Inflatable cylinder greenhouse that will serve as sustainable food source in deep space destinations. Credit: NASA

Plastic Eating Caterpillar may help Solve World’s Pollution Problem

Greater wax moth is a parasite that can rapidly destroy beeswax combs. But this insect can help solve a major environmental problem. Researchers have found that the larva of greater wax moth eats plastic and can decompose non biodegradable shopping bags that pile up in the ocean and landfills and pollute our environment. The insect can chew through plastic at a breakneck speed. For instance, holes started to appear on common polyethylene shopping bag after just 40 minutes and a significant reduction in plastic mass was observed after just 12 hours. Otherwise, polyethylene shopping bags are extremely hard to break down and it takes them hundreds of years to decompose.

Researchers may have Solved the Mystery of Antarctica’s Blood Falls

Blood Falls is a unique feature on Antarctica ice that spills red water. Many glaciers release water, but very few are red. Blood Falls flows from the toe of Taylor Glacier but researchers are unsure why it bleeds red.

To find out, a team of glaciologists from multiple institutes visited the site and used a powerful radar system around the glacier. Researchers suggest that mysterious waterfall is likely caused by a large source of salt water that may have been trapped under Taylor Glacier for at least one million year. Furthermore, researchers have found that the waterfall is coming from an extremely cold glacier which was thought impossible otherwise. The discovery makes Taylor Glacier the coldest known glacier to have persistently flowing water.

NASA Develops Inflatable Greenhouse to Grow Vegetables on Mars

As humans are on the verge of reaching Mars, NASA is making sure they will have persistent source of food out there. For this purpose, the space agency has developed an inflatable cylinder greenhouse that will help solve one of the biggest challenges faced by humans during deep space exploration. The greenhouse is designed to grow and provide fresh vegetables for astronauts during extended stays on the moon, on Mars, or anywhere they can't be resupplied from Earth and the system can mimic the way plants grow on Earth. Besides growing food, the inflatable greenhouse can also be used for air revitalization, water recycling and waste recycling for astronauts.

New MIT Robot can 3D Print an Entire Building within Few Hours

The construction of a building will become a lot easier in the future. Researchers from MIT have created a robot that can 3D print an entire building. The robot consists of a large hydraulic arm carried by a vehicle. At the end of the arm is a smaller electric arm which ensures finer movements. The robot can release concrete or spraying insulation material through its nozzle and creates a structure layer by layer in just few hours. It allows maker to experiment with different materials, designs and shapes. With this system, building could be produced faster and less expensively than traditional construction methods.

China and Europe will Collaborate to Build Moon Village

China and European Space Agency are planning to build a settlement on moon. Last year, ESA described its proposed "Moon Village" as a potential international launching pad for future missions to Mars and a chance to develop space tourism or even lunar mining. Now, they are seeking outside expertise to make their plan successful.

Although a relative newcomer to the international space race, China already has ambitious plans for space exploration. The country is hoping to reach the far side of the moon around 2018 and to send its first mission to Mars by 2020.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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