cool tech

Scientists Are Counting Polar Bears Using Satellite Images

Aw. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Even though it’s their job, not even researchers want to brave the chilly Canadian tundra to count how many polar bears there are. So, instead they’re using images obtained from satellites to get an accurate count of how many furry white beasts are around.

The study is being spearheaded by Seth Stapleton, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. He told CBC News that is the first time a technique like this has been tested in the region. Read More

Space the Final Frontier

Buzz Aldrin Thinks We Will Colonize Mars in the Next 25 Years

Buzz Aldrin. (Getty)

It’s been 45 years since humans first landed on the moon, and the world’s now wondering when people — not just adorable selfie-loving rovers — are going to head over to Mars.

Buzz Aldrin seems confident a Mars colony will happen, based on a Reddit AMA the famed astronaut conducted this afternoon. Among other fascinating topics, like that time he met Tina Fey, Mr. Aldrin espoused his “very strong idea, concept, conviction, that the first human beings to land on Mars should not come back to Earth.” Read More

Go Home Science You're Drunk

Chinese Volunteers Eat Mealworms For 105 Days To See If They’d Make Good Astronaut Food

DINNER TIME. (Wikimedia Commons)

What a week it’s been for space travel! Yesterday, we told you about the Israeli group that’s trying to send the Torah to the moon. Now, let us share with you the tale of three Chinese volunteers who ate bugs for three months to see if they’d make good astronaut food.

For 105 days, three Chinese volunteers lived in a sealed-off biosphere and ate a diet consisting mainly of mealworms, the Daily Mail reports. Read More

Space the Final Frontier

Israeli Group Seeks Spacecraft To Send Torah To the Moon

To infinity and beyond! (Wikimedia Commons)

An Israeli group is trying its best to eternally preserve Jewish tradition, should Earth ever be destroyed by the Mayan apocalypse or a robot takeover or something.

A project based in Tel Aviv, Israel is aiming to send a Torah to the moon, NewScientist reports. If their plan runs smoothly, the group — which aptly calls itself the “Torah on the Moon Project” — will also send up copies of the Hindu Vedas and the ancient Chinese I-Ching. Read More

Space the Final Frontier

Brazilian Fisherman Finds Chunk of Space Rocket In Remote Amazonian River

Here's a scene from a river in Salinópolis, the town where the debris was found. (Wikimedia Commons)

A 73-year-old Brazilian fisherman was going about his day in a remote Amazonian river when lo and behold, he discovered a massive piece of “space junk” submerged in the water, the Guardian reports.

Turns out, the wall-sized panel was a piece of debris from the Ariane 5 rocket, one of Europe’s most sophisticated satellites. The rocket had reportedly launched from the Kourou base in French Guyana last July, the UK Space Agency said. The panel had been part of the satellite’s covering, and probably drifted inland after landing in the Atlantic. Read More

Space Invaders

Betabeat Is Going To Space, You Guys

Your new ride, OSIRIS-REx (Facebook)

Mark your calendars, friends, because Betabeat is heading to space in 2016!

In September 2016, NASA will launch its OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission, a mission to bring back a pristine sample of asteroid Bennu. In honor of the mission, the Planetary Society has set up a program called “Messages to Bennu,” whereby ordinary Earth folk can send the text of their names on a seven-year round-trip ride to and from the asteroid. Read More

3D printing

NASA Funds Mother of All 3D Printers to Build Equipment in Space

(Photo: Tethers.com)

In news that may not make sense to people who are not rocket scientists, NASA has recently awarded Tethers Unlimited $500,000 to develop a robotic 3D printer that would build huge structures while in orbit, Gigaom reports.

The SpiderFab printer and assembly system would be able to throw together structures more than half a mile wide, Gigaom says.  NASA would densely pack materials into existing spacecraft so that the SpiderFab could assemble it into “extremely large structures that are optimized for the space environment,” Tethers Unlimited CEO Rob Hoyt is quoted as saying. Read More