The question of whether life exists on Mars has been debated for decades, and the discussion continues today. Bolstered by the recent discovery that there's actually a 12-mile body of water under an ice cap Mars' south pole, scientists are beginning to wonder if there might really be some kind of bacterial life on the Red Planet.
But believe it or not, Mars may have been more friendly to life many, many years ago than it is today.
Researchers have discovered areas on the planet's surface that indicate that Mars may have once had the right atmosphere to support liquid water, including finding areas that appear to by long-dried riverbeds or mineral deposits that could not have formed without liquid water. It's some parts speculation, but astronomers continue to look for more clues into the Martian past.
What's indisputable, though, is that the Mars that we see today can't support liquid water on the surface. Why? Again, there's a lot of ongoing research into that particular question, but prevailing theories suggest that it's due to asteroid collisions causing Mars to lose chunks of atmosphere, in addition to strong solar winds, against which Mars has no protection (such as Earth's magnetosphere). Over time, these factors essentially sapped Mars of its atmosphere, meaning that it no longer had the right pressure for liquid water on the surface.
But could we make Mars livable again? Martian colonies have been mankind's dream for a while now, but with the conditions on the surface, any colonists brave enough to relocate would be subjected to a life of spacesuits and powdered food. What if we could fix this by making Mars more like Earth--i.e., terraform it to our needs?
Even though I don't really understand it, The Last Jedi received its fair share of criticism from fans (even though it has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, just sayin'). While that film was commercially successful, grossing over 1.3 billion dollars at the box office, the origin story Solo that released just five months later struggled significantly. All future standalone films have reportedly been put on hold at Lucasfilm.
In the midst of all this fan division, what's the answer for Star Wars? Where does it go after Episode IX? Lucasfilm may have found the answer in the past. Yes, Solo was set in the past (and technically so is the entire Star Wars franchise, but you know what I mean). I'm talking about going back even further, to one of the Star Wars universe's most interesting periods: the Republic.
By now, you've probably heard that Disney has resurrected Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the popular television series that aired on Cartoon Network from 2008-2013 was returning for a seventh season after its abrupt end. The announcement was made at San Diego Comic-Con this past week alongside the premiere of a trailer for the new season, which was met with cries of delight from fans in the audience.
Robots are making their way into the food industry--but they might not take your job with them.
A new startup company, Creator, has opened a "closed-beta" restaurant, of sorts, in downtown San Francisco. The restaurant is staffed similarly to any other fast-food joint, and it might strike you as tech-savvy that the wait staff take your order on an iPhone. But the real star of the show is two conveyor-belt style machines that autonomously assemble your burger for you.
Using ingredients stored in long clear tubes and over 300 sensors, these bots can assemble your customized burger in just minutes. The efficiency of the machine is astonishing, with an output of 120 burgers per hour. And the best part is, you lose none of the freshness you would enjoy at any made-to-order burger establishment--the machine toasts your bun to golden, slices the ingredients as they are dispensed, and grills the burgers fresh for each order.
As of the time of writing, eight kids have been rescued from the Tham Luang cave in Thailand. The rescue effort has been dangerous, and the divers, SEALs, and others involved deserve to be commended for their heroism.
But the effort has not been without its complications. Sadly, one former Thai Navy Seal Petty Officer, Saman Kunan gave his life in the effort to save these young children trapped in the depths of the cave. The youth soccer team, known as the Wild Boars, has been trapped since June 23, a total of 16 days and counting. With oxygen levels dropping low and monsoons on their way, rescue workers were forced to brave the perilous underground conditions earlier than anticipated to get the kids out of the cave.
Thankfully, the need for more efficient and less dangerous rescues has been swiftly responded to. Of all places, it came from Elon Musk's SpaceX.
The enterprising billionaire tweeted on July 7 that he had been speaking with cave experts in Thailand about how to make the six-hour trek through the caves to the children safer, which is especially necessary for the kids, who reports say have no diving experience.
It's a bird...it's a plane...it's a robot!
A video has been making rounds on the Internet showing a new Disney animatronic (for the uninitiated, that's the talking, moving, character robots featured on Disney Parks attractions) doing flips scores of feet in the air before landing on a tiny pad. Yes, the video is real, and it's part of a new project going on at Disney Imagineering called Stuntronics. Here's the clip in case you haven't seen it:
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!