Alternatives to Concrete for Sustainable Building

When most people think of construction materials, one of the first things that come to mind is concrete. This is not surprising when you realize that concrete is the most commonly consumed product on Earth after water.

Despite its popularity, however, concrete has adverse effects on the planet and its health. It releases a dangerous amount of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere, with the concrete industry making up 8% of overall global emissions.

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From Destruction to Creation: Understanding Meteorite Impact Craters

Ever since the planets first formed, they have been bombarded with space rocks. Asteroid and cometary collisions are so forceful that planetary surfaces fracture and melt beneath them, leaving behind huge craters. These impact events have played an important role in our planet’s history, by shaping the geological landscape, producing valuable minerals, and affecting the evolution of life. Dr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, aims to understand this fundamental process on Earth, Mars, and the Moon – with important implications for space exploration, mining, and understanding the origins of life.

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A historic selfie from Zhurong, the Chinese Mars Rover

Zhurong, the China National Space Administration’s Mars rover sent a historic selfie from the surface of the red planet: the rover went forward, placed a camera on the ground, and went back towards the Tianwen-1 lander for an amazing group photo – quite an effort!

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New Horizons Photographs Voyager 1’s Location

On December 25, 2020, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft pointed its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager in the direction of its predecessor, the Voyager 1 spacecraft, and photographed location from the Kuiper Belt. Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made object and first spacecraft to actually leave the solar system.

In fact, according to NASA, Voyager 1 itself is about 1 trillion times too faint to be visible in the image taken by New Horizons, its location is known precisely due to NASA’s radio-tracking (see: how far can Voyager 1 go before we lose contact?). As of April 2021, it is more than 152 astronomical units (AU, see notes 1) from the Sun.

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Scientists want to turn tree bark and compost into aircraft wings and plastic bags

Trees, crops, and even organic waste can be transformed into a bewildering array of plastics to use in products ranging from single-use bags to heavy-duty aeroplane wings.

by Alex Whiting

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NASA has announced two missions to Venus by 2030 – here’s why that’s exciting

For decades, the exploration of our solar system left one of our neighbouring planets, Venus, largely unexplored. Now, things are about to change.

Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University

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Recovering drugs from sewers could reduce harm to wildlife

Common medicines that have passed through patients’ bodies are ending up in the environment, but the threat many of them pose to wildlife and human health still needs to be determined. It may even be possible to recover some of these life-saving compounds so they can be reused.

By Vittoria D’Alessio

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Measuring Meteorites to Reveal the Origins of the Earth

The planet we call home has a 4.5-billion-year history, but humans have only been around for a tiny fraction of this time. To discover what happened before life arose on Earth, and even before Earth’s formation, scientists can study objects sent from space – from icy comets and rocky asteroids to tiny particles of interstellar dust. Early in Earth’s history, primordial gases became trapped deep in the planet’s interior. By determining how they were trapped and where they might be stored, Dr. Manfred Vogt and his research group at the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg are shedding new light on Earth’s origins.

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Curiosity Rover’s Stunning 360-Degree View Atop Mont Mercou on Mars

NASA has published a stunning 360-degree view atop Mont Mercou of the Curiosity Mars rover. The panorama is stitched together from 132 individual images taken on April 15, 2021, the 3,090th Martian day (or sol) of the mission. You can see the amazing panorama by using the arrows in the top left on the video, or by clicking (or touching) and dragging your cursor or mouse, moving the view up/down and right/left.

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