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This Week In Science!

author

Chris Carpineti

Senior Video Editor

clockApr 23 2021, 12:25 UTC
This week in science IFLScience

NASA’s Ingenuity Becomes First Propelled Vehicle To Fly On Another World 

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter just made history as the first vehicle to fly on Mars and the first powered vehicle to ever fly on another planet. The little helicopter drone rose 3 meters and hovered for about 30 seconds on the surface of the Red Planet. Just a technology demonstration for now, Ingenuity's success opens up the possibilities of robotic space exploration for the future, guiding astronauts and exploring places we can’t get to. 

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Tarantulas Were Scuttling Around Earth Alongside Dinosaurs 120 Million Years Ago 

Tarantulas can be found on six of the planet’s seven continents but how they got there has been puzzling scientists as these lumbering giants are not known for being particularly active. To find out how they scuttled around the world, researchers traced them back 120 million years to the time of dinosaurs, where they would have lived and dispersed on Gondwana, an ancient supercontinent that existed before the continents as we know them split.  

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These Bioprinted Mini Pancreases Could Help Fight Diabetes 

Researchers have developed a new technology that can 3D bioprint miniature pancreases with blood vessels from human stem cells in just 30 seconds. This has the potential to become a reliable method to test diabetes drugs on a living model of the human pancreas. Over 450 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, so this could be a game-changer. 

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Perseverance Just Made The First Breathable Oxygen On Mars 

The Perseverance Mars rover has added to its impressive list of “firsts” and extracted oxygen from the Martian atmosphere for the first time – something that could one day help astronauts live on Mars. By sucking in CO2 and extracting the oxygen atoms from it, the MOXIE instrument provided 5g of oxygen, enough to allow an astronaut to breathe on Mars for 10 minutes. This could one day power rockets on Mars. 

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Scientists Develop Biodegradable Plastic That Easily Breaks Down With Just Heat And Water 

Curbing plastic pollution is vital for the future of our planet. Biodegradable and compostable plastics do exist, but they only break down under specific circumstances. Scientists have created a new plastic that can almost completely biodegrade using just heat and water, something you could one day do at home. Special enzymes embedded in the plastic can degrade it, turning it into lactic acid, which can feed microbes in the soil when the right conditions are met. 

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Feature article – The Man Who Put His Head Inside A Particle Accelerator While It Was Switched On 

This incredible story of a particle physicist who accidentally put his head inside a particle accelerator only to have a proton beam shot through the back of his head at close to the speed of light has to be read to be believed. Did he survive? Well, that would be spoilers. 

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