Deep learning has helped advance the state-of-the-art in multiple fields over the last decade, with scientific research as no exception.


The Kepler instrument is a space-based telescope designed to study and planets outside our solar system, aka exoplanets. The first exoplanet orbiting a star like our own was described by Didier Queloz and Michel Mayor in 1995, landing the pair the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics. More than a decade later when Kepler was launched in 2009, the total number of known exoplanets was less than 400. The now-dormant telescope began operation in 2009, discovering more than 1,000 new exoplanets before a reaction wheel, a component used for precision pointing, failed in 2013.


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Ultrafast electron microscope opens up new avenues for the development of sensors and quantum devices. Everyone who has ever been to the Grand Canyon can relate to having strong feelings from being close to one of nature’s edges. Similarly, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered that nanoparticles of gold act unusually when close to the edge of a one-atom thick sheet of carbon, called graphene. This could have big implications for the development of new sensors and quantum devices.


This new discovery was made possible with a newly established ultrafast electron microscope (UEM) at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The UEM enables the visualization and investigation of phenomena at the nanoscale and on time frames of less than a trillionth of a second. This discovery could make a splash in the growing field of plasmonics, which involves light striking a material surface and triggering waves of electrons, known as plasmonic fields.


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Following four years of planning and research, the world’s first 3D printed footbridge recently opened to the public in Europe.

The almost 40-foot bridge, unveiled last month, was built by Dutch company MX3D and will serve as a “living laboratory” in Amsterdam’s city center.

Researchers and engineers at Imperial College London were able to 3D-print the bridge — which now serves pedestrians and cyclists crossing Amsterdam’s Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal.

From Guns To Chocolate: The Possibilities Of 3-D Printing
“A 3D-printed metal structure large and strong enough to handle pedestrian traffic has never been constructed before,” said Imperial College London professor Leroy Gardner in a news release.


A 12-meter 3D-printed pedestrian bridge designed by Joris Laarman and built by Dutch robotics company MX3D has been opened in Amsterdam six years after the project was launched.
Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett Designers first created the concept for the bridge in 2015, with the goal of making an “exceptionally efficient structure,” emphasizing both simplicity and safety, according to Popular Mechanics.

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Elon Musk breaks down his design and manufacturing process from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Texas.

Twitter user Trung Phan analyzed a two-hour video featuring Elon Musk giving a tour of the Starbase facility in Texas, where SpaceX is building Starship, the tallest rocket in history.

In the course of the video, Musk breaks down a five-step process he says he follows when commencing on design and manufacturing. As with most things he does, his advice is not something you will read in any business school textbook.

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Want to swim with the fishes? New research unravels what makes fish fins so strong yet flexible at the same time.


Fish fins do not contain muscles, yet fish can change their shape with high precision and speed to produce large and complex hydrodynamic forces—a combination of high morphing efficiency and high flexural stiffness that is rare in modern morphing and robotic materials. These “flexo-morphing” capabilities are rare in modern morphing and robotic materials of human design. The thin rays that stiffen the fins and transmit actuation include mineral segments, a prominent feature whose mechanics and function are not fully understood. 


Now, a group of scientists and engineers use mechanical modeling and mechanical testing on 3D-printed ray models to show that the function of the segmentation is to provide combinations of high flexural stiffness and high morphing amplitude that are critical to the performance of the fins and would not be possible with rays made of a continuous material.


Fish fin–inspired designs that combine very soft materials and very stiff segments can provide robotic materials with large morphing amplitudes and strong grasping forces.

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Participants in the trial must be between the ages of 18 and 50 and not diagnosed with HIV.  Moderna is set to start human trials for its experimental mRNA HIV vaccine as early as Thursday, the first time such a trial has ever been conducted. 


The big picture: “There’s a pressing need for new ways to prevent infection from viruses like HIV and influenza that conventional vaccines have struggled to address and to treat rare genetic diseases and cancers that kill millions each year,” Axios’ Alison Snyder writes. “Vaccines and therapies based on messenger RNA (mRNA) hold promise as a solution.”


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Could the very timing of a mission help shield astronauts from dangerous radiation?


Sending human travelers to Mars would require scientists and engineers to overcome a range of technological and safety obstacles. One of them is the grave risk posed by particle radiation from the sun, distant stars and galaxies.


Answering two key questions would go a long way toward overcoming that hurdle: Would particle radiation pose too grave a threat to human life throughout a round trip to the red planet? And, could the very timing of a mission to Mars help shield astronauts and the spacecraft from the radiation?


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