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Mars Samples are Coming to Earth, and NASA Worries Germs are Coming Too

Will we be abel to keep earth safe from Mars?

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Being able to create a robotic vehicle that can travel 150 million miles and land on a  distant and barren planet is absolutely astonishing.  It’s a marvel of mankind, and it shows that we won’t always be bound to this little space rock that we call home.

But this is still just a small step, and the engineering marvel of spaceflight is only a sliver of the science needed to keep humans safe from the rest of the solar system…let alone the universe.

Illustrating this point is the latest problem NASA needs to solve:  How to bring home samples from Mars that won’t give us all some strange, alien disease.

This week, the agency is holding public meetings and looking for feedback on its plan to land a spacecraft carrying Martian specimens at a U.S. Air Force testing range in Utah in the early 2030s.

“Maybe this is the most important environmental assessment that humans have ever done,” says Peter Doran, a geologist at Louisiana State University who studies life in extreme environments.

Doran didn’t want it to be too alarming, however.

“I think that it’s a very low probability that there’s anything living at the surface of Mars,” says Doran, who also serves on an international committee devoted to planetary protection. “But there is a possibility.”

One possible plan would be to superheat the samples.

NASA officials are hashing out a plan to safely collect the samples: A spacecraft would land on Mars and launch a container full of the previously collected rock samples into orbit around the planet. Once in orbit, this container could be engulfed by another container — like a big fish eating a little fish — to keep anything that had touched Mars inside.

It would then be sealed, and the seal would be heat-sterilized, says Brian Clement, a planetary protection expert with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who is working on the mission.

“We’re applying very high heat. It’s going to be in excess of 900 degrees Fahrenheit,” he says. “We want to be able to break apart any biomolecules that might have activity of any concern.”

And while the reality of the situation may not be all that fun to think about, alien viruses from Mars certainly feels like the plot of a good drive-in movie.

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Police Say Buffalo Supermarket Shooting was Racially Motivated

Local authorities described the crime as “pure evil”.

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On Saturday, a young gunman walked into a quiet grocery store in Buffalo, New York and opened fire.

The scene was described as chaotic and “armageddon-like”, as the killer stalked through the store expressionless, cold, and live-streaming the whole thing to the internet.  When the horror ended, ten were dead, several others injured, and the city of Buffalo was left scarred.

Now, in a deplorable revelation, police are disclosing that the crime was racially motivated.

An 18-year-old white gunman shot 10 people to death and wounded three on Saturday at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood of upstate New York, before surrendering after what authorities called an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Authorities said the suspect, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and appeared to have acted alone, drove to Buffalo from his home several hours away to launch the afternoon attack that he broadcast in real time on social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by Amazon.com.

Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were Black, officials said. The two others were white. The racial breakdown of the dead was not made clear.

Hateful online content has been attributed to the killer.

A document circulating online that appeared to have been written by the killer sketched out a to-do list for the attack, including cleaning the gun and testing the livestream.

In addition, a 180-page manifesto outlining ‘The Great Replacement Theory’ – the idea that white people are being replaced by minorities in the United States and other countries – also circulated online, reportedly authored by Gendron.

The suspect has suggested that he chose this particular grocery store on account of the high minority demographics within the ZIP code, further corroborating his hateful basis.

On Saturday, a young gunman walked into a quiet grocery store in Buffalo, New York and opened fire. The scene was described as chaotic and “armageddon-like”, as the killer stalked through the store expressionless, cold, and live-streaming the whole thing to the internet.  When the horror ended, ten were dead, several others injured, and the city of Buffalo was left scarred. Now, in a deplorable revelation, police are disclosing that the crime was racially motivated. An 18-year-old white gunman shot 10 people to death and wounded three on Saturday at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood of upstate New York, before surrendering after what authorities called an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.” Authorities said the suspect, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and appeared to have acted alone, drove to Buffalo from his home several hours away to launch the afternoon attack that he broadcast in real time on social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by Amazon.com. Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were Black, officials said. The two others were white. The racial breakdown of the dead was not made clear. Hateful online content has been attributed to the killer. A document circulating online that appeared to have been written by the killer sketched out a to-do list for the attack, including cleaning the gun and testing the livestream. In addition, a 180-page manifesto outlining ‘The Great Replacement Theory’ – the idea that white people are being replaced by minorities in the United States and other countries – also circulated online, reportedly authored by Gendron. The suspect has suggested that he chose this particular grocery store on account of the high minority demographics within the ZIP code, further corroborating his hateful basis.

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Wearable Google Device Could Translate Language in Real Time

WHOA!

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While there are certainly plenty of reasons to worry about the never-ending march into the technological dystopia before us, we have to admit that some of what were seeing is still pretty darn cool.

For many of us, it’s as though we’re living in an episode of The Jetsons.  Self-driving cars, video phone calls, apps that can tell you what song you’re listening to in the blink of an eye.  These are all revolutionary pieces of technology that we have gained for ourselves in merely the last decade or so.

This week, however, Google may have just taken the cake on powerful consumer electronics, teasing a pair of glasses that can translate languages nearly in real-time.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday teased a pair of smart glasses capable of translating languages in real time.

Pichai showed a video demo of the glasses during Google’s I/O developer summit. While they’re still just a prototype, Google suggested the glasses can show live language translations to the person wearing them.

So, someone with the augmented reality glasses might be able to understand what another person is saying just by reading captions that are presented through the lenses while the other person speaks.

There was no indication as to whether or not the glasses would ever be available to the public, however.

 

While there are certainly plenty of reasons to worry about the never-ending march into the technological dystopia before us, we have to admit that some of what were seeing is still pretty darn cool. For many of us, it’s as though we’re living in an episode of The Jetsons.  Self-driving cars, video phone calls, apps that can tell you what song you’re listening to in the blink of an eye.  These are all revolutionary pieces of technology that we have gained for ourselves in merely the last decade or so. This week, however, Google may have just taken the cake on powerful consumer electronics, teasing a pair of glasses that can translate languages nearly in real-time. Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday teased a pair of smart glasses capable of translating languages in real time. Pichai showed a video demo of the glasses during Google’s I/O developer summit. While they’re still just a prototype, Google suggested the glasses can show live language translations to the person wearing them. So, someone with the augmented reality glasses might be able to understand what another person is saying just by reading captions that are presented through the lenses while the other person speaks. There was no indication as to whether or not the glasses would ever be available to the public, however.  

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