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NASA awards advanced 3D printing and quantum technologies for climate research



New technologies are key to helping NASA achieve its long-term research goals for the benefit of all. To support its efforts, the agency announced on Thursday that it will create two new institutes to develop technologies in the critical fields of engineering and climate research.

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Nuclear Waste Drilling Demonstration Center launched



Increase / Artist’s impression of a deep nuclear waste disposal well by Sandia National Laboratories in 2012. The red lines show the depth of the mined storage sites: Onkalo is Finnish, and WIPP is the US Department of Energy defense waste storage facility in New Mexico.

Sandia National Laboratories

deep isolationthe company, founded in 2016 and headquartered in California, launched “Deep Well Demonstration Center” February 27. It is intended to show that getting rid of nuclear waste in deep boreholes is a safe and practical alternative to the shaft tunnels that make up most of today’s nuclear waste storage designs.

But while the initial board members were named at launch and a high-level plan released, the startup does not yet have a permanent location, nor funds committed to complete its planned drilling and testing program.

Although the idea of ​​using deep wells to bury nuclear waste not new, no one has yet demonstrated how it works. The Deep Well Demonstration Center is intended to be a full-scale end-to-end demonstration, testing everything from the safe handling of waste canisters on the surface, disposal, eventual retrieval, and ultimately permanent sealing deep underground. Techniques will also be worked out to ensure that possible underground leaks do not contaminate the environment on the surface, even many millennia after disposal.

But it will do all of this without any real nuclear waste: “This place, to be clear, will never be used for radioactive waste disposal,” said Liz Muller, CEO of Deep Isolation and chairman of the board of the Deep Well Demonstration Center.

“This is to really bring people together to understand what are the main issues that need to be addressed before we move forward,” said Ted Garrish, the center’s executive director. “There is nothing really new here in terms of real technology; it’s just to put them together and do it in a nuclear environment.”

Universal canister

By the time of this announcement, the center’s first exercise in “combining” conventional oil drilling and nuclear technology had already begun. In February, a demonstration of the technology took place at a downhole test site near Cameron, Texas. “We need to have a fastening mechanism for this nuclear design container to attach it to a standard oil and gas rig,” Mueller explained.

They used a newly designed canister large enough to hold 14 feet of spent fuel. fuel assembly from pressurized water reactor (PVR). They snapped it on with standard oilfield equipment, lowered it through the floor of the rig, and unhooked it there. Later, they hooked on him again and fished him out again.

Funded by the US Department of Energy ARPA-E program Deep Isolation is developing a new universal container that can enter the well and receive waste generated during various reactor designs, not just PWR: “We’re talking to a number of different advanced reactor companies, what would their waste form look like, could we design it to fit in this versatile container?” said Mueller, who believes they should all fit in the same size canister as the PWR spent fuel canister used in the February test.

Decentralized recycling

The universal container should make deep wells suitable for various nuclear wastes, and the depth of the wells must be suitable for various places.

At the depth at which nuclear waste storage facilities are built (about 400 meters), there is usually quite a lot of flowing groundwater that can carry pollutants to the surface. Therefore, mined storage facilities for nuclear waste must be located in unusual locations where the rock is dense and the water is static to ensure that leaks in the storage facility do not go far, even after millennia. But going much deeper, Müller argues, waste can be deposited at depths where groundwater flow is typically minimal, so there are far fewer restrictions on suitable locations. “The geology is much more flexible than when you look at a booby-trapped vault,” Muller said. “When you go much deeper, when you go a kilometer, two kilometers deep, there are many more suitable places.”

This means that most locations where nuclear waste is generated have the potential to have deep well disposal facilities, reducing the need to transport nuclear waste to centralized facilities such as unsuccessful Yucca Mountain in Nevada. “We expect the first iterations of the deep containment technology to be implemented in existing waste treatment facilities,” Mueller said.

“I think if we’ve learned anything from trying to… consolidate locations and relocate [nuclear waste] in all states, I think the main lesson, big, big lesson for everyone: don’t do it!” Mueller said. Transportation of nuclear waste remains to this day cited as one of the objections State of Nevada to the Yucca Mountain Range.

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NASA unveils new suit for astronauts on the Artemis lunar mission



A suit similar to the one the Artemis astronauts would wear on the Moon, but dyed black instead of white.

Axiom Cosmos

NASA has revealed the spacesuits that astronauts will wear on the Moon for the upcoming Artemis lunar missions, which will see the first woman and man of color reach the surface of the Moon.

“We haven’t had a new suit since the suits we designed for the Space Shuttle and these suits are currently in use on the space station – so for 40 years we have been using the same suit based on this technology. . said Vanessa Wych at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, at a March 15 press conference.

The new suit, built by private company Axiom Space for NASA, is designed to operate in the harsh environment of the moon’s south pole, where temperatures average around -13°C (9°F) but can drop hundreds of degrees. lower in craters in permanent shadow.

It will also have improved mobility over previous suits, weigh 55kg, about 25kg lighter than the suits worn by the Apollo astronauts, and have more custom joints for a greater range of motion. Since the suit has so many hinges, it is not easy to take it on and off. Astronauts will need to crawl through a hatch at the back of the suit to enter.

The suit also features a panel of lights above the helmet for working with instruments and scientific instruments in low light, as well as a high-definition camera so people on Earth can watch what the astronauts are doing.

Photos posted by Axiom Space show a suit with a black outer layer designed by Esther Marquis, costume designer from the Apple TV+ sci-fi series. For all mankind in Axiom brand colors. The suits worn on the Moon will be white to reflect heat and keep the astronauts at the right temperature.

If all goes according to schedule, NASA’s Artemis 3 mission will land the first woman and person of color on the moon in 2025. Historically, space exploration, especially on the Moon, has been done almost exclusively by white men. Until last year, for example, the specific radiation risk for women had never been studied.


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  • space exploration

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Oust Labs French Bulldog Named Most Popular Dog Breed in the US



A a new breed of dog has won the hearts of Americans. While Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular pedigreed dog for a record 31 years, French Bulldogs, or “Frenchies” as enthusiasts call them, took the top spot for the first time in 2022, according to the American Kennel Club. announced March 15th.

But the choice is not without controversy. Veterinarians have long warned that the popularity of the breed is adding to their suffering. Like other wrinkly-faced dog breeds such as pugs and bulldogs, Frenchies suffer from a number of health issues related to their distinctive shape. And as their popularity soared and the price of a puppy soared into the thousands of dollars, veterinarians warned that there was an incentive to breed more dogs at the expense of their health.

Compared to many other purebred dogs, French Bulldogs are unusually susceptible to certain diseases, including spinal problems, childbirth difficulties and skin problems. One of the most serious problems is “brachycephalic obstructive respiratory system syndrome (BOAS)”, which makes it difficult for dogs to breathe. While some dog owners may find it normal for French Bulldogs to snort and wheeze, veterinarians warn this condition is detrimental to the quality of life of dogs and is associated with health problems such as gastroesophageal reflux, sleep problems, and hypertension, and may require lifelong health maintenance, including surgery. In accordance with one studyFrench Bulldogs are about 31 times more likely to suffer from obstructive airway syndrome than other dog breeds.

Some airlines, including American ones, even have prohibited all bulldogs and other snub-nosed dog breeds from cargo bays due to respiratory problems in puppies.

As French bulldogs become more popular, the number of dogs with BOAS is also increasing, warned Dr. Peter Sandø, director of the Companion Animal Welfare Center at the University of Copenhagen. statements through the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) released in February. The WSAVA stated that the popularity of short-nosed dogs has led to a “canine welfare crisis”.

“Selective breeding of exaggeratedly short noses has resulted in dogs whose health is in many cases compromised for the sake of seeming ‘cuteness’. It’s just unethical to breed dogs that have difficulty breathing,” Sando said.

A man holds a French Bulldog during the Westminster Kennel Club’s 144th Annual Dog Show on February 10, 2020 in New York City.

Stephanie Keith – Getty Images

Some animal organizations and welfare advocates are pushing for improved breeding practices to protect the health of French Bulldogs and other puppies. In 2021 United Kingdom Kennel Club updated his standard for French Bulldogs encourages breeders to avoid exaggerated features that could be detrimental to their health and to breed dogs with “well-defined muzzles” with prominently open nostrils.

The WSAVA urged breeders to prioritize raising animals without health concerns, including by testing the animals to make sure they can breathe or checking if they can go for a three-minute walk without trying to breathe.

Following the announcement of new standards in 2021, Dr. Laura Hamilton, a UK veterinarian, said in a statement through the kennel club that pet owners should be aware of dog health issues.

“These days, social media can often influence how dogs are bred, so we encourage all potential owners to fully research the breed before making any decisions, talk to experts, and find a responsible breeder who looks out for their health. dogs, she said.

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