Steam engines seem like a distinctly 19th-century technology when compared to 21st-century spacecraft. Yet, designers are turning to steam engines of a sort for use on spacecraft. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), a British developer of microspacecraft, has successfully tested a steam-powered thruster on UK-DMC, a spacecraft built by the company and launched last fall. The thruster uses a small amount of water, heated to 200 Celsius, as the propellant. The steam generates only a minute amount of thrust–a few millinewtons–but that’s enough to change the orientation of the spacecraft. SSTL believes that water could prove to be an economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to current spacecraft thrusters that use cold nitrogen gas or hydrazine.
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
Deep learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has quit Google
Hinton will be speaking at EmTech Digital on Wednesday.
Video: Geoffrey Hinton talks about the “existential threat” of AI
Watch Hinton speak with Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for AI, at EmTech Digital.
Doctors have performed brain surgery on a fetus in one of the first operations of its kind
A baby girl who developed a life-threatening brain condition was successfully treated before she was born—and is now a healthy seven-week-old.
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