With a three-year grant from NASA, a Cornell chef, nutritionist, food and biological engineer and vegetarian cooking teacher are collaborating to develop and test tasty, nutritious and economical recipes that astronauts can prepare from a limited set of 15 to 30 crops grown in future space habitats. Wheat and potatoes are the staples to be complemented with rice, soy and peanuts, salad crops and fresh herbs, all to be grown hydroponically in artificially lit, temperature-controlled space farms. "Our goal is to develop a database of food-processing information and a menu of at least 100 primarily vegetarian recipes of familiar and new menu items based on crops raised in a bioregenerative life support system," said Jean Hunter, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Cornell who is heading up the project. The team also is developing a food-related decision-making strategy for NASA to use in bioregenerative life support systems for multiyear missions such as a lunar scientific colony or Martian surface exploration. Bioregenerative life support, in which plants and microorganisms regenerate air, water and food for the crew, is envisioned for long-term space exploration, starting 15 to 20 years from now. "Because the cost of transporting food for these missions will be astronomical, only about 15 percent of calories will be from Earth-made foods," added David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology at Cornell who also is working on the project. "Food plays a critical role in the overall psychological well-being of isolated crews." For more information, contact Susan Lang, (607) 255-3613.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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