In the next few decades, upcoming technological advances will offer unprecedented opportunities to explore the solar system – both with autonomous robots, and through manned missions. Dr Jekan Thanga and the Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration (SpaceTREx) Laboratory at University of Arizona are at the forefront of efforts to design miniature spacecraft that will allow us to reach these distant worlds, and navigate their rugged, unfamiliar terrains. In the future, his team’s research could pave the way for the establishment of long-term, off-world human settlements, and the discovery of life in extreme, yet potentially habitable environments.
Every year, the combined effects of corrosion and wear cause a huge amount of damage to coastal and offshore machinery, incurring huge costs for repair and maintenance. While there are various types of coating that offer protection from wear and corrosion, the way in which that they are applied can massively impact their effectiveness. Dr Tai-Cheng Chen and his team at the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Taiwan, have been analysing these methods, in order to determine the best way to protect maritime infrastructure.
Water-treatment processes are essential for water reuse in municipal, agricultural and industrial applications. Wastewater treatment ensures our safety and prevents sickness and death from parasites and contaminants every year. However, certain chemical contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, are difficult to remove from water, and can accumulate in the food web, eventually entering our food supply and potentially causing adverse health outcomes. Dr Luisa Orsini [Loo-ee-sah Oar-see-nee] and her colleagues at Daphne Water Solutions Ltd have developed a cutting-edge water-bioremediation technology, which is based on the use of small aquatic invertebrates called water fleas. By removing harmful contaminants from water, the sustainable and eco-friendly technology enables water reuse, while protecting human health and the environment.