Extreme athletes have been using wingsuits — unique jumpsuits with fabric stitched between the arms and body and between the legs — to fly untethered for many years. However, while the "birdman" or "squirrel" suits allow daredevils to soar in the skies, the pull of gravity makes it impossible to accelerate or fly higher. To push past the limitations, Austrian stuntman Peter Salzmann teamed up with German car manufacturer BMW. The result is an electrified wingsuit, which allows flyers to zoom to higher altitudes at speeds of up to 186 miles per hour!
Stars that get too close to black holes usually end up getting sucked in by the strong gravitational forces of the dense space objects, from which no light can escape. Now, for the first time, researchers have been able to observe the cosmic phenomenon — nicknamed "spaghettification" because it pulls apart a star into thin "spaghetti-like" strands — in real-time.
The residents of Florida, which is home to over one million alligators, are no strangers to the apex predators. The massive animals are frequently encountered in swimming pools, ditches, and garages. In 2019, Palm Coast resident Donna Heiss even saw a 7-foot gator peeking through her window! However, the giant reptile recently spotted in Naples, Florida, impressed even the most jaded Floridians.
Soft robots, which can move around the ocean without harming sea life, are ideal for underwater exploration. However, they are rarely deployed because they are extremely slow and have a hard time maneuvering through the water. But that may change soon thanks to an innovative, self-propelling soft robot created by researchers at the University of California, San Diego.
The presence of ice in the permanently shadowed craters around the Moon's poles has been known for some time. However, researchers had been unsure if the hydration detected on the satellite's sunlit areas was "molecular" water (H2O), or hydroxyl (OH), a molecule that's one hydrogen atom shy of becoming water. On October 26, 2020, NASA confirmed that the liquid was indeed water.
Scientists scrambling to find a cure for COVID-19 may have some help from an unexpected source — 14-year-old Anika Chebrolu. The youngster from Frisco, Texas, was named the winner of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge in a virtual event held on October 12 - 13, 2020, for her groundbreaking research that could lead to a cure for the coronavirus.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) probe made history on October 20, 2020, when it landed on Bennu, a 1,640-foot (500 meters) tall asteroid that lies 200 million miles away from Earth. The brief, six-second touchdown was planned to retrieve samples of the ancient space rock's surface and bring them back to Earth for analysis.
On October 14, 2020, Russia's Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft set a new speed record for transporting crew members to the International Space Station (ISS) in just 3 hours and 3 minutes. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, blasted off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:45 AM EDT and safely docked at the ISS at 4:48 AM EDT. The monumental journey was accomplished using a fast-track, two-orbit flight path to the ISS.