A speck of dust seems insignificant, but a swarm of it can do everything from generating oxygen to tempering hurricanes to fertilizing the rainforest.
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Mars has beckoned humankind for centuries, but only in the last 50 years have we begun to scratch its surface. The latest Martian explorer is Perseverance, an uber-sophisticated rover, chock-full of scientific instruments, including 23 cameras, a robotic arm, lasers, and spectrometers, designed to analyze the terrain and reveal if there was ever life on the Red Planet. Join us as we examine the latest rocket, rover, and interplanetary helicopter.
2021 • Technology
Science fiction has long anticipated the rise of machine intelligence. Today, a new generation of self-learning computers is reshaping every aspect of our lives. Incomprehensible amounts of data are being collected, interpreted, and fed back to us in a tsunami of apps, smart devices, and targeted advertisements. Virtually every industry on earth is feeling this transformation, from job automation to medical diagnostics, from elections to battlefield weapons. Do You Trust This Computer? explores the promises and perils of this developing era. Will A.I. usher in an age of unprecedented potential, or prove to be our final invention?
2018 • Technology
For years, the idea of a reusable spacecraft was the dream of early space pioneers, and in 1981, after almost a decade of engineering toil, the Space Shuttle Columbia finally lifted into orbit, ushering in a new era of space flight. Today, the shuttle's work is complete but its engineering legacy will outlast those who built it. Relive its incredible 30-year history, from its groundbreaking achievements to its heartbreaking failures, as told by the people who designed, built, and flew this magnificent flying machine.
Traditionally, regulators had insisted that all passenger aircraft be powered by at least three engines. But the development of more sophisticated airplanes eventually made twin-engine, long-distance travel feasible. A new standard was introduced, known as Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards, or ETOPS.