Could the Earth Collide with Mars?

A new computer simulation concludes: maybe--but not for a few billion years

1 min read
Could the Earth Collide with Mars?

In an intriguing paper in the 11 June Nature, Jacques Laskar and Mickael Gastineau of the Paris Observatory report on their large-scale computer simulation, which explored orbital interactions among the nine planets in our solar system. Over timescales of billions of years, the accumulation of slight variations in the orbits very occasionally led to planetary disaster. Of the 2501 scenarios they ran, for instance, Earth collided with Mars 29 times.

So, OK, that would be bad. But look at it this way: it wouldn't happen for at least 3 billion years, and it sure would shorten the travel time to Mars.

You'll need a subscription to view the full paper, but Sid Perkins has a good summary at Science News.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.

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The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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