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Risky Business

Why Mars is more important than cosmetics and why a failed launch is also a partial success

5 min read
SpaceX’s fourth launch of a xFalcon 1 rocket.

Success, Finally: SpaceX's fourth launch of a xFalcon 1 rocket from Kwajalein Atoll goes off without a hitch.

Photo: SpaceX

In the history of life itself, there are only a handful of really big milestones: single-celled life, multicellular life, differentiation of plants and animals, life extending from the oceans to land, mammals, consciousness. On that scale, the next important step is obvious: making life multiplanetary. By that I mean the permanent extension of life beyond Earth. A goal like that, something that is important on the scale of life itself, deserves at least a small amount of our resources—less than we spend on health care but probably more than we spend on cosmetics.

To me, making life multiplanetary means going to Mars. We can skip Venus, whose atmosphere is highly acidic and roasting hot; Mercury, which is too close to the sun; and the moons of the gas giants, which are too far away from the sun. Mars alone is doable.

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The Aftershocks of the EV Transition Could Be Ugly

To avoid unintended consequences, bring realism to the table

10 min read
CEO of Dodge Brand standing on a podium next to a Dodge Charger Daytone SRT concept all-electric muscle car. Behind him a giant screen displaying the sentence: The Rules Have Changed.

Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge Brand, Stellantis, introduces the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept all-electric muscle car on August 17, 2022 in Pontiac, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The introduction of any new system causes perturbations within the current operating environment, which in turn, create behavioral responses, some predictable, many not. As University of Michigan professor emeritus and student of system-human interactions John Leslie King observes “People find ways to use systems for their own benefit not anticipated by designers and developers. Their behavior might even be contradictory to hoped-for outcomes.”

“Change rides on the rails of what doesn’t change,” King notes, “including people being self-serving.”

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Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

Additive manufacturing processes can provide rapid and customizable production of high-quality components

7 min read
Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

An example of a part produced through the metal powder bed fusion process.

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

History teaches that the Industrial Revolution began in England in the mid-18th century. While that era of sooty foundries and mills is long past, manufacturing remains essential — and challenging. One promising way to meet modern industrial challenges is by using additive manufacturing (AM) processes, such as powder bed fusion and other emerging techniques. To fulfill its promise of rapid, precise, and customizable production, AM demands more than just a retooling of factory equipment; it also calls for new approaches to factory operation and management.

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