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Three Steps to a Moon Base

Space agencies and private companies are working on rockets, landers, and other tech for lunar settlement

3 min read
Illustration of moon landers and rockets.
Illustration: James Provost

In 1968, NASA astronaut Jim Lovell gazed out of a porthole from lunar orbit and remarked on the “vast loneliness” of the moon. It may not be lonely place for much longer. Today, a new rush of enthusiasm for lunar exploration has swept up government space agencies, commercial space companies funded by billionaires, and startups that want in on the action. Here’s the tech they’re building that may enable humanity’s return to the moon, and the building of the first permanent moon base.

  • 1. Getting to the Moon

    Super-Heavy-Lift Rockets: NASA is relying on the Space Launch System (SLS) for its 2024 lunar return plan—although the rocket is over budget and behind schedule. China is working to upgrade its current Long March 5 rocket (which failed in its second flight) to the Long March 9. Russia says it has finalized the design for its Yenisei rocket, but experts wonder if it will actually get built. Blue Origin and SpaceX’s rockets use reusable stages, which could make them much more economical. SpaceX’s Starship is the most futuristic of the lot, comprised of reusable stages and a built-in crew capsule.

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For Better AR Cameras, Swap Plastic Lenses for Silicon Chips

Metalenz adds the power of polarization to its innovative PolarEyes chips

5 min read
Silicon Nanostructures

Metalenz uses standard semiconductor manufacturing processes to build metasurfaces comprising nanostructures that control light, with one chip replacing multiple traditional camera lenses.

Metalenz

This week, startup Metalenz announced that it has created a silicon chip that, paired with an image sensor, can distinguish objects by the way they polarize light. The company says its “PolarEyes” will be able to make facial authentication less vulnerable to spoofing, improve 3D imaging for augmented and virtual reality, aid in telehealth by distinguishing different types of skin cells, and enhance driving safety by spotting black ice and other hard-to-see road hazards.

The company, founded in 2017 and exiting stealth a year ago, previously announced that it was commercializing waveguides composed of silicon nanostructures as an alternative to traditional optics for use in mobile devices.

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How Quantum Computers Can Make Batteries Better

Hyundai partners with IonQ to optimize lithium-air batteries

3 min read
A tan car with a Hyundai logo. Overlayed is a rendering of lithium-air batteries with a call-out showing a rendering of a molecular compound
Hyundai

Hyundai is now partnering with startup IonQ to see how quantum computers can design advanced batteries for electric vehicles, with the aim of creating the largest battery chemistry model yet to be run on a quantum computer, the companies announced yesterday.

A quantum computer with high enough complexity—for instance, enough components known as quantum bits or "qubits"—could theoretically achieve a quantum advantage where it can find the answers to problems no classical computer could ever solve. In theory, a quantum computer with 300 qubits fully devoted to computing could perform more calculations in an instant than there are atoms in the visible universe.

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Rohde & Schwarz Logo
Rohde & Schwarz

In this webinar you will learn more about solutions for high test speeds and throughput as well as how to cover multiple tests with one set-up.

Speaker:

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