Mind blown
September 11, 2019

This aptly named startup is eyeing extraterrestrial outsourcing.

Made in Space has plans to produce ZBLAN wire on the International Space Station and have it shipped back to Earth for humans to use, reports Wired.

Both Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush and NASA (currently the company's primary investor and customer) hope this could be the start of the "low-Earth orbit economy," per Wired.

ZBLAN wire has absorption properties that are useful for "high-end lasers" and "undersea internet cables," reports Wired. Space creates the optimal environment for ZBLAN production due to lack of gravity that prevents density separations and crystallization of the fragile material used to create the product.

The startup sent a ZBLAN lab on previous SpaceX missions, in which astronauts sent the machine back to Earth when the fiber was produced. The project is in the research phase, but the company aims to eventually establish a manufacturing facility in orbit, with only materials making the journey between Earth and space. The company plans to begin selling small quantities in 2020.

Stay tuned to see if free two-day shipping applies in space, too. Read more at Wired. Taylor Watson

September 11, 2015

We've come a long way from René Descartes and "I think, therefore I am" — kind of. "Without consciousness, we have no way of proving we, or anything else, exists," says The Economist, in its exploration of perhaps the core feature of being human. "And yet, what it is and why we have it remain a mystery that some of the greatest minds have been unable to solve." This fascinating look at the various theories doesn't solve it, either, but it provides a good summary of what questions scientists and philosophers are engaging with. "Debate is fierce," The Economist notes, and some experts think consciousness is a mystery humans are incapable of solving. Others disagree. You won't know why you know who you are at the end of this video, but you'll be closer — and you'll probably have a greater appreciation for your limited self-knowledge as well. Peter Weber

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