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NASA launches Lucy The Trojan asteroid-hunter. It will survey fossils of planet formation, from the early days of our solar system
Time capsules from the birth of our Solar System more than 4 billion years ago, the swarms of Trojan asteroids associated with Jupiter are thought to be remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets. The Trojans orbit the Sun in two loose groups, with one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its path, the other trailing behind. Clustered around the two Lagrange points equidistant from the Sun and Jupiter, the Trojans are stabilized by the Sun and its largest planet in a gravitational balancing act. These primitive bodies hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system, and perhaps even the origins of organic material on Earth.
Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojans. The mission takes its name from the fossilized human ancestor (called “Lucy” by her discoverers) whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity's evolution. Likewise, the Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system.
Lucy will launch in October 2021 and, with boosts from Earth's gravity, will complete a 12-year journey to eight different asteroids — a Main Belt asteroid and seven Trojans, four of which are members of “two-for-the-price-of-one” binary systems. Lucy’s complex path will take it to both clusters of Trojans and give us our first close-up view of all three major types of bodies in the swarms (so-called C-, P- and D-types).
The dark-red P- and D-type Trojans resemble those found in the Kuiper Belt of icy bodies that extends beyond the orbit of Neptune. The C-types are found mostly in the outer parts of the Main Belt of asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter. All of the Trojans are thought to be abundant in dark carbon compounds. Below an insulating blanket of dust, they are probably rich in water and other volatile substances.
No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our sun. Lucy will show us, for the first time, the diversity of the primordial bodies that built the planets. Lucy’s discoveries will open new insights into the origins of our Earth and ourselves.
Official Mission: http://lucy.swri.edu
The food of the future: Soylent is considered the global solution to malnourishment
Feeding 9 billion people in 2050 is one of the planet’s priority concerns at the minute, and this includes getting proper nutrition to the already-existing 850 million malnourished people. According to Rob, the creator of Soylent,
“You’re not going to feed a booming population with organic farms”
Hank Pellissier thought bringing Soylent to malnourished and undernourished populations over a period of two weeks could help them get the missing nutrients they need. He wanted to send 2 tones of Soylent to 140 Mangyan children, who live in the Mindoro Island in the Philippines.
Why this village?
He has been involved with these villagers for over a decade. He’s already tried to establish chicken farming in order to provide villagers with a proper source of protein. He asked Soylent to donate food to the Philippines, and sought out the people from DIY at powderedfoods.com when Soylent refused. A kickstarter campaign was launched to raise $5000 for needed materials and shipping fees.
Pellissier isn’t advocating Soylent as a way of replacing food completely for the villagers, but rather as a form of supplement, to get the protein they need:
“The kids’ diet is very starchy, based on cassava and tubers, sweet potatoes and lacks protein. Everyone there has TB, which spreads amongst people with a weakened diet, particularly one low in protein. I think the powdered foods will give them this protein”
Still, some people remain sceptical:
First of all, he’s not sure whether the villagers would be willing to replace some meals with Soylent:
“Maybe they’ll be a little resistant. I had a hard time getting them to take the de-worming medicine.”
Second, a dietitian for the Association of UK Dietitians, Mariette Abrahams was also sceptical about this switch. For example, she underlined that if they used unsafe water, it could worsen their situation. She also mentioned the risk for refeeding syndrome, which is a potential reaction to the sudden introduction of food, after a long period of starvation. And this could potentially be fatal because this powder is so nutritious, and that could lead to biochemical shifts.
Others argue that powdered food can never replace the benefits of fresh seasonal foods, and that there are still loads we don’t know about the nutrients in foods.
On a different note, this is what Rob Rhinehart, creator of Soylent has to say about Soylent and the developing world:
“I’m very optimistic at the prospect of helping developing nations. Soylent can largely be produced from the products of local agriculture, and at scale is plenty cheap to nourish even the most impoverished individuals. Also, agriculture has a huge impact on the environment and this diet vastly reduces one’s use of it.”
So maybe once Soylent is further developed and safe to use (read why we’re still a bit sceptical here), this new technology can be used to feed the developing world and solve diseases linked to malnourishment!