Technology Tuesday: December 4th

Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.

This week: A spray-gel that kills cancer, liquid water on a distant asteroid, a battery 10 times more powerful than lithium ion, a “sun in a box”, and an automated taxi service from Waymo.

A NEW SPRAY GEL HELPS KILL TUMORS LEFT OVER FROM CANCER SURGERY

When doctors operate to remove cancerous tumors, they need to make sure they catch every last bit during surgery. If any cancer is left over, it can once more take hold and recur, putting the patient right back where they started.

To help clear away any tumor remnants that doctors might miss during surgery, a team of doctors from prestigious medical institutions says it has developed a new spray-on gel that enlists the immune system to sweep the area and kill off whatever cancerous cells are still there, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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A NASA PROBE JUST FOUND EVIDENCE OF WATER ON A DISTANT ASTEROID

A lone spacecraft is hovering 12 miles above the surface of a tiny asteroid millions of miles away, closely examining its surface. And it just sent back its first readings.

As part of NASA’s Origins Program, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft traveled to an asteroid called Bennu some 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) from the Sun, finally arriving at the 1,600-foot-wide (487-meter) asteroid on December 3. The goal: to uncover the secrets of the solar system by analyzing the asteroid.

Their unexpected finding: Bennu or a larger parent asteroid once contained liquid water — a huge surprise to NASA researchers.

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A NEW KIND OF BATTERY COULD STORE 10 TIMES AS MUCH POWER AS LITHIUM ION

Batteries are great. They power many hallmarks of the future, from smartphones to electric cars. The problem, of course, is that batteries never seem to last quite long enough on a charge — and their environmental footprint is substantial.

Now, though, an all-star team of researchers from Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Honda say they’ve developed a fluoride-based battery that could deliver up to ten times the energy density of a conventional lithium-ion cell — and that take fewer resources to manufacture.

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A WHITE-HOT MOLTEN SILICON “SUN IN A BOX” COULD POWER UP TO 100,000 HOMES

Much of the world’s electricity is generated in real time — power plants fuel our homes when we need it, as we need it, and excess energy generally goes to waste.

With fossil fuels, this isn’t a huge problem; we can always burn more gas or oil. But wind turbines and solar panels produce power only when the wind is blowing or sun is shining. Energy storage for those mediums will pose a key challenge during the world’s transition to renewable energy energy.

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WAYMO LAUNCHES A SELF-DRIVING TAXI SERVICE CALLED WAYMO ONE

The world’s most experienced driver is ready to take riders where they need to go.

In 2009, Google launched a project to explore self-driving technology. On Wednesday, the company that grew from that effort, Waymo, launched a project of its own: Waymo One, a commercial self-driving car service powered by tech with more than 10 million miles’ worth of experience navigating public roads.

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