The battle of the Tyrannosaurs

Plus, the farthest human-made object.
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The Futurist is your daily tech, cosmic, and science (both weird or otherwise) newsletter with articles and content curated just for you.

Cosmic Trivia:

How many miles has the Voyager 1 spacecraft traveled?

Hint: “If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been.”


(Scroll to the bottom for the answer!)

Synthetic biology breakthrough fixes CO2 from the air better than nature | New Atlas

“Scientists at the Max Planck Institute have developed a synthetic pathway that can capture CO2 from the air more efficiently than in nature, and shown how to implement it into living bacteria. The technique could help make biofuels and other products in a sustainable way. In the new study, Max Planck scientists developed a brand new CO2-fixation pathway that works even better than nature’s own tried-and-true method. They call it the THETA cycle, and it uses 17 different biocatalysts to produce a molecule called acetyl-CoA, which is a key building block in a range of biofuels, materials and pharmaceuticals.”

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Nanotyrannus vs juvenile T. rex: is the decades-long debate on “teenage” Tyrannosaurs over? | IFLScience

“A big debate about small Tyrannosaurus rexes has been raging among the palaeontological community for decades. The debate rests on remains found in the US that are less than half the size of a full-grown T. rex: are these really juvenile T. rexes we’re looking at? Or are they a separate species? The opposing contender, some paleontologists claim, is Nanotyrannus lancensis, which roughly translates to ‘pygmy or dwarf tyrant’. Now, new research argues this is indeed what we’re looking at in the case of many “juvenile T. rex” specimens.”

Designing the ‘perfect’ meal to feed long-term space travelers | American Chemical Society

“Imagine blasting off on a multiyear voyage to Mars, fueled by a diet of bland, prepackaged meals. As space agencies plan for longer missions, they’re grappling with the challenge of how to best feed people. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Food Science & Technology have designed the optimal ‘space meal’: a tasty vegetarian salad. They chose fresh ingredients that meet male astronauts’ specialized nutritional needs and can be grown in space.”

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The year ahead in animation | Gizmodo

“Even as the industry was being hit by layoffs and a general sense of uncertainty, animation was in top form throughout 2023. Between established tentpoles including Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and the Mario movie, and the original fare of Scavengers Reign and Fired on Mars, it was a pretty good and consistent year. There was a little something for everyone, and it felt like near everything got its time to shine and find its audience. Now that 2024's taking its first steps, the question isn’t so much ‘can 2024 match that same energy?’ as it is ‘what will 2024's output tell us about the industry and its future?’”

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The answer: About 15 billion miles

The answer: About 15 billion miles

According to the NASA Voyager 1 webpage: “By January 2024, Voyager 1 was about 136 AU (15 billion miles, or 20 billion kilometers) from Earth, the farthest object created by humans, and moving at a velocity of about 38,000 mph (17.0 kilometers/second) relative to the Sun.”

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