Top 5 STEM This Week

Click to read this week’s Top 5 STEM column.

By Lauren Yang

Gardens such as these may soon be taken care of by robots. Creative Commons image from Jūsų darbas on Wikipedia.

  1. The garden of the future

Imagine a Roomba, except instead of cleaning that box of cereal you dropped this morning, it clears those pesky weeds that keep on popping up in your garden. That’s what roboticist Joe Jones and his startup, Franklin Robotics, is working on. Tertille, which costs $250 and will be available during summer 2017, is the robot’s name. The solar powered mechanism cuts weeds that are lower than its one inch bumper and leaves plants that are above this one inch cut off alone. Jones will add two other functions — transmitting soil and plant data, and keeping plants safe from animals — before the robot is for sale. Read more here and here.

Above is the Lego store in Fairview Mall, Canada. The new outlet in London is the world’s biggest Lego store yet. Creative Commons image from Raysonho on Wikipedia.

2. Largest Lego store yet
London’s newest Lego store speaks to the inner child of all of us. As the largest Lego store in the world, this two-story building features not only the typical products sold at other Lego stores but also life sized models of objects and figures. The store houses massive Lego structures, nicknamed “Big Builds,” which include a replica of Elizabeth Tower, London’s skyline, an iconic red telephone booth, and more. Read more here.

Stephen Hawking makes a prediction regarding how long we have left on Earth. Creative Commons image from NASA on Wikipedia.

3. The Earth’s future
 The world famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking predicts that we have 1000 years left to find another planet to colonize. After that, we’re placing ourselves at risk of human extinction. Hawkings announced his prediction last Tuesday at Oxford University Union during a talk. “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” Hawking said, according to the Washington Post. Hawking added that he believes the best path for continuing the human race is by colonizing other planets. Read more here.

Pluto’s heart may be icy cold. Creative Commons image from NASA on Wikipedia.

4. Pluto’s icy core
 A recent expedition by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveals that Pluto’s heart may be comprised of a slush of water and ice. Scientists hypothesize that a comet collision might have triggered a large amount of ice to plummet to the core, thus creating the slush core. There are a few other reasons that suggest Pluto’s heart is ice slush; the first is that the planet exhibits no bulge, and the second reason is its surface is what one would expect if a planet housed a constantly re-freezing ocean. Read more here.

Thousands of satellites like the one above may be launched if SpaceX’s proposal is approved. Creative Commons image from NASA on Wikipedia.

5. SpaceX’s quest for global internet
 SpaceX, a company created by Elon Musk, is hoping to provide global internet access with its new satellite network proposal. The company hopes to launch 4425 satellites, 800 of which would go to improving internet speed in the United states and other areas. The project was first announced early January and is estimated to cost $10 billion or more. Read more about it here.


Originally published at coa.menloschool.org on November 21, 2016.