Hello and welcome to The Edge, the newsletter that brings you groundbreaking stories from the frontiers of technology and science.
We’ve got some great stories for you today including Tesla’s interior redesign, the first hydrogen battery for home use and NASA’s lunar base site. As always, we’ve added extra stories under each article should you find yourself in a curious state of mind.
Today in history
What happened on January 30th in the past?
January 30th, 1826 - In Wales, the Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the first ever suspension bridge, is opened.
January 30th, 1969 - The Beatles’ last ever public concert - atop the roof of Apple Records in London - takes place.
January 30th, 1982 - The first PC virus, known as the “Elk Cloner” is written by Richard Skrenta.
Musk’s beautiful machines
Futuristic features. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Model S has had an interior redesign with some interesting new features added to boot. The new design comes as no surprise - the fact that Tesla has been working on bringing a new Model S to market has been known for a while.
Regardless, some major interior adjustments have been made, making the new Model S look truly different to its predecessor. The predecessor, or the current Model S, has barely changed cosmetically since its introduction in 2012.
The new interior features a new horizontal dashboard display, similar to Tesla’s recent Model Y and Model 3 cars. Driving the Model S will also feel different thanks to a radical, futuristic steering wheel reminiscent of what you’d find in an F1 car. Passengers in the back will be able to make use of a small dashboard screen attached to the back of the front seat armrests. The new Model S will also have a top speed of 200 mph and a max range of 520 miles.
What it’s like owning a Tesla.
Other incredible stories from the world of science and technology.
This university is using a dead professor to teach an online class.
A diamond would survive in the Earth’s core.
Artemis Base Camp site almost chosen
Home away from home? Image credit: NASA
NASA is gearing up for its Artemis missions, part of which involves a settlement on the lunar surface. The ideal landing spot still remains to be found, though.
According to the agency, the ideal spot needs to have perfect conditions which includes shielding, open space, sunlight and possibly access to water. Some zones around the Moon’s South Pole, which are currently the most likely candidates for the base, are in perpetual light or shadow, which NASA hopes will be the perfect balance of what they need.
At present, NASA researchers are looking into establishing a base camp on the edge of a crater. Doing so would not only enable crew members to rely on solar energy but also let them venture into the crater’s darkness to find lunar ice reserves.
According to Ruthan Lewis, an engineer tasked with helping lead NASA’s South Pole site analysis and planning team, taking advantage of landforms such as hills that can act as barriers to contamination is important. Because of this, the team is looking at things like distances, elevations and slopes in their planning.
The Artemis missions are shaping up nicely so we’ll be sure to continue to share more news on the topic as we get it.
Video of the week
“Why Produce Used to Suck”
Vegetables and fruit - we rarely think too deeply about these staple elements of our diets, but perhaps we should. The fruit and veg we see in our supermarkets is very different from the original versions found in nature and thankfully so. This great video by Sam O’Nella Academy shows us how nature’s original versions of fruit and vegetables were designed for maximum seed spreadability and minimum taste, a stark contrast to what we’re used to today. All we can say is that original bananas and watermelons don’t look half as tasty as today’s modern, selectively bred counterparts do.
Get onboard with Flatfile
Onboarding data can be, and often is, a nightmare. Either the tool you’re using doesn't do it the way you want it to or the import is simply a mess. In fact, companies spend small fortunes on formatting CSV or Excel files and making them ready for import. Flatfile could be a solution to all of that.
Flatfile is the new standard for customer data onboarding. Their Flatfile Portal tool provides an intuitive, embeddable data import solution. Flatfile Portal can be integrated with any application while their soon-to-be-released Flatfile Concierge can turn data onboarding into a collaborative experience. Tired of the hassle of data onboarding? Give Flatfile a crack!
Hydrogen for the home
Alternative power. Image credit: Lavo
Lavo, an Australian energy company, has developed a home battery storage system that doesn’t rely on standard batteries. Instead, it uses hydrogen as fuel. The idea for the battery is to soak up excess energy coming from wind or solar energy systems, while also serving as an emergency power source if power cuts out.
In technical terms, Lavo’s huge battery - known as the Green Energy Storage System - is an electrolysis system that generates hydrogen from water, stores it and then uses a fuel cell to turn it into electricity. Thanks to the battery’s massive 40 kilowatt-hour capacity, an average home would get two days of power on a single charge.
The battery is more environmentally friendly than conventional batteries as it doesn’t rely on as many rare earth metals. Of course, it’s not all good news. There are inefficiencies present when storing hydrogen gas to be turned into electricity. For starters, the “round-trip efficiency” of the battery is above 50%, far below the average lithium ion battery’s efficiency. The battery system is also very expensive, coming in at around $26,900 - a pretty penny.
Ultimately though, Lavo’s battery system is a very big step in the right direction as hydrogen power becomes an increasingly viable source of energy.
What we’ve been reading
A small selection of the articles we read this week.
Thanks for reading!
We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Edge.