Friday Futures: brush with a black hole, bugs that poop candy

black hole
Image credit | Arndt_Vladimir

Welcome to Friday Futures, our regular guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: star survives brush with black hole; SpaceX and orbital observatories; earth and moon, identical twins; the Covinator; universal structure and bugs that poop candy.

Star survives brush with black hole – just

Once the red giant was captured by the black hole’s gravity, the outer layers of the star containing hydrogen were stripped off and careened toward the black hole, leaving the core of the star—known as a white dwarf—behind. Read more…

Elon Musk’s SpaceX could launch orbital observatories

Speaking to a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Musk suggested that research agencies partner up with SpaceX to launch new orbital observatories even higher up than Starlink satellites orbit, CNET reports. That way, they’ll have an unimpeded view as they scan the cosmos. Read more…

The Earth and Moon were identical twins, so what happened?

(see other moon stories)

How the Universe got its structure – new research

The universe is full of billions of galaxies — but their distribution across space is far from uniform. Why do we see so much structure in the universe today and how did it all form and grow? A 10-year survey of tens of thousands of galaxies has provided a new approach to answering this fundamental mystery. Read more…

Feeling is restored to spinal cord injury victim

Researchers have been able to restore sensation to the hand of a research participant with a severe spinal cord injury using a brain-computer interface (BCI) system. The technology harnesses neural signals that are so minuscule they can’t be perceived and enhances them via artificial sensory feedback sent back to the participant, resulting in greatly enriched motor function. Read more…

Inventor creates social distancing machine, the Covinator

Scientists gene hack plants to make them glow

To get the plants to glow, the team used a “fungal bioluminescence system” that’s capable of turning a common acid found in all plants into luciferin, the compound in organisms that can generate bioluminescence, as outlined in the scientists’ paper published in the journal Nature this week. Read more…

Some ‘rocks’ around Jupiter come from outside solar system

The objects at the center of this investigation aren’t new discoveries. Called the Centaurs, they’re mysterious asteroids that orbit in the neighborhood of Jupiter and beyond. These objects take highly inclined orbits relative to the plane of the rest of the planets, and in at least one case, orbit the “wrong” way relative to the rest of the solar system’s objects. Read more…

And, er, these bugs poop candy

See other Friday Futures on theories of a black hole here and here.

(Compiled by Alex Leslie and edited by Tony Poulos)

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