Also: Big bling, the cost of smog, and more, in the links.
This plan to send a hot-air balloon to Saturn's largest moon sounds right out of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
- Scientists used light-activated nerves to help partially paralyzed rats regain the ability to fully breathe. Because, as the article mentions, there are no ventilators for rats.
- Get ready for a whole new level of tacky: artificial diamonds now have no size limit.
- In the areas with the worst levels of air pollution in the country, smog kills more people than car accidents.
- Researchers offer an explanation for how natural selection prevents the evolution of a single dominant personality. Which is a relief, because that's where we thought the country was going with the rise of the reality TV contestant.
We wish there were more info here than just an interview with one person and no word on just what team she's assisting.
Well, the plan obviously is not to hop in a balloon at a Paris airfield (the way the first balloonists did) and then navigate to a moon of Jupiter. The balloon package would ride a conventional rocket/spaceship to the vicinity of Titan and then deploy to enter that moon's thick atmosphere. The concept is not too unlike the bouncing ball approach to landing employed by some of our probes on Mars .
Given the thick atmosphere of Titan the concept would undoubtedly work, but be hard to control. If you saw something interesting in the distance you might not be able to go there. Miss Athena Coustenis also proposes a helicoper like probe that would be more directable.