In Brief – January 2022

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Aircar gets green signal to fly

A car that can transform into a small aircraft was awarded an official Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority after it completed 70 hours of flight testing. Called the ‘Aircar’ the prototype is powered by a 1.6L BMW engine, and runs on fuel that can be refilled at any gas station. A team of eight specialists worked for more than 100,000 hours to design the Aircar.

 

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China builds an ‘artificial moon’

China has built a research facility that imitates the low-gravity environment on the moon. The facility uses powerful magnetic fields inside a 60-cm vacuum chamber to control gravity. The scientists were inspired by an earlier experiment that used magnets to levitate a frog. Tests completed in the chamber will be used to make, add or remove changes in China’s lunar exploration programme.

 

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Dinosaur egg in museum

A fossil of a baby dinosaur curled up perfectly inside its egg was unearthed in the Shahe Industrial Park in Ganzhou City, China. It is now kept at the Yingliang Museum. Palaeontologists from the University of Birmingham confirmed that the 70-million-year-old embryo belongs to a species of toothless, beaked theropod dinosaurs, also called oviraptorosaurs.

 

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Building blocks from plastic

ByFusion, a Los Angeles-based startup, is converting non-recyclable plastic into building blocks for construction purposes. Shreds of non-recycleable plastic are pressured to fuse with the help of a machine called blocker patented by the startup to make the brick-like blocks.

 

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Youngest pilot in the world

Nineteen-year-old Zara Rutherford is the youngest woman pilot to fly solo around the world, and the first to complete a circumnavigation in a microlight aircraft after a five-month journey which began on August 18, 2021, from Kortrijk, Belgium. Zara began training to become a pilot at 14 and got her pilot’s licence in 2020. She has broken the record previously set by American pilot Shaesta Waiz who flew solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft at 30.

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