Google’s mind-bending quantum computer actually works

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Quantum computers will lead to advancements in artificial intelligence.
Photo: D-Wave Systems Inc.

A major breakthrough from Google’s quantum-computing team could eventually lead to artificial-intelligence systems complex enough to make sci-fi nerds lose sleep in fear of the robot apocalypse. The breakthrough sounds simple, but it has massive implications: The quantum computer the team co-operates with NASA actually works.

And not only does it work, but it can do the same process up to 100 million times faster than its predecessors.

Future spacecraft could repair its own skin

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The International Space Station occasionally has to dodge pieces of debris floating in space.
The International Space Station occasionally has to dodge pieces of debris floating in space.
Photo: NASA

To see a satellite image of the field of space debris that floats around the earth is like looking at fleas swarming an unfortunate dog. About a half-million pieces of debris are the size of a marble, but even tiny pieces that travel more than 17,000 miles per hour could be deadly to a spacecraft with astronauts.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and NASA have developed a self-healing material that could instantly plug up a hole in the hull of a ship just milliseconds after impact.

NASA’s space shuttle to fly again – or at least pieces of it

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NASA recently pulled the water tanks from the space shuttle Endeavor.
NASA recently pulled the water tanks from the space shuttle Endeavor.
Photo: California Science Center

If you get to a museum to see one of the shuttles that actually flew in space, your jaw may drop. Just don’t mind the guys pulling parts from it.

NASA recently sent engineers to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to dust off the mothballs of the space shuttle Endeavor and remove four water storage tanks for future use aboard the International Space Station.

NASA needs a smartwatch app for its astronauts

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ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked with iPad during a recent mission on the International Space Station. NASA wants astronauts to start using smartwatches for some of their tasks.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked with iPad during a recent mission on the International Space Station. NASA wants astronauts to start using smartwatches for some of their tasks.
Photo: NASA

There’s a smartwatch app for almost everything, but very few are useful to the men and women who work in microgravity.

So NASA is asking the pubic to design a smartwatch app for its astronauts to do everything from keeping them organized during science experiments to alerting them to space debris approaching.