Seeker explains how a new kind of nuclear battery could power missions into deep space.

In April of 2020, NASA researchers announced they had come up with a new approach to fusion that has the potential to power missions into deep space, and maybe even future laptops here on Earth. This is really exciting news as when it comes to making energy, nuclear fusion is the ultimate goal because of the promise it holds of clean limitless energy that is available on demand.

In this episode, Seeker tackles the question that’s on everyone’s minds: what will it take to have quantum internet in our home?

Yes, Virginia, a quantum internet is in the works.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently rolled out a blueprint describing research goals and engineering barriers on the way to quantum internet.

The DOE’s latest blueprint for a quantum internet in the U.S. has four key milestones. The first is to make sure quantum information sent over current fiber optic cables is secure. Then to establish entangled networks across colleges or cities, then throughout states, and finally for the whole country.

Scientists might have reached the theoretical limit of how strong this particular material can get, designing the first-ever super-light carbon nanostructure that’s stronger than diamond.

The latest development in the nanoworld of carbon comes from a team that has designed something called carbon plate-nanolattices. Under a scanning electron microscope, they look like little cubes, and the math indicated that this structure would be incredibly strong, but it’s been too difficult to actually make, until now.

The team’s success was made possible by a 3D printing process called two-photon polymerization direct laser writing, which is essentially 3D printing on the level of atoms and photons.

Find out more about this technique and what the result could mean for the future of medicine, electronics aerospace and more in this Elements.

This Seeker video explains.

Artificial sentience straddles the fields of philosophy and engineering.

Throw robots into the mix and it gets really interesting.

Seeker examines what it mean for a robot to be self-aware.

The Creative Machines Lab at Columbia University https://www.creativemachineslab.com/“At the Creative Machines Lab we build robots that do what you’d least expect robots to do: Self replicate, self-reflect, ask questions, and even be creative. We develop machines that can design and make other machines – automatically.”

Commercially viable quantum computing could be here sooner than you think, thanks to a new innovation that shrinks quantum tech down onto a chip: a cryochip.

Seeker explains:

It seems like quantum computers will likely be a big part of our computing future—but getting them to do anything super useful has been famously difficult. Lots of new technologies are aiming to get commercially viable quantum computing here just a little bit faster, including one innovation that shrinks quantum technology down onto a chip.

With quarantines back in the public consciousness, you’d be surprised to hear that the Apollo 11 astronauts were themselves quarantined upon returning to Earth.

Vox explains:

In this episode of History Club, Vox’s Phil Edwards and Coleman Lowndes chat with Amy Shira Teitel of The Vintage Space about the Apollo 11 quarantine.

It was an unusual process for an unprecedented task: keeping potential moon germs from entering the Earth’s atmosphere (and affecting its population).

To try to isolate the Apollo astronauts from the Earth, NASA went to extraordinary lengths. They clothed them in “Biological Isolation Garments,” transported them on a converted Airstream trailer, and then quarantined them for weeks in a Lunar Receiving Lab specially built to analyze moon samples and, of course, the men who went there.

The quarantine was a strange capstone to the journey to the moon — but also a necessary one that’s surprisingly resonant today.