Ashlee Vance reports on a New Zealand company that has built its own space-plane prototype. Dawn Aerospace hopes to establish a cheap, quick way to transport objects into orbit, and in doing so transform the commercialization of space.

For decades, humans have been trying to make a plane that can reach space and return to Earth by way of a runway. Space shuttles aside, only now is the dawn of the space plane finally upon us.

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.

While terrestrial tourism has been hit hard due to the pandemic, entrepreneurs and visionaries have their eyes cast spaceward. 

Space tourism has been, almost, nonexistent in the past, but Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Blue Origin are looking to change that.

However, accessibility to space tourism remains limited to the richest of the rich, with ticket prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions.

Development of these space tourism programs is costing these companies billions and each has a different reason for pursuing this, as of yet, unproven market.

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.

CNBC takes a look at what’s next for the workspace based on what the big tech companies are doing.

Tech offices, from Apple’s 2.8 million square-foot “spaceship” campus, to Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters complete with a botanical garden, have always pushed the envelope of office space. But coronavirus may make this type of work environment a thing of the past, at least for the near future, as companies try to balance communal work with safety. Here’s a look at how tech companies are changing their offices and work policies as they ease into reopening. 

How far can you go with ONLY language modeling?

Can a large enough language model perform NLP task out of the box?

OpenAI take on these and other questions by training a transformer that is an order of magnitude larger than anything that has ever been built before and the results are astounding.

Yannic Kilcher explores.

Paper

Time index:

  • 0:00 – Intro & Overview
  • 1:20 – Language Models
  • 2:45 – Language Modeling Datasets
  • 3:20 – Model Size
  • 5:35 – Transformer Models
  • 7:25 – Fine Tuning
  • 10:15 – In-Context Learning
  • 17:15 – Start of Experimental Results
  • 19:10 – Question Answering
  • 23:10 – What I think is happening
  • 28:50 – Translation
  • 31:30 – Winograd Schemes
  • 33:00 – Commonsense Reasoning
  • 37:00 – Reading Comprehension
  • 37:30 – SuperGLUE
  • 40:40 – NLI
  • 41:40 – Arithmetic Expressions
  • 48:30 – Word Unscrambling
  • 50:30 – SAT Analogies
  • 52:10 – News Article Generation
  • 58:10 – Made-up Words
  • 1:01:10 – Training Set Contamination
  • 1:03:10 – Task Exampleshttps://arxiv.org/abs/2005.14165
    https://github.com/openai/gpt-3

Over the past decade, prices for solar panels and wind farms have reached all-time lows.

However, the price for lithium ion batteries, the leading energy storage technology, has remained high.

So researchers are exploring other alternatives, including flow batteries, thermal batteries, and gravity-based systems.

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.