Thursday News Roundup — Black Holes, Traveling to Titan, and More Spiders

  • According to New Scientist, physicists Tie Jun Cui and Qiang Cheng of the Southeast University in China have succeeded in creating the first black hole, built to absorb and trap solar energy. Based on a theory from Professors Evgenii Narimanov and Alexander Kildishev of Purdue University, the Chinese scientists used strips of "meta-materials" (previously used to create Potter-esque "invisibility cloaks") to recreate the structure of a black hole. "When the incident electromagnetic wave hits the device, the wave will be trapped and guided in the shell region towards the core of the black hole, and will then be absorbed by the core," says Cui. "The wave will not come out from the black hole." According to Narimanov, should the creation work, it would allow for the collection of solar energy in areas with little exposure to light.
  • Ever wonder what it’s like inside a black hole? Scientists at UC-Boulder created this animation to theorize what the experience would look like.
  • In air and space news, one lucky robot is predicted to sail on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The idea to cruise in space was inspired by the discovery that Titan resembles Earth in many habits, particularly weather-wise. Titan experiences rain, wind, and has many lakes, however, liquid methane and ethane take the place of water. Ellen Stofan, a geologist with Proxemy Research in Maryland, explains that the lake-lander will fulfill one of the three-probe plan to explore this interesting moon. A “balloon-mounted vehicle and an orbiter” will complete the mission, enabling NASA to fully view and discover every region of Titan.
  • From the BBC comes news of a “veggie spider” or Bagheera kiplingi, the only arachnid to feast only on plants. Avoiding ants and waiting patiently to snag a piece of its’ favored acacia plants - known as Beltian bodies, the spider really has to work for its’ vegetarian meals. Found in Central American and Mexico, this spider is perhaps the only one not feared by the people.
  • Due to excessive animal poaching (104 per day!), African elephants will be extinct in little over 15 years, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Despite the international ban on ivory sales, the illicit trade continues.

-- Compiled by Audrey Reinhardt

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