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Stories by David Biello

Sustainability

How to Use the Bathroom on a 20-Hour Plus Solar Airplane Flight [Video]

In a bid to set the record for longest distance solar flight, Andre Borschberg will pilot the Solar Impulse airplane from Phoenix to Dallas. Total flying distance, barring route deviations due to weather or other factors, would be nearly 1,400 kilometers, or more than 200 kilometers farther than the previous longest flight set in 2012.On May 3, in just under 20 hours, the Solar Impulse airplane flew from Moffett Field near San Francisco to Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix...

May 22, 2013 — David Biello
Sustainability

Why Jim Hansen Stopped Being a Government Scientist [Video]

Why did James Hansen retire on April 2 after 32 years as director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies? As he told the enterprising students of Columbia University's Sustainability Media Lab who captured him in the following video, "I want to devote full time to trying to help the public understand the urgency of addressing climate change." It's not exactly the "spend more time with my family" excuse often give by retiring government officials, but his family is nonetheless the reason for this change...

April 12, 2013 — David Biello
Sustainability

New Extremophile Breathes Rocket Fuel

The energetic molecule perchlorate is rocket fuel and, it turns out, food for ancient microbes. Given that deposits of the stuff have been found wherever robots look on Mars, could the chlorine compound—poisonous to the development of humans—be serving as Martian life's lunch?A team of Dutch researchers show in the April 5 edition of Science that an archaeon—as the name implies, an old type of microbe distinct from bacteria—can grow quite happily on perchlorate...

April 4, 2013 — David Biello
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