Using Sound Waves to Triple Battery Life and Reduce E-Waste

Researchers at Melbourne, Australia’s RMIT University developed an acoustic device that can remove performance-inhibiting rust from batteries, tripling their lifespan and, hopefully, reducing how frequently they are discarded. The researchers used MXene, a nano-material that holds promise as an alternative to lithium batteries, yet is prone to rust. They discovered that high-frequency sound waves cause the MXene battery to vibrate with enough force for the …

Ancient Seeds From the Fertile Crescent Save Crops From Climate Change

In Terbol, Lebanon, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) stores tens of thousands of seeds sourced from the Fertile Crescent region—an area in Western Asia and North Africa that encompasses modern-day countries including Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Egypt. The collection, which comprises many seeds from the early origins of agriculture, is part archive, part insurance plan for …

Useful Secrets Within a 4.2-Billion-Year-Old Asteroid

Three tiny fragments were collected by a Japanese spacecraft in 2005 from a 4.2-billion-year-old asteroid known as Itokawa. Smaller than the diameter of a hair, these components contain information that could help prevent an asteroid colliding with Earth. Itokawa, a rubble-pile asteroid (created when “solid asteroids collide and the resulting fragments assemble into new structures”), is almost as old as the solar system itself. Held …