The Potential of Dissolvable Cranberry Film

Since 2008, Yanyun Zhao—a professor of food science at Oregon State University—has been researching the potential of the humble cranberry. Even when juiced, the crushed berry maintains a fibrous substance that Zhao turned into a film that’s “edible, no-waste, anti-microbial and water-soluble,” and could replace plastic in many cases. “When you’re making this film,” Zhao says, “You need stretch, you need elasticity, you need a …

New Research Supports the Idea that There Was Once Life on Mars

A recent study from the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters presents new speculation about the early evolution of Mars. By developing a new model of the Martian atmosphere through time, researchers found that Mars—in contrast to the frozen desert it is now—was born with lots of water and a dense atmosphere that could have harbored warm-to-hot oceans for millions of years. This discovery likens …

Jellyfish Relative Could Improve the Design of Swimming Robots

The Nanomia bijug is a gelatinous marine animal related to jellyfish that uses a dozen or more independent jets to swim. This design enables two swimming styles: one that syncs all of the jets up for increased speed and another that powers jets individually to save energy. The dual-swimming capabilities—which are exclusive to the Nanomia‘s siphonophores taxa as well as barrel-shaped salps—could inform and improve underwater …