Tag: vox

How four rogue satellites could change the spaceflight industry

How four rogue satellites could change the spaceflight industry

Earlier this year, a company launched four tiny satellites into orbit without permission. These “rogue satellites” caused an uproar in the space community, and in the future, others like them could increase the risk of catastrophic collisions in orbit. We talked to some space experts about what’s at stake when no one knows exactly what’s…

How science could save the diamond industry from itself

How science could save the diamond industry from itself

Diamonds have always been extremely rare and valuable…but that might change soon. Over the past five years, the synthetic diamond industry has exploded, producing large and perfect diamonds to rival anything that comes out of the Earth. We look at the technology making this possible and ask, “When diamonds are no longer rare, what are…

We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

This week, we meet the very cute and very bizarre result of an almost 60-year-long experiment: they’re foxes that have been specially bred for their dog-like friendliness toward people. We do a little behavior research of our own, and discover what scientists continue to learn from the world’s most famous experiment in domestication. The fox…

A microscopic look at why the world is running out of sand

A microscopic look at why the world is running out of sand

Humans are using more sand than the Earth is naturally producing, and that’s a problem for the global construction industry. But it turns out that the usefulness of sand depends on the science of each tiny little grain. We went on a sand scavenger hunt to collect some samples, look at them under a microscope,…

What wildfire devastation looks like from above

What wildfire devastation looks like from above

In the Western United States, “fire season” isn’t seasonal anymore — it’s year-round. Because more and more, wildfires are a thoroughly man-made disaster and are technically a misnomer. Here, we take a car and drone tour through some of the most fire-prone parts of California, and see firsthand the causes and effects of “fire season”…

Why graphene hasn’t taken over the world…yet

Why graphene hasn’t taken over the world…yet

Graphene is a form of carbon that could bring us bulletproof armor and space elevators, improve medicine, and make the internet run faster — some day. For the past 15 years, consumers have been hearing about this wonder material and all the ways it could change everything. Is it really almost here, or is it…

Digging precious metals out of your old phone

Digging precious metals out of your old phone

E-waste is more than phones and laptops. There’s gold, silver, copper, and lots of other precious metals powering your electronics, and that makes for some valuable “e-waste”. And a recent study proposed that it’s now more cost-effective to dig minerals out of old electronics than out of the Earth. We crack open some old tech…