A device that collects electricity from cultivated fields and sends information about the same crops via low-power satellite signals was created by the Dutch company Plant-e and Lacuna Space. It is a project carried out as part of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES), a project of the European Space Agency.
The device can provide information on soil and air humidity and temperature, important information for farmers to keep crops under control. The electricity needed to operate these devices comes from the fact that plants produce organic matter through photosynthesis.
This process, however, does not use all this organic matter to grow plants: part of it is stored in the soil through the roots. Right under the soil, bacteria break it down and release electrons as a sort of “waste.”
The device is capable of collecting these electrons to assimilate that small level of electrical current in order to function and transmit signals.
There is talk of a “new era in sustainable satellite communications,” as Rob Spurrett, the CEO of the company that created the device, defines it. He suggests that the device itself could be used in those regions of the world that are difficult to reach, where there is not a good supply of electricity and an Internet connection and where it is not possible to use solar energy.
A huge new galaxy has been observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. This time the telescope focused its attention on UGC 2885, also known as the “Rubin Galaxy,” in honour of the well-known astronomer Vera Rubin, and about 232 million light-years away from us. It is a gigantic galaxy not only because it is 2.5 times the size of our Milky Way but also because it is estimated to contain more than a trillion stars.
And these characteristics are even more remarkable considering that, as astronomers themselves report, this spiral galaxy seems to have never collided or merged with other galaxies. It simply spent its time creating many stars thanks to the considerable amount of hydrogen it has used for all these millions of years.
Because of this “quiet” nature, the galaxy has also been described by astronomers as a “gentle giant”. Even the supermassive black hole that is believed to be in the centre is half “asleep,” as it only attracts a few filaments of gas because the galaxy does not seem to feed, as all large galaxies do, on much smaller satellite galaxies and this does not bring much new material to the central black hole.
Now researchers want to understand the reasons for the underlying anomaly in this galaxy, basically how it has become so large, growing slowly, without attracting to itself almost nothing but the hydrogen of the filamentous structure of intergalactic space. Perhaps UGC 2885, in the distant past, attracted numerous small galaxies and this could be witnessed by the presence of star clusters, just what researchers are looking for inside this huge galaxy and that would explain its size.