Science Saturday: Asteroid, AI, radioactive water and more
Tech It Out

In this week's Science Saturday, we look at science news ranging from artificial intelligence to human genetics.

Asteroid 2023 BU

What a near miss! An asteroid just skipped Earth! It's one of the closest such encounters ever recorded.

The asteroid, the size of a delivery truck, passed above the southern tip of South America on Thursday. Experts had earlier said there was no real danger to Earth.

The asteroid's path has now been drastically altered by Earth's gravity. NASA says instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days.

Artificial intelligence

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is about to make history by testing the first artificial intelligence (AI) system on the moon.

The AI tech, developed by a Canadian company, will use deep learning algorithms to identify geological features of the lunar surface in images taken by the UAE-built Rashid rover.

The rover is expected to reach the moon in late April. Scientists say if it works, the tech will be a critical enabling tool for making decisions on board a spacecraft. No AI has ever reached beyond low Earth orbit before.

Human genetics

The world's largest human genetics group apologized for exploiting science. The apology follows an 18-month investigation sparked by the 2020 protests against police brutality.

The American Society of Human Genetics concluded, after examining its own history, that its founding members had exploited science to justify racism, violence and sterilizations.

The company has promised to do more to advance diversity and inclusion in the coming years.

Radioactive water

Japan may soon dump Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific. The release could begin as early as this spring or summer – a move that has sparked anger among local fishing communities and countries in the region.

The government says the release poses no risk to marine or human life.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had its key cooling functions knocked out after being battered by a massive earthquake-triggered tsunami in 2011. Its owner says it's running out of space to store the water on land.

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