Underwater Hebrew tablet reveals Biblical-era ruler of Judea

The stone slab, dating to the second century, was found underwater at Tel Dor, south of the city of Haifa.

The stone slab, dating to the second century, was found underwater at Tel Dor, south of the city of Haifa.  (University of Haifa)

A stone slab found off the coast of Israel has finally revealed the name of the ruler during one of the most iconic moments in Jewish history: the Bar Kokhba revolt.

The slab dates to the second century A.D., a bloody time in Jewish history when a fiery leader named Simon bar Kokhba led a failed revolt against Roman rulers . The huge chunk of stone was found at an underwater site called Tel Dor, located about 18 miles south of the city of Haifa. [Photos: 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument in Israel]

The area once housed the Biblical city of Dor, which was occupied until the fourth century. Over the last 70 years, the site has yielded a treasure trove of pottery , anchors and other artifacts from ancient Israel. Ehud Arkin-Shalev and Michelle Kreiser, researchers from the Coastal Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Haifa, uncovered the giant slab while looking in the water of the Dor Nature Reserve.

The inscription was clearly visible, even beneath the water, the researchers said. The team eventually decided to bring the slab out of the water, to prevent damage to the inscription. Researchers discovered that the massive, 1,300-lb. slab had seven lines of ancient Greek inscribed upon it.

“The stone probably formed the base of a sculpture from the Roman period. As far as we know, this is the longest inscription found underwater in Israel,” Assaf Yasur-Landau, the University of Haifa archaeologist who led the excavation, said in a statement.

Although the researchers have not completely deciphered the text, they have already made two discoveries: The inscription identified the Roman prefect in charge of Judea as Gargilius Antiques. Though researchers had found one other inscription bearing this name, that artifact did not mention the region Antiques ruled. In addition, the inscription confirms the name of the province involved in the revolt as Judea, which, until now, no inscription immediately preceding the Bar Kokhba revolt had stated, the researchers said.

The inscription dates from a tumultuous time in Jewish history. The second temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and around A.D. 132, tensions simmering between the Roman rulers of the province and the Jewish inhabitants boiled over once again. At that point, the Jewish leader Simon bar Kokhba led a revolt against the Romans. During the four years of fighting, both sides sustained heavy casualties, and many Jews were ultimately sold into slavery or scattered.

“Immediately after the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans decided to abolish the province of Judea and to obliterate any mention of its name. The province was united with Syria to form a single province called Syria-Palestine,” Yasur-Landau said. “So what we have here is an inscription dated to just before Judea ceased to exist as a province under that name. Of the two inscriptions mentioning the name Judea, this is the latest, of course. Because such findings are so rare, it is unlikely that we will find many later inscriptions including the name Judea,”

Original article on Live Science .

Remains of a rare 3-million-year-old creature found in eastern Argentina

A rendering of the recently discovered Promacrauchenian.

A rendering of the recently discovered Promacrauchenian.  (Courtesy of Daniel Boh, Municipal Museum of Miramar.)

Researchers in eastern Argentina have discovered the remains of a strange creature that lived three million years ago, some 280 miles south of modern-day Buenos Aires.

One of the team members, Daniel Boh described the animal, an hervibore mammal, as a mix “of a horse and an elephant; like a camel with a trumpet.”

Boh, who runs the Municipal Museum Punta Hermengo of Miramar, said they have been able to determine the creature is from the Promacrauchenian family and lived in the Pliocene, an era ruled by mammals and birds of great size.

This is some 62 million years after dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

“The discovery is important because there were no previous records of this animal in the area,” Boh told FoxNews.com in an email.

“It is rare, so it is of scientific interest and also helps to understand the environmental and geographic changes in the region.”

The prehistoric mammal was 5.2 feet tall and more than 8 feet long; it weighed around 1,100 pounds.

It appears to have had some kind of amphibian abilities.

“The short trumpet would serve as a prehensile lip (similar to the tapir) to [allow it to] remain submerged, and also to condition the air and as a tool of general use,” said Mariano Magnussen, a technician working on the fossils, to local newspaper Clarin.

He said that it shares many morphological adaptations with the Giraffidae, to which it is not directly related to. Magnussen said this is a result of “an adaptive convergence or a parallel evolution.”

The fossils were found on the side of a cliff, not far from a golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Boh said they will continue to visit and study the area. “The sea waves will continue to erode [the cliff] and is sure to expose remains that we have not yet seen and are supposed to be there,” he told FoxNews.com.

Researchers had previously recovered here several remains of a more modern specimen, the Macrauchenia   ̶̶  known colloquially as “long llamas”  ̶̶  which lived until about 8,000 years ago.

The Macrauchenia was found in the days of Darwin, circa 1830,
while the Promacrauchenia was first pinpointed in the early 20th century.

The fossils will be kept in the Miramar museum, where they are being processed.

“The remains we found are very fragile,” Boh said. “[We found] a fragment of a skull, parts of a front leg – like phalanges and carps – which allow us to know how it walked or if it ran, as well as a femur and vertebrae.”

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Watch meat pie take a trip into space as part of a tasty science experiment

File photo: none of these pies were sent into space. These traditional British meat pies are pictured in G. Kelly's pie and mash shop in east London June 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

File photo: none of these pies were sent into space. These traditional British meat pies are pictured in G. Kelly’s pie and mash shop in east London June 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

A team of pie-loving Brits has just sent a meat and potato variant of the delicacy into space.

The feat is thought to be a world first, though that can be put down to the fact that no one had had the idea to do it before rather than it being some kind of major breakthrough in food-based space exploits.

Another triumph for the British space industry! Meat pie ‘sent into space’ http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-38334437  @Sent_into_space

Pie in space

Meat and potato pie ‘sent into space’ from Wigan – BBC News

A meat and potato pie is sent “into space” attached to a weather balloon and is being tracked on its journey to 100,000 feet.

bbc.com

The record-breaking pie was sent skyward on a weather balloon, with an attached camera recording every moment of its exciting ascent.

Part wacky stunt to raise awareness of this week’s World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan, and part tongue-in-cheek experiment to see if altitude affects a pie’s molecular structure in a way that makes it easier to swallow and digest, the pie’s maker, Bill Kenyon, told the BBC the mission was “the first step to enable mankind to consume pies with more elegance and comfort,” adding that “neither the sky, nor the pie, should be the limit.”

Kenyon said the pie’s structural integrity would be pushed to the limit during its mission, one that would see it freeze on its ascent and then cooked as it hit “massive speeds” on re-entry.

Before the daring experiment could proceed, a team of space enthusiasts from SentIntoSpace had to get clearance from the CAA, the U.K.’s equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration. The special kit was also fitted with a radar reflector to ensure nearby aircraft could keep track of the pie’s precise position. Because the last thing you want to fly into at 36,000 feet is a meat and potato pie. Or another plane, of course.

More: Tech-laden weather balloon captures awesome footage over San Francisco

The weather balloon, together with its tasty payload, floated to an altitude of about 100,000 feet (about 19 miles), capturing some spectacular video along the way. A short while later it returned to Earth with a bump in a field full of sheep. The scientists managed to retrieve the pie before the sheep had a chance to feast upon it, though missing crusts suggested some of the woolly creatures may have stolen a nibble.

The team is now analyzing its gathered data, and possibly devouring the delicacy, to determine if pies from space are easier to eat than those that stay permanently on terra firma. We suggest you check its twitter feed if you’re interested in the results.

A buoy noticed a wave in 2013 that was ‘remarkable’

In this Nov. 1, 2011, file photo released by Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concept, Garrett McNamara of Hawaii surfs what is being called the tallest wave ever ridden at Praia do Norte beach in Portugal. At 78 feet (24 meters), it's been certified by Guinness World Records.

In this Nov. 1, 2011, file photo released by Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concept, Garrett McNamara of Hawaii surfs what is being called the tallest wave ever ridden at Praia do Norte beach in Portugal. At 78 feet (24 meters), it’s been certified by Guinness World Records.  (AP Photo/Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concepts, Jorge Leal)

The world’s “highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy” was 62.3 feet, located in the (very) high seas between the UK and Iceland, and occurred in 2013, the World Meteorological Organization has confirmed.

The wave formed after a strong cold front passed through the remote area, which is home to “intense extra-tropical storms” sometimes called “bombs.” Other waves have been reported to be taller, including tsunamis, rogue waves, and a 95-foot wave observed by a ship in the same waters in 2000, but this is the highest to be confirmed by a buoy, which is arguably the most exacting tool we have, reports USA Today.

Estimates by satellites and ships “are generally unverifiable, since there is no ground truth for the satellite, and the others tend to be from pitching and rolling platforms,” one wave expert says.

The 62-footer is now part of the WMO’s Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive, reports the Guardian. The archive logged two other records earlier this year: the longest distance of a single lightning flash (in Oklahoma), and the longest duration of one (in southern France).

As for other waves, the Smithsonian reports that the tallest tsunami wave ever recorded (though not by a buoy) was a 100-foot wave that followed a landslide in 1958 in Alaska’s Lituya Bay, which destroyed trees 1,700 feet upslope.

And the National Ocean Service and European Space Agency confirm that freakish rogue waves, once “dismissed as a nautical myth,” do exist, though they’ve only been measured by the ships that suffer their wrath.

(A rogue wave killed a mom bodysurfing with her son in Hawaii.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: A Buoy Noticed a Wave in 2013 That Was ‘Remarkable’

More From Newser

How lasers and a goggle-wearing parrot could aid flying robot designs

Obi the parrotlet wearing protective goggles.

Obi the parrotlet wearing protective goggles.  (Eric Gutierrez)

A barely visible fog hangs in the air in a California laboratory, illuminated by a laser. And through it flies a parrot, outfitted with a pair of tiny, red-tinted goggles to protect its eyes.

As the bird flaps its way through the water particles, its wings generate disruptive waves, tracing patterns that help scientists understand how animals fly.

In a new study, a team of scientists measured and analyzed the particle trails that were produced by the goggle-wearing parrot’s test flights, and showed that previous computer models of wing movement aren’t as accurate as they once thought. This new perspective on flight dynamics could inform future wing designs in autonomous flying robots, according to the study authors.

When animals fly, they create an invisible “footprint” in the air, similar to the wake that a swimmer leaves behind in water. Computer models can interpret these air disturbances to calculate the forces that are required to keep a flyer aloft and propel it forward.

A team of scientists had recently developed a new system that tracked the airflow generated by flight at an unprecedented level of detail. They wanted to compare their improved observations to several commonly used computer models that use wake measurements to estimate flying animals’ lift, to see if their predictions would be on track.

Flight of the parrotlet

For the study, the researchers enlisted the help of a Pacific parrotlet — a type of small parrot — named Obi. Obi was trained to fly between two perches that are positioned about 3 feet apart, through a very fine mist of water droplets, which are illuminated by a laser sheet. The water particles that seeded the air were exceptionally small, “only 1 micron in diameter,” said study author David Lentink, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University in California. (In comparison, the average strand of human hair is about 100 microns thick.)

Obi’s eyes were protected from the laser’s light with custom goggles: a 3D-printed frame that is fitted with lenses cut from human safety glasses — the same type of glasses worn by Lentink and his team.

When the laser flashed on and off — at a rate of 1,000 times per second — the water droplets scattered the laser’s light, and high-speed cameras shooting 1,000 frames per second captured the trails of disturbed particles as Obi fluttered from perch to perch.

The tests showed something unexpected. Computer models predicted that once the whirling air patterns — also known as vortices — were created by a bird’s wings, they would remain relatively stable in the air. But the patterns Obi traced began to disintegrate after the bird flapped its wings just a few times.

“We were surprised to find the vortices that are usually drawn in papers and text books as beautiful donut rings turned out to break up dramatically after two to three wing beats,” Lentink told Live Science in an email. He explained that this meant the models, which are widely used in animal flight studies to calculate an animal’s lift based on the wake it produced, were likely inaccurate.

“Thanks to the high-speed recording, we were able to capture this and play it back in slow motion, so we could see with our eyes how the vortices break up and make it hard for the models to predict lift well,” Lentink said.

Testing the flight models

The researchers performed their own calculations about how much lift Obi generated from his wing beats by using a device that Lentink’s team developed in 2015 — an enclosed box that’s equipped with force sensors so sensitive that they were able to detect vibrations produced by the lab’s ventilation system, Lentink said in a statement .

They then tested three different models, plugging in the measurements of the air patterns from Obi’s flights, and comparing the models’ lift estimates to their own. The models produced a range of results — none of which matched the scientists’ calculations.

Creating better models will be an important next step for studying animal flight, Lentink told Live Science. Video of a be-goggled Obi showed that even a slow-flying parrotlet’s wing movements are more complex than scientists had anticipated. Even more variations are likely to exist across species and in animals using different flying techniques, which suggests that the current models are greatly oversimplified, the study authors wrote. Updating them will enable researchers to better understand how animals fly, and could help engineers improve flying robots — many of which mimic animals’ powered flight.

“Many people look at the results in the animal flight literature for understanding how robotic wings could be designed better,” Lentink said in a statement. “Now, we’ve shown that the equations that people have used are not as reliable as the community hoped they were. We need new studies, new methods to really inform this design process much more reliably.”

The findings were published online Dec. 5 in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics .

Original article on Live Science .

Utah to spend $138,000 to restore Butch Cassidy’s cabin

NOW PLAYINGButch Cassidy: Non-violent criminal or first US gangster?

Utah state officials are going to spend $138,000 to restore a decaying wood cabin in Piute County that has become a tourist spot because it’s believed to be the boyhood home of outlaw Butch Cassidy.

The Utah Legislature has authorized $138,000 to disassemble the decrepit cabin outside Circleville and put it back together piece by restored piece, KSL-TV reported.

“It’s slowly degrading,” said Piute County Commissioner Darin Bushman. “It’s not on a real foundation and it’s slowly tilting and leaning and listing. And we just, we really wanted to preserve the cabin.”

ZION NATIONAL PARK MAY START LIMITING TOURISTS

The state is also working to build a parking lot big enough for 20 cars and four buses.

“We took some counts,” Bushman said. “We were getting between 60 and 90 cars a day stopping here, out on the highway.”

The cabin is currently owned by Afton Morgan, but many believe it is where Cassidy grew up. Cassidy, whose real name was Robert Leroy Parker, was born in Beaver in 1866 and the Parker family did live in the Circleville cabin. It is unknown if Cassidy lived there with his family of if he had already left to live the life of an outlaw.

“There’s a lot of rumors of that,” Morgan said. “But to the best of our knowledge, Butch came here when he was just a young boy. I’ve heard all the way from 8 to 12 years old.”

Fred Hayes, director of the Utah Division of State Parks, said his agency will develop information signs for the historic site. He said the division will do its best to get the history right, including the ongoing debate on whether or not the law ever caught Cassidy.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY DIE IN NATIONAL PARKS?

In the popular 1969 movie about the outlaw, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” the gang of outlaws flees to South America and dies in a shootout in 1908. Morgan said he doesn’t believe the Hollywood ending.

“I don’t buy that story, nope!” Morgan said. “We have people from Panguitch and people from Circleville, and they claim they saw him in the ’30s.”

1,000-year-old Viking toolbox found at mysterious Danish fortress

The remains of the toolbox were found in what archaeologists think was a workshop in the Viking fortress at Borgring.

The remains of the toolbox were found in what archaeologists think was a workshop in the Viking fortress at Borgring.

A Viking toolbox found in Denmark has been opened for the first time in 1,000 years, revealing an extraordinary set of iron hand tools that may have been used to make Viking ships and houses, according to archaeologists.

The tools were found this summer at a mysterious, ring-shaped fortress at Borgring, on the island of Zealand. The famed 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth is thought to have ordered the construction of the fortress.

So far, archaeologists have found at least 14 iron tools inside a single deposit of earth excavated from a gatehouse building of the fortress. The researchers said only traces remain of the wooden chest that once held the tools. [See Photos of the Viking Tools Found at the Danish Fortress]

Iron was valuable in Viking-age Denmark , and the researchers think the tools once belonged to a craftsman who occupied a workroom in the gatehouse until it collapsed in the late 10th century.

The archaeologists are still studying the heavily rusted objects, but they’ve already identified several sophisticated hand tools and other metal items, including a set of “spoon drills” that were used to make holes in timber; what looks like a pair of tweezers or small pliers; a “clink nail” used to fasten wooden planks together; four carefully crafted chain links attached to an iron ring; and a drawplate to make metal wires that may have been used in jewelry.

Archaeologist Nanna Holm, a curator at the Danish Castle Center in Vordingborg who is leading the excavations of the ringed-shaped fort at Borgring, said this is the first time an entire set of tools has been discovered in a Viking workplace.

“This is not an ordinary find,” Holm told Live Science. “Not many tools are found in Scandinavia, but the others found before this have all been left for the gods, by being put down in a swamp.”

The newfound tools are special because they were found where the craftsman would have been working, she said. “That’s why it’s so exciting for us to see what’s inside, because we can see what one man has used at this specific site,” Holm added.

Viking iron

The cache of iron tools was first located by amateur archaeologists using a metal detector near the eastern gate of the buried fortress at Borgring.

That discovery inspired Holm’s archaeological team in August to excavate the eastern gatehouse, where they removed the deposit of earth containing all the tools in one piece — a delicate process that took two days.

The next step was to transport the lump of earth, rust and iron to a local hospital, where it was scanned with computed tomography (CT) equipment usually used by doctors to examine the internal organs of their patients. [Photos: 10th-Century Viking Tomb Unearthed in Denmark]

The CT scans revealed the precise arrangement of at least 14 iron tools, which have since been excavated from the toolbox deposit for individual X-ray studies and preservation before they are put on display in an exhibition next year, Holm said.

All of the tools are heavily corroded, but much of the original iron remains, and even more tools may be hidden in the rust, according to the researchers. “There are a minimum of 14 tools, but I think there are 16 now, from the new X-rays that we’ve already done,” Holm said.

The contents of the toolbox provide a rare glimpse of working life in the late Viking age , she said.

“They can be used for different crafts,” Holm said. “We have some spoon drills for making holes in wood, which could be used for building ships or for building houses.”

The iron drawplate has a series of small holes of different sizes that were used to make wires from softer metals, the researchers said. “You pulled the metal through each of the holes to make it smaller and smaller, and thinner and thinner,” she explained.

 

Bluetooth technology

The toolbox is an important early find for the archaeologists, who will conduct further excavations at Borgring each summer for the next three years, Holm said.

The remains of houses and human graves have been found at other Viking ring forts, but the toolbox is the first direct evidence of human habitation at Borgring itself, she added.

“So far, we haven’t found any houses, but we now have proof that there were people here — so hopefully, next year, we will find their houses,” Holm said. [Fierce Fighters: 7 Secrets of Viking Culture]

Archaeologists think the ringed-shaped fort at Borgring and four others like it were built by the Danish king Harald Bluetooth around A.D. 980, as military outposts to enforce his rule as he introduced Christianity into Denmark and parts of Sweden and Norway.

The origin of the king’s curious surname is uncertain, but his success in uniting the unruly Viking clans into a single kingdom inspired the name of today’s Bluetooth wireless technology , according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which oversees development of the technology.

Borgring has appeared on maps since the 1600s, but Holm said the site was only recently recognized as one of Bluetooth’s network of Viking ring forts.

“This is the first ring fort in 60 years that we’ll be studying with all the new archeological methods, and today we can do so much more with science,” she said. “It’s pretty different work compared to what else we’ve done in Denmark, so this is something special. Hopefully, we will get a little bit closer to finding out what actually happened here and what the forts have been used for.”

Original article on Live Science.

Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Israel’s Bonus says lab-grown bones successfully transplanted

Dec. 4, 2016: A researcher displays parts of a lab-grown, semi-liquid bone graft at the laboratory of Israeli biotech firm Bonus Biogroup in Haifa, Israel.

Dec. 4, 2016: A researcher displays parts of a lab-grown, semi-liquid bone graft at the laboratory of Israeli biotech firm Bonus Biogroup in Haifa, Israel.  (Reuters)

Israeli biotech company Bonus Biogroup’s lab-grown, semi-liquid bone graft was successfully injected into the jaws of 11 people to repair bone loss in an early stage clinical trial, it said on Monday.

The material, grown in a lab from each patient’s own fat cells, was injected into and filled the voids of the problematic bones. Over a few months it hardened and merged with the existing bone to complete the jaw, it said.

The announcement was made in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Bonus Biogroup is presenting its results at the International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Spain on Monday.

The company, which has raised $14 million, said it plans to dual list on Nasdaq in the coming months.

“For the first time worldwide, reconstruction of deficient or damaged bone tissue is achievable by growing viable human bone graft in a laboratory, and transplanting it back to the patient in a minimally invasive surgery via injection,” said Chief Executive Shai Meretzki.

More on this…

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Meretzki previously founded Pluristem Therapeutics, which works with stem cells and is one of the more advanced Israeli biomed companies.

Ora Burger, vice president of regulation affairs at Bonus Biogroup, told Reuters the transplant “was 100 percent successful in all 11 patients”.

“Now we are going to conduct a clinical study in the extremities, long bones,” she said.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Susan Thomas)

What Is EmDrive, NASA’s New Space Engine?

By Rich Smith Markets Fool.com

NASA is going to Mars, perhaps as early as 2033. It won’t be a short trip, however, at least not with current technology.

According to a recent Boeing (NYSE: BA) presentation on NASA’s plan for a manned mission to Mars, the best time to launch a spaceship from Earth to Mars is during “Mars Opposition,” the time of year when Mars is closest to Earth, and directly opposite Earth in relation to the Sun. Such approaches come only once every 26 months, however. And even then, at the point of closest proximity between the planets, current engine technology relying on the burning of liquid fuel to propel a spaceship means a trip to the Red Planet will take at least six months — one way.

But what if there were a better way to travel?
The NASA “mad scientists” at Eagleworks continue to work toward developing a fuel-less electromagnetic spaceship engine (not pictured). Image source: Getty Images.

Introducing EmDrive

One technology NASA is evaluating to power such a Mars mission is called “EmDrive,” short for Electromagnetic Drive. We first introduced you to EmDrive last year. Simply put, it’s a device for converting electrical energy into microwaves, which in turn provide thrust to move a spaceship through space.

Initially, the thrust produced is minuscule — about 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt. (So one kilowatt produces enough thrust to accelerate one gram of mass one meter per second per second.) But as the thrust continues over time, speeds increase. Ultimately, it’s believed that an EmDrive-powered spaceship might permit Earth-to-Mars travel in as little as 10 weeks.

And here’s the most amazing part: Scientists still can’t quite nail down how EmDrive jibes with Newton’s Third Law of Motion, as it appears to create thrust without any need to expel propellant. Electricity alone (generated from an on-board nuclear reactor or solar panels, for example) appears able to propel the ship. Thus, there’s no need to spend millions of dollars, and millions of gallons of fuel, lifting propellant out of a planet’s gravity well to fuel and power a spaceship.

Too good to be true?

Propulsion without fuel? An “engine” that runs without “gas”? EmDrive sounds too good to be true, but try as it might, NASA hasn’t been able to prove that the EmDrive is a hoax (yet).

Not that it hasn’t tried. First proposed by Britain’s Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd in 2001, and later tested in China, NASA’s “Eagleworks” Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory began studying EmDrive in 2013. Last month, The Christian Science Monitor confirmed that an Eagleworks report on EmDrive “has survived peer review” and has been published in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Journal of Propulsion and Power.

The Monitor goes on to clarify that merely passing review does not conclusively prove that EmDrive works as described. It does, however, confirm that Eagleworks’ methodology was “sound,” and lends support to NASA’s plan to next test EmDrive in space.

What it means for investors

That’s where things could get interesting for investors in the space arena. Currently, multiple companies are pouring billions of dollars into developing conventionally fueled engines to power spaceships on interplanetary flight — everything from Aerojet Rocketdyne‘s (NYSE: AJRD) RL10 engine and its successors to the new interplanetary engines that Elon Musk is designing for his Mars Colonial Transport at SpaceX.

On one hand, if EmDrive survives testing in space, and continues to prove out the concept of fuel-less propulsion, this could render all those other investments in conventional engine technology obsolete. On the other hand, development of a working EmDrive propulsion system could open up new avenues for space tech companies to research. And by making space travel more efficient, and cheaper, it could further advance the creation of private companies seeking to develop space commercially.

In short, EmDrive may sound a lot like “Star Trek tech,” and far-fetched to boot. But as long as EmDrive keeps passing every test NASA can throw at it, it remains a technology worth watching.

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Inside the new effort to entomb Chernobyl’s wreckage

In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 photo an arch-shaped shelter, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, has begun creeping toward the exploded Chernobyl nuclear reactor in what represents a significant step toward liquidating the remains of the world's worst nuclear accident.

In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 photo an arch-shaped shelter, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, has begun creeping toward the exploded Chernobyl nuclear reactor in what represents a significant step toward liquidating the remains of the world’s worst nuclear accident.  (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development via AP)

In the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, which resulted in radiation that ultimately reached as far as Japan and the US, the Soviet Union slapped together a massive sarcophagus of metal and concrete as hastily as possible to contain further fallout at the site of reactor 4.

With no welded or bolted joints and a leaky roof that led to corrosion “hastening its demise,” it was never seen as a permanent solution, reports Live Science.

Construction began on its enormous replacement, the New Safe Confinement, in 2012. Now French consortium Novarka is using 224 hydraulic jacks to slowly slide the steel structure 1,070 feet to cover the ruins in Ukraine.

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(The site is too dangerous to build over.) “The start of the sliding of the Arch over reactor 4 … is the beginning of the end of a 30-year-long fight with the consequences of the 1986 accident,” says Ukraine’s minister of ecology and natural resources, per the BBC.

At 354 feet high, 531 feet wide, and 843 feet long, the $1.6 billion arch is taller than the Statue of Liberty and the largest man-made structure to ever move across land.

It should last 100 years and withstand a tornado. Next, robotic cranes will take the sarcophagus apart and vacuum cleaners operated by remote workers will remove radioactive dust.

The main sponsor of the project, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, plans to complete installation on Nov. 29, reports AFP. (Amid Chernobyl’s ruins, one thing of value remains.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Robots and Giant Sliding Dome Are Finally Sealing Chernobyl