Published in: Forum Agenda, 11. September 2023
- This monthly round-up brings you the latest stories from the world of technology.
- Top technology stories: India lands spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole; World’s largest wind farm opens; US scientists achieve net energy gain in nuclear fusion reaction – again .
1. India lands spacecraft at Moon’s south pole
India has become the first country to land a spacecraft, Chandrayaan-3, on the unexplored south pole of the Moon. The mission’s rover, Pragyan, has left the craft and begun conducting experiments, the country’s space agency chief announced on 24 August.
“All activities are on schedule. All systems are normal,” the Indian Space Research Organization posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Rover mobility operations have commenced.”
The success of the landing, after a failure in 2019, has sparked much celebration in India. Pragyan will conduct experiments on element and chemical composition and is expected to remain functional for two weeks.
2. World’s largest floating wind farm opens
The world’s largest floating offshore wind farm has reached full output off the coast of Norway. The Hywind Tampen wind farm, developed by Equinor and partners including OMV and Vaar Energi, began producing power late last year.
The farm will generate power for nearby oil and gas platforms, with the aim of cutting their emissions. The wind farm will cover around a third of the five platforms’ power demands, reports Reuters.
The technology behind floating wind farms is still in its infancy, but opens up the potential for wind turbines in deeper waters, as the turbines are fixed to a floating base anchored to the sea floor, rather than being attached to the sea bed themselves.
“We have a clear ambition in Norway with respect to CO2 emissions, to reduce them (by) 50% (by) 2030 … To do that we need power,” Kjetil Hove, Equinor’s, head of exploration and production in Norway, told Reuters onboard the platform.
“It is also about building a new industry that is going to be important to create more power in Norway.”
3. In brief: Other tech stories to know
In August, scientists in the United States announced they’d achieved a net energy gain in a nuclear fusion reaction for the second time in a year.
A San Francisco, US, start-up is set to show off its flying car after receiving federal approval to test the Model A vehicle in Silicon Valley.
Investment in UK biotech saw a 29% jump, quarter-on-quarter, in the second quarter of 2023.
Denmark has announced plans to invest $3.9 billion over the next 15 years in carbon capture and storage technology.
4. More on technology on Agenda
Drones can deliver vital goods to vulnerable populations, overcoming access barriers and enabling faster delivery of lifesaving supplies. Here’s how the World Economic Forum’s Medicine from the Sky initiative is using drones to deliver vaccines and medicine to remote areas in India.
Sea turtles face incredibly low chances of survival at birth. Roboticists at the University of Notre Dame have developed robot sea turtles they say could be used to help real ones and advance other fields of robotics.
Waya Energy is developing software to help bring sustainable and affordable electricity to people in rural areas, writes Deborah Halber, of the MIT Energy Initiative. The company’s software, called REM, can be used to design and optimize off-grid electricity systems. REM has already been used in remote and mountainous regions in Uganda, Peru, Nigeria and elsewhere.