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10 Amazing Discoveries You Missed This Week

From medical devices straight out of Star Wars to birds that give Martha Stewart a run for her money, here are 10 fascinating new discoveries.

Here are 10 amazing things research revealed this week. 

1) When I’m An Old Crab I Shall Wear Purple

We’re glad someone found  this guy but we have to wonder -- how did he ever get overlooked? 

Bright purple crabs with big red claws were one of four species recently discovered on the Phillipine island of Palawan during a study by the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany and De La Salle University in Manila. Our Amazing Planet calls Palawan a “major biodiversity hotspot” and about half its species are found nowhere else on earth. So of course the crabs’ habitat is threatened, in this case by mining activities. 

Of course it is. When was the last time you read a story that said, “Wow, look at these awesome animals and people are leaving them alone”?

“It is all the more important to do research in this region and show that the biodiversity of these islands is unique and worth protecting,” said Hendrick Freitag, leader of the study.

To that end we call upon their discoverers to name them after Prince. You know... the Purple One. Call them Principa Pinchytoes or Cancera Controversy or The Crustaceans Formerly Known as Prince. The power of a celebrity name to draw attention is immense and with a little more attention, maybe their habitat will be spared.

It’s worth a shot. We don’t want to know what it sounds like when crabs cry. 

2) This Might Change Your Mine

There is a kind of mining that can be done without wrecking earthly landscapes: asteroid mining. Getting gold, platinum and rocket fuel out of the fastballs of space is the intention of a group of high-profile tycoons who plan to launch a series of telescopes to find the targeted asteroids within 24 months and have a space-based fuel station by 2020, the AP says. 

Film director and ocean explorer James Cameron, Google brass Larry Paige and Eric Schmidt and company founders Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis (who pioneered commercial space tourism) plan “commercially built robotic ships,” sans humans, for the mining gathering process. 

Asteroids -- rocks that didn’t quite make the jump to becoming planets -- can be up to 10 miles long and some contain rare earth metals and water, the latter of which can be “broken down in space to liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for rocket fuel.” Since water is expensive to carry out to space, finding it on asteroids, converting it in space and shipping it back to refill satellites and spaceships is the group idea for an alternative.

Bryan Lufkin of Innovation News Daily writes that asteroid mining has been the stuff of sci-fi since “Edison’s Conquest of Mars,” (with Thomas Edison as the hero) in 1898 on to today’s British sitcom "Red Dwarf." If the “tech tycoons” achieve their vision the future may not be as we far as we think.

3) The Doctor Is So In

It’s not just asteroid mining -- more and more of the stuff of our favorite sci-fi shows seems to be popping into real life every day. Recently, researchers at the University of Dundee went and invented a real-life version of the Sonic Screwdriver, a multi-purpose device Dr. Who  uses for everything from disarming aliens to scanning for diseases. The real version could offer doctors “a new level of control over ultrasound beams which can also be applied to non-invasive ultrasound surgery, targeted drug delivery and ultrasonic manipulation of cells," said Dr Mike MacDonald of the Institute for Medical Science and Technology at Dundee,” on BBC.com.

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