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Best of the Blogs Monthly – January 2017

Each month, we look back on the best of the month’s Best of the Blogs.

The start of new year is a great time to plan a trip, and you might be surprised to discover that one day soon you may be planning a trip to Mars. However, you don’t want to get lost on your journey, so Maps Mania has recommended that you take along NASA’s definitive map of Mars, and consulting ‘(Is There) Life on Mars’? [Maps Mania]

 

For decades NASA has used computer models to simulate the flow of air around test aircraft. Recently, they applied the same technique to explore the aerodynamics of the popular DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter drone, and the results are stunning. [NASA]

 

We are visual beings: Our perception of the world is intrinsically tied to our ability to perceive light. But what about the places where light doesn’t fall? Do places in shadow still encode information for the visual cortex to process? Can shadows actually tell us something meaningful about the landscapes they darken? “Shadowlands,” a stunning new series of maps by geographer and data scientist Robbi Bishop-Taylor, explores these very questions. [Gizmodo]

 

This month marked the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. During his 8 years as President, he took no less than 151 trips around the world on Air Force One and has clocked-up around 570,000 air miles. You can view all the countries that Barack Obama has visited during his presidency on a new interactive map. The way new President Trump is going, he won’t get to travel even half as much. [Maps Mania]

 

U.S. military officials have announced that they’ve carried out their largest ever test of a drone swarm released from fighter jets in flight. In the trials, three F/A-18 Super Hornets released 103 Perdix drones, which then communicated with each other and went about performing a series of tasks that mimic a surveillance mission. This video should open your imagination about the possibility of such ‘swarms’. [MIT Technology Review]

 

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