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Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More

Ripple vs SWIFT: The War Begins
While most criticisms of XRP do nothing to curb my bullish Ripple price forecast, there is one obstacle that nags at my conscience. Its name is SWIFT.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the king of international payments.

It coordinates wire transfers across 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries and territories, meaning that in order for XRP prices to ascend to $10.00, Ripple needs to launch a successful coup. That is, and always has been, an unwritten part of Ripple’s story.

We’ve seen a lot of progress on that score. In the last three years, Ripple wooed more than 100 financial firms onto its.

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Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Another Crypto Hack Derails Recovery
Since our last report, hackers broke into yet another cryptocurrency exchange. This time the target was Bithumb, a Korean exchange known for high-flying prices and ultra-active traders.

While the hackers made off with approximately $31.5 million in funds, the exchange is working with relevant authorities to return the stolen tokens to their respective owners. In the event that some is still missing, the exchange will cover the losses. (Source: “Bithumb Working With Other Crypto Exchanges to Recover Hacked Funds,”.

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Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News
On the whole, cryptocurrency prices are down from our previous report on cryptos, with the market slipping on news of an exchange being hacked and a report about Bitcoin manipulation.

However, there have been two bright spots: 1) an official from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that Ethereum is not a security, and 2) Coinbase is expanding its selection of tokens.

Let’s start with the good news.
SEC Says ETH Is Not a Security
Investors have some reason to cheer this week. A high-ranking SEC official told attendees of the Yahoo! All Markets Summit: Crypto that Ethereum and Bitcoin are not.

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Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week

Cryptocurrency News
Cryptocurrencies traded sideways since our last report on cryptos. However, I noticed something interesting when playing around with Yahoo! Finance’s cryptocurrency screener: There are profitable pockets in this market.

Incidentally, Yahoo’s screener is far superior to the one on CoinMarketCap, so if you’re looking to compare digital assets, I highly recommend it.

But let’s get back to my epiphany.

In the last month, at one point or another, most crypto assets on our favorites list saw double-digit increases. It’s true that each upswing was followed by a hard crash, but investors who rode the trend would have made a.

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Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week

Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News & Market Summary
Investors finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel last week, with cryptos soaring across the board. No one quite knows what kicked off the rally—as it could have been any of the stories we discuss below—but the net result was positive.

Of course, prices won’t stay on this rocket ride forever. I expect to see a resurgence of volatility in short order, because the market is moving as a single unit. Everything is rising in tandem.

This tells me that investors are simply “buying the dip” rather than identifying which cryptos have enough real-world value to outlive the crash.

So if you want to know when.

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Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News
This was a bloody week for cryptocurrencies. Everything was covered in red, from Ethereum (ETH) on down to the Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Some investors claim it was inevitable. Others say that price manipulation is to blame.

We think the answers are more complicated than either side has to offer, because our research reveals deep contradictions between the price of cryptos and the underlying development of blockchain projects.

For instance, a leading venture capital (VC) firm launched a $300.0-million crypto investment fund, yet liquidity continues to dry up in crypto markets.

Another example is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity

Cryptocurrency News
Even though the cryptocurrency news was upbeat in recent days, the market tumbled after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected calls for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).

That news came as a blow to investors, many of whom believe the ETF would open the cryptocurrency industry up to pension funds and other institutional investors. This would create a massive tailwind for cryptos, they say.

So it only follows that a rejection of the Bitcoin ETF should send cryptos tumbling, correct? Well, maybe you can follow that logic. To me, it seems like a dramatic overreaction.

I understand that legitimizing cryptos is important. But.

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Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity

Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds

Cryptocurrency News
Although cryptocurrency prices were heating up last week (Bitcoin, especially), regulators poured cold water on the rally by rejecting calls for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). This is the second time that the proposal fell on deaf ears. (More on that below.)

Crypto mining ran into similar trouble, as you can see from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:AMD) most recent quarterly earnings. However, it wasn’t all bad news. Investors should, for instance, be cheering the fact that hedge funds are ramping up their involvement in cryptocurrency markets.

Without further ado, here are those stories in greater detail.
ETF Rejection.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds

Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection?

What You Need to Know About the Bitcoin Price Rise
It wasn’t that long ago that Bitcoin (BTC) dominated headlines for its massive growth, with many cryptocurrency millionaires being made. The Bitcoin price surged ever upward and many people thought the gravy train would never stop running—until it did.

Prices crashed, investors abandoned the space, and lots of people lost money. Cut to today and we’re seeing another big Bitcoin price surge; is this time any different?

I’m of a mind that investors ought to think twice before jumping back in on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin made waves when it once again crested above $5,000. Considering that it started 2019 around $3,700,.

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Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection?

Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs

Cryptocurrency News
While headline numbers look devastating this week, investors might take some solace in knowing that cryptocurrencies found their bottom at roughly $189.8 billion in market cap—that was the low point. Since then, investors put more than $20.0 billion back into the market.

During the rout, Ethereum broke below $300.00 and XRP fell below $0.30, marking yearly lows for both tokens. The same was true down the list of the top 100 biggest cryptos.

Altcoins took the brunt of the hit. BTC Dominance, which reveals how tightly investment is concentrated in Bitcoin, rose from 42.62% to 53.27% in just one month, showing that investors either fled altcoins at higher.

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Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs

The Mueller Report Confirms We’re Living in a Cyberpunk Dystopia

The Mueller Report, heavily redacted, describes a number of high-tech Russian operations designed to undermine and sway the 2016 Presidential election.

Harm to Ongoing Matter

When the Justice Department released a heavily-redacted version of the Mueller Report Thursday, the conversation quickly devolved into partisan bickering.

Only time will tell what the report means for the Trump administration. But what’s immediately clear is that concepts that were once restricted to fictional cyberpunk dystopias — from government hackers to botnet propaganda networks — are now mainstream enough to influence international politics.

Black Boxes

The readable text of the report details how Russia used social media, hackers, and other sophisticated techniques to try and sway the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in favor of Trump — efforts that reached millions of Americans and recruited others to actively spread their propaganda before and after the election.

Russians working for an organization called the Internet Research Agency created accounts on Twitter and Facebook, through which they reached millions — including many members of the Trump Administration, Trump’s sons, and Trump himself — while sharing pro-Trump and anti-Clinton messages, memes, and images.

Personal Privacy

Meanwhile, other Russian operatives were taking a more direct approach — by hacking into Democratic Party servers, releasing sensitive information though sock puppet personas like “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer” and giving stolen data to WikiLeaks. Just to make the whole thing a little more “Shadowrun,” they funded the operation by mining Bitcoin.

In the long view, the report might be less memorable for its specific claims than as a blueprint for the future of information warfare — and the strange ways technology can be used to manipulate and control populations.

READ MORE: Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election [CNN]

More on Mueller: Everything You Need to Know From Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional Testimony: Day 1

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The Mueller Report Confirms We’re Living in a Cyberpunk Dystopia

When the Large Hadron Collider Turns on, It May Trap Dark Matter

Scientists have a new plan to try and spot dark matter by searching for particular particles once the Large Hadron Collider's upgrades are complete.

Eyes Peeled

When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) turns back on and starts smashing particles again sometime in 2021, it may also point us in the direction of dark matter.

For years, scientists have been trying and failing to spot the invisible stuff that makes up the majority of matter in the universe. But now researchers have a new target: a comparatively heavy and long-lived particle that may be produced by the high-energy collisions at the LHC.

The particle is thought by some physicists to occasionally interact with dark matter — giving scientists a new lead toward spotting the elusive material.

Dangling Particle

Research published this month in Physical Review Letters describes how systems that have already been put in place at the LHC could detect these long-lived particles, which are named as such because they travel slower and last longer than other particles generated by LHC experiments.

The time difference is on the scale of nanoseconds, according to a University of Chicago press release — something that the LHC was already able to detect and will be even better at once upgrades are completed.

“If the particle is there, we just have to find a way to dig it out,” University of Chicago physicist LianTao Wang said in the press release. “Usually, the key is finding the question to ask.”

READ MORE: Scientists invent way to trap mysterious ‘dark world’ particle at Large Hadron Collider [University of Chicago newsroom via Phys.org]

More on dark matter: An Oxford Scientist May Have Solved the Mystery of Dark Matter

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When the Large Hadron Collider Turns on, It May Trap Dark Matter

John McAfee Vows to Reveal Bitcoin’s Creator

Infamous tech entrepreneur John McAfee says he's going unmask Bitcoin's creator, but the clues he's shared so far do little to narrow the field.

Maker Unmasked

Infamous tech entrepreneur John McAfee says he’s going to tell the world who created Bitcoin — and if he keeps his word, he’ll be answering perhaps the biggest lingering question in cryptocurrency.

On Wednesday, McAfee took to Twitter to announce his plan to continue sharing clues about the true identity of “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pseudonymous handle used by the creator of Bitcoin, until either the creator reveals himself or McAfee reveals him.

“I protected the identity of Satoshi,” McAfee tweeted. “It’s time, though, that this be put to bed. Imposters claim to be him, we are spending time and energy in search of him — It’s a waste.”

We’re Waiting

Whether McAfee actually knows the true identity of Bitcoin’s creator is anyone’s guess. But so far, he’s taken to Twitter to claim that Satoshi is male and lives in the United States. He’s also not the CIA, a government agency, computer scientist Nick Szabo, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, or a brunette.

Oh, and yeah, he’s also alive.

My Name Is

So, to pull some rough numbers, the U.S. is home to about 156.1 million males and about 1 million of those work for the nation’s government. Say about 50 percent are brunettes — that leaves us with ~77.5 million potential Satoshi Nakamotos.

If McAfee wants anyone to believe he actually knows who created Bitcoin — or he wants to pressure the real Satoshi into revealing himself — he’s going to have to narrow the field down a bit more than that.

“Yes, I drink, use drugs, chase women, run from the law — which I have done since I was 19,” he tweeted, in defense of his ability to name the elusive programmer. “But it does not obviate the fact that I created a great company whose focus was stopping hackers. I had to know hacking. I am still John Fucking McAfee.”

READ MORE: John McAfee Triggers Countdown to Unmask Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto [CCN]

More on John McAfee: A Real Whodunnit: Tech Eccentric John McAfee Claims Enemies Poisoned Him

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John McAfee Vows to Reveal Bitcoin’s Creator

Astronomers Finally Found the Universe’s First Type of Molecule

Scientists finally detect helium hydride, a combination of helium and hydrogen, thought to be the first molecule to form in the universe.

Happy Hunting

Based on scientists’ calculations, the first molecule to ever form from stray atoms in the universe was likely helium hydride, a combination of helium and hydrogen.

For decades, physicists have hunted the universe for the elusive molecule. And now an international team of researchers say they’ve finally found it — thereby confirming the presumed first step in the universe’s chemistry.

No Doubt

In a study published in the journal Nature Wednesday, the researchers describe how they used NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the world’s largest airborne observatory, to detect helium hydride in a planetary nebula about 3,000 light-years away from Earth.

“It was so exciting to be there, seeing helium hydride for the first time in the data,” researcher Rolf Guesten said in a news release. “This brings a long search to a happy ending and eliminates doubts about our understanding of the underlying chemistry of the early universe.”

READ MORE: The Universe’s First Type of Molecule Is Found at Last [NASA]

More on the early universe: Scientists Now Know When the First Stars Formed in the Universe

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Astronomers Finally Found the Universe’s First Type of Molecule

India Blew up a Satellite. Now A “Space Fence” Is Tracking Its Debris

When India blew up a satellite, it introduced a lot of debris into orbit. Lockheed Martin's experimental Space Fence is keeping an eye on it.

Explosive Demonstration

Last month, India demonstrated its capabilities as a spacefaring nation and drew international criticism when it used a missile to blew up one of its own satellites.

The launch happened to coincide with Lockheed Martin’s test run of a new space monitoring technology called the Space Fence, which can detect and track any unregistered objects orbiting the Earth. According to Space News, that was a stroke of luck that could mitigate damage to people and equipment in space.

Picket Fence

The satellite explosion essentially turned the satellite into a cloud of space debris, which could in the future collide with other satellites, scientific instruments, or astronauts in orbit around the Earth — remember “Gravity”?

“We happened to be up during an endurance test and we were very excited to see that the system performed nominally,” Matthew Hughes, Lockheed Martin business development manager, told Space News. “Space fence is all about the ability to identify break ups, maneuvers, closely spaced objects, proximity operations, new foreign launches.”

While Space Fence isn’t an actual blockade in space, it can at least help officials prepare for and plan around collisions.

READ MORE: Indian anti-satellite test proves early test for Space Fence [Space News]

More on India’s Satellite: NASA: When India Blew up a Satellite, it Endangered Astronauts

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India Blew up a Satellite. Now A “Space Fence” Is Tracking Its Debris

Expert: AI-Generated Music Is A “Total Legal Clusterf*ck”

The legal industry isn't ready for AI-generated music, leading to all sorts of new questions about copyrights in the age of creative machines.

AI-Generated Music

If you train a music-generating artificial intelligence exclusively on tracks by Beyoncé, do you owe the pop star a cut of any resulting songs’ profits? And is it even legal to use copyrighted songs to train an AI in the first place?

Those are just a couple of the questions The Verge poses in a fascinating new story about AI-generated music published Wednesday. And while the publication consulted numerous experts from the music, tech, and legal industries for the story, the input of one person in particular — Jonathan Bailey, CTO of audio tech company iZotope — seemed to most concisely sum up the issue.

“I won’t mince words,” he told The Verge. “This is a total legal clusterfuck.”

Imitation Game

Despite the U.S. Copyright Office bringing up the potential problems that could arise from computer songwriters way back in 1965, U.S. copyright law has yet to nail down exactly who owns what when a computer is involved in the creative process, according to The Verge.

As it stands, the Beyoncé-trained AI could crank out an entire album of “Lemonade”-esque tracks, and as long as none of them sounded too much like any specific Beyoncé song, the AI-generated music wouldn’t be infringing on her copyrights — and the AI’s creator wouldn’t legally owe the artist a penny, lawyer Meredith Rose told The Verge.

Less clear is the use of copyrighted songs to train an AI. Several of The Verge’s sources said there isn’t a straightforward answer as to whether buying a song grants a person the right to then use it to train a machine learning system.

Clock’s Ticking

Of course, programmers have yet to come anywhere near creating AIs capable of autonomously churning out hit songs in the key of Bey — or anyone else for that matter — but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to one day.

“It’s like the future of self-driving cars,” media-focused venture capitalist Leonard Brody told Fortune in October. “Level 1 is an artist using a machine to assist them. Level 2 is where the music is crafted by a machine but performed by a human. Level 3 is where the whole thing is machines.”

We’ve already seen several examples of those first two levels — tech-forward songstress Taryn Southern shared songwriting credits with AI on her “I AM AI” album, released in September, and that same month, Iranian composer Ash Koosha released an album on which he sang songs composed by AI-powered software.

If Brody’s prediction is correct, the next step will be AIs creating music by themselves — and if we’re already in the midst of a “legal clusterfuck,” who knows what sort of legislative nightmare that will be?

READ MORE: WE’VE BEEN WARNED ABOUT AI AND MUSIC FOR OVER 50 YEARS, BUT NO ONE’S PREPARED [The Verge]

More on AI songwriters: This Musician Created an AI to Write Songs for Him, and They’re Pretty Strange

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Expert: AI-Generated Music Is A “Total Legal Clusterf*ck”

Amazing New Rocket Engine Sucks up Atmospheric Oxygen for Fuel

The European Space Agency just greenlit a UK aerospace manufacturer's tests of a novel air-breathing rocket engine that sucks up atmospheric oxygen.

Air-Breathing Rocket

U.K. aerospace manufacturer Reaction Engines is preparing a potentially revolutionary rocket engine for a real-world test within the next 18 months.

The Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) runs partially on oxygen collected from the atmosphere rather than relying on heavy fuel. That means serious weight savings, according to the European Space Agency — such that a payload could be delivered to orbit at “half the vehicle mass of current launchers.”

Big Savings

Futurism has previously reported on Reaction Engine’s ambitious plans. Earlier this year, the company told the BBC its future hypersonic engines could be used to cut the journey from London to Sydney to just four hours.

The European Space Agency first got involved in 2010, testing the viability of the novel design and to see if the engine could withstand hypersonic speed. This week, the space agency gave the project the green light.

“The positive conclusion of our preliminary design review marks a major milestone in SABRE development,” Mark Ford, heading ESA’s Propulsion Engineering section, said in a statement. “It confirms the test version of this revolutionary new class of engine is ready for implementation.”

READ MORE: Air-Breathing Rocket Engine Gets Green Light for Major Tests [Space.com]

More on Reaction Engines: New Rocket Engine Could Whip You From London to Sydney in 4 Hours

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Amazing New Rocket Engine Sucks up Atmospheric Oxygen for Fuel

Climate Change Could Cause Fukushima-Style Meltdowns in the US

Almost every active nuclear reactor in the U.S. is unprepared for flooding and storm surge caused by climate change; industry groups chose not to act.

Unprepared

Most nuclear power plants in the United States are not prepared for the increase in flooding and severe weather that climate change will soon bring.

Of the roughly 60 operational plants in the U.S., 90 percent have at least one design flaw that will render them susceptible to flood damage and storm surge, according to Bloomberg. If preventative measures aren’t taken and upgrades made, then the U.S. may face radiation leaks like the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

Meltdown

Speaking to Bloomberg, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Matthew Wald argued that such a meltdown was incredibly unlikely in the U.S. thanks to emergency equipment installed in some reactors.

“There is a perennial problem in any high-tech industry deciding how safe is safe enough,” Wald said, “The civilian nuclear power industry exceeds the NRC-required safety margin by a substantial amount.”

But often, individual reactors and nuclear industry organizations are allowed to set those standards themselves. Bloomberg reports that these groups were allowed to estimate not only their own reactors’ resilience in the face of climate change, but also just how bad they expected the effects of climate change to get in their area.

Oversight

With that lack of regulation, it’s no surprise that the nuclear energy industry cleared the hurdles — the industry is basically bragging about how it slam-dunked on a children’s basketball hoop.

“Any work that was done following Fukushima is for naught because the commission rejected any binding requirement to use that work,” Gregory Jaczko, who was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2011 during the Fukushima meltdown, told Bloomberg. “It’s like studying the safety of seat belts and then not making automakers put them in a car.”

READ MORE: U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Weren’t Built for Climate Change [Bloomberg]

More on nuclear power: See the Centaur-Like Robot Designed to Handle Nuclear Reactors

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Climate Change Could Cause Fukushima-Style Meltdowns in the US

Denver Is Voting on Whether to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

Denver, Colorado, may soon decriminalize the personal use of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, making it the first place in the U.S. to consider doing so.

Trip to the Polls

Denver, Colorado may become the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize shrooms — if a new initiative gets voted through.

It’s only one city, but the vote suggests that Americans are coming around to a more progressive view on recreational — and potentially therapeutic — psychoactive drugs.

Changing Minds

If passed, Initiative 301 would decriminalize personal use and possession of mushrooms containing the psychoactive compound psilocybin. But wouldn’t legalize the growth or distribution of the shrooms, according to Vox — so it’d fall short of the full-throated legalization of marijuana that Colorado embraced in 2014.

Decriminalization of psychedelic shrooms could help Denver save time and money. Per Vox, other decriminalized areas like Portugal saw drops in drug use and drug-related deaths, suggesting that telling police to stop pursuing drug use could benefit society across the board.

READ MORE: Denver may become the first US city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms [Vox]

More on Psilocybin: Psychedelic Mushrooms Can Boost Creativity and Empathy For a Week

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Denver Is Voting on Whether to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

This Space Roomba Could Clean the ISS While Astronauts Sleep

GermFalcon, a company specializing in airplane sanitizing tech, developed a kind of space Roomba that can blast sterilising UV rays at the walls of the ISS.

Worst Job Ever

Wiping down the inside of the International Space Station is an arduous task.

But luckily, thanks to a private company specializing in airplane sanitizing tech called GermFalcon, astronauts aboard the ISS might be able to skip that chore in the future: an autonomous, Roomba-style space cleaner called GermRover could one day blast the walls with powerful sterilizing UV rays to kill any harmful microbes.

“UV disinfection has been shown to decrease hospital infection rates, so we expect to replicate those results in space,” Elliot Kreitenberg, developer of the robot, told New Scientist.

Filthy Space Station

Futurism has previously reported on how conditions can get nasty on board the ISS.

Research published earlier this month suggests that the ISS is teeming with bacterial and fungal colonies. Some of these bacteria were even found to be antibiotic-resistant as well, compounding the problem.

NASA is currently looking into trialing the GermRover. GermFalcon is working on a prototype it will reveal at the Aerospace Medicine Association conference in Las Vegas next month, according to the New Scientist.

READ MORE: Zero-gravity robot cleaner could automatically sterilise the ISS [New Scientist]

More on germs on the ISS: The International Space Station is Teeming With Germs

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