This week on LSCDS #ScienceNews and #Innovation:

The stresses associated with PhD research is highlighted by Nature journals as they published the results of a survey of over 6000 students from across the world. The survey delved into the challenges and pressures faced by students as they journey towards their degree.

selective focus photography of books on bookcases near people sits in chairs

Data from NASA’s Cassini space mission has allowed astronomers to draw up the first global geological map of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Titan is said to have relatively similar features to Earth, having valleys, dunes, and mountains on its surface. Although its lakes are filled with liquid methane, it is the only other body in the solar system, outside of Earth, to have such liquid features on its surface.

Colour mosaic from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the sun glinting off of Titan's north polar seas

(Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho)

In a breakthrough for the utilization of solar energy, researchers have successfully designed synthetic material capable of phototropism – the ability to orient position in response to light. What they term SunBOT, is a synthetic polymer that can maneuver to orient itself to a position that would optimize the capture of sunlight. Opposed to the stationary solar panel which can capture 24% of the solar energy, the application of this novel mechanism has the potential to increase the efficiency of capture to 90%.

solar panel under blue sky