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After Math: Space toilets and long-haul hybrid pickups

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It never fails. You’re just a few precious miles from home when heavy traffic and those three cups of coffee hit at the same moment. There isn’t a bottle mouth big enough to handle the cold brew you’ve got gurgling in your gut. While we’ve all been caught out like this at some point down here on Earth, this week we have a glimpse at how NASA will provide bathroom facilities on the moon.

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Tesla trails the pack in its first JD Power car quality study

Tesla may push the boundaries of automotive technology but its production process is a bit of a mess. In a recent initial quality survey from JD Power and Associates, Tesla customers reported 250 build defects (misaligned body panels, shoddy paintwork, things of that nature) per 100 vehicles. The national average is around 166 defects per 100 vehicles. But hey, at least you can spend $3,000 on an autopilot feature that probably won’t crash you headlong into a highway median divider. Probably.

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Ford’s new F-150 is its first with a hybrid V6 engine

Pickups have grown to monstrous proportions in recent years — effectively becoming gussied up SUVs with open air trunks — often at the direct expense of their gas mileage. However, Ford is looking to move its pickup lineup to greener pastures with its 2021 F-150 hybrid. Its 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 pairs with a 35kWh electric motor to deliver a whopping 700 mile range between fill ups. It’s still not the most environmentally friendly transportation option out there, but it will hold us over until Ford releases the all-electric version it’s been developing.

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Electrify America’s first cross-country EV charging route is complete

And once Ford does release its fully-electric F-150 pickup, you’ll be able to drive that sweet ride clear across the country thanks to Electrify America’s efforts. The company has just completed a nation-wide EV charging network which will allow drivers to run from LA clear through to Washington DC. Next year’s Gumball Rally is going to wild.

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Amazon acquires self-driving startup Zoox

When not gobbling down naming rights to as-of-yet unbuilt hockey arenas, Amazon is spending big bucks on self-driving car technology. Last week the internet retail behemoth snapped up Zoox, an autonomous automotive startup, to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars.

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NASA wants your help designing future moon toilets

When you gotta go, you gotta go — even when you’re outside the bounds of Earth’s gravity. But rather than fight with the current evacuatory system NASA employs (those hoses go where?), the space agency is calling on the public for ideas to better relieve yourself while in orbit. The winning submission will earn $35,000, though there’s no word if you can trade that prize money for the equivalent value in TP.

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