Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
Ever wish you could just get away from it all? Mission Mars One is a prime opportunity to secure a one-way ticket away from Earth. The Dutch nonprofit organizing the mission just finished screening its first round of applicants, and it will soon move on to the second round. The Mars mission is still more than a decade away, but here on Earth, we're seeing plenty of life-changing innovations. In June, a paralyzed teen will make the ceremonial first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled exoskeleton. Ghana has some of the worst sanitation in the world, but MIT's Susan Murcott is looking to provide clean drinking water to people with an amazing $6 water filter that's made from a big ceramic bowl. Embedding batteries in the human body for medical applications is a tricky task, but a team of scientists just created biological batteries made from cuttlefish ink that can be consumed in a pill. And on the design front, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is facing legal action from his home city of Valencia over the beautiful, but deteriorating €100 million Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house.
Bicycles and cars don't mix, and adding dedicated bike lanes to existing streets can be very difficult. So architect Norman Foster came up with a novel idea: Create a three-story-high bicycle skyway to cover 135 miles in London. (It may be a long time before that vision becomes reality.) A couple of Chinese companies have developed one solution to the country's transportation and emissions problems: A new series of robotic car-sharing stations will dispense small electric vehicles like candy. Meanwhile Ford gave us a sneak peek at its very first solar-powered car, and British adventurer Maria Leijerstam set a world record when she rode a custom recumbent bike from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in just 10 days. And the Canadian ice sculpture company Iceculture added about 11,000 pounds of sculpted ice to a pickup truck frame, producing a completely roadworthy truck that's made almost entirely from frozen H2O.
The world is still recovering from last week's New Year's celebration, but the planet isn't nursing much of an environmental hangover, thanks to several green initiatives. In New York, the Times Square ball drop featured a 12,000-pound geodesic sphere made of more than 30,000 energy-efficient LED lights. As if that wasn't enough, the LEDs were powered, at least in part, by stationary bikes that were parked in Midtown Manhattan. In other holiday news, New Yorkers looking to get rid of their Christmas trees can recycle them at MulchFest 2014 next week. And looking back at some of the highlights of 2013, the readers of Ecouterre and Inhabitots have spoken, selecting their top eco-fashion and green parenting stories.