Rocket scientists who worked on ways to beat Soviet missiles a generation ago are now using their lasers to zap mosquitoes, the Wall Street Journal reports. Researchers looking for ways to combat malaria have rejigged "Star Wars" technology to create a contraption that can pick off individual mosquitoes from 100 feet away. They believe the technology could someday protect entire villages.
Malaria kills a million people a year, but efforts to eradicate it were lagging until researchers recently got a fresh injection of cash from big donors like Bill Gates. Now the scientists who tried to help end the Cold War are “just trying to make a dent in a war that's actually gone on a lot longer and claimed a lot more lives,” says one astrophysicist.