Friday, 18 November 2016

Pilot-optional helicopter and drones work together to fight fires and rescue "missing" person

In what Lockheed Martin claims is a first, pilot-optional helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have worked as a team to successfully carry out firefighting operations and a search and rescue mission. According to the company, the purpose of the demonstration was to illustrate how autonomous aircraft can not only aid in rescue operations, but also increase their efficiency.

.. Continue Reading Pilot-optional helicopter and drones work together to fight fires and rescue "missing" person

Category: Aircraft

Lockheed Martin

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DARPA deploys a thousand radiation detectors in DC "manhunt"

Recently, a geneticist was mysteriously abducted in Washington DC, leading to the US government deploying a small army of detectives to foil a dirty bomb plot. At least, that was the fictional scenario of a DARPA field test that saw a thousand volunteers equipped with smartphone-sized radiation detectors fan out over the National Mall in a radioactive scavenger hunt to test the progress of the agency's SIGMA project, which is tasked with developing technology to combat nuclear terrorism.

.. Continue Reading DARPA deploys a thousand radiation detectors in DC "manhunt"

Category: Science


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$396K cobalt chrome wristwatch takes extravagance to new heights

Swiss luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis has previewed its "deliberately extravagant" Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt wristwatch, which makes its public debut in January. The hand-mechanical timepiece not only has a quadruple spring balance to overcome the effects of gravity, but a cobalt chrome casing that the company claims is a horological first.

.. Continue Reading $396K cobalt chrome wristwatch takes extravagance to new heights

Category: Wearables


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Did Beagle 2 land successfully on Mars?

One of the mysteries of Mars exploration may have been solved as scientists at the University of Leicester and De Montfort University use a new imaging technique based on 3D modeling technology to uncover the fate of Britain's Beagle 2 lander. According to the team, the unmanned probe didn't crash, but landed successfully and became operational, through its radio antenna failed to deploy correctly.

.. Continue Reading Did Beagle 2 land successfully on Mars?

Category: Space

University of Leicester

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Boom unveils XB-1 supersonic passenger plane prototype

In news that brings hope to those who still look wistfully back to the glory days of Concorde, aviation startup Boom Technology today unveiled its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator. Nicknamed Baby Boom, the one-third scale prototype of the company's planned Boom passenger liner is designed to test the technologies for 21st century commercial supersonic flight.

.. Continue Reading Boom unveils XB-1 supersonic passenger plane prototype

Category: Aircraft


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Distant star is the roundest object in the Universe

When geographers say the Earth is round, they mean it's "sort of" round and a bit squashed at the poles. Comparatively, a team of astronomers led by Laurent Gizon from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and the University of Göttingen have found a star 5,000 light years away from us that's not only much rounder than the Earth, but is rounder than any natural object in the Universe.

.. Continue Reading Distant star is the roundest object in the Universe

Category: Space

Kepler Mission

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Sandia Labs turns to tritium in quest for fusion power

Sandia National Laboratories is raising the stakes in its quest to develop fusion power by introducing tritium into its experiments with its Z machine. Tritium, the heaviest of the three hydrogen isotopes, promises to boost energy output by a factor of 500 as the scientists continue to seek ways to produce a self-sustaining fusion reaction that generates more energy than it consumes. However, the isotope is difficult and potentially dangerous to work with.

.. Continue Reading Sandia Labs turns to tritium in quest for fusion power

Category: Energy

Sandia Labs

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Magnetic material lets ice slide right off

For most people, icy conditions means a slippery pavement or trying to chip the car out of a freezing glaze, but icing can also bring down aircraft, snap power lines, and cause a surprising amount of structural damage. Now scientists at the University of Houston (UH) have come up with a surprising solution – and it involves magnets.

.. Continue Reading Magnetic material lets ice slide right off

Category: Materials

University of Houston

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Unmanned UH-1H helicopter in the works

There have been great strides in autonomous flight systems in recent years, but the tricky bit is getting them installed in conventional vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. In North Virginia, Aurora Flight Sciences announced it's using the technology from its Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) to integrate the company's Tactical Autonomous Aerial Logistics System (TALOS) on a UH-1H helicopter as part of a program to produce a "platform agnostic" system that can be used on almost any VTOL aircraft to make it pilot optional.

.. Continue Reading Unmanned UH-1H helicopter in the works

Category: Aircraft

Autonomous Vehicles

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Dainese D-Air technology to hit the water

Anyone who has crewed on a racing yacht can tell you it can be a hard, thrilling, and potentially dangerous ride. With 2017 America's Cup racers expected to reach speed of up to 50 knots (57 mph, 92 km/h), getting a serious injury can be as easy as falling overboard, so Italy's Dainese Group is teaming with Emirates Team New Zealand to develop a new Sea-Guard life jacket that incorporates Dainese's D-Air automatic airbag technology that inflates special airbags when potentially dangerous situations are detected.

.. Continue Reading Dainese D-Air technology to hit the water

Category: Marine

EICMA 2016

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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Navy practices Orion crew module recovery

When the next Orion spacecraft splashes down, the mission will be far from over as the US Navy springs into action to safely recover the crew capsule. To practice for the day, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22) in conjunction with NASA completed a successful rehearsal in the Pacific Ocean of splashdown recovery operations of the Orion crew module on November 1.

.. Continue Reading Navy practices Orion crew module recovery

Category: Space

US Navy
Orion Spacecraft

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MIT rolls out driverless scooter

Make way autonomous cars, because now there are autonomous scooters. A team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has developed a self-driving mobility scooter using algorithms that not only allow users to sit back and enjoy the ride, but could be applied across a spectrum of different vehicles. According to MIT, this would allow the mobility impaired to swap from scooters for moving inside buildings to golf carts in car parks, to autonomous cars on the road.

.. Continue Reading MIT rolls out driverless scooter

Category: Urban Transport

Autonomous Vehicles

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Mimicking nature turns sewage into biocrude oil in minutes

Biofuels are often touted as an alternative to fossil fuels, but many depend on raw materials that would quickly become scarce if production were scaled up. As an alternative to these alternatives, the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has found a way to potentially produce 30 million barrels of biocrude oil per year from the 34 billion gal (128 billion liters) of raw sewage that Americans create every day.

.. Continue Reading Mimicking nature turns sewage into biocrude oil in minutes

Category: Energy


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Northop Grumman to build laser beam control system for future aircraft

Northrop Grumman announces it will help the US Air Force to develop a new defensive weapon to be installed in existing and future aircraft. The contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will be for the company will develop and build a beam control system for the Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program.

.. Continue Reading Northop Grumman to build laser beam control system for future aircraft

Category: Military

Northrop Grumman
US Air Force
Laser weapon

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GE Aviation fires up engine made from 35 percent printed parts

3D printing has come a long way since it was big news when a single printed part was certified for use in an aircraft. General Electric Aviation has gone considerable further as it develops its Advanced Turboprop (ATP) for installation in the Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop aircraft. The new engine will have over 35 percent 3D printed parts. According to GE, this has resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of parts, a five percent weight savings, and a one percent increase in fuel efficiency... Continue Reading GE Aviation fires up engine made from 35 percent printed parts

Category: Aircraft

General Electric
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Changing the shape of wing design using "digital materials"

A team from MIT and NASA led by Neil Gershenfeld is developing a new type of "morphing" wing that rather than using conventional flaps, changes its shape. This new wing is made up of overlapping strips that could be assembled by small robots, resulting in aircraft that are simpler to build, use less fuel, and boast improved agility.

.. Continue Reading Changing the shape of wing design using "digital materials"

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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

SpaceX hopeful Falcon 9 rocket will fly again this year

SpaceX is hopeful launches of its Falcon 9 rocket will resume by the end of the year as it narrows down the possible causes of the explosion on September 1 that destroyed the booster and its AMOS-6 satellite payload. The company says it suspects the cause of the incident was improper loading of one of the cryogenic helium bottles inside the second stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank, which could be addressed in a short time frame.

.. Continue Reading SpaceX hopeful Falcon 9 rocket will fly again this year

Category: Space


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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Dinner: 2036

Food is one of life's absolute necessities and one that people take great pleasure from, so it's no surprise that the future of food is one of those topics that always draws significant interest. So what will we be tucking into in the year 2036? A plate of bugs with a side order of seaweed? A glass of milky liquid? Cajun Swedish fusion cuisine? Or will it be a world of shortages where we munch on government issue Soylent Green and try not to think about where it came from? Take your places at table and join us as we take a look at what mealtimes in the future might look like.

.. Continue Reading Dinner: 2036

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Software glitch may have caused Mars probe to think it already landed

Though exactly what happened to ESA's Schiaparelli lander when it crashed on the surface of Mars on October 19 remains uncertain, new high-resolution images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) taken on October 25 are helping investigators to zero in on the cause of the accident. Among the many possibilities being considered is that the unmanned spacecraft shut down its landing engines early because it thought it was already on the ground.

.. Continue Reading Software glitch may have caused Mars probe to think it already landed

Category: Space


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Radio telescope sees the sky in 20 primary colors

A state-of-the-art radio telescope in the West Australian outback has produced a picture of the night sky as it would appear to the human eye – if people could see in radio waves and 20 primary colors instead of three. It's part of the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA (GLEAM) survey being conducted by the US$50 million Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope to gain a better understanding of the distant universe.

.. Continue Reading Radio telescope sees the sky in 20 primary colors

Category: Space


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Wiring the brain with artificial senses and limb control

There have been significant advances in developing new prostheses with a simple sense of touch, but researchers are looking to go further. Scientists and engineers are working on a way to provide prosthetic users and those suffering from spinal cord injuries with the ability to both feel and control their limbs or robotic replacements by means of directly stimulating the cortex of the brain.

.. Continue Reading Wiring the brain with artificial senses and limb control

Category: Biology

University of Washington

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Boeing lands patent for VTOL passenger plane

If you're one of the millions of air travelers who must drive by half a dozen perfectly good small airfields to get to a passenger airport, there may be hope yet. Boeing has been awarded a patent for a tilt rotor Vertical TakeOff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft capable of carrying up to 100 passengers. By combining vertical lift and hover capacity of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional airplane, it could one day turn small airports into passenger hubs.

.. Continue Reading Boeing lands patent for VTOL passenger plane

Category: Aircraft


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ESA plans next major space mission to detect gravity waves

The problem with gravity waves is that after a century of trying to detect them, scientists now have to figure out what to do with them. To this end, ESA is soliciting proposals from European scientist for its eLISA L3 space mission slated to launch in 2034. Part of ESA's Cosmic Vision plan, the eLISA invitation is based on recommendations from the Gravitational Observatory Advisory Team convened in 2014, which called for a multi-satellite mission using free-falling tests masses linked over millions of kilometers as a means of detecting gravity waves.

.. Continue Reading ESA plans next major space mission to detect gravity waves

Category: Space

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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Best laid plans: Eight embarrassing failures of the Space Age

On October 19, the ESA's unmanned Schiaparelli Mars lander went silent after an attempted landing on the Red Planet that probably ended in an explosive impact on the surface. Over the years, we've seen many missions end in ways that remind us that space travel really is rocket science, so let's look at eight most embarrassing failures of the Space Age.

.. Continue Reading Best laid plans: Eight embarrassing failures of the Space Age

Category: Space


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New metamaterial shrinks when the heat is on

It's one of the basic facts of science: Heat something and it expands. But a team of scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) Additive Manufacturing Initiative in partnership with the University of Southern California, MIT, and the University of California, Los Angeles have gone counterintuitive and invented a 3D-printed material that shrinks when heated. Developed as part of DARPA's program to study materials with controlled microstructure architecture, the lightweight metamaterial exhibits what the researchers call "negative thermal expansion."

.. Continue Reading New metamaterial shrinks when the heat is on

Category: Science

University of Southern California
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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