Saturday, 22 August 2015

Catch up

One truism of nuclear reactors is that you really don't want to be next to one. Unfortunately, reactor cores need to be inspected and maintained, which means teams of workers going inside the containment vessel. It's an operation that's not only hazardous, but expensive and time consuming. In an effort to make such inspections safer, cheaper, and faster, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has developed the Stinger; a free-swimming, remote-controlled robot that replaces humans for cleaning and inspecting reactor vessels.

.. Continue Reading GE atomic swimmer robot keeps tabs on nuclear reactors

Section: Robotics

General Electric

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If there's one area where the 21st century has gone backwards technologically, it's in supersonic passenger flight. With the grounding of the Concorde fleets in 2003, flying faster than the speed of sound reverted to a military monopoly, but that hasn't kept engineers from trying for a revival. Now Airbus' Marco Prampolini and Yohann Coraboeuf have been granted a US patent for an "ultra-rapid air vehicle" designed to fly at 20 km (12.4 mi) higher than conventional aircraft and over four times the speed of sound – twice the speed of Concorde... Continue Reading Airbus patents design for Mach 4-plus supersonic jet

Section: Aircraft

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Recently, NASA has been looking at CubeSats as a way of carrying out economical deep space missions. One of the first of these may be shoebox-sized satellite called the Lunar IceCube, which is designed to look for water ice and other resources on the Moon. Tentatively aimed to launch on the first Orion mission scheduled to fly by 2018, it is intended to not only uncover materials for future deep-space missions and lunar colonization, but also as a technology demonstrator for a new class of interplanetary probes... Continue Reading Diminutive Lunar IceCube satellite to scan Moon for water and other resources

Section: Space

Busek Company
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The Curiosity rover has now been on Mars for three years, and to mark the occasion, NASA has released two new tools designed to both educate the public and help scientists select future landing sites. The tools allow visitors to learn more about Curiosity and its mission and explore the Martian surface by climbing aboard Curiosity for a virtual tour... Continue Reading NASA marks Curiosity's third anniversary with new interactive online tools

Section: Space

Curiosity Rover
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The world's growing population faces a constant string of tradeoffs. On the one hand, we need more rice to feed ourselves. On the other hand, control of greenhouse gases is a major priority and rice growing generates a lot of methane. It seems like a Catch 22, but a team led by the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has come up with a genetically engineered strain of rice that not only produces almost no methane, but also more grains... Continue Reading Addition of a single gene makes rice more environmentally friendly

Section: Environment

Greenhouse emissions
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The International Space Station (ISS) was the scene of an historic lunch this week with the crew members of Expedition 44 dining on the first meal harvested in space. The dish, which consisted on leaves of "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce grown in NASA's "Veggie" zero-gravity greenhouse, is part of the space agency's effort to find ways to feed tomorrow's deep-space travelers... Continue Reading Astronauts chow down on space harvest for the first time

Section: Space

Food technology
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One of the great tragedies of the Second World War has been remembered with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen recovering the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in battle 74 years ago by Hitler’s flagship Bismarck. The brass ship's bell was recovered from a mile and a half (2.4 km) down in the Denmark Straits by a remote operated submersible (ROV) controlled from Allen's private yacht M/Y Octopus... Continue Reading Paul Allen recovers bell from HMS Hood

Section: Marine

Royal Navy
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The "entry level" Rolls Royce Ghost Series II aimed at the younger, entrepreneurial market has been turning some heads lately, but Germany-based car customizer Spofec is trying to turn them a bit farther. The Spofec Black One takes the Ghost and adds bespoke modification packages featuring a matte black motif and improved engine performance kits to create a car that wouldn't look out of place in the Green Hornet's garage... Continue Reading Spofec Black One adds bling and horses to Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

Section: Automotive

Rolls Royce
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In space travel, the first step is always the most expensive, but why blast-off in a rocket if you can catch a ride on a space elevator? Canadian space firm Thoth Technology has received a US patent for an elevator to take spacecraft and astronauts at least part way into space. If it's ever built, the 20 km (12.4 mi) high Thothx inflatable space tower holds the promise of reducing launch costs by 30 percent in terms of fuel, and may even replace some classes of satellites... Continue Reading Canadian firm patents inflatable space elevator

Section: Space

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On Thursday at 02:03 GMT, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta orbiter reached their closest point (known as perihelion) to the Sun, coming within 186 million km (115 million mi) of our parent star. The event was marked by an increase in activity on the comet, which is expected to continue over the next few weeks as it now heads toward the outer Solar System... Continue Reading Comet 67P and Rosetta make their closest pass of the Sun

Section: Space

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In today's world, vacuum tubes or radio valves seem as dead as high button shoes and buggy whips, but DARPA sees them as very much the technology of the future. As part of a new program, the agency is looking to develop new tube designs and manufacturing techniques for use in tomorrow's high-powered communications and radar systems... Continue Reading DARPA sees future in vacuum tubes

Section: Military

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Fusion power can seem a bit like the last bus at night; it's always coming, but never arrives. MIT is working to change that with a new compact tokamak fusion reactor design based on the latest magnetic superconductor technology. The ARC (affordable, robust, compact) reactor design promises smaller, cheaper reactors that could make fusion power practical within 10 years... Continue Reading ARC reactor design uses superconducting magnets to draw fusion power closer

Section: Science

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If you offer someone "a penny for their thoughts," how good a deal might you be getting? A study conducted at the University of Leicester has sought to shed some light on the value of our brainpower, finding a single penny to be worth to precisely three hours, seven minutes and 30 seconds worth of thinking... Continue Reading Putting a price tag on brainpower

Section: Science

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A head trauma can be difficult to diagnose and destroy a life years after the event. Being able to tell immediately if the force someone has suffered is sufficient to result in a traumatic brain injury can make all the difference in limiting the damage. A team from the University of Pennsylvania has developed a material that could one day be incorporated into headgear to instantly gauge the severity of blows and provide a clearly visible indication of injury... Continue Reading Color-changing polymer to indicate severity of hits to the head

Section: Science

University of Pennsylvania
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Strawberries may be delicious, but they don't have much of a shelf life. So if you find a great bargain on a flat of them, you can end up throwing half of it away after a few days. In a move that may save many a shortcake, scientists at the University San Nicolás de los Garza in Mexico have developed an edible coating made from pectin that preserves strawberries for longer without affecting their taste... Continue Reading Edible coating more than doubles strawberry shelf life

Section: Science

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Buying tickets into space has typically been the reserve of governments and billionaires, but if you want to send your name on an interplanetary jaunt NASA might now be able to accommodate you. The space agency is now accepting submissions from members of the public who'd like their names recorded on a silicon microchip and shuttled to the Red Planet onboard the InSight Mars lander launching next year... Continue Reading NASA issues boarding call to take your name to Mars

Section: Space

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By mimicking naturally-occurring nanostructures found in things like water striders, spiders and lotus leaves, scientists have created hydrophobic surfaces that could prove invaluable for everything from pipes to boats and submarines. Now researchers at Northwestern University have deduced the optimal texture roughness required to achieve this property and keep surfaces dry underwater for months at a time... Continue Reading Hydrophobic nanostructures stay dry for months underwater

Section: Science

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Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have grown a nearly complete human brain equivalent in size and structure to that of a five-week old fetus. Called a "brain organoid," it was bioengineered using adult human skin cells and is the most advanced human brain model yet created in a laboratory... Continue Reading Brain model with maturity of 5-week-old fetus grown in a lab

Section: Science

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Responding to recent rumors that an asteroid will crash near the island of Puerto Rico between September 15 and 28, NASA has issued a statement categorically stating that this will not happen... Continue Reading NASA debunks asteroid strike rumors

Section: Space

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What is small enough to fit in an airliner carry-on bin and has the potential to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars worth of property? The answer is the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) – NASA’s next-generation hurricane-observing microsatellites, which are now being assembled at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas... Continue Reading Construction of next-gen hurricane-hunting satellites begins

Section: Space

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