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C-130 Hercules carrying a tactical laser When three top Air Force officers speaking separately at the same conference all say they expect the service to demonstrate airborne laser weapons by the end of this decade it wouldn’t be wise to bet against it.   The general officers were Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello, commander of ARFL, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, head of the Air Force Special Operations Command and General Hawk Carlisle, head of Air C ...
The low cost of digital imaging devices has allowed them to become popular consumer products.  This low cost is made possible by leveraging a mature processing infrastructure and the ability to fabricate complete focal plane arrays (FPAs) at the wafer scale.  A similar trend is occurring on a smaller scale with thermal imaging technologies.  Microbolometers that are sensitive in the long wave infrared (LWIR) spectrum and are used as a detector in a thermal camera are also manufact ...
Combining data obtained from two powerful instruments aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), researchers at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) determined why the crater shown above is terraced — not bowl shaped, like most craters of this size. Terraces can form when there are layers of different materials in the planet’s subsurface, such as dirt, ice or rock. When the crater is forming, the shock wave from an object hitting a planet’s su ...
The Bloodhound SSC land speed record racing car will make its world debut at East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London on Thursday, 24 September before going on public display on Friday and Saturday the 25th and 26th of September from 9am to 5pm. Bloodhound SSC is a jet- and rocket-powered car designed to reach 1,000 mph on land. It has a slender body of approximately 13.4m in length with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. It weighs 7.5 t ...
Photo source: Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), Shanghai China   China has been dominating global economic news for the past couple of weeks as its slowing economy caused jittery investors to sell stocks, resulting in major losses at the world’s premier stock markets. On the high tech side the market for ICs in China is huge, estimated at well over $150 billion US dollars annually. Domestic IC manufacturing industry sales, however, are less than half of that tota ...
  Highly sophisticated electronics like infrared instruments and other sensors need to be cooled to precisely detect what they're designed to capture, even to temperatures as low as -320 F (-195 C). The High Power Microcryocooler introduced this week by Lockheed Martin is said to be the industry's highest power density cryocooling system. It delivers more than 150 watts per kilogram, compared to the 30-60 watts per kilogram rating of most space-rated cryocoolers, while maintaining roughly ...
  The Martian is an upcoming science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The premise is that during a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is ali ...
The science of tracking and predicting the path of Hurricanes has improved in accuracy over the years but there has been little improvement in the accuracy of determining how intense the storms are going to be. Now, ten years after Hurricane Katrina formed in the Atlantic, construction of NASA's new hurricane-observing satellites is now underway in Texas. The space agency plans to use a constellation of eight micro-satellites to make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds in and near the e ...
While examining the fluid dynamics behind whisky “mellowing” would appear to be the perfect dissertation topic for a high-living doctoral student, Japanese distillery Suntory is serious about studying the impact of microgravity on its signature products. Serious enough to send five kinds of whisky (along with 40% ethanol as a sixth control sample) via the Kounotori 5 transfer vehicle to the International Space Station (ISS) to mature for two years. Expected to take off from the Japa ...
Travelling wave tubes (TWT) amplify signals by exchanging kinetic energy in the electron beam (shown as a blue line) with electromagnetic energy in the signal. This figure represents a cutaway view of a TWT with all of the critical components: electron gun, magnetic circuit, electron collector, and the windows that keep the vacuum inside the tube while letting the signals flow in and out.(Source: DARPA) Your first reaction to the idea that DARPA is trying to develop a new generation of more ...
Artist's impression of new racing wheelchair   Following up on its success at the Sochi Winter Olympics--the U.S. two-man bobsled team took home a bronze medal in a bobsled designed by BMW North America --BMW has announced plans to develop a new racing wheelchair for use by athletes of the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Team in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.   BMW’s wholly-owned Designworks consultancy headquartered in California will collaborate with the U.S. Paralympics Trac ...
It’s a big week for interesting U.S. Patent announcements. On Monday I reported on Thoth Technology receiving a patent for an inflatable “space elevator”, a giant structure rising from the ground and enabling payloads to be placed into orbit without having to use rockets Some of you questioned whether a space plane could indeed land on such a tower as claimed by the patent holder (a good question indeed), but hey, don’t shoot the messenger—I don’t grant these ...
The notion of a “space elevator”, a giant structure rising from the ground and enabling payloads to be placed into orbit without having to use rockets, is a long-time staple of science fiction. In fact, in his 1979 novel “The Fountains of Paradise,” Arthur C. Clarke described an “orbital tower” 36,000 km (about 22,300 miles) in height linked with a satellite in geostationary orbit.   Clarke would have been amused to learn that about a week ago a Canadian& ...
Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s TITAN is currently the world’s second fastest supercomputer. To ensure that the United States maintains a leadership position in High-Performance Computing (HPC) President Obama has issued an Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), whose charter will be to advance core technologies to solve difficult computational problems and foster increased use of these capabilities in the public and private sectors.   ...
If you’re a gearhead your idea of a fun video is watching a properly driven Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche blast off the line at a racetrack while onlookers calculate 0 to 60 mph acceleration times.  The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, for example, with over 1,000 horsepower on tap has been clocked doing 0-60 mph in just 2.4 seconds. Ferrari’s fastest, the La Ferrari reports in at 2.6 seconds for the 0 to 60 run and the recently upgraded Tesla Model S EV, operating in ...

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