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David Szondy

Space

Mouthy sea urchin inspires engineers to take a bite out of other planets

The sea urchin may be a restaurant delicacy, but it's also well equipped to satisfy its own appetite. The spiny invertebrate has a rock-crushing mouth so powerful that a herd of them can destroy a kelp forest or devastate a coral reef. Now its dinner manglers have inspired a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego, to create a claw-like manipulator for robotic rovers tasked with collecting soil samples on other planets.Read More

3D Printing Feature

3D printing goes to war

From the bow to the bunker buster to the hydrogen bomb, new technologies have changed the face of warfare, and 3D printing looks set to be just as revolutionary. It's been around since the 1980s, but as key patents expire and access to the technology becomes more readily available, its effects on the military promise to be considerable – though the biggest and most immediate impact may be from a surprisingly humble quarter.Read More

Space

British astronaut pilots earthbound rover from aboard ISS

Deep space exploration has taken one small step (or roll) forward with the successful test of space-based control of a robot rover from aboard the International Space Station. The experiment saw British ESA astronaut Tim Peake take control of a British-built rover named "Bridget" and guide it around a simulated Martian landscape back on Earth, avoiding obstacles and locating scientific targets along the way.Read More

Science

Weasel takes down Large Hadron Collider

A small furry animal today took on the largest atom smasher ever made, and won. According to internal documents at CERN, the Large Hadron Collider was knocked out of commission at about 5:30 am CEDT when a weasel caused a "severe electrical perturbation" when it stepped on the bare connections of a 66,000 volt transformer. This not only proved instantly fatal to the weasel, but it also short circuited the power system, causing the LHC to execute a fast abort as the sudden power loss created a series of anomalies.Read More

Space

New imaging technique provides "drone's eye" view of Mars

University College London (UCL) has released images of the Martian surface with five times the resolution of anything previously sent back from Mars orbit. The images come courtesy of the new Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR) imaging technique developed by a UCL research team, which takes images from spacecraft orbiting Mars and stacks and matches them to create new, more detailed images of the Beagle 2 lander, ancient Martian lake beds, and the tracks of the NASA MER-A rover.Read More

Military

DARPA awards Ground X-Vehicle Technology contracts as it swaps agility for armor

The days of tanks as giant steel behemoths may be numbered with DARPA awarding eight development contracts for its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program. The awards to Carnegie Mellon University, Honeywell International, Leido, Pratt & Miller, QinetiQ, Raytheon BBN, Southwest Research Institute and SRI International are aimed at creating a smarter, faster generation of armored vehicle that replaces steel with speed and agility.Read More

Energy

Giant wave-riding platform design puts solar power out to sea

Sea-based wind farms are becoming a common sight in many parts of the world, but why not floating solar power stations? Engineers at the Vienna University of Technology foresee a future where platforms 100 m long and covered with solar panels float on even heavy seas thanks to a new floatation system called Heliofloat. Still under development, Heliofloat uses flexible, open-bottom floats that are capable of standing up to rough seas that would destroy such a platform sitting on conventional tanks.Read More

Aircraft

Maiden flight for Japan's X-2 stealth fighter prototype

NASA isn't the only one with X-Planes. Japan is developing it's own experimental aircraft to test an airframe, engines, and other advanced systems and equipment for fifth-generation fighter aircraft for the country's self-defense forces. The project's primary contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has conducted the successful maiden flight of the X-2 advanced technology demonstrator jet, the first Japanese-built warplane to incorporate stealth technology.Read More

Aircraft

Solar Impulse 2 breaks records by reaching California

Last night, Solar Impulse 2 completed the Pacific Ocean crossing leg of its round-the-world flight. According to the Solar Impulse organization, the aircraft with founder and chairman Bertrand Piccard at the controls touched down in a night landing at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California on April 23 at 11:44 pm PDT after a flight time of 62 hours and 29 minutes from Kalaeloa Airport, Hawaii.Read More

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