David Szondy


Underwater robot finds "Nessie"

The good news: The Loch Ness Monster has been captured on sonar by an underwater robot operated by the British division of Norway's Kongsberg Maritime. The bad news: "Nessie" is a prop from a Sherlock Holmes film that sank in the loch in 1969. The monstrous model was long thought lost until it was discovered this week by the Munin Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as part of an underwater survey of the loch for The Loch Ness Project and VisitScotland.Read More


NASA begins testing electronic sail technology for deep space probes

It took Voyager 1 over 30 years to reach interstellar space, but scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are testing a new technology that could cut that time by two thirds. The Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) or E-sail concept is a novel form of propellant-less propulsion that relies on a series of wires to catch the solar winds. The technology promises to reduce the travel time from Earth to the heliopause – about 123 AU (18 billion km, 11 billion mi) from the Sun – to under 10 years.Read More


Lockheed Martin component brings Webb Space Telescope into focus

A key component of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) came through its latest tests at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center with flying colors. According to Lockheed Martin, the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument exceeded its requirements as it went through its Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) testing and will now be integrated into the telescope's instrument cluster for combined testing.Read More


Is this what Planet 9 looks like?

In January, Caltech professor Mike Brown and assistant professor Konstanin Batygin claimed to have found evidence of a ninth planet in the outer Solar System. But if it's there, what is it like and why hasn't it been spotted yet? A possible answer comes from a pair of astrophysicists at the University of Bern, who used models developed for studying exoplanets to determine the structure of the hypothetical Planet 9.Read More


Falcon 9 nails barge landing as Dragon returns to space

SpaceX scored a double first today as the Dragon spacecraft returned to service and the Falcon 9 booster nailed the first ever powered landing at sea. At 4:43 pm EDT, the CRS-8 mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 40 in Florida for the International Space Station (ISS) and after delivering the unmanned cargo ship into orbit the Falcon 9 first stage rocket made a safe touchdown on the drone barge "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.Read More


Robots simultaneously 3D-printed from both solids and liquids

Robots have a tremendous potential, but if a way can't be found to manufacture them quickly, cheaply, and in large numbers, that potential may remain exactly that. To that end, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has come up with a new way to make soft, hydraulically-powered robots in one step using commercial 3D printers that can print solid and liquid parts simultaneously.Read More


Historic flintlock pistols take aim at auction record

A pair of early superbly-crafted 19th century rifled flintlock pistols that link three of the greatest revolutionary heroes of the New World are headed for auction at Christie's in New York. The presentation pair of pistols given by General Marie Paul Joseph Gilbert Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, to Simon Bolivar, will go under the hammer on April 13, with estimates putting the price at a record-setting level of between US$1.5 million and $2.5 million.Read More


Sweet technique inspired by bonbons yields better polymer shells

Inspired by a centuries-old technique used by chocolatiers to create chocolate shells for bonbons and other sweets, engineers have developed a new technique for making polymer films that are both uniform and predictable. According to the researchers, the new theory and method can not only allow confectioners to precisely control the thickness of bonbon casings, but can be more generally applied to create polymer shells for everything from drug capsules to rocket bodies.Read More


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