Photokina 2014 highlights

David Szondy

The ATV-5 mission lifting off (Image: ESA)

The International Space Station is getting a new load of groceries courtesy of ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)-5 Georges Lemaître which lifted off today. The 20-tonne unmanned cargo ship was launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket at 23:44 GMT from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The final flight of the ATV program, it carries six tonnes of supplies to the station.  Read More

Artist's impression of Venus Express skimming the Venusian atmosphere (Image: ESA–C. Carre...

Facing the alternative of a fiery death, the ESA’s Venus Express orbiter has completed a daring maneuver that extended the life of the unmanned explorer by several months. Under command from Earth, the spacecraft spent a month skimming the outer edge of the Venusian atmosphere to alter its velocity and send it into a new orbit that will keep it operating until perhaps the end of the year.  Read More

The electric parking brake can assist in hill parking

If you've ever wondered why your car is acting sluggish and has a burning smell only to discover that you've forgotten to release the parking brake, take heart. Automotive supplier Continental is developing an Electric Parking Brake (EPB) for drum brakes that's designed to bring this functionality out of the luxury cars and into the economy segment. As well as opening up new possibilities for car designers, it may also be integrated into driver assist systems that can remove the brake as you touch the accelerator.  Read More

Comet C/2013 A1 will pass Mars ten times closer than any observed comet has passed the Ear...

In October, Mars will encounter comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, which will come closer to the Red Planet than any recorded comet has passed to Earth. This spectacular event isn't just an astronomical curiosity, it’s also a potential hazard to NASA’s armada of orbiting explorers, so the space agency is taking steps to protect them from damage by the cosmic visitor.  Read More

The Bremont Wright Flyer watch contains a swatch of muslin from the first heavier than air...

If you’ve ever wanted to buy the first powered airplane to take flight, sorry, but you’re out of luck. The Wright Flyer that was built by Orville and Wilbur Wright and first flew in 1903 isn't for sale, but if you have US$30,000 going spare, you can buy a bit of it and get a wristwatch in the bargain. Unveiled on July 23 at the Science Museum in London, where the Flyer was on display until after World War II, the Limited Edition Bremont Wright Flyer watch celebrates that historic first flight with each “ultimate aviation-inspired” timepiece containing a swatch of original wing fabric from the 1903 Flyer.  Read More

This Artist's concept is the latest hint of what the McLaren P1 GTR will look like Following on from the initial bare-bones sketch of its upcoming P1 GTR, McLaren has released another hint of what form the track-only P1 will take with a bit of concept art.  Read More

The Stanford University system uses a glass layer patterned with micro-pyramids and cones ...

Photovoltaic cells are one of the more promising alternative energy sources. Mechanically they are very simple, with no moving parts, and are clean and emission-free. Unfortunately they are also inefficient. One of the reasons for this is that they overheat, a problem that a Stanford University team under electrical engineering professor Shanhui Fan is addressing with the development of a thin glass layer that makes solar cells self-cooling.  Read More

Artist concept of commercial Mars satellites providing communications (Image: ASA/JPL)

You can land the most advanced spacecraft in history on the Mars, but if you can’t keep in touch with it, it might as well be so much scrap. To prevent that from happening, NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the feasibility of using private satellites to provide communications into the 2020s between Earth and the fleet of exploration probes operating on and around Mars.  Read More

A Elytron 2S (shown here in a proposed seven-seater version) is a tiltrotor aircraft that ...

Some people are never satisfied. You give them a plane, and they say it can’t hover. You give them a helicopter, and they say it can’t fly very high or fast. Looking to combine the advantages of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, Elytron Aircraft LLC of Mountain View, California is developing the Elytron 2S, a small tiltrotor aircraft that uses a box wing configuration and is aimed at the civilian market.  Read More

A video has recorded the successful landing of the Falcon 9

During the recent Orbcomm OG2 launch, SpaceX attempted its second powered landing during a commercial mission, but this time you don’t have to take the company’s word for it. As the first stage made a controlled touchdown on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, a video camera recorded the event. SpaceX has released the video for the public to see – give or take a few ice crystals.  Read More

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