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Noel McKeegan

Noel McKeegan

After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.

Follow Noel:

— Aircraft

MESSENGER becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mercury

NASA has reported that its MESSENGER spacecraft is now in orbit around the planet Mercury – the first ever mission to achieve this feat. More than 40 years on from the first moon landing in the age of the Mars rovers and space tourism, it's easy to overlook just what a remarkable a feat this is. These amazing facts might just jolt our sense of wonder – before reaching orbit on Thursday at approximately 9 pm EDT, MESSENGER traveled for six and a half years and covered 4.9-billion-miles in which it went through three flybys of Mercury, one of Earth and two of Venus. After firing its main thruster for 15 minutes the spacecraft slowed by 1,929 mph (leaving around 10 percent of fuel in the tank for orbit correction maneuvers) and it is now in a 12 hour elliptical orbit around the innermost planet some 96.35 million miles from Earth. Read More
— Pets

Aikiou pet food bowls make for happier, healthier mealtimes

Long before before the days of canned food and canine coffee, dogs had to work for their supper. Stimulating these natural hunting and foraging instincts is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and happy – as well as preventing your Chesterfield lounge from being torn to shreds – and this "interactive dog food dish" is designed to do just that. The paw-shaped Aikiou (pronounced "IQ") bowl is made up of a series of compartments with sliding covers where food can be concealed, turning mealtime from a slobbering free-for-all into an entertaining and challenging exercise that will help keep Fido's mind and body fit. Read More
— Aircraft

Unmanned K-MAX helicopter achieves airdrop milestones

The Unmanned K-MAX helicopter being developed by Kaman Corporation and Lockheed Martin has further demonstrated the potential of this type of aircraft in the field by completing a list of airdrop firsts. The milestones in payload weight and altitude were reached during a recent series of tests at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona where the KMAX (UAS) made guided airdrops via sling load at an altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level including a payload of 4,400 lbs. Read More
— Automotive

BMW i – car giant's new sub-brand focuses on sustainable mobility

In a move designed to highlight the company's commitment to "sustainable mobility solutions," BMW has launched a new sub-brand – BMW i. Two models based on existing concept studies will start the ball rolling under the new label from 2013. The BMW i3 will be based on the all-electric Megacity urban vehicle concept, while the BMW i8 is the planned production version of the plug-in hybrid BMW Vision EfficientDynamics sportscar shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2009. Read More
— Automotive

Volvo's 124 mpg V60 plug-in hybrid diesel to debut in Geneva

Volvo will introduce a "virtually production-ready" plug-in hybrid version of it's V60 sports wagon at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Expected to hit showroom floors in 2012, the hybrid V60 splices together a 2.4-liter D5 turbodiesel driving the front wheels with a 70 horsepower electric motor at the rear axle. According to Volvo this configuration delivers incredibly miserly fuel consumption of 124 mpg (1.9 l/100 km) along with the ability to cover 31 miles (50 km) using only the electric drive. Read More
— Space

Turn of fortune for NASA as solar sail successfully deploys

What looked like a failed mission has turned into an unexpected win for NASA with the successful deployment of the first-ever solar sail in low-Earth orbit. More than a month after the NanoSail-D nanosatellite failed to eject from its parent satellite, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center were pleasantly surprised when the 3.9 x 3.9 x 14.9-inch unit spontaneously separated from the Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) last week. On January 20, after a timed three-day countdown, the ultra-thin, 100-square-foot polymer sail carried by the nanosatellite was unfurled 650 km above Earth where it will remain in orbit for up to 120 days. Read More
— Automotive

Follow the leader: SARTRE road train technology successfully demonstrated

Reading the morning paper while behind the wheel of your car might sound like surefire recipe for disaster, but in the not-too-distant future it might just become a safer and more economical option than actually doing the driving yourself. That's the theory behind SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project – a synthesis of personal and public transport that will allow cars to be daisy-chained and automatically controlled by a lead vehicle in a process dubbed "platooning." The project has now made the leap from simulator to real roads in the first successful demonstration of the technology at the Volvo Proving Ground near Gothenburg, Sweden. Read More
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