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Science

Energy

Candle soot could reduce lithium ion battery production costs

A new study suggests that the carbon-based waste material given off by burning candles could be suitable for use in larger, more powerful lithium ion batteries such as those used in electric cars. Two researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology found that as an anode material, candle soot compares favorably to existing commercial options because of its low cost of production and fractal-like nanoparticle structure.Read More

Environment

The U.S. dips a toe in the offshore windfarm water

Offshore wind farms have been creating electricity off the coast of Denmark since 1991 and England, Germany and other countries on mainland Europe have followed suit, as have China, South Korea and Japan. It's a different story in the US, where until recently there were no offshore wind farms in operation or even under construction. That changed recently with the start of construction of a small wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.Read More

Environment

Advanced solar-powered cars gear up for grueling World Solar Challenge

If you're looking to bring together the world's brightest budding engineers to push solar technology to its very limits, then there may be no better backdrop than the dusty, sun-drenched expanses of central Australia. The biennial World Solar Challenge will kick off this Sunday, with competitors set to cover a monster 3,000 km (1,864 mi) journey from Darwin, Northern Territory to Adelaide, South Australia in cars powered purely by the sun. As hopefuls from all over the globe ready their rides for the ultimate in solar-powered endurance racing, here's a quick look at some of the interesting vehicle designs, who's new to the party and a few that have been around the block before.Read More

Materials

New fluorescent lighting phosphors slash use of rare-earth elements

Phosphors are essential to fluorescent lighting, and thus office parks the world over, but their use of rare-earth elements makes them less than ideal. To address that issue, new types of phosphors have been developed that use substantially less rare-earth elements than current phosphors found in fluorescent bulbs. This could reduce the reliance on the limited supplies of rare-earth elements until fluorescent lighting can be completely replaced by LED lighting, which isn't expected to occur for over a decade.Read More

Space

Asteroid Impact Mission sets sights on new laser communications record

Laser-based communications has the ability to beam enormous amounts of data at high speed, but the use of this technology in space is still in its infancy. To help push things along, ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) will carry out a record-setting demonstration of space laser communications across a distance of 75 million kilometers while orbiting a binary asteroid.Read More

Space

NASA tests CubeSat-based laser communications

NASA has teamed up with The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo to test a new CubeSat-mounted laser communication system. While the mission, known as the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD), has already been successfully placed in orbit, the team is currently working to resolve an issues with its attitude control system.Read More

Space

Cassini begins final flybys of Saturn's moon Enceladus

Launched in 1997, NASA's Cassini orbiter mission to Saturn has lasted 18 years and 3 months so far – a considerable extension of its original four-year timetable. As its mission draws to an end, the unmanned, nuclear-powered spacecraft will execute the first of its final three flybys of Saturn's moon Enceladus. To take place between now and December, the close encounters are expected to provide a better understanding of the moon's global ocean and its possible habitability.Read More

Physics

Terahertz radiation to enable portable particle accelerators

Researchers at MIT in the US and DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Germany have developed a technology that could shrink particle accelerators by a factor of 100 or more. The basic building block of the accelerator uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves and is just 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long and 1 mm (0.04 in) thick, with this drastic size reduction potentially benefitting the fields of medicine, materials science and particle physics, among others.Read More

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