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Could a solar-powered airplane be commercially viable?

This week's Question: Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, completed a risky, 62-hour flight across a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. According to pilot and Swiss engineer Andre Borschberg, the plane now has the ability, in theory, to fly for an unlimited period, with only the human factor limiting how long the plane could potentially stay on the air. What do you think? Could a solar-powered airplane be commercially viable?  

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Algorithm Warns Robot Teams of Moving Obstacles

At the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present a decentralized planning algorithm for teams of robots. The technology factors in both stationary and moving obstacles.

Posted in: News

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AI-Driven Application Stops Poachers

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Army Research Office, researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) and game theory to solve poaching and illegal logging.

Posted in: News

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Mike Krainak, Laser and Electro-Optics Branch Head, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Mike Krainak, Laser and Electro-Optics Branch Head, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD In 2020, NASA's first-ever integrated-photonics modem will be tested aboard the International Space Station. Mike Krainak leads the development of the modem, which integrates optics-based functions such as lasers, switches, and wires onto a microchip. The technology will improve the way NASA sends and receives data during space missions.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Device Allows Paralyzed Man to Perform Complex Movements

Six years ago, he was paralyzed in a diving accident. Today, he participates in clinical sessions during which he can grasp and swipe a credit card or play a guitar video game with his own fingers and hand. These complex functional movements are driven by his own thoughts and a prototype medical system.

Posted in: News

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NASA Tests Revolutionary E-Sail Propulsion Technology

Testing has started at NASA on a concept called the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), a propellant-less propulsion system that would harness solar wind to travel into interstellar space. “The sun releases protons and electrons into the solar wind at very high speeds -- 400 to 750 kilometers per second,” said Bruce Wiegmann an engineer in Marshall’s Advanced Concepts Office and the principal investigator for the HERTS E-Sail. “The E-Sail would use these protons to propel the spacecraft.”

Posted in: News

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Aerogel Hybrid Composite Materials: Designs and Testing for Multifunctional Applications

NASA has a history of collaboration with industry for the development of aerogels in different forms. Scientists at KSC have continued to expand the design, development, and applicability of using aerogels by developing advanced composite materials and systems with multi-functional capabilities. Hybrid composite systems include aerogel/polymer composites (AeroPlastic), aerogel/foam composites (AeroFoam), and aerogel/fiber laminate systems (AeroFiber).

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars

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