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Flexible Skin Traps Radar Waves and Cloaks Objects

Iowa State University engineers developed a new flexible, stretchable, and tunable metamaterial skin that uses rows of small, liquid-metal devices to cloak an object from the sharp eyes of radar. By stretching and flexing the polymer meta-skin, it can be tuned to reduce the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies.

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Tests Show How Plastic Parts Deform During Flight

Scientists have conducted flights using a measurement configuration based on fiber optics to accurately verify the degree to which carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts deform during flight. With the help of fiber optic technology, optical measuring fibers detected even minimal deformations, which is not possible with conventional metallic strain gauges.

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Microfluidics is Key to Mass-Producing Nanomaterials

Nanoparticles can be found in everything from drug-delivery formulations to high-definition televisions. They’re also expensive and a pain to make. Researchers at USC have created a new way to manufacture nanoparticles that will transform the process from a painstaking, batch-by-batch drudgery into a large-scale, automated assembly line.

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NASA Satellite Marks First Space Use of 3D-Printed Part

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will carry an electrostatically dissipative Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), or “strand-based,” 3D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a material that has never been used in 3D manufacturing, let alone flown in space.

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Manufacturing Optical Chips with Multiple Purposes

Researchers are at the forefront of a revolution in microwave photonics, developing the first all-purpose programmable optical chips. Optical chips or processors are used in everything from biomedical devices to telecommunications networks. As it stands, each chip has to be custom designed and manufactured for each new task, which keeps productions costs high and the sector fragmented.

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Should we establish a colony on the moon?

This week's Question: NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay recently edited a special issue in the journal New Space, publishing papers that came out of a 2014 meeting with scientists and space business professionals. The goal of the 2014 meeting was to explore and develop low-cost options for building a human settlement on the moon. Establishing a colony on the moon could open up opportunities for research and deep space travel to Mars. The bigger question, however, is cost and whether the project could still be done in addition to the Mars exploration missions. The New Space papers concluded that a small lunar base could be constructed for $10 billion or less, and could be done by 2022. Many of the proposed technologies that could be used to lower the costs of a moon base include virtual reality for planning efforts; 3D printing to replace components; and flexible living modules that fit into a rocket's cargo bay.   What do you think? Should we establish a colony on the moon? 

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Researchers Create Super-Thin Lens

Scientists at Australian National University have created a lens that measures one two-thousandth the thickness of human hair. The technology will support the development of flexible computer displays and miniature cameras.

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