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Airflow Model Could Reduce Time on the Tarmac

New research could lead to more efficient takeoffs on airport runways and improve safety. A mathematical tool was developed to calculate the flow of turbulent air produced by a plane’s wing tips — known scientifically as wing-tip vortices — when an airplane takes off. The study will assist in improving the present standards for the separation distance between planes, while maintaining safety. Mathematically calculating the amount of turbulence created by the wing tips of aircraft, particularly during takeoff, gives air traffic controllers a better method of determining how far each aircraft should be from the next.

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Computer Cooling System Could Save $6.3 Billion a Year in Electricity

A patented passive cooling system for computer processors from the University of Alabama could save U.S. consumers more than $6.3 billion per year in energy costs associated with running their computer cooling fans. The system uses convection to circulate 3M's Fluorinert FC-72 electronic cooling liquid through channels in a computer's processor, and then into a heat sink that serves as an external radiator.

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Researchers Create Acoustic 'Image' of Thunder

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) researchers have imaged the first acoustic signature of thunder, visually capturing the sound waves created by artificially triggered lightning.While the general mechanics of thunder generation are understood, it is not particularly clear which physical processes of the lightning discharge contribute to the thunder we hear. By studying the acoustic power radiated from different portions of the lightning channel, researchers can learn more about the origins of thunder as well as the energetic processes associated with lightning.  Dr. Maher A. Dayeh, a research scientist in the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division, designed a large, sophisticated array of microphones to study the acoustic signature of thunder. Fifteen microphones, spaced one meter apart, were lined up 95 meters away from the rocket launch pad where the triggered lightning would strike. To image the vertical profile of the bolt, Dayeh used post-signal processing techniques and directional amplification of the data signals captured by the microphone array. The technique revealed a distinct signature of thunder generated by the lightning strike. Future experiments could allow scientists to study the probable acoustic signatures of current pulses, step leader branches, and discharge channel zigzags independently.SourceLearn about an Accelerometer Sensors Network for Acoustic Diagnostics (MASNAD).

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Orion Testing Provides Data for Splashdown Recovery Operations

The first full joint testing between NASA and the U.S. Navy of the Orion spacecraft recovery procedures off the coast of California was suspended after the team experienced issues with handling lines securing a test version of Orion inside the well deck of the USS San Diego. Tests were being conducted to prepare for recovery of Orion after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean at the end of its first spaceflight.

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Researchers Test Smartphones for Earthquake Warning

Smartphones and other personal electronic devices could, in regions where they are in widespread use, function as early warning systems for large earthquakes. This technology could serve regions of the world that cannot afford higher quality, but more expensive, conventional earthquake early warning systems.

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Creative New Developments in Solar Energy Research

Scientists are discovering new ways to decrease costs and increase efficiency of solar panels and coming up with creative ways to generate power. According to TechRepublic, a photovoltaic system is installed every four minutes in the US.

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NASA Autonomy Incubator Leads the Push for Intelligent Machines

Search-and-rescue operations, package delivery, and underwater exploration could all be performed soon by intelligent machines. The Autonomy Incubator group at NASA Langley is taking strides to, as group leader Danette Allen puts it, "imbue machines with the kind of intelligence that we expect from human beings."

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