Remotely Piloted Plane Bridges Gap Between Wind Tunnel and Crewed Testing

A new modular, subscale remotely piloted aircraft offers NASA researchers more affordable options for developing a wide range of cutting edge aviation and space technologies. The Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft (PTERA) flying laboratory bridges the gap between wind tunnels and crewed flight testing.

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Gamma-Ray Spectroscope Supports Asteroid Mining Missions

A new gamma-ray spectroscope detects the veins of gold, platinum, and rare earths hidden within the asteroids, moons, and other airless objects floating around the solar system. The sensor, developed by teams at Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Planetary Science Institute, will allow miners to find valuable materials beyond Earth.

Posted in: News, Detectors
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Sonic Tractor Beams Lift and Move Objects Using Sound Waves

Tractor beams are mysterious rays that can grab and lift objects. Now, researchers have built a working tractor beam that uses high-amplitude sound waves to generate an acoustic hologram that can pick up and move small objects.

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Positioning Systems Improve Airport Logistics

Tow tractors, pushback tractors, tankers, luggage carts, air cargo, and catering vehicles crowd airport aprons. Poor weather conditions impede work on the apron even more. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg are part of the EU project e-Airport, which is developing a positioning system that will increase safety on the apron. It will also make it possible to utilize airport capacities more efficiently because the system allows logistical operations to run in a significantly more structured way than before

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Tiny Carbon-Capturing Motors Could Clean up Carbon Dioxide Pollution

Machines that are much smaller than the width of a human hair could one day help clean up carbon dioxide pollution in the oceans. Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have designed enzyme-functionalized micromotors that rapidly zoom around in water, remove carbon dioxide, and convert it into a usable solid form.

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Single-Molecule Nanosubmarines Powered by Light

Rice University scientists have created light-driven, single-molecule submersibles that contain just 244 atoms. The motors of the "nanosubmarines" run at more than a million RPM, and the sub's top speed amounts to less than 1 inch per second.

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Researchers Develop Shock-Based Desalination Process

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies
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New Tool Guides Infrastructure Recovery After Disasters

A new computerized tool guides stakeholders in preparing for, and recovering from, natural and man-made disasters such as the cyclones in India that knocked out swaths of the Indian Railways Network. The method, developed by Northeastern University researchers, guides stake­holders in the recovery of large-​​scale infrastructure systems. Other possible applications include water-​​distribution systems, power grids, communication networks, and natural ecological systems.

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NASA Instruments Used in German Alternative Fuels Research

Working in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), NASA's aeronautical innovators supplied several key instruments for the DLR's Emissions and Climate Impacts of Alternative Aviation Fuels (ECLIF) experiments. NASA instruments are placed about 100 feet behind a parked DLR Airbus 320. These instruments then measure the exhaust from the jet as it burns eight different types of standard and alternative fuels that contain varying amounts of aromatic compounds and sulfur impurities.

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Autonomous DeLorean Guides Development of Self-Driving Electric Cars

Stanford engineers built an autonomous DeLorean capable of stable, precise drifting at large angles in order to study how cars perform in extreme situations, which could ultimately guide the development of autonomous safety protocols. Named MARTY – Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control – the car is already proving to be an excellent vehicle for student-driven research.

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