News

Gigantic Blades Could Generate More Offshore Energy

A new design for gigantic blades longer than two football fields could help bring offshore 50-megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the United States and the world. Sandia National Laboratories designed a low-cost, offshore, 50-MW turbine requiring a rotor blade more than 650 feet long, two and a half times longer than any existing wind blade. Most current U.S. wind turbines produce power in the 1- to 2-MW range, with blades about 165 feet long.

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NASA Spacecraft Breaks Solar Power Distance Record

NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter broke the record to become humanity's most distant solar-powered emissary when Juno was about 493 million miles from the Sun. Launched in 2011, Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate at such a great distance from the Sun. That's why the surface area of solar panels required to generate adequate power is quite large. The four-ton Juno spacecraft carries three 30-foot-long solar arrays festooned with 18,698 individual solar cells.

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NASA Maps Support Earthquake Relief Efforts

During natural disasters like high-magnitude earthquakes, areas most in need of assistance must be located as fast as possible. Researchers, led by Sang-Ho Yun at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, have developed a way to make maps of damage using the remote sensing technology of satellites. The method works even if the satellite images are taken at night or in cloudy skies.

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Scientists Print in 4D

Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have brought a fourth dimension to their microscale 3D printing technology.

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Beetle-Inspired Patterning Prevents Frost

Taking a page from the beetle's playbook, Virginia Tech biomedical engineers created a way to control condensation and frost growth on airplane parts, condenser coils, and windshields.

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Mini Force Fields Control Individual Microbots

Researchers are using a technology likened to "mini force fields" to independently control individual microrobots operating within groups, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines in areas including manufacturing and medicine. Until now it was only possible to control groups of microbots to move generally in unison.

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Researchers Create Evaporation-Powered Motor

Biological systems are known to convert energy generated from the evaporation of water confined within nanoscale compartments into muscle-like mechanical work in response to changes in environmental humidity. Recently, scientists designed shape-changing engineered composites of bacterial spores and a polymer that used an evaporation-driven process to power locomotion and generate electricity.

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