Special Coverage

Home

Will astronauts reach Mars by 2030?

This week's Question: Last week, NASA's 30,000-pound Orion capsule landed in the Pacific Ocean after going further than any spacecraft built for humans had reached in more than 40 years. Without astronauts aboard, Orion circled Earth for two orbits, eventually reaching an altitude of 3,600 miles so it could achieve a high re-entry speed, one similar to a beyond-Earth-orbit flight. The mission is a step toward eventually bringing astronauts to deep space. NASA says astronauts could reach Mars sometime in the 2030s. What do you think? Will astronauts reach Mars by 2030?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

Are we moving toward pilotless airliners?

This week's Question: NASA has worked with industry to help create the Synthetic Vision System (SVS), a virtual reality display system for cockpits. The SVS uses 3D to provide pilots with intuitive means of understanding their flying environment, including graphical displays of terrain and hazards. In coming months, Universal Avionics, an avionics manufacturer, will release a product called InSight, which blends larger displays, higher-resolution 3-D synthetic vision, and new icon-based command-and-control architecture. Some say that synthetic vision developments, along with other emerging aviation technologies like touch-screen steering and voice recognition, could lead to a day when airliners fly themselves. What do you think? Are we moving toward pilotless airliners?>

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

Will comet missions yield valuable information about the origin of the solar system?

This week's Question: The Philae spacecraft successfully landed on a moving comet last week. Scientists hope to be able to study the material beneath the surface of the solar body, which is traveling through space at 41,000 mph, hundreds of millions of miles away from Earth. Probing the comet’s dust could help researchers determine the origins of life on Earth, and whether comets provided the water that exists in oceans today. Since the material has remained almost unchanged for 4.5 billion years, it is considered by some researchers to be a "cosmic time capsule" that may contain the building blocks of life. What do you think? Will comet missions yield valuable information about the origin of the solar system?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

Would you eat 3D-printed food?

This week's Question: A startup company, Natural Machines, has introduced a 3D printer called Foodini. The technology creates food with stainless steel capsules and edible, fresh ingredients. The microwave‑oven‑sized Foodini, displayed during Dublin's Web Summit technology conference last week, serves as a miniature food manufacturing plant. The company is currently working with major food manufacturers to create pre‑packaged plastic capsules that can be loaded into the machine. At present, the device only prints the food, which must be then cooked as usual. A future model, however, will also perform the preparation and produce ready‑to‑eat food. What do you think? Would you eat 3D‑printed food?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

Will "4D" materials catch on?

This week's Question: While 3D printing has still not yet reached the mainstream, MIT and other researchers are performing primary tests on the next design dimension. 4D printing, a self-assembly design process, enables the production of composite materials that react and change shape in predictable ways when exposed to external elements such as water. A printed rear wing, for example, would have the ability to transform its aerodynamics during a downpour. Autonomous pipes, too, could expand and narrow based on flow. Self-assembling technologies may eventually allow the construction of space structures whose components deposit themselves in zero-gravity environments without human intervention. Wood and carbon fibers have responded well to 4D testing, but more materials and energy sources are likely required for the materials to self‑optimize according to sensing and logic. What do you think? Will "4D" materials catch on?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

Are robots an effective way of combating outbreaks like Ebola?

This week's Question: Next month, scientists will convene at universities across the country to consider the role that autonomous machines might play in combating the Ebola crisis. Telepresence robots, according to some researchers, could theoretically perform healthcare tasks like delivering food and medicine to the sick and cleaning equipment. The robots could also act as interpreters between patients and doctors, or provide checklists to medical workers as they put on and remove safety equipment. What do you think? Are robots an effective way of combating outbreaks like Ebola?  

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

Will cosmic elevators take us to space?

This week's Question: Penn State researchers recently developed ultra-thin, super-strong nanothreads made from diamonds. The nanothreads could ultimately be used to construct a "space elevator" to take people to orbit. A Japanese company, Obayashi, similarly sees the feasibility of such an elevator and envisions a space station tethered to the equator by a 96,000-km cable made of carbon nanotechnology. In theory, robotics cars with magnetic motors would quickly take people and cargo to the station. What do you think? Will cosmic elevators take us to space?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Read More >>

White Papers

The Benefits of Integrated Video Management
Sponsored by Curtiss Wright
Is There an Easy Way to Cut the Cost of EWIS Compliance?
Sponsored by Mentor Graphics
Noncontact Differential Impedance Transducer
Sponsored by Kaman
Looking at Ceramic Carbides in a New Light
Sponsored by Goodfellow
Avoid the High Cost of Quality Failure
Sponsored by Arena Solutions
Inclinometers for Motion Control
Sponsored by Fraba Posital

White Papers Sponsored By: