Tumbleweed rovers may be the thing of the future. Rather than spending time, energy and money on rovers that we can direct and control, tumbleweed rovers go where ever the wind takes them. Where ever they land, that's where the science will happen!
Within a week, I read two different articles on scientific proofs of Einstein's General Relativity. Once article claims to prove that General Relativity is correct and the other claims to have disproved the theory. I have no comment on either article, but this is just too much fun not to point out (and track my sources)
The Obama administration will back $8.3 billion in construction loans for Southern Company. Southern Company has plans to build two new nuclear reactors, the first in the US in 30 years. The reactors will be built at the Vogtle plant, which is east of Atlanta.
Since I started engineering school last fall, I have found it difficult to keep up the site as I would like. However, I still keep a ton of tabs open in my web browser which contain interesting bits of news... So rather than just relegating those open tabs to the dust bin of my bookmarks folder, I think I'll start trying to post them here with just a little bit of info. It's worth trying anyway.
Attached is the first image from within the new cupola installed at the international space station. It's the largest window placed in space to date. The center window measures 31 inches across. There are 6 smaller windows placed around it's circumference. The windows are made from fused silica and Borosilicate glass.
John Singleton and Andrea Schmidt of Los Alamos National Laboratory are presenting research on the process behind pulsar light emission. This research will be presented at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Their research explains a new theory for understanding the data collected regarding pulsar light emissions. Their theory is that the rotating magnetic field of a pulsar create a faster than light current of charged particles. According to MSNBC, the fields create a current which causes positively charged atoms to move in one direction and negatively charged atoms to move in another direction. This wave movement is, in sum total, faster than light.
It sounds a little like electricity to me.
This video shows how the NuVinci CVP (continuously variable planetary) transmission works. The example video shows a bicycle transmission, but the patent holder Fallbrook Technologies claims that the technology would also work for cars, electric vehicles, wind turbines, farm equipment, etc.
At Ames Research Center in California NASA scientists have successfully created uracil in a laboratory environment. Creating a relatively simple organic compound such as uracil is an important step to understanding the formative process of more complex organic molecules according to Stefanie Milam, an astrochemist with NASA. The implication here being that NASA has observed more molecular organic complexity on a meteorite than simple building blocks such as uracil. A quick search revealed that various amino acids have been found on meteorites as well as other nucleobases such as uracil.
The uracil was created by taking a sample of ice laced with pyrimidine. This ice was then kept in an environment around -240 ° Fahrenheit (-207° C), high radiation, and a near vacuum. This environment was selected as an approximation of space-like conditions. The ice was also exposed to ultraviolet radiation. As the ice warmed, uracil was found within the sample.
Noah Sheldon posted a bunch of great photographs that he recently took of Bio-Sphere 2. Posted on BlogSpot. The bio dome is not doing well these days.
The Bio-Sphere 2 project holds a special place in my memory. It's one of the first science memories that I can remember. The Washington Post ran a big glossy article in their Sunday insert when I was in middle school. I was hooked. There was this huge building housing plants collected from all over the world, and a few lucky punters would be locked inside just to see what happened. And if it worked... the universe would be our oyster. At least that's how everything seemed to me when I was younger.
Unfortunately, the Bio-Sphere 2 project suffered problems early. Gasses were soon out of balance and the enclosure had to be opened up. None-the-less I found the whole project inspiring, and still do.
The lunar surface has been found to be a significant source of radiation. Cosmic radiation has been radiating the lunar soil for so long, that the soil itself has become radioactive. This information is based on measurements taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which show that the amount of measured radiation does not decrease closer to the moon's surface. It is expected that measured radiation would decrease as the moon itself blocks a larger portion of the incoming cosmic rays.
This means that radiation dosages on the lunar surface will be 30-40 percent higher than previously expected.
Xcor Aerospace, based in the Mojave desert of California, has been selected to provide launch services to Yecheon Astro Space Center in South Korea. Xcor will be flying the Lynx Mark II, a production model of the Lynx Mark I which is currently being tested.
The deal is subject to US government export licensing and approval.
The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, has reported the discovery of a large vertical shaft on the moon. The hole is nearly circular, about 213 feet (65 meters) across with a depth of 262 to 289 feet (80-88 meters). JAXA's lunar probe, SELENE captured images of the giant hole. Junichi Haruyama led the team that analyzed the images and determined the approximate size.
The hole could one day be used to shield people and equipment from radiation. The discovery is further significant because of Heinlein's novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. In the novel humans worked and lived in caves on the moon. The lunar colonists were led in rebellion against their earth bound landlords by a giant computer named Adam Selene.
The golf cart sized Spirit Rover has been on Mars since January 2004. Six years later, Spirit and it's twin, Opportunity, have far exceeded their initial 90 day mission. But the Spirit rover is in trouble. The right front wheel was disabled in 2006. And now the back right wheel is stuck in sand and stalling. The back wheel has been stuck in the sand for 8 months. The wheel stalls have been complicating efforts to free the rover. Now that the rover has only 4 operable wheels, it may be stuck at it's current location until the beginning of the Martian winter. If that happens, the rover is not likely to recover.
Call a tow truck and a garage. Or a good buddy with some tools (Opportunity?). Aren't there tools on those things?
The gears in the video are about 380 microns across. (about 3 hairs). They are sitting in a pool of common soil bacteria, Bacillus subtilis. The bacteria have a tendency to swim and move about when in the presence of oxygen and nutrients. This swimming creates a random motion. The gears are harnessing that random motion to achieve 'directed motion'. The random movement of particles in a fluid is called Brownian motion. Hence this experiment is a demonstration the translation of Brownian motion into directed motion.