Who will build the fastest experimental helicopter?
By Joseph A. BernsteinPosted 01.05.2011 at 10:28 am 16 Comments
The cabin of a helicopter flying faster than 170 knots (196 mph) is a perilous place. Vibrations experienced at such high speeds can quickly exhaust pilots, obscure instrument panels, and knock equipment loose. (Pilots commonly joke about lost dental fillings.) Now two major helicopter manufacturers have independently solved the decades-long engineering problem of increasing speed without sacrificing chopper stability or maneuverability, laying the groundwork for dramatically faster emergency-rescue operations and battlefield resupply missions.
Between 1876 and 2002, the people of Lead, South Dakota, extracted $3.5 billion worth of gold from the Homestake mine. It was the town’s main business, and when falling prices and diminishing returns finally shut it down, no one was sure what to do with the remaining 8,000-foot hole in the ground. Then, in 2007, the National Science Foundation decided that an 8,000-foot hole would be the perfect place to put its proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL, a massive research complex that will include the world’s deepest underground lab.
Sure, you can buy a flying car from Hammacher Schlemmer. But for truly bizarre catalog collections, turn to America's laboratory supply companies. It's a fair bet your favorite holiday catalog will not include a small-animal guillotine, for instance.
See what happens when a 1927 Model T and a 1986 Mustang come together in an unholy (but fast!) union
By Murilee MartinPosted 12.16.2010 at 1:00 pm 3 Comments
After four years, the 24 Hours of LeMons—endurance racing for $500 cars—has become one of the most competitive forms of motorsport on the planet. Most of the time, a team gunning for the bragging rights that come with a LeMons win will follow a standard formula: put a bunch of top drivers in a 20-year-old German or Japanese sports car. Not so with the Beverly Hellbillies; they've got the top drivers, all right, but their car is a 1927 Model T Ford pickup built by a crew of old-time hot rodders.
And it finished an incredible 9th out of 173 entries in a recent race.
Earlier this month, scientists shared a tale of a desperate man whose daring effort to cure himself may have led to a new, albeit odd, medical treatment: swallowing worm eggs. But worm man is far from the first to take desperate measures in the name of progress. There's a long line of heroes who have knowingly and willingly exposed themselves to discomfort, danger or even death for science's sake.
What is the mystery force slowing down the Pioneer spacecraft? Do we finally know the answer?
By Natalie WolchoverPosted 12.15.2010 at 11:00 am 48 Comments
Thirty years ago, NASA scientists noticed that two of their spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, were veering off course slightly, as if subject to a mysterious, unknown force. In 1998, the wider scientific community got wind of that veering—termed the Pioneer anomaly—and took aim at it with incessant, mind-blowingly detailed scrutiny that has since raised it to the physics equivalent of cult status. Now, though, after spawning close to 1000 academic papers, numerous international conferences, and many entire scientific careers, this beloved cosmic mystery may be on its way out.
A group of former miners' exhaustive knowledge of the Homestake Gold Mine will aid the search for cosmic particles like dark matter and neutrinos.
Homestake, with 370 miles of tunnels that plunge up to 8,000 feet underground, was once the largest and deepest gold mine in the western hemisphere. During its 126-year operation in Lead, South Dakota, a tiny Black Hills mountain town, the mine provided thousands with jobs and produced around $3.5 billion worth of gold. But in the late 1990s, gold prices dropped dramatically, and the mine started losing money -- tens of millions of dollars a year. The mine was closed in 2003, by which time most of its employees had been laid off.
Every issue of Popular Science begins with two amazing, full-page images in a section called Megapixels. Here we have assembled all of those beautiful images from this year's issues and supplemented them with much, much more. Together, they tell a vivid story of the impressive year that was in science and tech. Launch the gallery below, and enjoy our favorite pictures of the year, all in one place:
ST. LOUIS — Boeing's newest spy drone, the Phantom Ray, got its first taste of the air Monday while hitching a ride on a 747 designed to ferry the space shuttle. It was a first for the drone, which is a test bed for advanced UAV technologies, but it was also a big day for NASA, which proved it can find new uses for space shuttle technologies after the shuttles retire.