One rocket launch is a good time, but five rocket launches is a party. And at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the party is on. This month, NASA will launch five sounding rockets within about five minutes from Wallops on a mission to test the winds in the high-altitude jet stream some 60 miles up.
The Titanic may have struck an iceberg and sank helplessly because of a strange atmosphere-caused optical illusion, a new book argues. British historian Tim Maltin says super refraction, an extraordinary bending of light that causes mirages, prevented the Titanic’s crew from seeing the fateful iceberg.
To map the earth’s magnetic field, scientists usually take readings from one of a number of satellites, a process that is expensive and often less-than accurate. Physicists at UC Berkeley have a better idea: measure the earth’s magnetic nuances using a single ground-based laser to examine the spin of sodium atoms 56 miles up in the sky.
The full ramifications of the Industrial Revolution on this planet may never be known, not because the scope of the those changes can’t be measured but because the same rapid, spastic technological changes that hurled industry forward into a new era did the same for science. As such, pre-industrial science didn’t possess many of the instruments and technologies that allow modern science to happen. So how do you, say, find out what air quality was like before the Revolution wrecked it?
For a few years now, we’ve been excited about the possibility of a cable-based space elevator as an alternative to expensive rocket launchers. To date, though, the various attempts to make it happen–including annual contests and Japan’s recent initiative–have come up short. The problem? Space elevators have one major hang-up: most designs call for braided cords of extremely strong nanotubes, which unfortunately don't exist yet.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are helping scientists understand the link between air pollution and climate
By Gregory Mone
Posted 05.22.2008 at 9:06 am 1 Comment
A team of scientists led by V. Ramanathan of the University of California, San Diego have begun using autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles, or AUAVs, to study the link between air pollution and climate change. While some of today's top robot drones are operated via remote control, this new fleet of eight-foot-long, sub-50-pound Manta AUAVs fly all on their own.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.