Eventually it will fly for four days straight, making only water as its waste product. But a journey of four days starts with a few minutes, so the chubby PhantomEye’s first autonomous flight was under half an hour.
The aircraft took off June 1 from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, climbed to 4,080 feet and cruised at 62 knots in a flight that lasted 28 minutes, Boeing said Tuesday. When it landed, the gear dug into the lakebed and broke.
Scientists have been trying for a while now to recreate the process of photosynthesis, using sunlight and water to spark chemical reactions. Now a team from Penn State University has done one better, producing an engineered biological system that can produce a hydrogen biofuel twice as fast as nature.
Like city lights blinding the night sky, the sun blocks out a lot of the signals from our galactic neighborhood. Our star and its magnetic fields shield the planets from cosmic rays and the interstellar wind — by and large a good thing, but it’s somewhat frustrating if you want to study the galaxy in greater detail. We cannot see, for instance, the hydrogen signals that serve as the birth pangs of stars in our neighborhood. Until now — the Voyager spacecraft have seen it for the first time.
Today in relatively obscure but nonetheless meaningful scientific pursuits: two researchers at the Max-Planck Institute claim to have turned hydrogen into metal. That may seem unremarkable, but the fact is hydrogen--being an alkali metal--should exhibit the qualities of a metal under the right circumstances. Yet no one has ever coaxed the universe’s most abundant element into showing metallic qualities until now. Perhaps.
A newly described species of bacteria has joined the ranks of those of us who depend on caffeine for survival. The little microbe, Pseudomonas putida, uses specialized enzymes to break the precious compound into carbon dioxide and ammonia, scientists say.
Chemists have messed with the constituent parts of a helium atom and fooled it into behaving like it was hydrogen. This form of alchemy allows a physical test of how atomic mass affects chemical reaction rates.
The trickery involves a particle accelerator, a heavy subatomic particle and some knowledge of quantum mechanics.
It’s a 21st-century conundrum: You want a power-assisted bike that’s electrically powered and that packs an energy density (and a light weight) that lithium-ion batteries simply can’t provide. But the idea of strapping a tank of compressed hydrogen between your legs makes you somewhat uncomfortable as well. SiGNa Chemistry has a solution: a metallic metal powder of sodium silicide that generates hydrogen as soon as it comes in contact with water.
The future of spycraft looks pretty heavy, if this new Boeing plane is any indication. Adding to today's parade of pretty new planes, Boeing unveiled a hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft system Monday that will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for four days.
The Phantom Eye is not exactly sleek, but it's one of the greenest aircraft out there -- its only byproduct is water.
Viruses generally get a bad rap, but they can also be very helpful little machines. For instance, bacteriophages have been engineered to clear up infections that seemed otherwise untreatable, and genetic material from viruses has been used to ease biofuel production.
Piezoelectric materials that create energy when flexed might go beyond recharging our smart phones and help make hydrogen fuel. Scientists have harnessed piezoelectric energy from nanocrystal fibers to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
"This is a new phenomenon, converting mechanical energy directly to chemical energy," said Huifang Xu, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and his colleagues have dubbed it the piezoelectrochemical (PZEC) effect.
Science fiction writers may have to rethink how their starship crews survive travel near or beyond the speed of light. Even the occasional hydrogen atom floating in the interstellar void would become a lethal radiation beam that would kill human crews in mere seconds and destroy a spacecraft's electronics, New Scientist reports.
An interesting report from CNN over the weekend: a tabletop hydrogen fuel cell recharging station could bring hydrogen power to the individual home, allowing portable devices and eventually automobiles to charge up on the universe's most abundant element cleanly from the comfort of home.
Real leaves are natural energy factories that can split water molecules and create hydrogen ions. Scientists have long tried to copy the molecules involved in creating hydrogen, but a Chinese team took a different tack by creating an artificial structure based on natural leaves as templates. Early tests have shown that the artificial leaves could soak up twice as much light and produce three times as much energy as the real thing, New Scientist reports.
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.