By Arnie CooperPosted 08.18.2009 at 10:44 am 4 Comments
Having scrubbed the notoriously squalid streets of Paris spotless, the French have set their sights on a bigger clean-up project: the expanding swarm of space debris circling the planet. French spaceflight engineer Brice Santerre of the European aerospace company EADS Astrium has constructed the Aerobraking Sail for bringing defunct satellites out of orbit.
When a satellite dies, the built-in braking system will deploy two inflatable booms, which release a pair of heat-resistant polymer "wings." The wings increase the friction drag that slows the satellite's orbit and allow gravity to tug it into the lower atmosphere, where it will burn up in 25 years instead of the typical 50 to 100, Santerre says.
Don't forget to join our man Baratunde on the Science Channel tonight for the second episode of PopSci's Future Of, where tonight, the topic at hand is the future of play. Host Baratunde Thurston will take us on a tour of the latest in motion-controlled video games, smart sporting equipment, alternate reality games much more!
Moving computing from the desktop to the 24/7 data centers of the "cloud" may be the way forward (just ask Google), but it will come with a hefty energy price. Teams at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, however, are developing a smart algorithm that could reroute Internet traffic to where energy is cheapest at any given moment, potentially saving millions of dollars in energy usage.
By Carina StorrsPosted 08.17.2009 at 11:52 am 0 Comments
Open Heart Surgery
Roger W. Winstead
This is a pig heart, procured from a slaughterhouse, beating on a heart-pumping machine called the Heart Cart. Because pig hearts share many anatomical similarities with humans', scientists often use them to test new medical devices and surgical procedures. Instead of operating on the entire, living hog, which costs about $2,500 for each experiment, the Heart Cart lets researchers work on just the hearts, dropping that cost to $25, by pumping them with a saline solution to make the heart valves move realistically.
AirDat's sensors, currently installed on the nosecones of 160 commercial airplanes, beam real-time atmospheric data to forecasters
By Devon O'NeilPosted 08.17.2009 at 10:40 am 0 Comments
AirDat's Tamdar sensors, currently installed on the nosecones of 160 commercial airplanes, beam real-time atmospheric data to forecasters.
Courtesy AirDat; Courtesy EMBRAER
Last September, five days before Hurricane Ike pulverized the Texas coast, the National Hurricane Center pegged a point near Corpus Christi as the storm’s most likely landfall. Residents of the low-lying region around Galveston, some 250 miles north, breathed a sigh of relief.
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes," quips a character in the science fiction story "Ender's Game." But scientists have now found a mother and daughter whose rare genetic mutation allows them to wake up refreshed on just six hours of sleep -- two hours less than the rest of the family requires.
The 69-year-old mother and 44-year-old daughter usually hit the sack around 10 p.m., and get up around 4 and 4:40 a.m., respectively. Both women have a genetic mutation which affects the regulation of circadian rhythms, or the body's natural clock.
The age of remote-control warfare isn't coming--it's here, and not even the Air Force, which made it happen, is entirely prepared. Here, a firsthand look at the struggle to train thousands of drone pilots virtually overnight. By Eric Hagerman
Football players at the University of North Carolina are changing up their diet regimens to include vitamin-sized pills containing batteries, thermometers, and radio transmitters. The CorTemp capsule that 18 Tarheel players took this week are a key element of a study that hopes to determine the long-suspected link between body temperature and concussions. But the pill is also a boon to coaches and trainers, who can keep an eye on players’ body temperatures when they are drilling in heat that often reaches the high 90s.
The "Airbia" concept envisions helium-based airships connecting the suburbs to city centers.
Alexandros Tsolakis / Irene Shamma
Residents of suburbia have long since awakened from the American dream to the downsides of tedious work commutes, bloated McMansions and lackluster civic life. Now a design competition wants to look at new ways to reinvigorate the suburbs with concepts ranging from airships to reclaimed backyard pools.
When Lisbeth Ceriani was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted a blood test to find out if she carried one of the two dreaded BRCA genes, which could increase her risk of ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent. She decided that if she were a carrier, she would have doctors remove her ovaries. But the sole purveyor of the BRCA tests, Utah-based Myriad Genetics, refused her insurance. Myriad holds the patent on the BRCA genes, and thus exclusive R&D rights, so there were no alternative tests, and Ceriani found herself unable to make a decision about her future health.