The Engine Burns BlueThis image shows a cutting-edge solar-electric propulsion thruster in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., that uses xenon ions for propulsion. An earlier version of this solar-electric propulsion engine has been flying on NASA’s Dawn mission to the asteroid belt.
This engine is being considered as part of the Asteroid Initiative, a proposal to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. This image was taken through a porthole in a vacuum chamber at JPL where the ion engine is being tested.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
I spend half my time at work on ion propulsion so I’m into this NASA image of the day.
I love when Science Fiction becomes just Science.
Ask Science Live is starting! 6PM EDT!
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It’s hard to imagine something so simple could save a child’s life. But that’s exactly what this small device built on 3-D printer did. University of Michigan doctors designed and implanted the tracheal splint inside Kaiba Gionfriddo, now 20…
One of our contributers, Alex, is going to be a panelist on this brand new Google + Hangout Series TODAY at 6PM EDT.
Ask Science Live is going to be a live discussion among scientists involved in the /r/AskScience community of Reddit using the Google+ Hangouts on Air broadcasting service.
We’ll be featuring lots of audience questions live on air. But for this to work out, we’ll need you guys, the audience! You can send us questions on Twitter using the #AskSciLive hashtag.
AskScience Live is a video podcast where youchoose the topic. Our panel of scientists are each experts in their field and ready to answer your questions.
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“All we know about the new economic world tells us that nations which train engineers will prevail over those which train lawyers. No nation has ever sued its way to greatness. ”
NASA is funding research into 3D-printed food. Mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor received a $125,000 grant from the agency to build a prototype 3D printer with the aim of automating food creation. It’s hoped the system could provide astronauts food during long-distance space travel, but its creator has the loftier aim of solving the increasing food shortages around the world by cutting down on waste. The software for the printer will be open-source, while the hardware is based on the open-source RepRap Mendel 3D printer.
This week at a fireside chat during Google I/O 2013, Mary Lou Jepsen – currently the head of the Display Division at Google X – let it be known that “there’s no more silicon in Silicon Valley – it’s all iPhone apps.” She quickly added – “or Android apps, I should say.” An overarching theme from her set of words in the extended chat made it clear: she’s not satisfied with the current atmosphere for hardware innovation, particularly when it comes to startup funding.
Jepsen was joined by serial entrepreneurs Julia Hartz, co-founder and president of Eventbrite, Slava Rubin, CEO and co-founder of Indegogo, and Caterina Fake, founder and CEO of Findery and co-founder of Flickr. It was on this panel that Jepsen made the case for not just a broken device hardware startup model, but for new entrants into this startup world to be aiming for the moon. It was from within Google X, after all, that Google Glass originated.
MIT’s Cheetah robot runs faster & more efficiently
Robotic Greyhound Races are closer than you think. From Engadget:
At the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the Institute of Technology showed of its newest version, which reached a top speed of 13.7 mph. To accomplish this, the runner still needs parallel support bars to constrain movement in one dimension, reducing any roll, yaw — and the chances of a pretty expensive fall. The team says the new version’s cost of transport (COT is power consumption divided by weight, times velocity) is around 0.52. In comparison, Honda’s Asimo has a hefty COT of 2.