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Archive for the ‘innovation’ category: Page 6

Apr 16, 2020

The Electron goes reusable.

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, innovation, space
Electron test article during a March 2020 parachute test. Credit Rocket Lab

No, it’s not a high budget Mission Impossible action movie, but it could have been. Tom Cruise wasn’t piloting a helicopter that grabbed a rocket falling back to the Earth. Instead, a crew wearing black Rocket Lab t-shirts with the words “recovery team” written on the back took the skies in helicopters to grab a falling rocket. Since it wasn’t Tom Cruise, the video of the team grabbing a rocket midflight ranked higher on the awesome scale.

Daring capture of Booster

A few weeks ago, Rocket Lab took a major step forward to recover boosters. In a recent release to media, Rocket Lab shared videos successfully grabbing a parachute & test booster out of the sky using a helicopter. On the first try, the helicopter grabbed the first stage test article with a grappling hook.

There are intrinsic risks with helicopters. Recently SpaceX lost a test article when it became necessary to prematurely drop a Crew Dragon test article. However, Rocket Lab did better in the Electron parachute tests. The success marks another step closer for the company in recovering the boosters it uses to launch small payloads into low earth orbit.

Apr 15, 2020

Major new breakthrough could help reveal the origin of the universe, scientists say

Posted by in categories: cosmology, innovation

Scientists have made a major breakthrough that could help us understand the origin of our universe, they say.

Researchers have discovered hints of a difference between the behaviour of neutronos and antineutrinos. That, in turn, could help demonstrate why there is so much matter relative to antimatter in the universe – and, in turn, how everything that surrounds us came to be.

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Apr 14, 2020

Department of Energy Announces $32 Million for Lower-Cost Fusion Concepts

Posted by in categories: innovation, nuclear energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the winners of $32 million in funding for 15 projects as part of the Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE) program. These projects will work to develop timely, commercially viable fusion energy, with the goal to increase the number and performance levels of lower-cost fusion concepts.

“Fusion energy technology holds great potential to be a safe, clean, reliable energy source, but research and development of fusion technology is often constrained by prohibitive costs,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “BETHE teams will build on recent progress in fusion research and the growing fusion community to lower costs and further foster viable commercial opportunities for the next generation of fusion technology.”

“These BETHE projects further advance ARPA-E’s commitment to the development of fusion energy as a cost-competitive, viable, energy generation source,” said ARPA-E Director Lane Genatowski. “Commercially viable fusion energy can improve our chances of meeting global energy demand and will further establish U.S. technological lead in this crucial area.”

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Apr 12, 2020

Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

Posted by in categories: innovation, sustainability

A mutant bacterial enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles for recycling in hours has been created by scientists.

The enzyme, originally discovered in a compost heap of leaves, reduced the bottles to chemical building blocks that were then used to make high-quality new bottles. Existing recycling technologies usually produce plastic only good enough for clothing and carpets.

The company behind the breakthrough, Carbios, said it was aiming for industrial-scale recycling within five years. It has partnered with major companies including Pepsi and L’Oréal to accelerate development. Independent experts called the new enzyme a major advance.

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Apr 12, 2020

Photonic Breakthrough: A New Light-Emitting Silicon Eliminates Heat in PCB Design

Posted by in categories: computing, innovation

A future of designing without heat?

Heat will likely always be a consideration for designers as our AAC contributor Amos Kingatua acknowledges in his articles on the major causes of high temperatures on PCBs and PCB thermal management techniques.

But can you imagine a world in which heat wasn’t an issue with silicon data chips? What would this mean for the circuits you design? What possibilities would it open up? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Continue reading “Photonic Breakthrough: A New Light-Emitting Silicon Eliminates Heat in PCB Design” »

Apr 10, 2020

Watch out Silicon Valley: European Union gets into the venture capital game

Posted by in categories: finance, innovation

Frustrated by Europe’s lack of home-grown tech giants, Commission officials hope EIC will help small tech firms grow in Europe, instead of being lured away to Silicon Valley. “The aim here is to close the big gap that exists between Europe and the United States,” says Mark Ferguson, Ireland’s chief scientist and EIC board chair. But one challenge will be backing risky but promising startups without becoming “the financiers of last resort for all the failing companies that aren’t going to do very well,” says Christopher Tucci, a professor of technology management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, who advised the Commission while it drafted Horizon Europe.


European Innovation Council buys shares in disruptive technology startups.

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Apr 9, 2020

NASA reveals plans for a radio telescope on the farside of the Moon

Posted by in categories: innovation, space

A lunar crater on the farside of the Moon could be turned into a new radio telescope resembling the Death Star from Star Wars, under new plans from NASA.

Funding for the project has come from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Programme, designed to support potentially game changing projects.

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Apr 8, 2020

How solar paint could bring clean energy into more places than ever before

Posted by in categories: energy, innovation

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A new breakthrough is painting the way.

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Apr 7, 2020

Boeing Starliner Wings Clipped. Will Launch Again Without a Crew.

Posted by in categories: complex systems, innovation, space, space travel

Boeing flubbed the first mission of the CST-100. Seemingly a routine mission for SpaceX after completing over 20 deliveries to the International Space Station, Boeing showed how not to do it. During the December 2019 Demo flight for the Boeing Starliner CST-100, the Starliner did not reach its planned orbit. Nor did the Starliner dock to the International Space Station as planned. Boeing was able to complete a number of mission objectives during the flight to comply with the milestones related to NASA’s Commercial Crew.

CST-100 Starliner

CST-100 Starliner OFT Recovery – December 22, 2019

On the ULA Atlas V rocket at 6:36 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, the Boeing Starliner launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Boeing has a long rich history in both aviation and spaceflight. This mission, already three years behind in schedule, should have been a slam dunk.

After launching to the incorrect orbit, Boeing was able to successfully recover the Starliner. NASA shared that Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft did successfully complete the first land touchdown of a human-rated capsule at the White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 7:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. MST) on December 22, 2019. The landing followed a deorbit burn for the botched flight, separation of the spacecraft’s service module, and successful deployment of its three main parachutes and six airbags. Boeing’s approach to the Starliner is unique as the prior US-made capsules, including the SpaceX Dragon, are water recoveries.

Starliner settling softly to the ground on Airbags wasn’t enough.

The NASA and Boeing investigation into the spaceflight was disclosed in Early March 2020. The recommendations included a list of corrections that needed to be addressed prior to the Starliner launching again. The investigation documented 61 “corrective actions” for the company’s Starliner spacecraft. This type of test did do what it was supposed to do. Find issues before people are exposed to potentially dangerous situations. This human risk reduction is a hallmark of the NASA Commercial Crew Program which was put in place to alternatives to the Space Shuttle and Soyuz spacecraft. NASA associate administrator Doug Loverro shared with reporters on a conference call that he expected it months for Boeing to work through the list to be ready for another test flight.

Apr 7, 2020

Edible insects set to be approved by EU in ‘breakthrough moment’

Posted by in categories: food, innovation

The ruling is likely to lead to the final authorisation of their sale across the EU as a “novel food” by as soon as the autumn, opening up opportunities for mass production of a range of insect dishes to be sold across Europe for the first time.


Food safety agency’s decision could put mealworms, locusts and baby crickets on menus.

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