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Archive for the ‘military’ category

Aug 25, 2019

SwRI and GE design and operate the highest temperature sCO2 turbine in the world

Posted by in categories: finance, military, solar power, sustainability

SAN ANTONIO — April 8, 2019 — A team of Southwest Research Institute and General Electric (GE) engineers have designed, built and tested the highest temperature supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) turbine in the world. The turbine was developed with $6.8 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), in addition to $3 million from commercial partners GE Research, Thar Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Aramco Services Company and Navy Nuclear Laboratory. Additionally, the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program provided financial support and extended the test program to validate advanced thermal seals.


Copyright © 2019 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Aug 23, 2019

DARPA’s Handheld Nuclear Fusion Reactor

Posted by in categories: computing, military, nuclear energy, particle physics

fusionsunLast year, Pentagon mad science arm DARPA was working on one of its wildest projects yet: a microchip-sized nuclear reactor. The program is now officially done, the agency says. But these sorts of far-out projects have a habit of being reemerging under new managers and new names.

The project, known as the “Chip-Scale High Energy Atomic Beams” program, is an effort aimed at working on the core technologies behind a tiny particle accelerator, capable of firing subatomic particles at incredible speeds. It’s part of a larger DARPA plan to reduce all sorts of devices to microchip-scale – including cryogenic coolers, video cameras and multi-purpose sensors. All of the projects are ambitious (this is DARPA, after all). But this had to be the most ambitious of the lot. Here’s how DARPA’s plans for fiscal year 2009 described it:

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Aug 23, 2019

Carnegie Mellon and Oregon State team wins first leg of DARPA Subterranean Challenge robot competition

Posted by in categories: drones, health, military, robotics/AI

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kicked off the Subterranean Challenge in December 2017, with the goal of equipping future warfighters and first responders with tools to rapidly map, navigate, and search hazardous underground environments. The final winner of the four-event competition won’t be selected until 2021, but Team Explorer from Carnegie Mellon University and Oregon State University managed to best rivals for the initial prize.

On four occasions during the eight-day Tunnel Circuit event, which concluded today, each team deployed multiple robots into National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research mines in South Park Township, Pennsylvania, tasked with autonomously navigating mud and water and communicating with each other and a base station for an hour at a time as they searched for objects. Team Explorer’s roughly 30 university faculty, students, and staff members leveraged two ground robots and two drones to find 25 artifacts in its two best runs (14 more than any other team), managing to identify and locate a backpack within 20 centimeters of its actual position.

“Mobility was a big advantage for us,” said team co-leader Sebastian Scherer, associate research professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, in a statement. “The testing [prior to the event, at Tour-Ed Mine in Tarentum, Pennsylvania] was brutal at the end, but it paid off in the end. We were prepared for this … We had big wheels and lots of power, and autonomy that just wouldn’t quit.”

Aug 22, 2019

Planetoid Mines — A New Asteroid Mining Company

Posted by in categories: military, space travel

Is a privately-owned startup based out of New Mexico, USA. Their team leans on expertise gained at NASA, the US Department of Energy, Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs, and the US Air Force. Planetoid Mines’ primary focus is developing the core components that enable asteroid mining. Many of their instruments and tools will be compatible with mining applications on the lunar surface and on Earth.

A lot of activity has been brewing with regards to new space exploration initiatives. Launch costs are plummeting due to market competition and the development of reusable rockets. Additionally, there has been a measurable uptick in growth and investment in commercial space ventures. Every major national space agency has ambitions for operations in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface within the next 5 to 20 years.

Aug 22, 2019

Amazon, Microsoft, ‘putting world at risk of killer AI’: study

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Washington (AFP) — Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are among leading tech companies putting the world at risk through killer robot development, according to a report that surveyed major players from the sector about their stance on lethal autonomous weapons.

Dutch NGO Pax ranked 50 companies by three criteria: whether they were developing technology that could be relevant to deadly AI, whether they were working on related military projects, and if they had committed to abstaining from contributing in the future.

“Why are companies like Microsoft and Amazon not denying that they’re currently developing these highly controversial weapons, which could decide to kill people without direct human involvement?” said Frank Slijper, lead author of the report published this week.

Aug 21, 2019

Japan warns North Korea now has miniaturized nukes

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

North Korea has miniaturised nuclear warheads and made them small enough to fit on ballistic missiles, Japan believes.

Tokyo defence chiefs warn in a new white paper that North Korea’s military activities pose a ‘serious and imminent threat’.

Continue reading “Japan warns North Korea now has miniaturized nukes” »

Aug 21, 2019

Elon Musk back to promoting bombing Mars with nuclear weapons

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, engineering, environmental, military, space

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk not only wants to explore Mars, he wants to ‘nuke’ it.

In a tweet this week, Musk reiterated calls to ‘Nuke Mars!’ adding that t-shirts are ‘coming soon.’

Continue reading “Elon Musk back to promoting bombing Mars with nuclear weapons” »

Aug 19, 2019

NASA Robots Rove Through Caves for Underground DARPA Competition (Video)

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Robots from all over the world are about to go on a subterranean adventure, competing against each other in mining tunnels to determine which ones can best navigate and find objects underground and do so autonomously.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is hosting the Subterranean Challenge Systems Competition on Aug. 15–22 in Pittsburgh as a way to develop technology for the military and first responders to map and search subterranean areas.

Aug 19, 2019

Scientists develop robotic shorts that make it easier to walk and run

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, military, robotics/AI

Harvard University researchers have developed a new powered exosuit that can make you feel as much as a dozen pounds lighter when walking or running. Scientific American reports that the 11-pound system, which is built around a pair of flexible shorts and a motor worn on the lower back, could benefit anyone who has to cover large distances by foot, including recreational hikers, military personnel, and rescue workers.

According to the researchers, who have published their findings in the journal Science, this system differs from previous exosuits because it’s able to make it easier to both walk and run. The challenge, as shown by a video accompanying the research, is that your legs work very differently depending on whether you’re walking or running. When walking, the team says your center of mass moves like an “inverted pendulum,” while running causes it to move like a “spring-mass system.” The system needs to be able to accommodate both of them, and sense when the wearer’s gait changes.

Aug 19, 2019

‘High likelihood of human civilisation coming to end’ by 2050, report finds

Posted by in categories: climatology, military

Over-conservative climate scenarios mean we could face ‘world of outright chaos’, says analysis authored by former fossil fuel executive and backed by former head of Australia’s military.

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