First ever plane with no moving parts takes flight

In the prototype plane, wires at the leading edge of the wing have 600 watts of electrical power pumped through them at 40,000 volts. This is enough to induce “electron cascades”, ultimately charging air molecules near the wire. Those charged molecules then flow along the electrical field towards a second wire at the back of the wing, bumping into neutral air molecules on the way, and imparting energy to them. Those neutral air molecules then stream out of the back of the plane, providing thrust.

Source: First ever plane with no moving parts takes flight | Science | The Guardian

To Keep Pace With Moore’s Law, Chipmakers Turn to ‘Chiplets’

The new approach comes with a snappy name: chiplets. You can think of them as something like high-tech Lego blocks. Instead of carving new processors from silicon as single chips, semiconductor companies assemble them from multiple smaller pieces of silicon—known as chiplets.

Source: To Keep Pace With Moore’s Law, Chipmakers Turn to ‘Chiplets’ | WIRED

New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power

Above a certain temperature, it becomes possible to replace the steam with supercritical carbon dioxide. This works more efficiently, potentially providing a boost of more than 20 percent, but it requires temperatures in excess of 1,000K. That makes things a bit more challenging, given that many metals will melt at such temperatures; others will react with carbon dioxide under these conditions. Finding a material that could work involves balancing a lot of factors, including heat and chemical resistance, ea

Source: New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power | Ars Technica

On Thursday a rocket failed. Three humans remain on the ISS. What’s next?

NASA’s strong preference is to keep astronauts aboard the station. But Todd said NASA does have procedures for operating the station without crew on board. “That’s something that we’re always prepared for,” he said. “I feel very confident that we could fly for a significant period of time.”

Source: On Thursday a rocket failed. Three humans remain on the ISS. What’s next? | Ars Technica

Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History

The RemoveDEBRIS satellite consists of a large, 220-pound main satellite that carries two smaller cubesats and a net. The mission involves deploying these cubesats as artificial space junk and them capturing them to demonstrate the effectiveness debris removal technology. The first cubesat was successfully captured on Sunday evening with a net after six years of testing the technology on Earth.

Source: Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History – Motherboard

San Francisco threatens to block access to Millennium Tower

The problem is that the 60-to-90-foot-long friction piles underpinning the building were driven into sandy soils rather than bedrock at 200 feet down. While no concrete explanation has been given for continued sinkage, developer Millennium Partners has blamed construction of the neighboring Salesforce Tower for pumping out too much groundwater and causing the soil to settle.

Source: San Francisco threatens to block access to Millennium Tower – Archpaper.com

Chinese Researchers Are Outperforming Americans in Science

For decades, China’s growth was driven by shifting workers from agriculture to manufacturing. As the country started to approach the so-called Lewis turning point, when such shifts no longer raise overall productivity, the government made an increasingly concerted effort to build the scientific base to provide another vector for growth. The results of those efforts are showing up in both the rankings of Chinese universities (11 of the top 100 globally) and in scholarly output.

Source: Chinese Researchers Are Outperforming Americans in Science – Bloomberg

Plan to tow icebergs from Antarctica to parched Dubai

Alshehi told NBC that even if 30 per cent of the iceberg melts on the journey, it will still be able to provide between 100 million and 200 million cubic metres of fresh water – enough for 1 million people to stay hydrated for five years.

Private investors have bankrolled the project to the tune of US$60 million (NZ$91 million), according to NBC.

Source: Plan to tow icebergs from Antarctica to parched Dubai | Stuff.co.nz

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Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in—a box just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high.

If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two that will keep it taut.

Source: Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’