Northrop Grumman's X-47B unmanned stealth plane achieved cruise mode flight for the first time recently, a major step toward using the bomber aboard aircraft carriers.
During a flight at Edwards Air Force Base on September 30, the robo-plane retracted its landing gear and flew in cruise configuration for the first time. The test helped prove its navigation hardware and software.
The flight was part of the X-47B's "envelope expansion" under the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. Northrop has produced two X-47Bs for the Navy and the aircraft is slated to begin carrier trials in 2013. … Read more
It may not be terribly surprising that many of us find our moods dipping over the course of the day, and that by nightfall we light up again. Or that our moods are perkiest on weekends, regardless of which days our weekends fall on (i.e., Fridays and Saturdays in the United Arab Emirates).
What's of note, according to an analysis of 2.4 million tweets in 84 countries by researchers out of Cornell, is that these mood trends hold steady across cultures and borders, hinting at some sort of deeper trend whose basis is in being human, not … Read more
My office today is a bar overlooking the historic Taos plaza in New Mexico and my Internet access comes courtesy of tethered Verizon 3G (don't tell!) service. That's all because my normal ISP has been out of commission since early this morning thanks to a major satellite malfunction that's also impacting all sorts of services, from ATMs to flights in Canada's northern territories.
Telesat's Anik F2 satellite experienced a "technical anomaly" beginning at about 3:30 a.m. PT today, according to a release from the Ottawa-based company. The anomaly is reportedly that … Read more
Papers on sexually confused beetles, why people sigh, and a patent for a wasabi emergency alarm were among the scientific research projects receiving Ig Nobel prizes last night in a ceremony at Harvard University.
Presented by the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research," the awards have been given out for the past two decades to honor achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think," according to a statement from the organizers.
The biology prize was given to a team or researchers for discovering that certain types of beetles try to mate with … Read more
Analysis of data collected by a NASA infrared space telescope shows there are fewer near-Earth asteroids than previously believed, scientists said today.
But the majority of the nearly 20,000 bodies between 330 and 3,300 feet wide have not yet been detected and it's not yet clear whether a reduced population also means a reduced number of midsize asteroids in orbits that could pose a threat to Earth.
"We find that there are fewer near-Earth asteroids out there," said Amy Mainzer, principal investigator with NASA's NEOWISE program. "However, it's very important to note that fewer does not mean none. And there are still tens of thousands that are out there that we need to find."
Using NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer--WISE--space telescope, researchers conducted a census of near-Earth objects, or NEOs, orbiting within 120 million miles of the sun. Scanning the entire sky twice between January 2010 and February 2011, the NEOWISE project observed more than 100,000 asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter and nearly 600 that pass near Earth.
"With NEOWISE, we didn't go out and find every single asteroid that's out there, but we got a good representative sample, kind of like doing a census where you take a poll of a small subset of people that you think is representative of what everybody thinks," Mainzer said. "And so, that's what we've been able to do with NEOWISE."
She said the NEOWISE data, along with surveys conducted by ground-based instruments, show that more than 90 percent of the so-called "planet busters" six-tenths of a mile across and larger have now been identified, meeting a goal set by Congress in 1998.
Previous estimates put the population of large near-Earth objects at around 1,000. The NEOWISE survey indicates the actual number is around 981, of which 911 have been detected, including all of the very large bodies like the six-mile-wide asteroid that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. None pose any threat to Earth, at least for the next few centuries.… Read more
Road rage much? You might want to think twice about that if you're driving a mind-controlled car under development by Nissan.
The automaker teamed up with Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) to create a vehicle that can anticipate maneuvers like turning left or right "after scanning the thought patterns of its driver."
In a similar vein, researchers at the Berlin Institute of Technology used a BMI (brain-machine interface) simulator that allowed drivers to stop 130 milliseconds faster via thought control than brakes alone. EPFL scientists have already enabled wheelchair users to steer with their minds through BMI technology, as seen in the vid below.
That kind of piloting requires a high level of concentration, so the Swiss scientists are trying other methods to develop a driving system that can respond to less focused mental states. … Read more
Who among us hasn't once pushed a wrong button, leading to embarrassment, pain or a very damp shirt at 7-Eleven?
However, who among us has been an airline pilot?
This question shivers through what remain of my timbers after discovering, thanks to the flighty crew at Gizmodo, that a Japanese pilot made such a vast error that he managed to nearly flip his Boeing 737-700.
Yes, the plane was flying 117 passengers at the time.
Discovered in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been available for viewing only in a museum in Israel...until now.
Thanks to some expert digital photography and a project set up by Google, high-resolution photos of five of the seven original Dead Sea Scrolls can now be seen online. The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Web site offers a peek into the distant past, allowing people to view and examine the scrolls in fine detail.
Photographed by digital photographer Ardon Bar-Hama, the images contain as many as 1,200 megapixels, according to Google, so that people can zoom in to get … Read more
EVERETT, Wash.--At long last, Boeing has handed off what may be the most important commercial airplane in its history, the 787 Dreamliner.
Heralded for years as the biggest technological leap forward in aviation in decades, the Dreamliner has represented both Boeing's greatest promise--an all-new energy-efficient plane made from composite materials--and the biggest thorn in its side.
Despite being beset by myriad delays, the Dreamliner has engendered passionate excitement and interest, and this morning, Boeing finally reached a milestone it, and the world, has been awaiting for at least three years: the delivery of the first 787 to its … Read more
Wearables are largely aimed at the person who just wants to maintain a good weight, sleep enough, and maybe get in a little cardio. CNET's Brian Cooley tells you why 2014 could be the breakout year for wearable tech.