SEATTLE--Just hours after it showed its 787 Dreamliner simulator and Customer Experience Center on Thursday, Boeing announced another delay for its newest airplane. According to press release issued Thursday night, delivery of the first aircraft will move from the end of this year to the first quarter of 2011.
"The delivery date revision follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall," the statement said. "While Boeing works closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability, flight testing across the test fleet continues as planned." The company … Read more
NASA's Kepler spacecraft, hunting for distant worlds by measuring the slight dimming of starlight as planets pass in front of their parent suns, has found its first multiplanet solar system, researchers announced Thursday.
The Kepler-9 system includes two Saturn-class worlds orbiting in gravitational lockstep close to their star and a possible third planet just a bit larger than Earth that whirls through a hellish "year" in just 1.8 days.
The announcement came just a few days after a European team, using a different technique with a ground-based telescope, revealed the discovery of a solar system with … Read more
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--A $2 billion, 7.5-ton physics experiment bound for the International Space Station aboard the last planned shuttle flight in February arrived at the Florida launch site Thursday after a busy summer of work to replace the magnet at the heart of the costly particle detector.
With Nobel laureate Samuel Ting, the lead scientist of the AMS project looking on with shuttle commander Mark Kelly and his crew, an Air Force C-5 transport jet taxied to a stop at the Shuttle Landing Facility after a flight from Geneva where the payload was assembled and tested.
This one is giving Orson Welles' 1938 radio production of The War of the Worlds a good run for its money.
For the seventh consecutive year, phony messages are filling up e-mail inboxes around the world warning that on August 27, Mars will approach Earth and grow to the size of a full moon. "NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN," the e-mail declares--all in capital letters.
And no, it's not true.
But the Mars hoax has reached such epidemic proportions that NASA saw fit to send out an e-mail late Tuesday night, reminding people … Read more
Six students from Rice University have spent the past month in Morocco figuring out how best to capture drops of water in the foggy Atlas Mountains so that nearby villagers have better access to safe drinking water.
Working in Sidi Ifni, Morocco, with the Dar Si Hmad Foundation--which was founded by 1998 Rice graduate Jamila Bargach--the students used structures resembling volleyball nets with a polyethylene mesh to capture tiny droplets of water that drip down the nets into tubes and then (thanks to gravity) down larger pipes that lead to a water storage tank at the bottom of the … Read more
IBM and the European Union are teaming up to offer a better way to scan the massive collection of Europe's treasured historical documents.
Expanding on an existing collaboration project, Big Blue and the EU will now be working with more than two dozen libraries, research institutes, universities, and companies across Europe to help them digitize their rare books and documents.
The project known as Impact (Improving Access to Text), is using new tools and tapping into crowd sourcing to speed up the mass digitization process and ensure that the scanned documents are as accurate as possible. Impact will also … Read more
In development for more than a decade, biosynthetic corneas implanted in 10 Swedish patients over a two-year clinical trial are helping most of those patients see again, according to researchers in Canada and Sweden.
"This study is important because it is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea can integrate with the human eye and stimulate regeneration," senior author May Griffith of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute said. "With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation."
We've seen remote-operated submarine robots deployed to shut down the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill--with mixed results. Now researchers at MIT are proposing surface robots that autonomously collect and process oil. Could they help in the next oil disaster?
The prototype Seaswarm robots move on the water as a fleet. They have large conveyor belts covered with reusable nanowire mesh that absorbs oil. Designed to be 16 feet long by 7 feet wide, the robots are small enough to clean estuaries and shallow waters, but can also tackle large slicks.
As the belt rolls into the body of each robot, the mesh is heated, separating the oil, which is then burned off. As it rolls out of the head, the mesh is ready to absorb more oil. Powered by solar panels, the robots can run on only 100 watts, and could operate for weeks on the water without any need for maintenance.
The researchers, including MIT Senseable City Lab Director Carlo Ratti, estimate that a fleet of 5,000 Seaswarm robots working for one month can clean up surface oil the size of the Gulf spill.
At the heart of the prototype is a nanomaterial fabric developed by MIT's Francesco Stellacci and collaborators that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. It looks and feels like paper, and acts like a paper towel.
Described in a 2008 Nature Nanotechnology report, the fabric consists of minute wires made of potassium manganese oxide. It only absorbs hydrophobic liquids like oil, and repels water. Apparently, it can be immersed in water for months and will be dry when removed. … Read more
After six years of painstaking observations, astronomers have identified a distant solar system with at least five Neptune-class worlds orbiting within 130 million miles or so of the parent star--closer than Mars is to the sun. Two other planets are believed to be present, including one just 1.4 times as massive as Earth.
The presumed Earth-size planet orbits a scant 2 million miles from its star, completing a full orbit, or "year," every 1.18 days. If confirmed with additional observations, this hellish world would be the smallest yet discovered, additional proof that Earth-size planets are falling … Read more