I have been searching the academic literature in preparation for a NASA grant I am writing to build a power plant for next-generation deep space probes. Among the primary challenges to be addressed through this design is a means maximize transfer of heat (and therefore energy) into a liquid in zero gravity.
I came across a series of illuminating You Tube videos posted by Dr. Ben Longmier of NASA showing behavior of liquid water taken in on-orbit, zero-gravity experiments. Particularly fascinating to me is the “Nucleate Boiling in Microgravity” video. Watching these movies, keep in mind that there is no gravity to induce buoyancy to pull the vapor bubbles away from the heated surface. Thus, bubbles are expelled by other forces in the liquid that are subsidiary in terrestrial boiling.
A longer video called “Boiling water with a soldering iron in microgravity”, which contains more commentary and technical information is also posted at You Tube. This movie, unfortunately, is highly pixilated and does not show the awing detail of its shorter counterpart.
These videos and the complimentary underlying research demonstrate the ongoing value derived from NASA’s microgravity investigations of fluid thermo-physical properties. Never in a terrestrial experiment could such exquisite video be taken, and this visual data is critical to improving our fundamental understanding of heat transfer (and energy transfer) mechanisms.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.