Dick "Spe" Spehalski leads the engineers who designed the most complex interplanetary spacecraft ever created: Cassini. The spacecraft--including its orbiter and Huygens probe to the moon Titan--is currently winging its way towards a rendezvous with Saturn in 2004. But for five years prior to its October '97 launch, Spehalski championed the mission past cancellation threats by cutting weight, lowering power requirements, and putting the project back on track. And when it came to resolving complex engineering issues with the project's 16 international partners, Spehalski was the man everyone turned to. This isn't the first time NASA tapped him to lead one of the agency's flagship programs; he also served as project manager for the Galileo mission to Jupiter. Following a term as project manager for the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, Spehalski retired in June 1998, but not before NASA awarded him its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.
The Dutch are known for their love of bicycling, and they’ve also long been early adopters of green-energy and smart-city technologies. So it seems fitting that a town in which painter Vincent van Gogh once lived has given him a very Dutch-like tribute -- a bike path lit by a special smart paint in the style of the artist's “Starry Night” painting.
For decades, engineers have worked to combat erosion by developing high-strength alloys, composites, and surface coatings. However, in a new paper, a team at Jilin University in China turned to one of the most deadly animals in the world for inspiration -- the yellow fat-backed scorpion.
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