While the total number of engineering degrees earned is on the decline, the good news is that more and more people with an extra X chromosome are pursuing the degree. The number of female undergraduate engineering students has increased from 44,431 in 1979 to 72,393 in 1998. Overall, females now make up 19.7% of the undergraduate enrollment—though the percentage is higher at some schools, like MIT (42%). Numbers come from the Society of Women Engineers.
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
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