Dr. Robert Hebner, the director of the University of Texas' center for electromechanics, is working with flywheel batteries and attempting to reduce the size and weight of battery power on the international space station through advances in materials research and controls. "Our work involves making composites used for the flywheel that are stronger and lighter than steel," says Hebner. "We do all the processing and testing too," he says. Hebner hopes to have the project, which is managed by the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, complete in five years when the current space station batteries need replacing. NASA estimates the savings to the space station program will exceed $200 million. For more information, contact Dr. Hebner at (512) 232-1628 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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