Assuming nothing went awry when NASA's Phoenix mission descended onto Mars in May, a meteorological station provided by the Canadian Space Agency is now acquiring, processing and transmitting temperature and pressure data back on Earth. Recording the daily weather of the martian northern plains lets scientists understand the martian climate and geology, which will help them answer the age-old question: Did life ever exist?
Sunlight in the martian polar region is even weaker than at its equator, so the battery- and solar-powered systems must feature extremely efficient power management. Radiation-tolerant RTAX-S FPGAs from Actel Corp. are among the components that let this one-of-a-kind instrument meet these requirements.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
A group of researchers at the Seoul National University have discovered a way to take material from cigarette butts and turn it into a carbon-based material that’s ideal for storing energy and creating a powerful supercapacitor.
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