Reducing fuel consumption and emissions is a goal even in the world of espionage. AeroVironment Inc. is designing an unmanned aircraft that runs on liquid hydrogen-power. Its Global Observer will fly at an altitude of 65,000 ft for up to seven days. The high altitude, long endurance aircraft is being built for the U.S. Special Operations Command, which teamed up with other military to provide $57 million for three aircraft. AeroVironment recently picked Rockwell Collins to design the drone's navigation system. Rockwell's Athena 411 incorporates solid-state gyros and accelerometers, magnetometer, a GPS receiver and air data sensors into a single small unit.
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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