U.S. scientist Guido Fetta devised a microwave thruster called the “Cannae Drive”—a reference to the Battle of Cannae or perhaps to Star Trek’s Scotty—that operates without propellant. After some cajoling, he got NASA to agree to give it a try, and at the recent Joint Propulsion Conference, the space agency presented the results of its validation testing, which confirms that this system, once thought to be impossible, actually works. NASA spent eight days “investigat[ing] and demonstrat[ing] viability of using classical magnetoplasmadynamics to obtain a propulsive momentum transfer via the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.”
Search results for: microwaves
Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with rumors about today’s scheduled announcement from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Many people predicted — correctly, as it turns out — that the announcement would involve the detection of gravitational waves. What’s so important about these waves? Well, they’re the first direct evidence we’ve ever found of the Big Bang and the resulting expansion of the universe.
For a long time now, scientists have been looking for gravitational waves using the BICEP telescope (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization), but in the noise of all the cosmic microwaves, they hadn’t been able to find them…until now. The discovery has, ironically, been called the “holy grail of cosmology,” and some predict this discovery to garner a Nobel Prize.
It’s good to see that even though NASA isn’t swimming (or flying) in dough, it’s still able to fund space enterprises. NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program, which was founded with monies requested and allocated by Obama in 2011, recently awarded $250,000 grants to ten university projects in an attempt to jumpstart the development of technologies necessary for long-term spaceflights and other missions.
Here are the ten grant award winners and descriptions of their projects:
Johns Hopkins University proposes a plan for using on-board image analysis to detect, track, and identify asteroids, which could help track asteroids that might pose a threat to earth, or be potential candidates for mining. The University of Colorado, Boulder is also interested in asteroids and is working on a comprehensive model that demonstrates the effects of techniques used to mitigate potentially hazardous asteroids.
Like a lot of people, I eat food to stay alive, and I’m not wealthy. When it comes to grocery shopping, I am guided by American Capitalism to buy certain foods in bulk, and inevitably, some of that food goes to waste. The shelf-to-trash time span is even shorter with fresher foods like bread and fruits. It’s a highly infuriating thing to have just sliced some provolone while your butter was melting, only to realize your grilled cheese sandwich has been cancelled due to moldy bread. Texas-based company MicroZap is giving rise — no yeast included — to a new method of food preservation.
Chief executive Don Stull, working from a Texas Tech University in Lubbock, has developed a machine that works similarly to a home microwave, only with a specific and different purpose. With a slitted radiator, the device uses directional microwaves to nuke the items at varying doses and intensities, allowing it better precision at targeting microorganisms causing harmful diseases.