A NASA satellite has quantified how much dust makes the journey from the Sahara Desert to the Amazon rain forest. This trans-continental journey of dust is important because it contains phosphorous, an essential nutrient for plant proteins and growth.
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Mass-Manufactured “Kilobots” Self-Assemble in Thousand-Robot Swarm
| video (2:02) | 7,088 views
Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute developed a simple, low-cost robot called “Kilobot.” The mass-manufactured Kilobot has unconventional locomotion using vibration motors, and communication using reflected infrared light. The researchers developed an algorithm for programmable self-assembly in large swarms that allowed the robots to form a desired shape without human intervention. They successfully produced a 1,024-robot swarm for testing collective behaviors.
High-Powered, 3D-Printed Microscope for Mobile Devices Costs Pennies
| video (2:33) | 4,766 views
There are a few devices that use a variety of approaches to leverage a cell phone camera into a microscope, but many are bulky, expensive, hard to align, or are lower powered. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers have developed an inexpensive, 3D printable version that can magnify a sample by 1,000 times. PNNL made the design specifications available to the public so anyone with access to a 3D printer can make their own microscope. The microscope, made out of plastic and...
NASA Telescope Reveals Mystery of How Stars Explode in Supernovas
| video (0:59) | 2,427 views
One of the largest mysteries in astronomy - how stars blow up in supernova explosions and seed the universe with elements like gold and iron - is being resolved with the help of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). NuSTAR has created the first map of radioactive material in a supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A, and the results reveal how shock waves likely rip apart massive dying stars. "Stars are spherical balls of gas, and so you might think that when they end their...
ESA's Rosetta Mission: Philae's Journey to the Surface of a Comet
| video | 806 views
On November 12th, 2014, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission soft-landed its Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - the first time in history that such a feat has been achieved. During the next phase of the mission, Rosetta will accompany the comet through perihelion (August 2015) until the nominal end of the mission. On its ten year journey towards comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the spacecraft has passed by two asteroids: 2867 Steins (in 2008) and 21 Lutetia (in 2010)....
Shape-Morphing Aircraft Wing Technology Tested at Dryden Flight Research Center
| video | 2,961 views
Flexsys, Inc. is replacing the trailing edge flaps of a Gulfstream GIII business jet with 14-foot FlexFoil™ variable geometry control surfaces together with 24-inch transition sections at each end. NASA, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab, scheduled several flight tests in July 2014 at the Dryden Flight Research Center. In retrofit applications, the FlexFoil™ technology can cut fuel consumption by 4-8% and up to to 12% or more in clean-sheet builds. Other benefits of the...