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Engineers set their sights on asteroid deflection

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — Pioneering engineers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow are developing an innovative technique based on lasers that could radically change asteroid deflection technology.

The research has unearthed the possibility of using a swarm of relatively small satellites flying in formation and cooperatively firing solar-powered lasers onto an asteroid -- this would overcome the difficulties associated with current methods that are focused on large unwieldy spacecraft.

Dr Massimiliano Vasile, of Strathclyde's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is leading the research. He said: "The approach we are developing would involve sending small satellites, capable of flying in formation with...

Flying formation -- around the moon at 3,600 mph

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — The act of two or more aircraft flying together in a disciplined, synchronized manner is one of the cornerstones of military aviation, as well as just about any organized air show. But as amazing as the U.S. Navy's elite Blue Angels or the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds are to behold, they remain essentially landlocked, anchored if you will, to our planet and its tenuous atmosphere. What if you could take the level of precision of these great aviators to, say, the...

New dimension for solar energy: Innovative 3-D designs more than double the solar power generated per area

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — Intensive research around the world has focused on improving the performance of solar photovoltaic cells and bringing down their cost. But very little attention has been paid to the best ways of arranging those cells, which are typically placed flat on a rooftop or other surface, or sometimes attached to motorized structures that keep the cells pointed toward the sun as it crosses the sky.

Now, a team of MIT researchers has come up with a very different...

Reinventing Gyro Gearloose machine, this time, to purify scrap aluminum

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — In a 1996 Donald Duck comic, inventor Gyro Gearloose has invented a super-machine that sorts cheap scrap and metal poured into a tube, while out of another pipe emerge gold and shiny new coins. Now, SINTEF scientists are trying to do the same thing.

One of SINTEF Materials and Chemistry's laboratory halls on Gløshaugen in Trondheim is dominated by a four metre-long, silver-coloured apparatus. Both pipework and cables have yet to be installed, and its "lid"...

New plastics 'bleed' when cut or scratched -- and then heal like human skin

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — A new genre of plastics that mimic the human skin's ability to heal scratches and cuts offers the promise of endowing cell phones, laptops, cars and other products with self-repairing surfaces, scientists reported March 27. The team's lead researcher described the plastics, which change color to warn of wounds and heal themselves when exposed to light, in San Diego at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

"Mother...

More economical way to produce cleaner, hotter natural gas

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — New technology is offering the prospect of more economical production of a concentrated form of natural gas with many of the advantages -- in terms of reduced shipping and storage costs -- of the familiar frozen fruit juice concentrates, liquid laundry detergents and other household products that have been drained of their water, scientists reported in San Diego on March 27.

They told the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society...

New twist on 1930s technology may become a 21st century weapon against global warming

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — Far from being a pipe dream years away from reality, practical technology for capturing carbon dioxide -- the main greenhouse gas -- from smokestacks is aiming for deployment at coal-fired electric power generating stations and other sources, scientists saidin San Diego March 27. Their presentation at the 243rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society was on a potential advance toward dealing with the 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide released into the air...

New endoscope technology paves the way for 'molecular-guided surgery' for cancer

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — With more than 15 million endoscope procedures done on patients each year in the U.S. alone, scientists have reported evidence that a new version of these flexible instruments for diagnosing and treating disease shows promise for helping surgeons more completely remove cancerous tumors. Their report on technology that combines the endoscope with the phenomenon responsible for the eerie blue glow in the cooling water of nuclear reactors was part of the 243rd National...

New field of chemistry has potential for making drugs inside patients -- and more

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(Mar. 27, 2012) — The traditional way of making medicines from ingredients mixed together in a factory may be joined by a new approach in which doctors administer the ingredients for a medicine separately to patients, and the ingredients combine to produce the medicine inside patients' bodies.

That's one promise from an emerging new field of chemistry, according to the scientist who founded it barely a decade ago. Carolyn Bertozzi, Ph.D., spoke on the topic -- bioorthogonal...