OSIRIS-REx Wants to Lasso an Asteroid to Explain Life on Earth

NASA has a plan to better explore how our own local star system, and life within it, got started. It wants to intercept, study, and sample a passing asteroid. The only thing more impressive than this mission's astronomical level of precision is how the space agency somehow shoehorned "Origins Spectral Interpretation… » 4/15/14 11:40am Yesterday 11:40am

This Indigenous Iranian UAV Is the Poor Man's Predator Drone

Iran's previous attempts at creating an indigenous UAV fleet have been rather, well, comical. However, with recent sightings of a this medium-altitude, long-endurance flyer in the skies over Damascus, Iran's drone program may have finally reached the big time. » 4/14/14 11:40am Monday 11:40am

Every Helicopter in the US Military Could Soon Be a Drone

The MQ-8 Fire Scout might be the US military's marquee pilotless helicopter, but it's not the only one. A pair of R/C Kaman K-Max K-1200 choppers have proven their value resupplying forward operating bases in Afghanistan and, now, the DoD is developing a system to turn any helicopter into a remotely operated whirley… » 4/09/14 11:45am 4/09/14 11:45am

How Armor Is Evolving to Beat Tank-Smashing RPGs

Like the AK-47, the Soviet RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade has become one of the most widely-distributed infantry weapons on Earth, used by everyone from E8 nations to guerrilla insurgency groups in every major conflict since Vietnam. But their ubiquitousness nature has kicked off a global race focused on how to beat… » 4/08/14 11:40am 4/08/14 11:40am

This Weedseeking Airport Tractor Spells Death for Dandelions

Weeds growing up through the cracks in airport tarmacs aren't just unsightly, they can create traction hazards for landing aircraft. But rather than rely on a squad of human herbicide applicators, one French airport is leaving the job to a single computerized spraying system. They call it "The Weedseeker." » 4/07/14 11:40am 4/07/14 11:40am

GE's Wind Turbine Tester Puts Gigantic Drivetrains Through Hell

Modern multi-megawatt wind turbines are downright gargantuan, standing more than 700 feet tall with 260-foot blades spinning 190 mph at the tip. To make sure that these monolithic machines are up for 20 years of energy production, GE has created a tortuous test bed capable of sucking 20 years of life from a turbine in… » 4/03/14 11:40am 4/03/14 11:40am

The USMC's Amphibious Tank Killer Gets a New Pop-up Missile Launcher

The US Marine Corps is the tip of America's spear—a fast-moving, flexible, forward operating force geared to take and hold territory quickly and efficiently. This flexibility is exemplified in the USMC's favorite armored troop carrier: the eight-wheeled, tank-hunting LAV-AT. The only thing it can't do is fly. » 4/02/14 11:40am 4/02/14 11:40am

Alvin Gets Back to Work After $42 Million Retrofit

Barely a week since successfully completing sea trials after a three year hiatus, the venerable research sub Alvin is already earning back the $42 million in hardware upgrades and engineering retrofits it's received—showing off its spacious new three-crew cabin with a quick dive to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. But … » 4/01/14 11:40am 4/01/14 11:40am

The Lick Observatory's Newest Telescope Is an Exoplanet Hunting Robot

Exoplanets—planets orbiting stars that aren't our Sun—seem to be popping out of the cosmic woodwork now that we know where and how to look for them. The Kepler mission alone has discovered 961 of them, and it's only looking at a tiny sliver of distant space. Just think of how many we'll find when the new James Lick… » 3/28/14 5:40pm 3/28/14 5:40pm

This Deep Diving Robosub Could Find the Remnants of Flight 370

As the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 comes to a frustrating and unsuccessful close, the likelihood of locating the plane's final resting place are astronomically small. However, where an international fleet of search vessels and scanning satellites have failed, this autonomous submarine from Bluefin… » 3/26/14 11:40am 3/26/14 11:40am

This Synthetic Seaweed Stops Deadly Algae Blooms Before They Start

The potent synthetic fertilizers used in modern industrial farming are a double-edged sword. Sure, they help grow more robust, higher-yielding crops, but the nutrient-rich runoff from these farms can also help incite deadly algae blooms downstream. This new nanoscale filter from GE, however, prevents effluent… » 3/25/14 12:20pm 3/25/14 12:20pm

These High-Flying Drones Almost Hit Satellite Status

Low earth orbit is becoming increasingly crowded with satellite traffic and, as Gravity showed us, increasingly treacherous. So rather than try to squeeze yet another spacecraft into the mix, a French consortium has begun development on a super-high altitude, autonomous dirigible that will skim along the edge of the… » 3/21/14 11:40am 3/21/14 11:40am

Terrifying GoPro video from tanks in Syria's war zone

Need a quick reminder as to why war should be avoided at all costs? Spend an hour in the driver's seat of a Syrian Army T-72 tank column as it spews destruction through Syria's Darayya warzone. Then watch the rebels destroying the tanks. Warning: Although you can't see the bodies, fighters on both sides are dying. This … » 3/20/14 7:31pm 3/20/14 7:31pm