Last week, DARPA's HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) Falcon vehicle launched to near-orbital speeds aboard a Minotaur rocket before beginning what was designed to be a Mach 20 glide back to earth, demonstrating the kind of hypersonic capability needed to deliver a payload anywhere in the world in an hour. Then, a few minutes into its flight, HTV-2's data transmitters went silent and so did the DARPA news stream feeding us the play-by-play.
Every year, about 15 million pounds of alligator fat is dumped into landfills as a byproduct of alligator meat processing. It would certainly be better to reuse this gloopy mess for a greater purpose, no? As it turns out, alligator fat is a prime candidate for animal-derived biodiesel, according to researchers in the United States.
In the future, all your government mail - jury duty slips, election notices, those Social Security earnings statements - may not come in the mail at all. Here in Australia, federal politicians are debating ditching snail mail entirely, giving all citizens a state-sponsored inbox where we would receive all government communications.
It's become a refrain in this age of 24-hour news stations, media-starved talking heads, and hundreds of channels of stuff you don't want to watch. "Why won't they just shut up about (insert your least favorite abusive sitcom star, diminutive bepoofed reality star, brain-dead politician, or Kyle Sandilands here). The talking heads may never shut up, but that doesn't mean you have to listen to them--and some enterprising Makers created an Arduino-controlled gadget that'll make that even easier.
A little less than six months after the final space shuttle launch, a private space company will launch a rocket carrying a cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station. SpaceX said this week that it plans a Nov. 30 launch date for its first rendezvous with the ISS - an encounter that will mark a major milestone in private space exploration.