Catch Our Top Five Engineering Stories This Week

I hope your week was as productive as mine. There’s so much going on right now, from wrapping up existing projects to planning for the new year. Between the projects, though, I found some interesting science and engineering stories. See what you think about these:

Computing glitch may have doomed Mars lander
Undiscovered moons may lurk around Uranus
Hyperloop Pod Hovers for the First Time
Tesla Powerpack 2 has twice the energy density, began shipping in September
First Autonomous Beer Shipment Completes 120-Mile Delivery

=============================================================

Computing glitch may have doomed Mars lander
Nature

Some of the saddest news of the week — at least for me — is the apparent loss of the European Space Agency’s Martian lander. The crew is still trying to determine exactly what went wrong, though it appears the lander crashed onto the surface of Mars after a heat shield and parachute ejected ahead of time.

Using simulations, the scientists are trying to piece together the last moments. At this point a lot of speculation points to merging and confusing sensor data that may have confused the craft. This comes at a tough time for the ESA, which is facing a significant budget shortfall for a planned 2020 follow-up mission.

=============================================================

Undiscovered moons may lurk around Uranus
The Washington Post

The news may be better a little further out in our solar system. It seems that Uranus, which already boosts 27 moons, may actually have two more satellites. Believe it or not, researchers at the University of Idaho identified the moons by analyzing data from Voyager 2, which passed Uranus 30 years ago.

If these moons are a reality, they are likely tiny — less than 9 miles in diameter. Scientists may use the Hubble Space Telescope to look for these moonlets.

=============================================================

Hyperloop Pod Hovers for the First Time
Space.com

The Hyperloop has captured the imagination of a lot of people looking for an easier, quicker and less expensive mode of travel. The brainchild of Elon Musk, the Hyperloop would shoot passenger pod through low-pressure vacuum tubes at velocities approaching the speed of sound.

Now a University of Cincinnati team has managed to get its 14-foot-long pod to hover above the tracks. The team, one of about 30 finalists, will test the design at SpaceX headquarters next year.

=============================================================

Tesla Powerpack 2 has twice the energy density, began shipping in September
Techcrunch

Speaking of Musk, one of his companies, Tesla, was in the news this week with its new Powerpack 2. This is the company’s second commercial and utility energy storage solution, which apparently started shipping in September, but wasn’t announced until this week.

The new battery supposedly adds more than 300 MWh in total energy storage capacity, which considerable since an average U.S. home consumes around 11 MWh per year.

=============================================================

First Autonomous Beer Shipment Completes 120-Mile Delivery
Engineering.com

I can’t think of a better way to end a long week than by talking about beer! I’m no Budweiser fan, but this is a story that a lot of people will appreciate. A self-driving truck hauled tens of thousands of Bud cans on a 120-miles journey to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Rest assured there was a human driver on board in case things went badly for the automated system. But the drive went smoothly, so the human never needed to get into the driver’s seat. Uber, which has been testing self-driving cars here in Pittsburgh, worked on the project with Anheuser-Busch.

One thought on “Catch Our Top Five Engineering Stories This Week

  1. Pingback: Semiconductor Engineering .:. Blog Review: Nov. 2

Comments are closed.