• MassacresSatellite technology detects, and may prevent, genocide

    Many of the world’s worst human rights abuses, including genocides, occur in areas that are difficult to observe. “Smallsat” — short for small satellite — technology can detect human rights abuses and violations. The information collected by this technology provides evidence that can be used to corroborate refugee accounts of atrocities in international courts.

  • CyberforensicsCyber toolkit for criminal investigations

    cybercrimes reached a six-year high in 2017, when more than 300,000 people in the United States fell victim to such crimes. Losses topped $1.2 billion. Cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from their digital fingerprints.

  • SensorsKeeping first responders, high-risk workers safer

    Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen.

  • SensorsSmart sensor to enhance emergency communications

    First responders run toward danger; their jobs require it. Often, their only connection to the outside world during these rescue missions is their colleagues at the command centers who coordinate the rescue effort. with the ubiquity of IoT devices now, first responders have access to a vast, timely, and smart network of connections to the outside world.

  • Disaster planningForecasters use Iron Dome science to handle disasters

    By Abigail Klein Leichman

    Typhoons, floods, droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires — the frequency and intensity of natural disasters across the globe are worsening, and these deadly events could continue plaguing the planet as a result of climate change. Iron Dome tech firm uses rocket science to enable utilities to plan for and manage effects of wildfires, storms, hurricanes and earthquakes.

  • Planetary securityLaying groundwork for off-world colonies

    Space economy is estimated to reach $1.1 trillion by 2040, but before civilization can move off world it must make sure its structures work on the extraterrestrial foundations upon which they will be built. Researchers are already laying the groundwork for the off-world jump by creating standards for extraterrestrial surfaces.

  • Planetary securityUsing concrete for space colonies

    “Be prepared.” This famous mantra isn’t just for the Boy Scouts of America. The need to build durable infrastructure on other planets is coming, and we must be ready. To prepare, researchers have been exploring how cement solidifies in microgravity environments.

  • EarthquakesFast, simple new method for assessing earthquake hazard

    Geophysicists have created a new method for determining earthquake hazards by measuring how fast energy is building up on faults in a specific region, and then comparing that to how much is being released through fault creep and earthquakes.

  • Planetary securityAsteroids are harder to destroy than previously thought

    A popular theme in the movies is that of an incoming asteroid that could extinguish life on the planet, and our heroes are launched into space to blow it up. But incoming asteroids may be harder to break than scientists previously thought, finds a new study that used a new understanding of rock fracture and a new computer modeling method to simulate asteroid collisions.

  • CybersecurityProtect confidential information from cyberattacks

    The NSF is funding research aiming to develop new guidelines for sharing secret information through wireless communication that would improve security for users and minimizes cost.

  • ForensicsNew periodic table of droplets could help in solving crimes

    Liquid droplets assume complex shapes and behave in different ways, each with a distinct resonance – like a drum head or a violin string – depending on the intricate interrelationship of the liquid, the solid it lands on and the gas surrounding it. Researchers have created a periodic table of droplet motions, inspired in part by parallels between the symmetries of atomic orbitals. Better understanding of droplets behavior may help solve crimes.

  • Nuclear safetyRobots help in the demanding Fukushima cleanup efforts

    In 2011, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake all but decimated the Pacific Coast of Tohoku, Japan, including the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. A catastrophic meltdown ensued. Many tons of nuclear fuel, boiled down to a radioactive lava, corroded the steel surrounding the facility’s three reactors. Today, the cleanup effort is still projected to take several decades. S&T and NIST developed standard test methods for robots, which the Japanese government is now beginning to apply directly to their Fukushima cleanup efforts.

  • Nuclear safetyBetter monitoring of nuclear power plants, nuclear proliferation

    The United Kingdom is investing nearly £10 million (about $12.7 million) in a joint project with the United States to harness existing particle physics research techniques to remotely monitor nuclear reactors. Expected to be operational in 2024, the Advanced Instrumentation Testbed (AIT) project’s 6,500-ton detector will measure the harmless subatomic particles called antineutrinos that are emitted by an existing nuclear power plant 25 kilometers, or about 15.5 miles, away.

  • Earthquakes detectionLong-distance earthquake detection

    In traditional seismology, researchers studying how the earth moves in the moments before, during, and after an earthquake rely on sensors that cost tens of thousands of dollars to make and install underground. Now researchers have figured out a way to overcome these hurdles by turning parts of a 13,000-mile-long testbed of “dark fiber,” unused fiber-optic cable, owned by the DOE Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), into a highly sensitive seismic activity sensor that could potentially augment the performance of earthquake early warning systems currently being developed in the western United States.

  • EarthquakesL.A. showcases quake alert system

    California is earthquake country, and residents of Los Angeles can now get some critical warning, when conditions are right, after a quake has started and seismic waves are heading their way. The long-delayed system, called ShakeAlertLA, is the first of its kind in the United States.