• DRONESNew Algorithm Keeps Drones from Colliding in Midair

    By Adam Zewe

    Researchers create a trajectory-planning system that enables drones working together in the same airspace to always choose a safe path forward.

  • DISASTER-RESISTANT BUILDINGS AI Could Set a New Bar for Designing Hurricane-Resistant Buildings

    Being able to withstand hurricane-force winds is the key to a long life for many buildings on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast of the U.S. Determining the right level of winds to design for is tricky business, but support from artificial intelligence may offer a simple solution.

  • ENERGY SECURITYKites Aim to Tap Unused High-Altitude Wind Power

    By Tim Schauenberg

    There is a growing interest in harvesting what are known as high-altitude winds. At a height of 200 meters (656 feet) and more, winds tend to blow stronger and more steadily than those closer to the ground. High-altitude winds remain a huge untapped source of renewable energy, but a race to the sky is well underway.

  • COVID ORIGINSCOVID-19 Origins: New Evidence, and More Politics

    Last week, researchers released a report linking SARS-CoV-2 to six near-complete samples of raccoon-dog mitochondrial DNA sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The report says that “These results provide potential leads to identifying intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 and potential sources of human infections in the market.”

  • EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONChanneling NEXTGEN TV to Help Responders Answer the Call

    A natural disaster strikes, vehicles collide on a snowy highway, a 5-alarm fire blazes through the night. For first responders, every second counts. DHS S&T is collaborating on a new effort to arm agencies with a digital alerting system that taps into NEXTGEN public TV broadcasting technologies to deliver emergency dispatches faster.

  • EXPLOSION PREVENTIONPreventing Fires and Explosions

    Lines in natural gas grids have to be maintained and serviced regularly. This entails using flares to vent the natural gas. With FlareSimulator, research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed an assistive tool that calculates the correct distance of flares to houses, trees and other nearby objects. This makes it easy to maintain minimum distances and prevent potential hazards and explosions.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSNew Method Helps Locate Deposits of Critical Metals

    The global shift to a carbon-free energy system is set to drive a huge increase in the demand for rare or limited earth minerals. This presents an urgent need to locate new sustainable sources of these elements. New technique could help locate new deposits of critical metals needed to enable the green-energy transition.

  • LANDSLIDESAn Early Warning System for Landslides Protects Sitka, Alaska

    By Doug Irving

    A hard rain was rattling against the rooftops of Sitka, Alaska, as day broke on August 18, 2015. Just before 10 a.m., a hillside gave way. A river of mud, rocks, and broken trees surged down the slope and crashed through the subdivision.

  • ARGUMENT: COVID’S ORIGINSA Major Clue to COVID’s Origins Is Just Out of Reach

    Last week, the ongoing debate about COVID-19’s origins had yet another plot twist added to it. A French evolutionary biologist stumbled across a trove of genetic sequences extracted from swabs collected from surfaces at a wet market in Wuhan, China, shortly after the pandemic began. Katherine J. Wu writes that the sequences bolster the case for the pandemic having purely natural roots. “But what might otherwise have been a straightforward story on new evidence has rapidly morphed into a mystery centered on the origins debate’s data gaps.” Wu says that public access to the sequences was locked, and, as a result, a key set of data which could have shored up the case for a purely animal origin became unavailable to scientists.

  • SECURE COMMUNICATIONPerfectly Secure Digital Communications

    Researchers have achieved a breakthrough in secure communications by developing an algorithm that conceals sensitive information so effectively that it is impossible to detect that anything has been hidden.

  • EXPLOSIVES“Switchable” High Explosives Mitigate Risk of Accidental Detonation

    New explosives materials ensure safe transport and storage. The “switchable” high explosives that won’t detonate unless activated by being filled with an inert fluid, such as water.

  • ENERGY SECURITYIf the Price Is Right: Fusion's Future in the U.S. Could Come Down to Dollars and Cents

    By Colton Poore

    Fusion energy is often hailed as a limitless source of clean energy, but new research suggests that may only be true if the price is right. The researchers say that the engineering challenges of fusion energy are only part of the problem — the other part lies in economics.

  • SPACE INFRASTRUCTURENew “Cosmic Concrete” Is Twice as Strong as Regular Concrete

    Building infrastructure in space is currently prohibitively expensive and difficult to achieve. Future space construction will need to rely on simple materials that are easily available to astronaut. Scientists have created a new material, dubbed “StarCrete,” which is made from extra-terrestrial dust, potato starch, and a pinch of salt. It could be used to build homes on Mars.

  • NUCLEAR WEAPONSIgnition Experiment Advances Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship Mission

    When scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) achieved fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) on Dec. 5, 2022 — an extraordinary scientific breakthrough that was decades in the making — the primary mission and driving goal behind the experiment that day was stockpile stewardship science.

  • NUCLEAR WEAPONSBen Thomas: Spotlighting Careers in Nuclear Nonproliferation

    The goal of Ben Thomas of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is not only to bring universities and colleges from across the U.S. into the nonproliferation network, but also to significantly increase the number of minority-serving institutions, or MSIs, participating in the National Nuclear Security Administration Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation University Consortia.