Navy odor-sniffing robots

Aircraft carrier crews are likely to get rather pungent as they perform the hard tasks of assembling, loading and hauling the massive weaponry that gives the U.S. Navy its edge, says todays edition of DangerRoom.

“To make their lives easier, the Navy’s exploring the idea of developing a ‘robotic semiautonomous swarm on a ship’that can actually smell its way to weapons prep, thanks to an artificial pheromone. Conceptually, the project is somewhat similar to existing warehouse robots, which use optical navigation systems that recognize markings on floors and walls.Unknown-1 Except this research concept is a bit smellier. The Navy wants its defense-industry partners to “identify [a] chemical capable of meeting environmental and health requirements” which can act as a pheromone. Continue reading “Navy odor-sniffing robots”

US considers nuking the moon

Honestly, this isn’t our day for joke entries. In this next item the U.S. Air Force is considering nuking the moon. (Aren’t we in a bit of a fiscal jam?). Slate reports it thus:

“The U.S. Air Force considered detonating a nuclear device on the moon during the late 1950s. In a recent interview with CNN, physicist Leonard Reiffel, who worked on the project, explained that the single explosion would have been “microscopic” with little impact on the moon. But what if it had been bigger—do we have enough nuclear weapons to push the moon out of orbit?

“Not even close. Depending on where the detonation happened, sending the moon careening away from Earth would take somewhere between 10 billion and 10 trillion megatons of TNT. The most powerful nuclear device ever detonated, the Soviet Union’s “Tsar Bomba,” yielded the energy equivalent of 50 megatons of TNT. The combination of every nuclear device ever tested represents just over 500 megatons of TNT worth Continue reading “US considers nuking the moon”