Tag Archives: Feature

Inventing the ultimate suspension system

To hear tiny vibrations from half a galaxy away, first you need to filter out the Earth’s constant rumbling.

At gravitational wave observatories such as the European Advanced Virgo in Italy, scientists try to detect ripples in spacetime caused by colliding black holes and other stellar cataclysms.

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The world’s largest scientific instrument

In a whisper-quiet area of the outback in Western Australia, 133,000 radio telescope antennas are about to be built.

When complete, they’ll be able to pick up radio signals from the time when the first stars in the universe formed.

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50 CubeSats to explore the thermosphere

Australian universities joined a European fleet of CubeSats to explore a little-known layer of the atmosphere.

In May 2017, the European Union led a mission called QB50 to launch a constellation of 50 mini-satellites from the International Space Station. The pocket-sized CubeSats set out to study the thermosphere, the layer of Earth’s atmosphere between 90 and 600 kilometres above the ground that carries signals from GPS and other satellites.

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Hypersonic travel

Brussels to Sydney in less than three hours.

A passenger jet could one day fly halfway around the world in just a few hours. That’s the goal of the High-speed Experimental Fly project (HEXAFLY): going beyond the supersonic realm pioneered by the now-defunct Concorde to reach hypersonic speeds more than five times as fast as sound.

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International eye in the sky

The Copernicus Earth-observation program delivers a steady stream of information about how the planet changes from day to day.

Run by the European Commission and the European Space Agency, Copernicus uses satellites called Sentinels that continuously monitor Earth from space and tools on the ground for calibration and cross-checking.

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Compound interest

What happens when disaster builds on disaster

Climate change will bring hotter weather and rising seas, but what it means for natural disasters such as floods and fires is less clear.

Part of the difficulty is that such catastrophes are often “compound events” in which multiple factors combine to wreak havoc.

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3D printing carbon fibre at industrial scale

Swinburne University researchers have developed a way to bring 3D printing with carbon fibre composites to an industrial scale.

Strong, lightweight carbon fibre composites can be used to make everything from aeroplanes and high-end race cars to sports equipment, and they are in high demand.

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Sharing knowledge, fighting fires

Southern Australia and Mediterranean Europe’s common problem: bushfires

Bushfires are becoming more intense and increasing their range—so European and Australian researchers have initiated a five-year joint project to combat the threat.

“New regions are becoming affected by recurrent fires,” says Associate Professor Marc Demange from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).

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How much carbon can we dig in?

Healthy soil for a healthy planet

To rein in global warming, scientists believe it will not be enough to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions: we will also need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Soils are an important reservoir for carbon, as they contain nearly double that found in the atmosphere and vegetation combined. Agricultural practices have degraded soil carbon stocks, so there is a large potential for atmospheric carbon to be sequestered in soils.

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