California Institute of Technology

  • Four-wheeled robotic rovers may be a good choice for the exploration of other planets, but they could conceivably get stuck at the bottom of deep craters. NASA's DuAxel rover is designed with that in mind, as it splits in two for steep descents.
  • If a Mars rover ever were to find signs of life on the Red Planet, chances are that it would be in the form of compounds detected in the soil. A newly designed device could better help it do so, as compared to existing technologies.
  • Forget steel, forget diamond and even forget graphene – “nuclear pasta” may be the strongest material in the universe. This strange substance is formed in the intense pressures inside neutron stars, and researchers have now run computer simulations to test just how strong it is.
  • A team of engineers has created a steel alloy that is much stronger than ordinary steel and is so resilient that it bounces back into shape, even when blasted with a cannon. The researchers believe it could make super-strong armor or help protect space vehicles from micrometeorites.
  • In October, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. California unveiled a new and improved version of its RoboSimian robot. Called Surrogate, it has many advantages over its predecessor, but it's RoboSimian that is going to next year's DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals.
  • Albert Einstein will be forever remembered for his famous E=mc2 formula, but there was much more to the man than this. To show this, Princeton University has now released an online archive of his documents spanning the years 1897 - 1923 that provides much insight into the man and his life.