Sand

  • Robots are great explorers, but one environment that’s tricky for them to navigate is through the ground. Now, engineers at UCSB and Georgia Tech have developed a snake-like robot that uses a range of methods to burrow through soft sand or soil.
  • ​If you look through the gallery, you’ll likely get the impression that we used towing with pickup trucks as an excuse to spend a day on the sand dunes in ATVs touring Zion Park. You’d be 99 percent correct in that assumption. It turns out though, even for experts, towing is more than it appears.
  • In 2011 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted dark streaks in the dust that appear in summer and vanish in winter, hinting at the influence of flowing water. On closer inspection however, a new NASA report suggests the answer may not be so simple.
  • This sandcastle isn't the kind that you make on the beach with a bucket and spade, but an ambitious project that has been declared the world's tallest sandcastle by Guinness World Records. Rising to 16.68 m (54.72 ft), it surpasses the previous record holder by almost 2 meters.
  • No sign yet of giant sandworms, but NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has sent back images that show sand ripples on the Red Planet’s dunes are of a type not found on Earth’s deserts. Created by Mars’ thin atmosphere, the information has provided new clues on the history of the planet’s atmosphere.
  • These two newly constructed hotels in the Netherlands put even the grandest and greatest bucket and spade creations to shame, taking the concept of a beach holiday to a whole new level in the process. The SandHotels are claimed to be the first in the world to be built entirely out of sand.
  • The limitations of designing sleds built only for the narrow winter market inspired Germany's KHW, the self-described world leader in plastic toboggans, to develop a special sled purpose-built for the sand. Summertime is taking a snow day.
  • Scientists recently studied one of the best sand-travelers in the animal kingdom – the sidewinder rattlesnake. After they analyzed its movement patterns and applied them to an existing snake-inspired robot, that robot was better able climb up sandy inclines.
  • In an Egyptian tomb, a painting depicts someone pouring water into the sand in front of one of the sledges that hauled the blocks used in the pyramids. According to new research, by wetting the sand, as little as half as much pulling force would have been required to move those sledges.
  • With their huge, soft tires that allow them to "float" over snow and sand, fatbikes have experienced a surge in popularity over the past few years. Now, California-based Standard Bearer Machines is offering a fat trike, known as the Rungu.
  • Designer Peter Trimble has demonstrated a radical method of manufacture that addresses energy production and raw material shortage issues. Dupe is a portable machine that uses a mixture of sand, bacteria and urine to create a material called biostone.
  • Science
    Four percent of the sand on Omaha Beach has been found to be from the degradation of shrapnel from D-Day.
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