Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

I&T Weekly holiday break
I&T Weekly is taking a holiday break. We will be back on Friday, January 12, 2018 with a fresh selection of innovation and technology news. On behalf of the entire UNU-MERIT team, we wish our readers an excellent 2018!

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All headlines
  • France announces landmark ban on fossil fuel production
  • Extreme laser bursts may lead to practical nuclear fusion
  • Gene editing staves off deafness in mice
  • Integrated circuits could make quantum computers scalable
  • 'Water cloak' uses electromagnetic waves to eliminate turbulence
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
    Engineers have built the space version of a cigarette lighter to power a satellite that's set to launch soon, allowing it to change orbit while it flies around the Earth. The thrusters run on butane and will be attached to GomX-4B when it launches into space from China in February the European Space Agency said.

    It will head up at the same time as another satellite, GomX-4A, so the duo can work on an experiment together: They will have a space rendezvous designed to test out radio communications between the pair, including how they hold their link across different distances to share data with each other and with Earth.

    After getting their antennas lined up, GomX-4B will use its power to create distance between itself and its twin, testing the radio link at intervals. The thrusters are attached to pressurised fuel tanks.

    But there won't be any fire. Rather than burning propellant, these are simpler 'cold-gas' thrusters designed specifically for such a small mission. The fuel is stored under pressure, then released through a tiny rocket nozzle. Even though it's cold gas, a substantial velocity change is achieved by using liquid butane that turns to gas as it exits, according to the researchers. Storing it as a liquid, like in a cigarette lighter, allows for packing as many butane molecules as possible inside the small available volume

    Apart from the radio testing, GomX-4B is carrying an instrument to image the planet in different wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum.

    International Business Times    December 21, 2017