NASA has selected 10 education organizations to share approximately $7.7 million in grants with the hope of attracting more students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The money will go toward interactive exhibits, virtual worlds, professional development activities and community-based programs.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) demonstrated the launch of an all-electric, fuel cell-powered unmanned aerial system (UAS) from a submerged submarine. Operating under support of the USS Providence and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport Division, the NRL developed the eXperimental Fuel Cell (XFC) UAS, which was fired from the submarine’s torpedo tube using a Sea Robin launch vehicle system. The Sea Robin launch system was designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister (TLC). Once deployed from the TLC, the Sea Robin launch vehicle with an integrated XFC rose to the ocean surface.
Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have created “Tinker Toys for chemists” by devising a new way to realize electrical conductivity in metal-organic framework (MOF) materials. The technique increases the property in one MOF by more than six orders of magnitude. While Tinker Toys connect by using sticks to link wood pieces, the MOFs employ metal ions and organic molecules to create the same effect. By filling the empty space with guest molecules, scientists achieved the greater electrical conduction.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently joined with a coalition of private-sector partners from the telecommunications industry to expand the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program, a new nonprofit effort aimed at connecting veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry. The program is designed to help address the shortage of skilled jobs for returning veterans while satisfying the wireless industry’s immediate need for skilled employees.
Eight emerging cybersecurity technologies developed by the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories will be featured at the Transition-to-Practice Technology Demonstration Day for Investors, Integrators and IT Companies East event on December 18 in Washington, D.C. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate will unveil new capabilities for intrusion detection, removable media protection, software assurance and malware forensics.
Members of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology have found that cybersecurity for government and industry organizations requires a set of processes that continuously couple information about an evolving threat to defensive reactions and responses. In a report to the president, the council shared its six findings and correlating recommendations for remedies to better security information technology in both the public and private sectors.
Researchers funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created a new class of photonic waveguides with signal losses approaching that of optical fiber, resulting in a smaller, more precise component. Optical fiber has a low signal loss, enabling it as the backbone of the Internet. But connecting fiber optics with microchip-scale photonic systems traditionally has required sensitive, labor-intensive assembly with a large number of connections, resulting in signal loss.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expanding its Young Faculty Award (YFA) program research topics to 18 and is now allowing FYA researchers to work with subcontractors. The 2014 FYA solicitation includes technical topic areas in the physical sciences, engineering, materials, mathematics, biology, computing, informatics and manufacturing disciplines. The research must be of interest to DARPA’s Defense Sciences and Microsystems Technology offices. Eligible applicants must be employed in U.S. institutions of higher learning and withing five years of appointment to a tenure-track position.
The third Abu Dhabi Science Festival runs this year from November 14 to 23, with more than 25,000 students expected to attend. The children will participate in workshops, shows and interactive exhibits that will expose them to various scientific disciplines. Approximately 900 science communicators will work to make the education possible, focusing on delivering programs in ways that engage and excite the next generation of scientists. Private companies also will take part.
Lt. Cmdr. Damon Loveless, USN, communicates with the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington to coordinate airlift operations from Tacloban airfield to nearby villages in support of operation Damayan. In coordination with Joint Task Force 505, the George Washington Strike Group is assisting the Philippine government in ongoing efforts in response to super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Republic of the Philippines.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced that the U.S. Army has committed to a multivendor, multiaward acquisition process—set to be finalized by the end of this month—that will allow multiple companies to compete for the Joint Tactical Radio System Manpack and Handheld Rifleman Radio contracts. The new acquisition approach also will allow the Army to select multiple contractors to each make a percentage of the radios. Prior to this decision, the Army was pursuing a single-vendor process for each of its next-generation radio contracts.
To ensure the integrity of its mission to protect the nation’s information technology infrastructure, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated a review of its development process for cryptographic standards and guidelines amid reports of leaked classified documents.
A team led by Sandia National Laboratories scientists has created a tunable plasmonic crystal that could increase the bandwidth of high-speed communication networks and enhance high-speed electronics. The researchers accomplished the effect by making the plasma-containing crystal agile in transmitting terahertz light at varying frequencies. “Usually, electromagnetically induced transparencies in more widely known systems like atomic gases, photonic crystals and metamaterials require tuning a laser’s frequencies to match a physical system,” the scientists explain. “Here, we tune our system to match the radiation source. It’s inverting the problem, in a sense.”
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) closed data center operations in Dayton, Ohio, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and transferred the functions of these centers to other Defense Enterprise Computing centers (DECCs) on October 1. The reallocation of operations from Dayton and Chambersburg enables the agency to consolidate and converge existing information technology infrastructures to gain financial and operational efficiencies across the enterprise, according to an agency announcement. It also supports the adoption of the Joint Information Environment (JIE), a major U.S.
One of the U.S. Army’s top priorities is ensuring the right information is available in any environment down to the lowest tactical level on the battlefield. Oshkosh Defense, recently demonstrated its command, control, communications and computers (C4) and systems integration capabilities to connect soldiers to the network on its MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). Oshkosh integrates C4 equipment and a full range of weapons and other systems in the initial vehicle design process to reduce potential system conflicts or interference.
Defense sector-specific solutions are driving growth in the cybersecurity market and will continue to do so through 2016. According to a Research and Markets report, the escalating amount of data stored in defense information systems and the increased number of cyberthreats are a major driver of this trend. As a result, companies are focusing on developing security products dedicated specifically to the defense sector.
The U.S. Army National Guard has integrated the Company Intelligence Support Team (COIST) workstation with its counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) training to improve operations in the field. The information pre-posted in the workstation enables intelligence teams to synthesize data more quickly into a complete intelligence brief that describes terrain and weather effects as well as enemy forces and tactics. COIST offers access to a One Station Remote Viewing Terminal, a Tactical Ground Reporting system, real-time aerial reconnaissance video feeds from a RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial system (UAS) and other tools. Feeds from the UAS improve units’ ability to watch over convoys, which is important for early warning of IEDs.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and personnel aboard the USS Lake Erie successfully conducted an operational flight test of the latest version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System. The test demonstrated the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile. At approximately 7:33 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and flew northwest toward a broad ocean area. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created prototypes of cube-shaped robots the size of a child’s building block, which can climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground and move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces. Built without external moving parts, the M-Block robots feature an internal flywheel that can reach speeds of up to 20,000 revolutions per minute. The edges and surfaces of the M-Block include magnets that enable cubes to attach to each other. Designed with beveled edges, a slight gap forms between their magnets when the blocks near each other.
Industry and government personnel believe that event cancellations and travel restrictions are having a negative impact on innovation and collaboration. According to one survey, the massive decrease in conferences that facilitate intelligence gathering and networking will adversely affect government contractors’ abilities to provide the most up-to-date information, solutions and best practices that government agencies require.