AE Current Events

Per CAPP-15, the squadron AEO, "conducts weekly updates of AE current events."

These current events will be updated prior to each MAWG Wing Staff meeting (normally held first Wednesday of the month).  Please feel free to use them at your own units, and forward any interesting current events you might have to
me to include here.

The following are current events for the May 2017 staff meeting:

1.  Mars’ atmosphere “blown away”:  The NASA MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) probe has detected evidence that although there is plenty of the Argon-38 isotope in the atmosphere, there is surprisingly little of the lighter Argon-36 isotope.  This leads astronomers to believe that the Martian atmosphere was torn away from the planet by the solar wind.  Additionally, they believe much of Mars’ CO2 also was similarly blown away; Mars probably had a warmer (and wetter) climate billions of years ago.

2.  DARPA completes testing scale model hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft:  the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, who brought us things like the Internet), has completed testing a tiny (~322-pound) version of a hybrid-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  They will now move to develop the full-scale (~12,000 lbs.) version, that will fly at more than 300 knots and hover like a helicopter.

3.  Move over flying cars, how about a flying truck drone?  At least that’s what Advanced Tactics, a California company, wants us to consider.  They’ve built and tested a drone that will fly packages part way, then drive itself up to your doorstep to deliver the item.  As to how the customer would accept delivery, that can be done automatically, or a remote operator can talk the customer through it.

4.  One of Saturn’s moons has geothermal energy:  Last year, NASA’s Cassini space probe observed geysers emanating from Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons.  Scientists have no hypothesized that Enceladus’ ocean is in contact with the core of the moon, which is heated by tidal forces from Saturn.  This is what they believe is causing the geysers.

5.  USAF demonstrates autonomous F-16:  Going beyond the Reaper or Predator drones, Lockheed-Martin and the Air Force have created an F-16 drone that figures out on its own how to accomplish its mission.  The test they conducted showed the F-16 not only got to the target, but dealt with an air threat in the middle of the mission and kept going.  “Regards to Captain Dunsail.”  (Ask a fan of the original Star Trek about the episode, “The Ultimate Computer.”)

 6.  A different type of flying car:  Metro Skyways, an Israeli company, is working on developing a four-passenger autonomous flying car that not only will be VTOL, but also will be powered by hydrogen (eventually; initially it will be powered by jet fuel).  No word on when the CityHawk, as it will be known, will be completed or how much it will cost.

7.  DoD launch by a private company:  Private space company SpaceX successfully launched a spy satellite for the DoD National Reconnaissance Office.  Following the launch, the Falcon rocket first stage successfully returned to a launch pad at Cape Canaveral to be reused for a future flight.  (See the video on the URL for a FPV of the 1st stage returning to Earth.)

Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman,
May 3, 2017, 10:11 AM