This Huge Engineering Project May Be Our Best Chance At Colonizing Space

Space colonization has reached an impasse, for reasons far more fundamental than a lack of money for the Space Shuttle program. There is simply no way humans can travel easily offworld without using massive amounts of rocket fuel to escape the gravity well — and that’s both expensive and environmentally unsustainable.… » 6/15/15 2:06pm 6/15/15 2:06pm

Watch a nanotube being eaten, and then barfed back up, by a flake of iron

There are a lot of grown-up ways I might have chosen to write that headline, but when you watch this video you'll see why I resorted to talking like my five-year-old neighbor. Though what you're watching are simple chemical reactions under a transmission electron microscope (TEM), it's tempting to describe them in… » 5/16/12 9:13am 5/16/12 9:13am

Why Japan Probably Won't Have a Space Elevator by 2050

Japanese construction company Obayashi wants to build an elevator to space — and they want to use carbon nanotubes to get there. The Tokyo-based company plans to use 60,000-miles of the cylindrical carbon structures, anchored to Earth's surface, to shuttle an elevator to and from a distance about a tenth of the Moon's… » 2/24/12 1:20pm 2/24/12 1:20pm

Carbon nanotubes could be hiding bits of the universe

Carbon nanotubes can create a 'perfect black' that visually wipes out a dimension, making 3D objects look 2D. When draped over a substance, a thin coat of them renders the object invisible by absorbing all the light coming in. Scientists think that similar substances might be responsible for much of the 'missing… » 11/25/11 7:30am 11/25/11 7:30am

Scientists have used carbon nanotubes to engineer the most powerful artificial muscles ever

Will the wonders of carbon nanotubes never cease? Engineers have now used everyone's favorite cylindrical übermolecules to create artificial muscles that can contract and twist, in a manner not unlike like the muscles found in elephant trunks and squid tentacles. The upshot? Researchers say these tiny little motors… » 10/14/11 1:20pm 10/14/11 1:20pm

Consumer Scandals Of The Future: A Chronology

The next few decades will see miraculous improvements in consumer technology — and new and better rip-offs to go with them. No matter how advanced our science, corporations will still find ways to spam, scam and invade your privacy. Those shiny new toys will break down... or break your neck. Here's our future history… » 3/20/08 4:02pm 3/20/08 4:02pm

Nanotubes Make Synthetic Skin Feel Your Pain

Carbon nanotubes can conduct sensations through artificial skin back to the brain, making prosthetic limbs feel like the real thing. A nanotube like this one, delicately balanced on top of gold filaments, is threaded through a rubbery polymer. This nanotube-infused polymer generates electricity in response to pressure… » 1/08/08 12:00pm 1/08/08 12:00pm