The first jet engine successfully flew in August, 1939. Hans von Ohain of Germany was the designer of the first operational jet engine, though credit for the invention of the jet engine went to Great Britain’s Frank Whittle. Whittle, who registered a patent for the turbojet engine in 1930, received that recognition but did not perform a flight test until 1941. Its been more than 75 years, there has been continuous development in jet engines & has a significant increase in their efficiency. There are many types of jet engines depending on their construction & power they can deliver. Todays jet engines are able to produce so much of thrust that airplanes could fly at speeds multiple times the speed of sound ! more “Types of Jet Propulsion Engines (animations)!”
The Antikythera mechanism is more valuable than Mona Lisa !
says professor Michael Edmunds from Cardiff University, who led a 2006 study of the mechanism !
Honestly, this is one of the most mysterious, extraordinary, fascinating & interesting machine I’ve ever seen in my life ! The Antikythera mechanism is one of the most remarkable inventions of the ancient world came to light in 1900 when a Greek Sponge diver discovered the wreck of an ancient Greek or Roman cargo ship that had sunk off the Greek island of Antikythera around 80 B.C.E ! more “Antikythera mechanism – The most ancient & mysterious Greek machine !”
I mean seriously what do these engineers & scientists at NASA are made of ? How do they come up with such awesome cool stuff every time ! This time, it’s something you would not have even thought of. Yea… we are talking about NASA’s Starshade ! (watch the video below)
The project, also referred as New Worlds Mission comprises of sending a large occulter in space to block the sunlight of nearby stars(bright stars like sun) in order to observe other exoplanets(planets that orbit star other than Sun) & their orbits. The deployable structure called the Starshade is being developed by NASA’s JPL (JET PROPULSION LABORATORY) in Pasadena, California. The hunt is on for planets that resemble Earth in size, composition and temperature. Rocky planets with just the right temperature for liquid water — not too hot, not too cold — could be possible home for life outside our solar system.
Picking out the dim light of a planet from a star billions of times brighter is similar to finding a needle in a desert. In order to achieve this feat, researchers are developing techniques to block out the starlight while preserving the light emitted by the planet. This is called starlight suppression.With the starlight supressed, astronomers would be able to take actual pictures of the planets. Unlike the other space instruments, it’s one part is the starshade which will block the light while the other one – the space telescope will capture photos.
Jeremy Kasdin, a reseacher in Princeton is the principal investigator of the Starshade project. “Our current task is figuring out how to unfurl the starshade in space so that all the petals end up in the right place, with millimeter accuracy,” said Kasdin.
The flower-shaped petals are part of what makes the starshade so effective. “The shape of the petals, when seen from far away, creates a softer edge that causes less bending of light waves,” said Dr. Stuart Shaklan, JPL’s lead engineer on the starshade project. “Less light bending means that the starshade shadow is very dark, so the telescope can take images of the planets without being overwhelmed by starlight .”
“One of the starshade’s strengths is simplicity. Light from the star never reaches the telescope because it’s blocked by the starshade, which allows the telescope system to be simpler.” said Kasdin. The starshade has thrusters that will allow it to move around in order to block the light from different stars.
The starshade idea isn’t new: Lyman Spitzer, the Princeton University astronomer who lobbied for the creation of what became the Hubble Space Telescope back in the 1960s and 1970s, also suggested using such a screen in a 1962 paper. But it wasn’t until recent years that technological advances made it feasible to build one and operate it in space according to the extremely precise specifications necessary.
A video showing complete animation of the Starshade splitting of with the telescope & then moving to a position to block the sunlight !
NASA’s starshade team of engineers strongly believe that this mission is gonna be a huge success & it will lead to major exoplanet discoveries in the future. Kasdin ends up by saying,
We’ll be able to show people a picture of a dot and explain that that’s another Earth.
Designing a car & making it is not as easy as sitting & watching a movie on a couch. Making a car doesn’t just mean to join the parts we bought; it needs to have deep knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, dynamics & must also be able to do calculations which fits the rules & which doesn’t damage the car. One cannot do this being a book worm; it requires lot of creativity, ‘engineering expertise and motor racing skills. Team Ashwa has proved that they have all these qualities.
While the students in BCom colleges in Bangalore were having fun, some engineering students – the Ashwa team of RV college of Engineering; were working hard to make their super car.
Ashwa Racing is India’s premier Formula SAE (FSAE) team. The FSAE (Formula Society of Engineers) event is one in which SAE student members conceive, design, fabricate and compete with other similar formula-style student racing cars in a race organized by SAEin a different country every year.
R S Kulkarni who advises the team says:
The team is the number one formula racing university team in the country. It competes with teams from US and Europe who have vast financial and other resources at their disposal. We have to work with what we can afford. They are also competing against teams which have more than two decades experience in automotive racing. Yet the team has bagged the best Asian team award and is in the top rankings
The body of the car is made from glass fibre. Also the engine is taken from an crashed bike to reduce the expenses. They say that the engine capacity is 600 cc & can hit a top speed of 100 km/hr or a few more. It cost them around 15 lakh Rs to make it. Total 7 prototypes were made; the last one made in 2011.
Kulkarni says that this amount may seem high at first, but when compared to foreign teams who spend around whooping Rs 2 crore to design and build their own cars. “One thing we have been appreciated for is the cost-effectiveness of our car and yet its very good performance.”
The car model name was earlier RVIANZ, to commemorate student life at RVCE. Later, it was shortened to RZ.
Ashwa team has been participating in the competitions of FSAE since 2005. This is because they completed their first prototype(out of 7, as I mentioned earlier) in 2005. They participated in the competition in 2005 & 2006 in Australia followed by 2007 & 2008 in Germany & 2009-10 in Italy.
The team’s last prototype, RZ X, successfully completed the Formula ATA Italy event in 2010 winning The Best Asian Team award.
If anyone is wondering – why the word Ashwa ? what does it mean ? Well, I should tell you that Sanskrit is most ancient & philosophical language of India. According to Sanskrit, Ashwa means Stallion. Hence, the name was chosen for the team.
We Humans, being a couple of feet high, weighing barely a quintal are capable of making & building things million times bigger & heavier than us & we have proved it. Hats off to those engineers who have built them ! So lets have a look at the top 10 biggest machines of all time which we’ve never imagined of !
Rotary/gnome engines were used to power aircrafts during WW-I & radial engines during WW-II. Then came the era of jet engines which completely revolutionized the aviation technology ! Jet engines were very much efficient & powerful than those used during World wars ! The power jet engines deliver is so high that an airplane weighing hundreds of tons lifts off the ground with such ease. How are they capable of producing so much of power/thrust ? So lets not waste our time & have a look on how do jet engines work ?more “How do Gas turbines/Jet propulsion engines work ?”