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Future Airplanes Could Have Fish-Like Scales. Here’s Why

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If the average person was asked to think of ways that future airplanes could be improved, “making them more fish-like” probably isn’t going to be among the top suggestions. But if researchers from City, University of London are correct, this could be one of the best decisions aircraft manufacturers could make.

In a new study, involving researchers from City and Germany’s University of Stuttgart, investigators set out to explore how fish-inspired scales could be used to improve the aerodynamics of aircraft by reducing drag. This, in turn, would mean faster aircraft speeds and less fuel consumption.

“We investigated how the surface of fish, with patterns of overlapping scales, [are used as] a means of reducing the drag of the fish body,” Professor Christoph Bruecker, City’s Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Nature-Inspired Sensing and Flow Control for Sustainable Transport, told Digital Trends. “The scales seemingly reduce the friction drag, proven by detailed flow measurements [taken using] biomimetic scales.”

Experiments carried out by the researchers involved a special laminar water tunnel at the University of Stuttgart that was used to test the City hypothesis by comparing the drag on both a smooth flat plate and a flat plate covered in fake scales. (Such experiments would, Bruecker pointed out, be difficult to perform using real fish.) The idea is that the fish-scale array produces a zigzag motion of fluid in overlapping regions of the animal’s surface, which reduces skin friction drag by upward of 25 percent.

Unless something has gone slightly wrong, planes aren’t usually traveling in water, of course. But similar effects — involving the “physical principle of streaky flow generation” through overlapping scales — could also make the wings of aircraft more aerodynamic in flight. It may also have possible application in the design of future

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China determined to dominate future mining with Origin Space

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In November, a Chinese space mining startup, Origin Space, will launch the world’s first space mining robot into Earth orbit (designated NEO-1). Once in orbit, NEO-1 will perform a series of tests to ensure it works properly. This proof-of-concept is the first of its kind and, if successful, will pave the way for China’s budding space mining industry to take flight.

It is believed that the world’s first trillionaire will come from the space mining industry. Following the launch of NEO-1, Origin Space plans to place a small observation satellite, Yuanwang-1 (or “Little Hubble”), in Earth orbit next year to search for mineable asteroids. Beijing has identified space mining as new strategic industry that China must dominate in order to fulfill President Xi Jinping’s goal of making the People’s Republic of China the world’s hegemon by 2049.

For President Xi to realize his “China Dream” of global domination by 2049, China has embraced what I refer to as The Field of Dreams mentality when it comes to high-tech innovation and space dominance: If you build it, they will come. By building the world’s first viable space mining companies and creating the infrastructure needed to support long-range space operations, Beijing believes that it can woo foreign talent and investment away from the United States and into China. There is reason to believe that Beijing’s assumptions are correct. 

The United States has possessed the ability to venture into space and mine the various celestial bodies for decades. Yet, until the Trump administration came along, America failed to exploit space in the way that China intends to. A succession of American leaders, Democrat and Republican alike — including former Vice President Joe Biden — allowed for America’s advantages in space to erode. Now, China’s NEO-1 test scheduled for November is yet another

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Future of Education: What Americans Think About Returning To School During A Pandemic

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With the school year starting up again, families are tacking how to handle their students going back to classrooms, in person or remotely. Pollster And Senior Vice President of Ipsos, Chris Jackson, joins Hill TV to discuss how Americans are feeling about sending their kids to school.

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