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A Single-Photon Server 75

Roland Piquepaille writes "A team of German physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics has built a single-photon server with just one atom. They've trapped ultra cold atoms of rubidium in a vacuum chamber and applied laser pulses from one side. The generated photons were of 'high quality,' meaning their energy was very similar from one test to another, and that their properties could be controlled. The researchers think this new way to generate single photons will help the field of quantum information processing. "

NASA's Future Inflatable Lunar Base 203

Roland Piquepaille writes "If you think that future NASA's moon camps need to have a science fiction look, you might be disappointed. Today, NASA is testing small inflatable structures. In fact, if these expandable 'tents' receive positive reviews, astronauts will 'camp' on the moon as early as 2020. These 12-foot (3.65 meter) diameter inflatable units could be used as building blocks for a future lunar base. Right now, a prototype is tested at NASA's Langley Research Center. But NASA also wants to test other inflatable structures in the not-too-friendly environment of the Antarctic next year. Still, it's too early to know if NASA's first habitable lunar base will use inflatable or rigid structures."

Fuel Efficient Five-Gear Rocket Engine Designed 122

Roland Piquepaille writes "Georgia Tech researchers have had a brilliant idea. Rocket engines used today to launch satellites run at maximum exhaust velocity until they reach orbit. For a car, this would be analog to stay all the time in first gear. So they have designed a new space rocket which works as it has a five-gear transmission system. This rocket engine uses 40 percent less fuel than current ones by running on solar power while in space and by fine-tuning exhaust velocity. But as it was designed with funds from the U.S. Air Force, military applications will be ready before civilian ones. Here is how this new rocket engine works."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.