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Earth

China Plans To Mine the Yellow Sea Floor 223

eldavojohn writes "Details are limited but state media is reporting on $75 million being put into a new research facility in Qingdao, Shandong Province that will conduct research into mining the sea floor. From the article: 'Scientists believe sea beds at a depth of 4,000 to 6,000 meters hold abundant deposits of rare metals and methane hydrate, a solidified form of natural gas bound into ice that can serve as a new energy source.' The research center's first goal is to do surveying and exploration with a new submersible named 'Jiaolong' (a mythical aquatic Chinese dragon). Hopefully these quests yield energy resources to meet growing demand for resources like liquefied coal in China."
Robotics

Toward Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Technology 137

coondoggie writes with a NetworkWorld piece that begins, "Researchers at Purdue will soon experiment with an unmanned aircraft that pretty much flies itself with little human intervention. The aircraft will use a combination of global-positioning system technology and a guidance system called AttoPilot ... to guide the aerial vehicle to predetermined points. Researchers can be stationed off-site to monitor the aircraft and control its movements remotely. AttoPilot was installed in the aircraft early this year, and testing will begin in the spring, researchers said."

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