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NASA

NASA Looking To Power Spacecraft With Lasers 91

msmoriarty writes "NASA has decided to develop methods for using lasers and/or microwave energy to 'provide external power on demand for aerospace vehicles' as part of its 'Game-Changing' technology development program. According to the announcement, 'The project will attempt to develop a low-cost, modular power beaming capability and explore multiple technologies to function as receiving elements of the beamed power. This combination of technologies could be applied to space propulsion, performance and endurance of unpiloted aerial vehicles or ground-to-ground power beaming applications. Development of such capabilities fulfills NASA's strategic goal of developing high payoff technology and enabling missions otherwise unachievable with today's technology."
The Military

Warships May Get Lasers For Close-In Defense 482

King Louie writes "Raytheon and the US Navy have successfully tested a ship-borne laser capable of shooting down aircraft. Video at the link shows the 32-kilowatt solid-state laser shooting down an unmanned aerial vehicle. The technology is apparently mature enough to be deployed as part of ships' short-range missile defenses, a role currently filled by the Basic Point Defense Missile System (based on the Sea Sparrow missile) and the Close-In Weapons System (based on a 20mm Gatling gun)."
Biotech

Air Force Treating Wounds With Lasers and Nanotech 92

An anonymous reader passes along a piece up on Wired's Danger Room about advanced medical tech that's being used in the military, but is not available generally due to the lack of FDA approval. "Forget stitches and old-school sutures. The Air Force is funding scientists who are using nanotechnology and lasers to seal up wounds at a molecular level. It might sound like Star Trek tech, but it's actually the latest in a series of ambitious Pentagon efforts to create faster, more effective methods of treating war-zone injuries. ... Instead of being sealed up with a needle and thread, a patient's wound would be coated in a dye, then exposed to green light for 2-3 minutes. The dye absorbs the light and catalyzes molecular bonds between the tissue's collagen. The bonds instantly create a seal that's watertight, which prevents inflammation or risk of infection, and speeds up the formation of scar tissue."

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