"I grew up wanting to fly," says Graham Bowen-Davies. "I guess I just settled for being an engineer."
He's standing on an indoor track in southern Maryland, watching a giant helicopter take flight. At the end of each of its four spindly arms — arms he helped design and build — a giant rotor churns the air. In the cockpit sits the engine: a 0.7-horsepower, 135-pound graduate student named Kyle Gluesenkamp.
Gluesenkamp is pedaling like crazy to keep the rotors spinning and the craft aloft.
Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 3:28 pm
In 1894 Octave Chanute published a volume called "Progress In Flying." A more appropriate title would have been "Lack Of Progress In Flying." The book's detailed list of failed flying machines – from Da Vinci's famous flapping ornithopter to the fins an overconfident French nobleman strapped to his arms and legs – is very humorous. The book's detailed list of injuries suffered by would-be aviators is not.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. They're calling it Mission 26. After 25 trips in orbit, Space Shuttle Endeavour is making its final journey, this one through the streets of Los Angeles. For the next two days, the shuttle will be towed from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center in downtown L.A. where it will become a museum piece. NPR's Carrie Kahn caught up with Endeavour along its route today.
And now to one more rare thing that came from space: a meteorite. Some of the most unusual and prized meteorites fell to Earth from Mars. In a new journal article, scientists describe the latest one that was discovered, and this weekend, you can buy a piece of it. NPR's Christopher Joyce has this story of a journey from Mars to a Manhattan auction house.
CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: The meteorite is called Tissint, and it contains a unique story about Mars.
For nearly a decade, scientists and Northwest tribes in Washington state fought bitterly over whether to bury or study the 9,500-year-old bones known as Kennewick Man. Scientists won the battle, and now, after years of careful examination, they're releasing some of their findings.
For starters, Kennewick Man was buff. I mean, really beefcake. So says Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and the man who led the study of the ancient remains.
Artist Julian Hoeber's "Demon Hill," now on view at the Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York City, is modelled after a roadside attraction called a "gravitational mystery spot" — where water runs uphill and gravity doesn't behave as expected. Science Friday talked to cognitive scientist Michael Landy about what happens to our perceptual system inside the exhibition.
Curiosity scooped its first sample of Martian soil on Oct. 7, but activities were halted after a small, bright object — which NASA now says is likely a piece of plastic from the rover — was spotted on the ground. Mike Watkins, Curiosity's mission manager, provides an update.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. The 2012 Nobel Prizes were announced this week in Stockholm, and groundbreaking research on stem cells, cloning, cell receptors and quantum optics, yeah, claimed the honors this year. The physics prize was awarded to French physicist Serge Haroche and American David Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Fifty years ago this week, a team of researchers at General Electric created something new: a solid-state device that could emit visible red light without getting hot like a light bulb. Other groups have made light-emitting devices, but this was the first practical one that could make light that a person could see, rather than invisible infrared light.