Boeing’s Echo Voyager Can Last Six Months Underwater

Boeing is known for creating a wide range of devices. A surveillance drone here, a giant rocket there and a sprinkling of the world’s lightest metal all over creates a company that seems to explore everything on this planet and beyond. That seems to continue to be true with the Echo Voyager’s, a craft capable of lasting six months underwater.

The Echo Voyager is the latest in a long-range of underwater exploration vehicles from Boeing. The big difference in the latest 51-foot version, compared to its smaller cousins the 31ft Seeker and the 18ft Ranger, is the use of a rechargeable power system. Measuring at 7.4 miles per gallon, the volt uses a diesel generator to recharge its lithium-ion or silver zinc batteries when it reaches the surface (this avoids the exhaust being pumped into the water).

The Echo Voyager is designed for commercial release, giving companies and individuals alike to explore the depths of the ocean. Built to use standard commercial interface and satellite links, you could own your own remote-controlled underwater explorer.

Typically underwater vehicles could only spend a few days away from a ship before needing to resupply and recharge, some even opting for an “umbilical cord” solution of constantly providing the resources needed via a cable or tube. The Echo Voyager could see groups operating more autonomous from larger vessels, opening up new ways to explore the mysteries of the deep.

Navy Looking to Deploy Railgun on Destroyer

Railguns used to a work of fiction, propelling weapons on mecha suits and spaceships to fight aliens and space pirates. This changed several years ago now when BAE systems revealed a working railgun, and even more recently people started working on handheld railguns. With the original plan to mount a test railgun on the joint high-speed vessels (JHSV) this year, it comes as a surprise that there may be a rail gun in operational use before even that.

The Lyndon B Johnson, the last of three Zumwalt-class destroyers that are looking at deployment in 2018, is rumoured to be the first ship that will carry a functional railgun. The concept of a rail gun is to use magnetic charges to propel objects at high speeds without the need for explosive charges. This reduces the cost and the size of projectiles while also reducing the risk of transporting explosive materials everywhere.

The Zumwalt class of destroyers are designed for attacking land-based targets, so firing giant blocks of metal at supersonic speeds sounds like a starting point for them. The U.S. Navy’s director of surface warfare, Pete Fanta, even mused that “it’s engineering at this point, it’s no longer science”.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, catch the minute long clip of a rail gun below and realise just how far we’ve come in making those mecha-suits a reality.

Falcon 9 Sea Landing Meets an Explosive End

It was the first Falcon 9 launch by SpaceX of 2016, as well as the first since their successful rocket landing. It may have been a different rocket than the one that made the previous landing, but nonetheless, SpaceX planned to land this one too. The rocket wasn’t the only difference either, the landing target was a drone ship instead of solid ground. Sadly it wasn’t to be two great successes in a row, and while it was a close call, the rocket tipped over after landing resulting in a fiery end for the spacecraft.

The main objective of the launch was completed successfully, with NASA’s Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite delivered into orbit where it will monitor sea levels and currents. The rocket even managed to return to the platform successfully after sending the second stage off into orbit. Problems only arose once the first stage had set down on the drone ship. Due the instability of the platform and a failure of one of the rocket’s four lockout collets, the landing was short-lived, as it slowly tipped over before exploding spectacularly. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX posted a video on Instagram of the dramatic moment, as well as hinting that the cause of the failure could have been due to a buildup on ice on one of the rocket’s landing legs due to condensation from the fog at launch.

Despite being another failure in the SpaceX campaign to land a rocket on a platform at sea, it is clear that they are learning from their mistakes. Despite ending more dramatically that their other attempts, the landing itself showed that clear progress had been made towards a successful landing. Being able to land a rocket on a ship is important to SpaceX’s campaign for rocket reusability, as it allows for a wider variety of launch locations to be used, without requiring a ground landing site nearby.

US concerned Over Russian Activity Near Undersea Data Cables

Tensions between nations over Cyber warfare have increased dramatically over the last 5 years, from the US accusing China and Russia of systematically hacking into highly sensitive government systems through industrial means, to groups affiliated with IS and similar terrorist organisations who have cyber attacked various departments. Now, Washington is reportedly becoming concerned that Russia and its fleet of military submarines could in theory cut vital undersea cables that carry almost all global communications.

As yet there is no evidence to suggest Russia or any other country has attempted this, but, according to US intelligence, or lack of sometimes, who are monitoring a significant and increased “Russian activity along the known routes of the cables, which carry the lifeblood of global electronic communications and commerce”.

It was reported last month (Sep 2015) that a Russian spy ship “equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft, cruised slowly off the East Coast of the United States on its way to Cuba — where one major cable lands near the American naval station at Guantanamo Bay”. US officials state this spy ship has the ability to launch submersible vehicles that in turn could cut data cables situated miles down in the sea.

The Pentagon is also concerned that Russia is attempting to hunt for cables at much greater depths than originally thought where such data lines are harder to both monitor and repair. The significance of these data cables is vast considering it has been estimated that they carry “global business worth more than $10 trillion dollars a day, including from financial institutions that settle transactions on them every second”

Is this all smoke and mirrors? Possibly, it’s difficult to know how much of this information is genuine and if so how much is actually being planned. If Russia succeeded in cutting vital cables then this would lead to a dramatic set of circumstances. One thing to bare in mind is that Putin quite likes the idea of censorship and could be looking at cutting Russia off from outside influences. What we do know is countries, for example Russia and China, have a vested interest in disrupting countries such as the US, but having said that, the US and others also have well-documented interests in intercepting gigantic amounts of data from other countries. It’s the same practice in a different pair of shoes, from both World Wars, the Cold War to modern-day cyber spying, countries want others data and will plot while both sides remain unsure of the final outcome.

Image source

The Surfboard that Acts Like a Hoverboard

With it being 2015 and with that being the future according to Back to the Future, we’ve seen a number of devices that claim to be hoverboards or devices that act somewhat like them. While many of the so-called hover boards we have today barely get off the ground and move quite slowly, one board seemingly ticks all the boxes; except that it only runs over water.

Meet the Foilboard – a new board that is essentially a surf board with a hydrofoil motor attached to it. Once the surfer using the board gets up to speed, he or she can almost literally fly above the water. It’s amazing to watch – it’s like a motorised surfboard, a surfboard faster and more capable than any other.

Be sure to watch famous surfer Laird Hamilton give the board a try in the video below.

Source: Gizmodo

Israeli Defense Force Recently Hacked By The Syrian Electronic Army

The official Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Twitter account was recently hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), saying there was a possible nuclear leak.

It’s a clever tactic to try to embarrass the IDF, but this latest round was more of a headache and annoyance than anything else. Not surprisingly, the Tweets were quickly deleted, but included messages such as:

“#WARNING: Possible nuclear leak in the region after 2 rockets hit Dimona nuclear facility.”

The SEA confirmed its actions:

SEA and other hacker groups that target IDF – and official Western social media accounts – like to try to spread panic or mock the hacking victims. The IDF pledged to fight cyberterrorism, but may find it difficult if hackers are not within reach of criminal prosecution.

Recently, the IDF conducted coordinated airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, targeting militants following the kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis.

Thank you to RT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of SEA