Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.
- U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
- Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
- While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
High frequency gravitational wave generator.
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
A craft using an inertial mass reduction device.
Credit: Salvatore Pais
Laser Augmented Turbojet Propulsion System
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
Meet a spectacular new blue—the first inorganic new blue in some time.
Invisible blue<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU0Nzc5OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQzMjQ0Nn0.r4iAspCpkjhfmB6neEna_X52j_sXAZH_nZ3hVOraotw/img.png?width=980" id="263c5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a250803dd92abeb36e0de300a59a0442" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
So, um the color of the sky is...?
Credit: Constant Loubier/Unsplash<p>YInMn Blue is the latest character in an odd story: humanity's relationship with the color blue.</p><p>For a long time, humans apparently took no note of blue, which is weird. Though blue isn't especially common in vegetation and stone, there's no other color that so envelops us — in the sky above and on the face of the oceans that surround us. (BTW, the late George Carlin once lamented a paucity of <a href="https://youtu.be/l04dn8Msm-Y" target="_blank">blue foods</a>.)</p><p>There are no ancient European year-old cave paintings with blue pigments, though it does appear in <a href="http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/artist-paints/prehistoric-colour-palette.htm" target="_blank">some African cave art</a>. There's no mention of it in the Bible. Though there are plenty of references in Homer's Odyssey to white and black, and a few to red and yellow, there's no blue. He refers to the color of the sea as "wine-dark."</p><p>Some historians hypothesize that early humans might have been <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/bodysphere/features/5267698" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">color-blind</a>, capable only of seeing black, white, red, and eventually yellow and green. Perhaps they just weren't very interested in the idea of color altogether.</p><p>Maybe, though, a more likely explanation is that lacking a concept and a word for blue, ancient people lacked a frame of reference for understanding what they were seeing. <a href="https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/segments/211213-sky-isnt-blue" target="_blank">Radiolab</a> did a fascinating episode about this possibility.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013c8tb" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BBC documentary</a> found that people from a Namibian tribe with no separate words for green and blue couldn't differentiate green from blue squares, though there's some <a href="https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=17970" target="_blank">controversy</a> about the experiment. What is true, though, is that Eskimos see more types of snow because they have <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/there-really-are-50-eskimo-words-for-snow/2013/01/14/e0e3f4e0-59a0-11e2-beee-6e38f5215402_story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">50 words</a> for it. (The word "Eskimo" groups together the people of the Inuit and Yupik families.) We see just a few.</p>
Blue arrives<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU0Nzg1NC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTU4NjkzMH0.s2wChaijRcw0n0X07MLIsEckXZ5rq6G5ZLEMnlxVVbk/img.png?width=980" id="6e44c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ce61377449b9427b7af6490ea036dee6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: Geert Pieters/Unsplash<p>While Homer, et al., were stumbling around clueless, it seems that the first folks to get blue were the ancient Egyptians, who were entranced by the semiprecious Afghan stone <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapis_lazuli" target="_blank">lapis lazuli</a> about <a href="https://www.dunnedwards.com/colors/specs/posts/color-blue-history" target="_blank">6,000 years ago</a>. They gave the color a name—<em>ḫsbḏ-ỉrjt</em>—and used the stone liberally in jewelry and headdresses.</p><p>The Egyptians even attempted to make paint from the mineral, but failed. In 2,200 B.C. they finally succeeded at producing a light-blue paint, <em>cuprorivaite</em> or "Egyptian blue," from heated limestone, sand, and azurite or malachite. Egypt's precious blue pigments eventually became valued by royalty in Persia, Mesoamerica, and Rome.</p><p>The earliest successful lapis lazuli paint—and ultimately Europe's first great blue—appeared in 6th century Buddhist paintings from Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Imported into Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultramarine" target="_blank">ultramarine</a>—from <em>ultramarinus</em>, or "beyond the sea"—was used only in expensive commissioned artwork until a French chemist developed a cheaper, synthetic version in 1826. True ultramarine was both so coveted and pricey that, according to the <a href="https://mymodernmet.com/shades-of-blue-color-history/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Metropolitan Museum</a>, Vermeer impoverished his family to purchase it, and there's a story that one of Michelangelo's paintings, "<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Entombment_Michelangelo.jpg" target="_blank">The Entombment</a>," was left unfinished because he couldn't afford the ultramarine it required. At the other end of the cost spectrum was the affordable blue dye indigo, made from the plant <em>Indigofera tinctoria</em>, and imported to Europe in the 16th-century.</p><p>Over time, more blues appeared. In 1706, German dye-maker Johann Jacob Diesbach came up with Berliner Blau, or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_blue" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Prussian blue</a>, accidentally when potash he was using to make red pigment was contaminated with animal blood that paradoxically turned it blue. 1802 saw the invention of cobalt blue, based on the 8th- and 9th-century blue pigments used in Chinese porcelain, by French chemist Louis Jacques Thénard. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerulean" target="_blank">Cerulean blue</a>—from <em>caerulum</em>, meaning "heave" or "sky"—was the last major blue introduced before YInMn Blue. It was invented by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Albrecht_H%C3%B6pfner&action=edit&redlink=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Albrecht Höpfner</a> in 1789.</p>
Back to the new blue<p>The discovery of YInMn Blue occurred when chemistry grad student Andrew Smith was heating manganese oxide to approximately 1200 °C (~2000 °F) to investigate its electronic properties. To his surprise, what emerged from the heat was a brilliant blue compound. <a href="https://chemistry.oregonstate.edu/content/story-yinmn-blue" target="_blank">Recalls</a> Subramanian: "If I hadn't come from an industry research background — DuPont has a division that developed pigments, and obviously, they are used in paint and many other things — I would not have known this was highly unusual, a discovery with strong commercial potential."</p><p>Subramanian knew, he told <a href="https://www.npr.org/2016/07/16/485696248/a-chemist-accidentally-creates-a-new-blue-then-what" target="_blank">NPR</a> in 2016, "People have been looking for a good, durable blue color for a couple of centuries." OSU art students soon began experimenting with the new color, incorporating it in <a href="https://aquarellesdemasbleu.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">watercolors</a> and <a href="http://www.carolchapel.com/block.html" target="_blank">printing</a>. In 2012, Subramanian's team received a patent for YInMn Blue.</p><p>Bonus: Previous blue pigments are prone to fading and are often toxic. These are problems that don't afflict YInMn Blue. "The fact that this pigment was synthesized at such high temperatures signaled that this new compound was extremely stable, a property long sought in a blue pigment," says Subramanian in the <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja9080666" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">study</a> documenting YInMn Blue.</p><p>Subramanian and his colleagues have been developing colors ever since, including new bright oranges, new purples, and turquoises and greens. Currently, they're on the hunt for a chromatic Holy Grail: a stable, heat-reflective, and brilliant, red. It's a challenge. While red is among the oldest colors, Subramanian calls the shade he seeks "the most elusive color to synthesize."</p>
Researchers find a way to distort laser light to survive a trip through disordered obstacles.
- Lasers are great for measuring—if they can get a clear view of their target.
- In biomedical applications, there's often disordered stuff in the way of objects needing measurement.
- A new technique leverages that disorder to formulate a custom-made, optimal laser light beam.
Understanding the problem<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUzNjkxMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODU2NDUwMn0.S48hywSM4tiNdTudLfryQ3JLPz5p4qRI_I2a2XB5KYA/img.jpg?width=980" id="3f2d8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="611410d6114f9f023e7bfb4a070b3342" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="822" />
Credit: gavran333/Adobe Stock<p>When working with lasers or any other measurement tool, "You always want to achieve the best possible measurement accuracy — that's a central element of all natural sciences," says paper co-author <a href="https://rottergroup.itp.tuwien.ac.at" target="_blank">Stefan Rotter</a> of TU Wien in a <a href="https://www.tuwien.at/en/tu-wien/news/news-articles/news/optimale-information-ueber-das-unsichtbare" target="_blank">press release</a>. A highly focused laser beam is an ideal tool for this. However, getting it through a disordered barrier without destroying the integrity of the beam is a challenge.</p><p>The researchers describe the problem using the example of the type of frosted glass one might encounter in a bathroom window. Explains Utrecht University's <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=3Ju6wZgAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Allan Mosk</a>, another co-author, "Let's imagine a panel of glass that is not perfectly transparent, but rough and unpolished like a bathroom window." To keep people from seeing into the bathroom, "Light can pass through, but not in a straight line. The light waves are altered and scattered, so we can't accurately see an object on the other side of the window with the naked eye."</p><p>This is not very different from what happens when a scientist tries to examine some tiny object inside biological tissue. The disordered stuff between the scientist and the object turns the concentrated laser beam into a complex wave pattern that scatters on its way through the visual barrier.</p>
The new solution<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUzNjkxNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDM0NTIyMn0.2QcQqImiRII5DsSCY_FruZqwdm9KGQeok2vH8nH8n5s/img.jpg?width=980" id="73e8d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="87eac5452c297f3ee356fa0ca5217625" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="992" />
Credit: TU Wien<p>The researchers have found that they can modify a laser's light in anticipation of the way it will travel through the disordered environment so that it hits its target on the other side with sufficient coherence for making accurate measurements.</p><p>While that optimal wave may not be a pure, pristine laser light, it's nonetheless just the light wave needed to successfully make its way through that particular barrier. The researchers were able to develop a mathematical procedure that gives them the distortion required to produce such a wave. Says first author <a href="https://scholar.google.fr/citations?user=13WGC2EAAAAJ&hl=fr" target="_blank">Dorian Bouchet</a>, also of Utrecht University, "You can show that for various measurements there are certain waves that deliver a maximum of information as, e.g., on the spatial coordinates at which a certain object is located."</p><p>Bouchet adds, "To achieve this, you don't even need to know exactly what the disturbances are. It's enough to first send a set of trial waves through the system to study how they are changed by [it]."</p><p>Returning to the glazed bathroom window example, the system would identify an optimal light wave that could travel through the disordered glass and still accurately measure movement of a person behind the glass.</p>
Testing the system<p>The researchers confirmed that their formula worked in experiments at Utrecht in which they were able to make nano-scale measurements using a laser that successfully transited a turbid plate playing the role of a disordered medium. They also tried simpler and simpler laser beams—reducing the number of photons being used—to see how far they could push their system. They found that it even with the simplest laser possible, it still performed satisfactorily.</p><p>Says Mosk, "We see that the precision of our method is only limited by the so-called quantum noise. This noise results from the fact that light consists of photons—nothing can be done about that." Still, he says, "within the limits of what quantum physics allows us to do for a coherent laser beam, we can actually calculate the optimal waves to measure different things. Not only the position, but also the movement or the direction of rotation of objects."</p>
The satellite would burn instead of becoming more space debris.
- Orbiting around Earth are hundreds of thousands of bits of space debris.
- Some of this stuff comes plummeting down eventually, but not enough of it.
- Wood satellites would burn up in the atmosphere without falling on anyone or anything.
It's a mess up there<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTEyMTk5Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTA3MjMyMH0.zsNUvN1nv_XfYSqJFYlShouIMECG83T5cgr_fjIPlGM/img.jpg?width=980" id="bbd31" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3f0cc49ce289531245c6dbd612b172b2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: JohanSwanepoel/Adobe Stock<p>NASA is currently tracking over <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/orbital_debris.html" target="_blank">500,000 pieces</a> of satellite debris circling the Earth. These bits of mostly aluminum junk whip around the planet as fast as 17,500 mph and constitute a floating minefield that active and manned space vehicles have to find their way through without being struck, or worse, punctured. And those are just the bits large enough to be tracked—those bigger than a marble. There are many more too small to keep an eye on. And the situation is getting worse, with projects such as SpaceX's estimated <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-starlink-internet-satellites-percent-failure-rate-space-debris-risk-2020-10" target="_blank">42,000 satellites</a> or Amazon's <a href="https://www.space.com/amazon-kuiper-satellite-constellation-fcc-approval.html" target="_blank">Kuiper project</a>.</p><p>The wood satellites being developed won't do much to solve <em>that</em> problem. However, they will help out with another one: what happens to space debris when its orbit decays and it falls back to Earth? We've been lucky so far. No serious impacts have yet been documented, but with all the discarded metal up there, it seems only a matter of time until something hits somebody or some important thing here on the ground. On top of that, some of it never falls all the way down, and is left as tiny bits of floating metal in the atmosphere. </p><p>Japanese astronaut and professor at Kyoto University Takao Doi tells the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55463366" target="_blank">BBC</a>, "We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth's atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years."</p><p>(Fun side note: During Doi's visit to the ISS in March 2008, he became the first person to throw a boomerang in space. It was designed specifically for microgravity.)</p><p>The proposed wooden satellites to be launched by 2023 will simply burn up harmlessly on their way down through the atmosphere.</p>
Wooden response<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTEyMjAzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTE1NTQwOH0.A_O4xbbvLiXN9-PUSQRz3f1riARCcDeobhKztBYXC80/img.jpg?width=980" id="8cf3a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7f8d7406e8d6847e017d4609c28eb792" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="aerial view of forest" data-width="1440" data-height="1080" />
Credit: Geran de Klerk/Unsplash<p>If anyone knows how to construct a wood satellite, it would be Sumitomo Forestry, a company that has been foresting and developing wood products for 400 years. Their <a href="https://sfc.jp/english/" target="_blank">website</a> declares that "Happiness grows from trees." In addition to the satellite project, the company is also in the process of designing a mostly wood, $5.8 billion Tokyo skyscraper to be completed by 2041.</p><p>The proposed satellites won't be made of just any wood. The researchers consider its exact formulation to be a trade secret, releasing little in the way of detail. It is known that it will have to be resistant to the temperature extremes it will encounter in space, and the scientists are reportedly considering both the basic material to be used as well as special wood-derived coatings.</p>
Realistically speaking...<p>The wooden satellites may have some advantages in functionality. With wood not being an obstacle to various communication wavelengths, the devices <a href="https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Science/World-s-first-wooden-satellite-to-be-launched-by-Japan-in-2023" target="_blank">may need less extensive antennae</a>.</p><p>Even so, the proposed satellites, though novel and sort of poetic, may not ultimately be of much help. Satellite casings are just a small part of the space-junk problem—their metal and plastic insides are also left up there to bang into other stuff. There are also lots of spent rocket boosters and such in orbit.</p><p>All of which brings us back to the larger issue of all the debris that never falls back to Earth, as the wooden satellites are meant to. The problem with all this stuff isn't what happens upon re-entry. It never re-enters at all, circling the planet ad infinitum as part of that great garbage dump in the sky.</p>
Researchers from MIT invent a highly accurate clock using quantum entanglement that can lead to new physics.
- Scientists from MIT create a new, extremely precise atomic clock that uses quantum entanglement.
- The researchers employed ytterbium atoms and lasers for their technique.
- The wide-ranging applications of the accuracy of these clocks can aid in the search for dark matter and new physics.