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Transformers, Kandaharian Beasts, & Hexagons

Saw three great posts this evening in my Google Reader:

V22 In AfPak

First, the V-22 Osprey has finally taken flight in combat. The good folks over at The Danger Room has some pics of the tilt-rotor hover-to-plane transforming craft over in AfPak. I remember seeing the first flights of the Osprey and then reading about the tragic crashes that followed. It’s good to see that enough progress has been made to make the ship combat-worthy.

The now-not-so-secret RQ-170 Sentinel

Also from The Danger Room, a sharp-eyed French photog caught the above image of a “mystery” plane also in use in AfPak. Dubbed the Beast of Kandahar, the Air Force recently confirmed that the image is of a new unmanned stealth reconnaissance plane, the RQ-170 Sentinel. The question on everyone’s lips is why do you need a stealth drone for use against guys running around the mountains with Kalashnikov’s. Anything to do with Iran being right next door? Hmmmm? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Hexagon @ Saturn's North Pole

And finally over on Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait highlights a great picture from the Cassini team of Saturn’s north pole. If you have not seen the above image, then be amazed! Yes, for some reason the storm raging at the top of Saturn rotates in the form of a hexagon! Wow! Scientists are still working to explain this one. I’m baffled! I can’t wait to read the theories they develop.

Bring On The Mechas

Travis Taylors One Day On Mars

Travis Taylor's "One Day On Mars"

Last summer, I was looking through the “new books” section at my local library and I was instantly intrigued by the cover of one of the books (and the title BTW, I’m an admitted Mars junkie). After reading the inside cover blurb, it sounded like a good read.

I blew through the book in three days! It was great! I loved the sci-fi element as well as the military aspects. Two major features of the story were mecha-based aeroplanes for the space jockeys and mini-mecha suits for the Marines. Now, I grew up on Robotech, which in my opinion still is one of the best anime series around (I need to get that on DVD). I was really digging Mr. Taylor’s detailed description of the mechas and the soldiers that went to work using them.

This morning, I was catching up my Google Reader and read a Wired article (via the Danger Room) about an exoskeleton head-to-head rivalry going on between two scientists, Stephen Jacobsen and Hami Kazerooni. In recent years, both have made tremendous progress in the development of human-augmentation suits. I wonder how soon we will develop something as robust as Taylor’s mechas? His story takes place in 2383. I hope I don’t have to wait that long…