(fittingly – today is Jam Band Friday and Carlos is up – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ml3NUIDpFg )
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is a black agency in the sense that much of what it does is shrouded in some secrecy. Its a Think Tank at one level. It is a contractor at another. It is a black site in the sense that it has no budget. But heh, they got a webpage and a Facebook Page too. How Hip and Modern.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rRlBmJiz5k&feature=related )
Darpa Seeks to Tap Water’s Power Potential
The quest for limitless energy has preoccupied military researchers for years, and Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out science arm, has often led the way. Now the agency is looking for yet another method to harness cheap and environmentally friendly energy that would be as simple as turning on the tap.
Well, sort of. Darpa is soliciting proposals for using seawater to create liquid fuel. Their hope is to harvest the abundance of carbon and hydrogen in ocean water, and somehow convert the molecules, via chemical reaction, into usable energy. Since fuel is mostly made up of hydrocarbons, the right interplay between water molecules and the carbon dioxide lurking among them would — in theory — yield fuel compounds.
Sounds good, right? Except Darpa’s not entirely sure what reaction needs to take place, or how to make it happen. That’s the first step for researchers: coming up with an efficient, effective catalyst, and one that won’t be affected by water pollutants, pH levels or the carbon dioxide concentrations of different water samples.
Of course, this isn’t the only out-there energy proposal the military’s got researchers working on. In July, the Air Force started investigating purple bacteria whose pigment could power flying drones. And Darpa’s already throwing money at another water-based energy source: last year, they spent $20 million dollars on converting algae into jet fuel. No word yet on how that worked out.
They even have a Wikipedia Page now. You used to have to turn over rocks and stuff to find out anything about them.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency|
|Annual budget||$3.2 billion|
|Agency executive||Regina Dugan, Director|
DARPA headquarters in the Virginia Square neighborhood of Arlington.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military. DARPA has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major effect on the world, including computer networking, as well as NLS, which was both the first hypertext system, and an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.
Its original name was simply Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), but it was renamed DARPA (for Defense) during March 1972, then renamed ARPA again during February 1993, and then renamed DARPA again during March 1996.
DARPA was established during 1958 (as ARPA) in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik during 1957, with the mission of keeping U.S. military technology more sophisticated than that of the nation’s potential enemies. From DARPA’s own introduction:
DARPA’s original mission, established in 1958, was to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies.
DARPA is independent from other more conventional military R&D and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA has around 240 personnel (about 140 technical) directly managing a $3.2 billion budget. These figures are “on average” since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four-year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams.
Here is a little bit of the things they are working on that we know of:
Here’s a listing of the DARPA-related projects presented on the Technovelgy site:
‘…allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.’
The agency is seeking whitepapers to fuel the development of a scientific approach to predicting the actions of large masses of people.
How is it possible that a bullet could redirect its own course in mid-flight?
Tests to date have seen small aerial robots lose large chunks of themselves to hostile fire, yet carry on with their mission.
A new defense department project to locate enemies precisely, and target them, by phone.
Project to develop a robotic platform able to perform long missions while refueling itself by foraging.
Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance (HIBR).
ChemBots are soft, flexible robots that are able to alter their shape to squeeze through small openings and then regain their full size.
An alternative to today’s standard treatments, which often lead to further complications, and are not fully load-bearing,
The minimal required airborne tactical radius of the sub-plane is 1000 nautical miles (nm).
Create compressed magnetic flux generator (CMFG)-driven magneto hydrodynamically formed metal jets and self-forging penetrators (SFP).
Intended to give wheeled robots an additional edge; the ability to jump up onto or over obstacles up to nine meters high.
The Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft is a coin-sized one-bladed helicopter.
With the impetus toward micro-air and -ground vehicles for military applications, there is a compelling need for imaging micro-sensors compatible with these small platforms.
Create high-fidelity computer simulations of in-theatre events for tactical, operational and strategic review
The program focused on creating water from the atmosphere using low-energy systems.
Shape-shifting supersonic bomber fans are feeling bereft this weekend.
for the old school
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnamP4-M9ko&feature=related )
Oh and for another high tech energy firm across the pond try: