Short items, May 2010

Scientists drone on 

Nasa’s unpiloted Global Hawk aircraft has completed its first flight to study atmospheric science over the Pacific and Arctic oceans. The robotic remote controlled plane has enormous range and endurance and can reach altitudes twice as high as a commercial airliner to gather data on greenhouse gases, the ozone layer, aerosols and air quality.

Architect fuses ITER together 

ITER, a global collaboration to build the world’s largest experimental fusion facility demonstrating the feasibility of fusion power, is now in progress after much delay. Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU’s organisation for Europe’s contribution to ITER has awarded the architectural contract to a consortium of four engineering firms, to design and construct the ITER buildings and infrastructure.  

UK Royal Society awards German chancellor 

The Royal Society’s King Charles II medal has been awarded to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for her efforts to promote science not only in Germany, but worldwide. Chemist Merkel is the third recipient of the award, following Emperor Akihito of Japan (1998) and President APJ Abdul Kalam of India (2007). 

Go Figure

150,000-300,000 tonnes   

Amount of carbon dioxide predicted to be being emitted per day from Iceland’s Eyjafjallaj?kull volcano. This places it in the same emissions league as a small-to-medium sized European country.