Credit: Matt Swisher
Planets and stars form as gravitational forces pull material together. We know that the pressure within these celestial bodies must be very great, but until now, scientists didn’t know what happened to materials at those pressures.
July 16, scientists announced they had successfully compressed a diamond, “the least compressible material” we know of, up to pressures at the core of Saturn and Jupiter…
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Amy Kukulya’s clients often have curious requests, but this was among the oddest. As an engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), she has operated autonomous underwater vehicles beneath Arctic ice in Greenland, in a New Zealand lake to find geothermal terraces submerged by a volcanic eruption, and with Navy SEALS working on underwater docking systems.
So when Kukulya’s boss, Tom Austin, came to her and said, ‘Amy, I’ve got just the project for you,’ it had to be interesting. The project was peculiar—outrageous, actually. They would be refitting one of their autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs, to track and film great white sharks. The Discovery Channel was paying for it. For a program for its annual Shark Week.
Kukulya laughed. Were they serious? “It was clearly going to be a very difficult engineering challenge,” she said.
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