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Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(11):25-30. doi:10.1115/1.2006-NOV-1.
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This paper describes the various developments of robust systems for human mars mission. The engineering of highly reliable, robust systems for those human space missions, along with the creation of a livable, artificial environment on Mars, will provide a new arena for the innovation of future technologies, allowing scientific progress and creating economic growth. Studies of human Mars missions have been conducted in the last two decades by NASA, other space agencies, and non-government groups, including the Mars Society. NASA has developed a series of design reference missions to serve as guideposts toward sending a human crew to Mars and to provide a basis for comparing different approaches and criteria. In order to achieve Mars orbit insertion and descent to the surface, rather large accelerations are required, which if implemented through chemical propulsion, require very large propellant masses. The rich carbon supply on Mars also suggests a possibility of local production of such essentials as plastics, lubricants, and synthetic fabrics.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(11):32-35. doi:10.1115/1.2006-NOV-2.
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This paper focuses on the Virtual Operating Room (OR) system for practicing surgery and other skills on model patient in simulated spaces. The Virtual OR creates complex interactions between real and virtual space than the debridement system. The space itself is a combination of the real and the virtual. High-intensity lights glare down on a mannequin lying on the operating table. The room's walls display virtual monitors, instruments, and a transfusion kit. As the virtual operating room evolves, it is expected to drill students and residents in critical thinking and communications skills. They will see more and more varied emergencies than the cases that come through the hospital doors when they are on shift. They can also schedule virtual team practice at their own convenience. The Virtual OR gives human factors researchers a tool to study how and why surgeons make mistakes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(11):36-37. doi:10.1115/1.2006-NOV-3.
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This paper discusses the use of video game in teaching mechanical engineering students. The course teaches students how engineering computation and simulation work. Students learn how to get computers to run various mathematical procedures. When they fire up their computers, students see a fairly standard gaming image: a race car and a track. They quickly learn that they will have to program the system to get the car to obey their commands. They start small and at first, they do not even have steering wheels or pedals to control their vehicles. Within a few commands, they can get their car to go straight but then the track turns and they crash into the wall. There are certain types of calculations they have to learn, and they get better and better as the semester goes on, until at the end they're doing sophisticated calculations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(11):40-43. doi:10.1115/1.2006-NOV-4.
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This paper highlights the contribution of Leo Szilard in the development of atomic age. Szilard and his mentor Einstein were both theorists who shared a practical side. Szilard's work, included publication of a theory in statistical mechanics was recognized a generation later as a seminal paper in information theory. Szilard studied X-ray diffraction. He designed and filed patents for an electron microscope, as well as for a linear accelerator and a cyclotron, which became instruments for probing the structure of an atom. Development was dramatically escalated after the 1942 demonstration of a chain reaction. A chain reaction would require finding an element or isotope with a high probability of absorbing neutrons followed by the release of more free neutrons. The element subsequently would split to form smaller atoms. Szilard launched initiatives for the peaceful use of nuclear energy while trying to stop the arms race and prevent further use of nuclear weapons.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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