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Mechanical Engineering. 2018;140(07):30-35. doi:10.1115/1.2018-JUL-1.

Robotic space probes have proven themselves to be capable explorers, roaming the solar system, observing the galaxy, and pushing back the boundaries of the final frontier. Those looking for a return to the glory days of human space exploration will need patience. NASA is aiming for a human landing on Mars in the 2030s, though cynics might contend that a Mars mission has been “just over the horizon” for a generation. Private-sector efforts in the near term are limited to suborbital tourism. Fortunately, NASA, the European Space Agency, and groups from other countries are readying a variety of missions that should answer some of astronomy’s biggest questions, all while keeping human feet firmly on the ground. In this article, we review nine unmanned missions that will explore new frontiers in space over the next decade.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2018;140(07):36-41. doi:10.1115/1.2018-JUL-2.

The promises of increased efficiency, simplicity, and high power density are driving the current research focus on rotating detonation engines (RDEs). An engine that uses detonation rather than deflagration could have some key advantages. If harnessed in a gas turbine or rocket, detonation could reduce the need for some expensive hardware, lighten engine weight and increase power output and efficiency. Today, variants of the RDE as a combustor for gas turbines, rockets, and scramjets are being explored at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Postgraduate School, and the Department of Energy. Similar work is being conducted in several other countries. This study provides a deeper look into RDEs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2018;140(07):42-47. doi:10.1115/1.2018-JUL-3.

As anyone who ever had a bearing fail knows, durability counts. However some bearing makers believe that predictability is more important than longer bearing life. By harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT) and other Industry 4.0 technologies—low-cost sensors, Big Data analytics, and machine learning—manufacturing companies want to catapult one of the world’s oldest mechanical devices into the digital future. In fact, bearings are emerging as a poster child for Industry 4.0. Yet this heady mixture of digital technology and physical products is also disrupting how companies monitor, operate, and service rotating equipment; the way they sell and service products; and who they partner with and compete against. This article delves into how bearing makers are embracing this disruption.

Topics: Bearings , Machinery
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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