China builds world’s fastest wind tunnel to test weapons that could strike US within 14 minutes

The JF-12 hypersonic wind tunnel near Beijing is able to replicate hypersonic flight conditions. Photo: SCMP

 

Researchers want new facility to be up and running by 2020 as race to develop hypersonic technology intensifies

China is building the world’s fastest wind tunnel to simulate hypersonic flight at speeds of up to 12 kilometres per second.

A hypersonic vehicle flying at this speed from China could reach the west coast of the United States in less than 14 minutes.

Zhao Wei, a senior scientist working on the project, said researchers aimed to have the facility up and running by around 2020 to meet the pressing demand of China’s hypersonic weapon development programme.

Continue reading

Yellowstone Volcano Eruption in 2014? Are Animals Fleeing Park As ‘An Alert’?

This map from the U.S. Geological Service shows the range of the volcanic ash that was deposited after the biggest of the Yellowstone National Park eruptions around 2.1 million years ago. "These eruptions left behind huge volcanic depressions called “calderas” and spread volcanic ash over large parts of North America," it said. "If another large caldera-forming eruption were to occur at Yellowstone, its effects would be worldwide. Thick ash deposits would bury vast areas of the United States, and injection of huge volumes of volcanic gases into the atmosphere could drastically affect global climate. Fortunately, the Yellowstone volcanic system shows no signs that it is headed toward such an eruption in the near future. In fact, the probability of any such event occurring at Yellowstone within the next few thousand years is exceedingly low."

A number of bloggers are posting videos that show bison and other animals allegedly leaving Yellowstone National Park, prompting theories that as earthquakes ramp up the seismic activity will set off the Yellowstone supervolcano.

Two of the main bloggers behind the discussion stress that there’s no way to know when the supervolcano will go off but note that the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that hit on March 30 seemed to set off a reaction from the animals, who are moving for a reason. Continue reading