Cover Story

Protecting the off-planet economy

By Debra Werner

April 2020

Debris tends to stick around in space, and this fact poses a unique challenge for military strategists who are used to keeping the peace elsewhere partly by threatening destruction. This reality complicates the U.S. military’s efforts to define how the newly established U.S. Space Force should go about its work and how far that reach should extend as entrepreneurs seek to open up the moon, asteroids and free space to commerce.


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Engineering Notebook

Virtual strength testing

By Keith Button

April 2020

Conjuring a new version of a composite and testing it can be expensive and time consuming. By testing for strength virtually, some materials scientists are beginning to rule out certain blends without making samples, and engineers are learning to rapidly identify the best candidates for specific applications. Keith Button tells the story of this software.


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