A round-up of this month's engineering news from around the world with a regional focus on Scandinavia
An explosion on an Indian Navy submarine in the naval dockyard in Mumbai left 18 sailors dead. The blast aboard the Russian-built INS Sindhurakshak, one of India’s 14 diesel-powered submarines, reportedly occurred in the vessel’s torpedo compartment. It returned to service about six months ago after undergoing a major overhaul in Russia.
Energy firm Cuadrilla announced that it was unlikely to employ fracking at a site near Balcombe, West Sussex - the scene of fierce protests against the controversial method of fossil fuel extraction.
The company had been conducting exploratory drilling at the site, but a spokesman said the firm believed it would eventually find other more suitable locations.
Ecuador will open parts of the Amazon rainforest to oil drilling after a failed attempt to raise money from the international community to preserve the region. In 2007, President Rafael Correa launched a “co-responsibility” initiative to prevent oil drilling in the Yasuni National Park. If other nations paid Ecuador half the expected oil revenue in return for a guarantee the area will remain untouched.
South Korea’s first home-built light fighter, the FA-50, rolled out from the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) assembly plant. The FA-50 is based on the T-50 advanced jet trainer developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin. The country wants to take advantage of predicted sharp increase in demand for military hardware in Asia over the next decade.
The first of the new lock gates for the Panama Canal Expansion Program were delivered to Colon City on the waterway’s Atlantic side. The 3,100-tonne rolling gates will be installed in the middle chamber of the new lock complex, designed to make room for a third lane of traffic, which will double the Canal’s capacity by 2015.
The world’s first fully-fledged digital autopsy was performed in Kuala Lumpur. Combining images from conventional CT and MRI scanners with a 3D imaging software tool developed by Malaysian company iGene, the technique was said to be ready for commercial use and is expected to be introduced in the UK in the coming months.
University of Washington scientists performed the first non-invasive human-to-human brain interface. Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to his colleague Andrea Stocco on the other side of the campus via the Internet, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.
China announced its plans to land a probe on the Moon by the end of 2013.
The Chang’e 3 lander and its rover, which will transmit images and dig into the surface to test samples, represents the first step in China’s three-stage Moon exploration programme. Another unmanned Moon mission returning lunar soil and stone samples is expected to follow around 2017, while Chinese astronauts could walk on the Moon by 2020.
300 tonnes of highly radioactive water escaped from a leaky storage tank in the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant - the worst accident at the site since the 2011 earthquake. The incident prompted Japan’s government to step forward, pledging more than £300m to get the situation under control.
Samsung’s smartwatch was officially unveiled at the IFA Technology Conference in Berlin, Germany. Named the Galaxy Gear, the wearable gadget, allowing users to access email, text and even make phone calls without touching their mobile, became the biggest hit of the annual event.