Following up on the full-size Grand California it launched in 2018 and the updated midsize California it launched last year, Volkswagen now turns its vehicle-camping mastery to its smallest van. A new-generation Caddy calls for a new-generation Caddy Beach camper, and in this case, a new name: the Mini-Camper. One of the smallest, cutest camper vans we’re likely to see until the eBussy Camper comes rolling into the real world, the new Caddy Mini-Camper sleeps adventure-loving couples and turns into a larger “glamping lodge” on demand.
Scientists in Australia have made an exciting breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research, demonstrating what they describe as the first gene-therapy-based approach for treating advanced forms of the disease. Through experiments in mice, the team was able to show how activating a key enzyme in the brain can prevent the kind of memory loss associated with advanced forms of Alzheimer’s, and even reverse it.
If you haven’t been following, Formula One wizard Gordon Murray is designing a supercar from the ground up, and everything about it is looking utterly bonkers in the best possible way.
To briefly recap, this three-seater will weigh just 980 kg (2,160 lb) – that’s less than five fast motorcycles. It’ll have the same “jet fighter” cabin arrangement as Murray’s own McLaren F1 design and the more recent McLaren Speedtail: a driver’s seat front and center with two passenger seats behind and to the sides.
Murray has also applied the “Brabham BT46 fan car” concept to the T.50’s aerodynamics: a whirling 15.7-inch (40-cm) underbody fan that literally sucks the car down onto the road when it’s running, while also using this flow of air to cool the engine and fire out the back to fill in a negative pressure area behind the car and reduce drag.
It was an international outrage when Murray put this system on an F1 car back in 1976. The other teams’ eyes were on stalks watching the suspension compress when the engine was revved at a standstill, and the Brabham team withdrew it as an act of good faith after winning the only race it competed in. But there’s no sportsman’s code stopping Murray from doing it on a street car, so by gum he’s going for it.
Today we learn more about the engine in this thing, and while it doesn’t go for huge power, this is sure to be an absolute classic, and the answer to many petrolhead trivia questions in future decades.
It’s been a big week for inventions named for the shape-shifting, fortune-telling Greek sea god, Proteus. On Monday we looked at Proteus, the world’s first manufactured non-cuttable material, and now there’s Proteus, the world’s most advanced underwater research station and habitat – though in this case the naming is probably more to do with Proteus’ status as the grandson of Poseidon himself.
Using a ship out at sea to catch pieces of falling pieces of rocket might not be the most sophisticated of SpaceX’s recovery techniques, but it is a key part of its mission to recycle as many materials as possible. The company has today ticked off this significant milestone, after its Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a satellite into orbit for South Korea.
Boeing has won a contract worth almost US$1.2 billion from the US Air Force to build the first tranche of eight F-15EX fighter jets. The most advanced version of the venerable F-15 that began production in the 1970s, the first two jets are already under construction at Boeing’s St Louis facility and are expected to be delivered in 2021.